1. I don’t really go to many formal events. What one pair of dress shoes do I need?
The starter shoe for formal occasions is ideally a one-piece lace up. It’sversatile and not only works well with formal trousers and a barong, or even a dark grey or navy suit, it’s also good for well-cut jeans with a tucked dress shirt and a jacket. Where to buy? You can start with stores like Zara, or Massimo Dutti. Traffic has a few good items. If not, check out @blackwingshoes on Instagram, message them, ask for Buddy, tell them Monchet sent you.
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2. Is it possible to rock a money clip without looking like a douche?
It’s a matter of personal style. My take is, look for a nice silver vintage piece online to effect a little old world appeal, and make sure you are loaded with crisp bills. Doucheness comes with a blingy clip with some designer logo. The clip is a vestige of a time when credit cards were non-existent. So my next point is, what do you do with your cards? My best advise is to use the card case. You can hold enough cash and a few cards without looking like a rapper.
3. What’s your advise to men who want to start wearing jewelry?
Men in general have limited choices: watch, cufflinks, a signet or wedding ring, and an arm candy (a bracelet, for example). I would suggest you visit @northskull on IG and make it your reference, or @Miansai. Cartier if you got the cash. If you are more into goth (where I swing to, honestly), go check out 13 Lucky Monkey (@13luckymonkey) on Instagram and some of their stuff are at ac+632 in Greenbelt 5. You can go pile them on but its really a pain if you work on a laptop. I gave mine all away save for the Cartiers just because they’re a bitch on the keyboard.
4. How do I spot quality fabric?
When there is polyester, there goes the neighborhood. Fabric choices are dependent on where it is worn. A dress shirt is best made of a sturdy pima or Egyptian cotton. Trousers can go from linen, linen wool blends, to travel wools. For suits, you have Zegna (their roots are in weaving), Holland and Sherry, and Cerrutti. I suggest you begin by feeling the fabric. Working with a tailor is a start. For me, the best is a lightweight travel wool for office pants.
5. Does the rule “shoes must match belt” still apply today?
I personally don’t like belts. Particularly with those that have the prominent logo buckles. But to answer your question: matchy-matchy is so ‘80s—not that there’s anything wrong with that, but what I mean is it’s had its time. If you must wear a belt, use what you like. But braces are better, specially if you wear a jacket or blazer, even with jeans. The look for trousers that are classic and flattering are high waist. Get a style cue from @AmbrosiNapoli on IG then go to JJ Reyes of New Hampshire Tailor Place at EDSA Shangri-la Hotel and let him guide you. But trust me: live a little, ditch the belt. Its one less thing to remove when you hit the loo.
Monchet Olives writes style stories for ANCX.ph. He is the designated expert on men’s style at Artefino where he curates the men’s section called The Barracks.