How to Always Look Crisp and Stylish in Philippine Weather
There are only two seasons in the Philippines: summer and rainy. This fact of life in the tropics can be a problem if you’re a staunch patron of international clothing labels that design for more agreeable climate. Much as you want to own that beautiful tweed sport coat or that fine wool-blend sweatshirt, you just know you wouldn’t be able to make it work in these parts.
A good sense of style is evident even if you can’t wear the latest from foreign menswear brands. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take liberties with your sartorial choices, or that you can’t be every bit as stylish as men in other parts of the world. All it takes is a change in perspective: Don’t think of our tropical climate as a style crutch—think of it as a challenge.
Filipino men are rarely able to layer clothing outside air-conditioned offices, and navigating Metro Manila may demand rain-proof pieces. These conditions should be your cue to get creative with what you wear. Here are a few tips to start with:
Shed the weight.
When building a wardrobe for tropical climates, the first consideration is the most obvious: fewer layers and lightweight fabrics work best. This is especially crucial when picking out a suit or a set of clothes to be regularly worn in the office.
Jackets and trousers don’t need to be made from wool-blend fabrics (even if they often are, off-the-rack). Cut back on tweed, knits, flannel, thick denim, and leather. Opt instead for fabrics like linen, seersucker, and chambray.
That being said, lightweight synthetic fabrics like polyester and rayon are best avoided, as they aren’t quite so good at dealing with moisture. Depending on the time of year, that’s sweat or rain—or both.
Try out tech fabrics.
Breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics are often reserved for the gym. But in this post-athleisure world, there are plenty of everyday clothes made with high-tech performance materials, too: undershirts, polo shirts, button-downs, and trousers. Mix these types of clothes into your wardrobe and get creative with them—not only because they’re a lot more comfortable, but because they infuse something modern and sporty into your look.
Big, boxy, breathable cuts and loose clothes tend to be much more comfortable, while skinny silhouettes have been moving out of style in recent years. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should just size up. Try everything on and pay attention to the fit and drape. Likewise, if you’re going bespoke, speak to your tailor and ask for roomier jackets and trousers.
Bright colors light the way.
Dark-colored clothes tend to be warmer than light-colored clothes, but they also conceal sweat marks better than light gray and pale blue, so your blacks and navy blues aren’t exactly off the table. Consider bright-colored basics, which are visually appealing in summer and easy on the eyes when the weather gets gloomy.
Embrace the polo shirt.
The polo shirt is uniquely suited for tropical climates because of the balance it strikes between dressy and casual. Because it was originally designed for sport, the polo shirt by nature is light and breathable. It’s also smart enough to wear to the office on some days, and always easy to wear with a coat for more important occasions. The polo shirt is a key piece in a tropical wardrobe.
Don’t be shy; show some skin.
The tropical climate also gives you the license to dress down more often. This means shorts are always a viable option on weekends, and in general, short-sleeved shirts are nothing to be shunned. Ankle-bearing no-show socks? Go right ahead. Tank tops? Well, maybe not unless you’re at the beach. But the point is you don’t always have to go for sharp when you can go for breezy and still look presentable.
In this part of the world, we can’t exactly get creative with our layers and outerwear, but we can certainly go crazy with accessories. It’s not just sunglasses, too—although a good pair of sunnies is definitely a warm-weather staple. Try on different hats, watches, and jewelry. Invest in these instead of hoarding coats and jackets that you can’t use.
Even if you have your style game down pat, none of these tropical style maneuvers would matter if you can’t cover the basics of personal hygiene. And in an always-warm, always-humid country like ours, that means making it a point to stay clean and smell good. A good body spray like Axe completes the package, so that no matter the occasion, the temperature, or the conditions, you can step out feeling fresh and oozing with style. #FeelTheCool with Axe fragrances.
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