It's a great time to buy into fashion. With the wide range of sources at every price point now available to men, improving your style is just a matter of prying your body off your bed and shuffling toward the mall or the specialty boutique or the tailor or the flea market or your laptop. So spoiled are we by choices, from H&M and Zara to Hermès and Louis Vuitton and everything else in between, that it has become easy to forget older shops.
Maybe you haven't checked out Memo lately. The homegrown brand, which, fun fact, used to be housed inside Penshoppe (both are under parent company, Golden ABC), has pivoted in recent seasons, transforming from a source of work-friendly pieces into something a bit more exciting.
The brand mentions two key things for the evolution: Mark Zuckerberg and influencers. On on end, the super casual work uniform became popular thanks to the gray T-shirt-wearing lord of Facebook, who famously said, when asked about his clothes, that he's “...not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life.” (For the record, choosing your clothes with care is not silly or frivolous.)
On the other end of the spectrum, the unstoppable wave of bloggers, vloggers, influencers, and Instragrammers revived a show-y polish in the art wearing of clothes. Style became personal and, more important, attainable as seen on ordinary beings who looked extraordinary for their online audience.
And so you have Memo's spring set, which combines both worlds: a more relaxed but a little forward-leaning approach to what you wear at work. Take for example a hoodie or, actually, “a refined hoodie,” notes Don Aldea, Memo's menswear designer. The hoodie recalls ketchup-stained days of college life, but touches like the raglan sleeve construction and minimal detailing make Memo's version appropriate for your work station.
The spring collection follows the global botanical trend, and so has been designed (of note, Memo is one of the few local retail brands that still have in-house designers) with earth tones, cool greens, hints of pink, and even all-over flower prints.
Don't be afraid of that last bit as the pattern is kept small. In fact, from faraway it looks like tiny foilage and only upon closer inspection does it appear as it is: a floral field. Filipino men, shares Aldea, prefer it this way: a careful kind of style that is never loud or subtle details that will not cause the boss to worry about your state of mind.
Everything, of course, is made for summer. A light blue short-sleeve shirt is done in stretch fabric, the printed shirts are 100 percent cotton, and trousers come in cotton twill with stretch, all of which contribute to ease of movement and breathability.
Suprisingly, there are also shorts in the workwear set. Desk to dusk is the ethos, and so these are included for that glorious time when you punch out. “You'd prefer wearing shorts on the weekend,” says Aldea. “We made sure that the shorts are tailored and still smart looking.”
These pieces are made so you can really wear them during the workday and then, with minimal fuss, head out at night, or wear them during the week as a stylish uniform and then wear, too, on the weekend as leisure clothes. For the young professional, this idea of double-duty clothes will be most appealing.