An Ode to Bosses Turned Friends

To the bosses turned friends, this heartfelt letter of thanks is for you.

We’ve heard countless stories of peers quarreling with their bosses, of complaints of unfair treatment, or of being unjustifiably overworked. We’ve heard of people feeling so distant from their management, some left to flounder about and left to their own devices and some to be micromanaged to the point of madness. And yet, despite these gruesome realities, life has been so kind to bless us with not just one but two bosses (each!) that we can genuinely say truly made us feel more than an employee.

We wanted to take this time to give thanks where thanks are due, especially to those that have impacted our lives in such unquantifiable magnitudes. With this, here is a love letter of sorts to the bosses we’re proud to call friends

Here’s to you, Millie-unnie, for starting our friendship through unabashed giggling and mutual fangirling over BTS comebacks, all while making sure to guide me patiently through digital jargon and campaign creation that left me slack-jawed in confusion before you came to save me. I still remember the moment you saw the Suga wallpaper on my phone from a distance and immediately came to me and started going off about shipping TaeKook, becase same. LOL! I will forever appreciate your kindness, your stories of both wisdom and kagaguhan that make us laugh so loud that they never fail to earn us stares from other departments (sorry, not sorry), and your immense detail-orientation that still sticks with me to this day (you will never see a campaign without UTM tags ever again, I promise).

Thanks for teaching me more than I ever realized I learned at the time, and thank you for being a friend that is always ready to hype us on (quick shoutout to Andy, because we’re all in this together, hoe), share the best love life advice (both PG and R-rated, but mostly R-rated), and lend an ear when we’re feeling down. Most of all, thank you for being genuine and understanding, even when we were at our lowest. Thank you for letting us confide in you without an ounce of judgement and for bringing some much needed light into the concealed dungeon that was the “social media room”.

I hope to one day to inherit the kind of fearless, fiercely independent boss b***h energy that you bring, as well as the kindness you’ve always shown us even when we make mistakes. I am beyond grateful that you were my first boss—most especially my real-life unnie! Plus, who could say that they went on a leisurely trip to Korea with their Senior Manager and actually enjoy the heck out of it without feeling awkward? Um, other departments could never.

Unnie with her Dongsaengs in Seoul
Caption from this story was: “Minsan, normal kami.” Mga siz, kung alam niyo lang….
Naver Report: New girl group spotted. Ansabe ng digital team mo? Charot!

And here’s to you, Gretchen, for putting your faith in me and making me kulit through emails to make sure I knew I still had a chance to work with WeaveWorks, hahaha! Thank you for your thoughtfulness, for your endless gifts of pastries every Monday, random cosmetics from your ~influencer life~, and for introducing us to your pets that I have now come to call my older siblings. You, Booboo, (*in my deeply modulated voice*) Bella, and Cayo have left an indelible mark on my soft soul and I will always be proud to have been your work baby. Thank you for our Breakout team building sessions that never fail to bring us closer together even if we lose (ESPECIALLY WHEN IT WASN’T OUR FAULT), and for your unfailingly calm demeanor that always reassures me that everything will be okay. I know I can get frazzled sometimes, but you’re always there to make sure I keep my head on straight and understand where I’m coming from, which honestly means so much to me being the anxious little hooman that I am.

Thank you for answering the bazillion questions I have every day (and not looking annoyed at me when I interrupt your train of thought), for deeply understanding the need of work-life balance, for cultivating such a positive sense of family in our workplace, for accepting me in both my silence and my craziness, for always sticking your neck out for your all of your office kids, and for going above and beyond in teaching all of us new and relevant skills that you weren’t even required to do just because you wanted to help us grow.

Your trust means the absolute world to me, as it helped me grow so much in confidence, creativity, and KNOWLEDGE (*fist pumps the air*), so please, please know how much I value the time I had with you. I look up to you so much, and I know your future child (biological, this time) will be in the greatest and gentlest of hands—even if I’m sure you’ll laugh at him/her when s/he falls down then upload the video to @KidsGettingHurt. My heart breaks a little bit every time I think of your chair being empty, but I promise that I, along with the rest of your Wenkwonkers, will do my best to make you proud in your absence!

All dressed up for our Gatsby-themed company party!
Partial flex that I also met Kylie Verzosa. Heheheh.
Momma alcoholizing with her children coz she’s a cool mom

I love you both to the deepest depths of my soul (even though my resting face and monotonous manner of speaking may not show it) and am beyond lucky to have started my corporate life with mentors like you. You both are the best examples that flexibility in the workplace and genuine human connections with your employees have SUCH a big impact. Thank you both for helping me get to where I am, and for setting me on my way to become an even greater version of who I can be. Ang drama ko ba? HAHA! Minsan lang naman.

Big hugs and kisses from me! Please know that wherever you are in life, your lowly subordinate is cheering you on with both hands in the air while screaming her lungs out.

💋  With love and a never-ending well of terrible jokes, Julia

Cheers to you, Marla, for seeing me and choosing to hear the rumblings of my stomach during my interview as a sign of hunger to prove myself (even if I was actually, really hungry) and seeing the steely-eyed determination in my eyes to get things done.

Thank you for taking a chance on me with production and rooting for me always. For being a chill but very attentive boss, I know B somewhat gets it from you—honestly, I am more than thankful for you. You’ve let me grow and guided me to bloom, even sticking up for me when I felt lost. You are thoughtful and kind, qualities that peek through in snacks and gifts and small conversations that mean so much to me—I’m still in love with the SPF mist you gifted me for Christmas 2019, I was torn between using it sparingly and using more than I should.

You’ve convinced me to take up Pilates and Yoga with a little help from ClassPass, guessing spot on that I would enjoy despite all the sore muscles the next day. Stairs at the warehouse were never the same post-Physique 57! Thank you for encouraging fitness is lit!

You’ve also put up and accepted how weird this Aquarian is, encouraging my ways and humour—all the many inside jokes, most of which were R-rated, and stories 😉 (of sweaty baguettes and cousins). You are an amazing supportive member of Terrace House Energy, being a voice of reason in a crazy arena. Content and messages from it saves me many-a-time.

I look up to you, both professionally and personally because you are a beautiful human being. The way your creativity and mind works still astounds me, which I can only hope to have at least a fingernail of and learn from.

And cheers to you, Bianca, for being my forever mom as you have been such a guiding hand in many things. Literally guiding my head away from staring at yet another boy, and making sure I do not walk into an accident but also basically mind-linking with me when faced with beautiful creatures (ehem, boys) and just mentally shutting down.

You took me under your wing during the day and still partied with me like it’s 2012 at night (the videos exist, my gosh, Kuya Grab was horrified but supportive). You made work never have to feel like work, and one of the reasons is because I had you as a boss—being there to make sure that everything made sense, at the same time sending memes and crazy photos. You’ve drilled into me that there are efficient ways to get things done and showed me the ropes to make processes and products look flawless.

You’ve always seen the big picture when I am too focused on the smaller things, and you catch the devil in the details when I am too focused on the bigger picture. You’ve made sure (without fail) that I knew I am valuable to you and that me and my opinions matter but you also call me out on my b*llshit in a gentle fashion so that this edgy cry baby doesn’t break down or retreat into her shell.

You got me in so many aspects, from the way I speak, to the way I think, and to the way I do things, that I honestly think you’re a mind reader. We have been through so many things and I have a phone full of crazy memories to prove it—from never-quiet car rides, tinto de veranos and burrata pizzas, juice and coffee runs, to the cookies and froyo breaks, and the fire escape photoshoots, all of which I am grateful for.

Thank you for letting me and Iya (shout out to my sis) create your dating app account and profile—they were somewhat successful, but not as successful as our little walks and heart-to-hearts and encouraging me to take a break when I didn’t even know I needed to—they were never little to me. One of my favorite lessons that you’ve imparted is pushing me to let myself be young and to accept that it’s okay, to enjoy it for now. Your affirmations and confidence in me surpasses my own self-confidence sometimes, and they are part of the gifts that I treasure more than the red lipstick or baked goods. You amaze me in many ways, from your ingenuity in making the most sense to your pabebe-ness.

Some people leave footprints in our lives, and we are never the same again. You’re not only mentors to me, but most especially you are friends I am more than glad to keep. You have both taught me many things, and I will never know how to repay them—especially the little things.

As your subordinate once-upon-a-time, I hope that I was able to make you proud. I miss you both always but a little extra every time. You’ve shown me that work relationships can be more than just the outputs produced, that investing in human relationships in the workplace is more than worthwhile. I could not have had more ideal bosses than you both as some of my first mentors. There are so many things I can say and am thankful about during the small amount of time that I’ve been able to spend with both of you professionally, but surmise to say that I am eternally grateful to you for just getting me to my core and taking care of this Aquarius / Pomeranian / crybaby.

You are definitely the coolest of cool and are without-a-doubt above and beyond. You have my love and my utmost appreciation, always.

✨ From the bottom of my heart to the length of my mermaid tail, Jazz

This is for all the bosses who are much more than their title and management position.

To all the bosses in the world that care deeply, we thank you.

From my ancestral boudoir, with love.

Sage advice from the cool old ladies and their dressers.

My maternal grandmothers (up to the fourth consanguinity) were always very particular about their grooming. They would spend hours in the bathroom and longer primping in front of their boudoir dresser—often with a steaming cup of coffee on the table as they did so.

With barely any playmates of the same gender, as my female cousins live in the US, I used to entertain myself by rifling through said boudoir and playing glamour. I would sit and watch, completely rapt in awe, when all the women in the house would get ready for events and bustle around me with curlers in their hair or hot irons in their hands.

Way before I was even aware of the existence of beauty trends and routines, they were already being drilled into me. So I am sharing with you a rundown of sage advice from my ancestral boudoir, passed on from my maternal great-great grandmother.

These nuggets of wisdom I am gifting are not a cure-all and are definitely not a one-size-fits-all, but they have been deemed no-fail by the women who preceded me. So don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it!

Your soul should be made of magic, so people crave your vibe.

It may sound cliche, but they really advocated that beauty came from within first and whatever you do externally is just to enhance it a hundred-fold. It’s been repeated by women from all over the world and ladies from varying timelines: you are what you eat. My great-great-grandmother Lola Gelay termed it quite differently though, and used to say that food must always be soul quenching as it resonates physically

As suckers for sweets, they would say that you should take what you will in whatever form they came in as sweets would give you a healthy glow of happiness; which was why a careful balance of chocolates and pastries and fruits were always stocked and a staple in the house—even up to this day. Seriously, ask anyone in my family.

Speaking of quenching, never forget to hydrate 24/7. It honestly makes no sense if your soul is metaphorically hydrated but your physical body is literally a dried out husk.

Your body is a temple, respect it by investing in it.

My great grandmother Lola Puring always said that bathing is an investment of time, there is never any need to rush—so don’t! And honestly, why would you want to rush through it? You risk not being able to fully cleanse yourself both physically and mentally—bath meditations are one of the most effective relaxation techniques. Do avoid bathing with hot water to maintain skin elasticity and avoid premature wrinkles, if you can’t help it then splash on some cold water before finishing up. Always pat yourself dry and do not rub post shower so as only to rid of excess moisture and not irritate your skin.

Moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturize. And do it right after you’ve patted your skin dry so as to be able to lock in that much needed moisture. A pro tip from my greats: apply a layer of dry body oil, let your skin absorb it, and then slap on some lotion for maximum hydration. No one wants to look like a prune when they’re geriatric, you’re welcome.

At the risk of sounding like my grandmother, hija you must put down that razor and do not shave anything because you will come to regret it when you develop chicken skin, grow thicker hair, risk ingrown hair, and definitely ruin your skin. Once you take to the razor blade, there is no going back. Opt to sugar wax versus hot wax as it’s definitely less painful and you risk less irritation to the skin.

To attain and maintain that baby’s-bottom-smooth skin we’ve always coveted, try to invest in a monthly appointment for a full body scrub. If you can’t afford to maintain a body scrub appointment, then invest in a good physical exfoliating scrub and do it once to twice a week depending on the sensitivity of your skin. Don’t be disgusting, you can never afford to be crusty. Also, they help with the dark spots that are such a pesky problem that I honest-to-God pray you never have to encounter them. But if you happen to come across a couple spots that will just not budge, then you’re in luck! You can rub half a calamansi fruit (calamondin) on those dark spots as it is a natural remedy proven to be ever effective because it contains a high concentration of citric acid and Vitamin C, well known bleaching agents.

Never leave the house without getting your nails done, it’s unseemly and you will be judged for it. My grandparents and my parents are very meticulous about our nails, even if we’re now full grown adults—always checking if they’ve been manicured or if our toes haven’t transformed into talons.

This has to be one of the most important of my grandmothers’ rules: you must care for your lady bits, hija (cue a finger wag). Until the invention of feminine wash, my great grandmother used to use cane vinegar diluted with water for the upkeep in hygiene. Honestly, I can’t imagine using vinegar, but it works wonders apparently. My grannies never really owned granny panties either because they barely wore any as they would aerate their lady bits, a practice which is actually recommended by OB-GYNEs all over. (Quick reminder, please do see your doctors regularly.)

As smelling good is intrinsic to good hygiene, you should always smell divine or at least smell clean. Invest in your signature scent, it’s what you’d be known for when you walk into a room, when the wind decides to huff and puff, when it’s years down the road and your grandchildren decide to open up your baúl of treasures. Spritz it on your clothes (front and back) and then apply purposefully on your pulse points—inner wrists, neck, behind the ears—to last longer. Pro tip, just a bit on your pelvic area (you never know, wink wink).

And to beat the blues, a trip to the spa or the salon is always a great way to brighten your mood! A pampering day of self-care brightens your outlook and gives you the glow only a beauty salon can. But only ever go to your specific and tested establishments—go to one manicurist, go to your most trusted hairdresser, go to the one wax technician you’re most comfy with etc.

Your face is the visual of your branding; keep it polished.

It takes approximately seven (7) seconds to make a lasting impression. What exactly do you want people to make of you? They size you up from your head to your toe, and zero in on your face as it is the visual of your branding that they are confronted with most often.

First things first, and I feel like a broken track record by now when I say, keep hydrated. Sis, it is so better to have to run to the toilet multiple times a day versus battling a stubborn zit because you decided to be a dehydrated husk.

In the case of makeup, these are the four (4) things that are ever present in my ancestral boudoir: lipstick, eyebrow pencils, press powder, and rouge. You must never leave the house without lipstick; it’s akin to leaving the house sans underwear. Grandmas knew the saving power of a press powder because no one wants to look like a greasy midday mess darling. The image of hulas (melting) makeup is so unsightly, I can already hear them screaming “polbo!” in my head as I write this.

Pro tip from my lola: always keep a spare lippie in your purse, in your car, and in your office desk. Just in case you forget to swipe some on during the morning bustle.

As they believed that whatever you painted on your face should only ever enhance your natural beauty, the best route to go down is to keep it simple. So they insisted on perfectly drawn and filled in eyebrows. You could forego the eyeshadow and the eyeliners and the mascara, but never forget to draw on your eyebrows—how are you supposed to wordlessly communicate with your girls without it? Also, never ever pluck or shave your eyebrows, they’ll never grow back properly, if at all, and that shit hurts a like a b***h. You don’t need that kind of painful regret in your life. To tie your look together, rouge is so important because you don’t want to look like a walking corpse, no one wants to look like the dead, hija.

Way before the skincare diet trend swept the world by storm, my grandmothers’ have been swearing by it by streamlining their routine with certain products like Pond’s Cold Cream. Thus, I’ve taken a page out of my grandmothers’ beauty book and taken to hopping on the train to an anti-10-stepskin care routine. Cutting down on the many products and finding your HG skincare routine is so important because they are your skin’s most loyal crew. Love them forever, use them for always once you’ve identified your skin’s dream team, and you’re basically set for life. Take my great grandmother, Lola Puring, for example as I would always hear my mother, her siblings, and her cousins rave on about and her love for Olay—then called Oil of Olay—which she discovered after migrating to the United States in the mid 70s. She used to stock it in her dresser in fear of running out. But it was proven to be ultimately effective as her skin was so supple well into her golden age—you’d think she was a vampire.

To maintain that glowing healthy skin, you should never crash into bed without removing your makeup. All that gunk on your face is an overnight hotbed for bacteria that will guarantee a horrible breakout. Hilariously, this is always coupled with the sentiment, “Naku, don’t come crying to me if you find a giant zit in the morning”. Of course, sometimes I just can’t help it and I do end up breaking this cardinal rule especially after a fun night out or an extremely stressful day. So when a giant and angry zit makes itself known, I usually come crying to my mother, who would nag my ear off as she injected steroids into the offending thing. Et voilà! It’s gone by the next morning, as if nothing happened!

An important note: My mother’s a licensed and experienced physician, she knows what she’s doing. Please do not ever try this on your own or with someone who isn’t a licensed physician.

Your hair is your crowning glory and a determinant of your mood and perception.

After all, a good hair day foreshadows a great day. To ensure healthy scalp and enviable luster, my grandmothers recommend a routine twice-a-month treatment of coconut oil by extracting it from boiled coconut milk and then leaving it in for half a day. Opt to wash your hair at most twice to thrice a week and reach for the shampoos with the least chemicals so that it doesn’t strip your hair of its essential oils and moisture.

What are you going to do with to-die-for locks when it’s a nest on your head? Never show your face in public without running a comb or brush through your hair at least once—you’d be called a bruhita and be cussed out in Spanish (and Tagalog) before you can even say hairbrush. My maternal grandmother, Lola Babes, would keep another in her purse for safety. For my wavy haired ladies, you can use a wide toothed comb to detangle your hair while washing, then let it air dry to maintain your waves.

Can I just say that the amount of times I have heard my mother and grandmother scream in scandal when I’ve tied my hair, I cannot count on both hands. But, like a good child I have learned to never tie my hair when it’s dripping wet lest I risk it smelling like a used wipe-cloth—believe me when I say, you will not love yourself for it. 

Out of all her grandchildren, Lola Babes would look at me and blatantly call me out on my ka-artehan (mannerisms) at times. To which I would only shrug and say that it’s in the genes and then go about my way, not bothered in the least—scratch that, as I sashay away much to the exasperation of my many titas and my late lolo.

I hope that this little love letter of beauty secrets from my ancestral boudoir has given you an insight or two. Got any beautè tips that you’ve inherited from your grandmother’s baúl of secrets? Share them in the comments below!

WAIT! There’s more! The whole package isn’t complete until you’ve donned your sartorial armor. So if you’ve not seen it yet, don’t forget to check out Julia’s article for tricks from her family’s wardrobe here.

BUT WAIT! There’s STILL more! We’ve also got a little announcement for you! We’re so excited to share that our Instagram is now live and kicking! Pop on over to for a quick look-see and follow us (but only if you want to)!

✨ Ta for now! 

✨ jazz

A 24-year-old writer, producer, and stylist who’s got the starry-eyes of a shopaholic with an irrefutable love-hate relationship with carbs and wine.

Whispers from the Wardrobe: Practical Tips on Cleaning Up Well

Looking good and spending a lot of money isn’t necessarily synonymous! Here are some handy tips I learned from my family on cleaning up well without draining my wallet.

At our core, my family and I are very simple people, and though we still love to enjoy the finer things in life, we elect to spend our money on trips, relaxation, and gastronomic experiences rather than clothes.  Nonetheless, in the 23 years I’ve lived on this Earth, I’ve picked up a couple of tricks from the people I hold closest to me that have aided in keeping me grounded and trimming down my closet expenses without risking the term ‘shabby’.

Now, while a person’s sense of fashion is entirely their own and I have absolutely no intention of swaying yours, I do hope you find something useful in this list to help you as much as it helped me. 

Grooming is absolutely everything

This is something both of my lolas always made sure of and their key to looking good no matter what: simple clothing, good grooming

The main difference between wearing cheap clothes and looking cheap lies entirely on how well you present yourself. It wouldn’t matter how expensive your clothes are. There’s nothing that degrades an entire look more than appearing unkempt. As my sister says, dressing casually doesn’t excuse you for looking sloppy. Doing your brows, putting on some powder, and swiping a bit of lipstick on never hurt anyone. And please brush your hair, lest my grandmothers come back from beyond the grave to haunt you.

Bank on basics, but stay excited.

As a family that looks for longevity rather than trend, basics and normcore chic is our lifeblood. However, that doesn’t mean you should be boring. Having a good amount of basics is perfect for mixing and matching without being overly conspicuous that you’re wearing the same thing all the time, so I like mixing in key items in my closet that get me giddy when I throw them on, like a fun printed crop top or checkered pants or an oversized Korean-style jacket. 

I remember a time when I was shopping with my mother. She found this adorable white tee with really cheery, colorful print and as soon as she saw it, she lit up and knew she had to have it; whenever she’d wear it out on the weekend, she’d feel like more of a fun person. That is the kind of joy your closet should evoke from you, and if it doesn’t, then maybe it’s time for a refresh.

Treat buying clothes as a long-term investment.

This is something I discuss often with my mother, and while she scoffs at me with her Economics degree every time I say the word “investment”, I stand by it. Good clothes should be able last you years, and while it may be tempting to slip into the impulsive snares of fast fashion, it might be good to take a step back before handing over that credit card. Would you be able to wear that style for at least a couple of years? Is the material sturdy enough to withstand the wear and tear? Is it free from time-dependent references that are sure to become obscure after one use? Trends come and go, so you might as well put your money in things that you won’t cringe at when Facebook’s Timehop kicks in. I’m looking at you, unflattering denim bermuda shorts.

Comfort is key. People can see when you’re uncomfortable. 

You know how you can just tell when someone stops feeling good in the heels they’re in? Yeah, that applies to the rest of your clothes, too. Daring to be out of the box with your fashion is all well and good, but if it stifles your comfort so much that you physically have to pretend you’re okay, then please just let it go–for your sake and the sake of prowling, judgmental eyes (sorry). Comfort helps boost your confidence, so don’t let it take the back seat!

If you can only have two pairs of heels, make sure you get them in black and nude. 

I used to laugh at my mom for getting the exact same pair of kitten heels in black and nude, but looking back at it now, I actually see the appeal. Everyone needs a favorite pair of classic heels, and everyone needs them in exactly those colors–two birds with one stone! Having black heels is honestly common sense at this point, but don’t neglect the nude; because they blend into your skin, nude heels help give the illusion of elongated legs–perfect for us vertically challenged Asians–and are incredibly versatile shoes that work well for both casual and formal events.

If you don’t want to be judged, never wear open-toed shoes without having a pedicure first. 

Just because feet aren’t the very first things you see shouldn’t mean that you can neglect them! I have been traumatized one time too many by the look of disgust on my sister’s face as I wore sandals out of the house with my overgrown nails, half-chipped polish, and unsightly cuticles. Never again. And NEVER to a formal event; you are not an uncouth monster. Remember: your nails are an extension of your outfit.

Being thrifty is a good thing, but that doesn’t mean you should buy bad clothes. 

My mother is notorious for falling into the discount trap. I’ve watched her buy sandals on sale despite having a superfluous amount at home or try to convince herself to like sale item clothes just because the deal was too good to pass up. That isn’t to say that I think sales are bad–I love sales as much as the next person–but if the most attractive part of the garment is its price and not its quality, then maybe you don’t need it.

For god’s sake, learn your own silhouette.

I’ve lamented the fact that I can never have a fuller bosom or wider hips for ages, but one thing about growing up in a household with vastly different body shapes has taught me that there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to making clothes work for you. My sister is more apple shaped, my mother is more of an inverted triangle, and I am more boxy. Learning how to create the illusion of a more shapely physique, longer legs, and thinner waists all come differently to each of us, so there’s no point trying to replicate something that works for someone else when it doesn’t help you.  

I won’t be getting in too deep with other body shapes, but if you’re rectangular like me (i.e your shoulders, bust, and hips aren’t far apart in measurements), you have to find ways to cheat that waist. You can try pants with a higher waistband to help bring the attention to the length of your legs, or those with wide legs to fill out your hips. Dresses that cinch around the waist and flare out are also great for creating shape, as well as strategic cut-outs and smart color blocking. Fake it ‘til you make it, baby!

One is never over-dressed or underdressed in a little black dress.

This is self-explanatory, but Coco Chanel was absolutely right when she said it. Every girl needs one in her closet and trust me, you will always find use for it.

If you can’t see all your clothes when you open your closet, you’re going to need to Marie Kondo that sh*t out. 

After all, how often would you reach for something that you don’t remember is there? A useful tip my mom taught me was to remember the last time you wore that article of clothing. If it’s been more than three months and you haven’t thought of it one bit, then it’s safe to say that you won’t miss it when it’s gone. Learn to let go, girl. 

Own a small purse. 

If you’re like my mom and you like carrying your entire house in your purse, I urge you to attempt a smaller bag. More often than not, we tend to carry things that we don’t really need just in case an occasion would call for it, and when it comes to fishing things out of that monstrous bag, it takes more than a few moments of wildly flailing our hand around to finally find it. Smaller bags not only cut that process out, but are also easier on the back (which is necessary, if you have scoliosis like I do) and often come in wider arrays of designs. 

Of course, that’s not to say that you should ditch the big bag entirely. It’s good to have different sizes for different occasions, but for days where you’re just off to the supermarket or going to have coffee with friends, do you really need all that stuff weighing your shoulder down? 

Always have stain remover on hand!

My sister found this magical thing in Japan once that highly resembles correction fluid, and it has changed my life. While it isn’t something I’m proud of, I’m not exactly the neatest eater; having this (or the more accessible Tide marker) tucked inside my purse was a godsend for the days I slurp up ramen and accidentally drip some of the soup on my shirt. Not a good look, darling.

Never underestimate the power of accessories. 

Need to zhuzh up a simple outfit? Accessories. My Lola Tindeng had been known to sport gorgeous, glittering accessories at all times, from formal events to simple potluck dinners in her condo to her hospital bed–with good reason! Accessories are a sure-fire way to elevate even the most basic t-shirt and jeans combo, so it’s always nice to accent your looks with a little somethin’ somethin’–even a simple gold necklace and studded earrings can have a big impact on your overall look. Just be sure to match it to what you’re wearing! While I personally prefer gold for everything, if you needed to choose between gold and silver, it’s good to remember that warmer tones look best with gold, while cooler tones complement silver

Rings are also something my sister and I fawn over. If you aren’t like her and don’t have a husband to give you a giant diamond ring (ugh), a large statement ring or a series of dainty stackable rings are also great ways to add personality. 

Also, please, please own a belt, damn it! I remember stubbornly refusing to accept that I needed a belt other than my old, worn clasp belt from high school and sorely regretting it when my jeans started slipping and I had no other choice but to look horrendous. A good rule of thumb is to have at least these two: a classic leather belt, and a skinny belt you can use for daintier looks or for cinching dresses.

Save your best designer sunglasses for the city. 

My family loves sunglasses, and while it would look great flaunting your favorite designer pair at any given moment, it’s good to have more than one. Aside from adding variety into your wardrobe, this also makes sure you don’t wreck the expensive one prematurely. We like owning what we call the “disposable pair” for lesser occasions, a.k.a the pair you like but wouldn’t cry over if it fell into the ocean or was accidentally rolled over at the beach.

Get to know a good tailor. 

Being a dressmaker, Lola Tindeng greatly emphasized the need for clothes to fit well. If buying off the rack doesn’t hug your body the way you want it to but you can’t get over the style, don’t think that all is lost. Tailors exist for a reason, and when you find one you like, do not let him/her out of your sight.

When in doubt, shirt-dress it out. 

This one’s my mom’s favorite because it’s easy to put together, comfortable to wear, and can be dressed up or down with accessories!

Do not, I repeat, do NOT be stingy with your intimates. 

Your underwear is the most essential part of your closet, as it dictates both comfort and hygiene. They also help shape the way your clothes cling to you, so why settle for frumpy, misshapen granny panties when you can get quality, form-hugging pairs that’ll last you years? If you’re above the age of twelve, ditch the cheap 5-packs (or, at least, save them for shark week) and move on to greener pastures. Trust me, you’ll feel much more confident in more ~mature~ styles and you won’t have them wearing down on you after a year or so. 

Stop settling for ill-fitting bras. 

Not only will it make you infinitely more comfortable, but it’ll look much more polished too. If there’s a gap between the pad and your breast, if your boobs are spilling over to and fro, or if your band isn’t sitting horizontally on your torso, then it’s the wrong size. 

If you have itty bitties like us, this rule definitely still applies. There’s nothing that makes me feel more awkward about myself than the infamous bra-to-shirt Grand Canyon, and while I wish I had a fuller chest, there are a lot of ways to look stunning regardless. Jazz has a wonderfully helpful article on styling and how to embrace your smaller cup size, so read it here if you’re interested!

Learn to treasure your sewing kit.

Did you ever go to your lola’s house and reach for that signature tin of cookies and opened it to find a sewing kit? Did you also scoff and wonder why you needed so many dang colors of thread and wished it were cookies instead? Yeah, girl, me too. I don’t know if it’s early adulthood talking and I may just be getting older, but my perception of the sewing kit has changed so drastically that I’ve come to wish for my own little tin can of sewing materials. For small fixes and easy length adjustments that don’t really need the trip to a tailor, these will do you a lot of good. 

Having a portable one in your purse will also save your skin. I remember the time I had to attend an event and ripped my dress quite unattractively up the back (I had added a little weight on the derriere from a family trip and tried to deny it), and never was I ever as grateful for a complimentary hotel sewing kit as I was that day. Be grateful for your Home Economics class, children. Be grateful.

Hopefully, these small nuggets of wisdom I picked up from my family help you in some way. If there’s anything your ancestors have imparted on you that has made an impact on how you dress, let’s chat in comments! We’d love to read them.

And do watch out for Jazz’s article on the insightful tips on grooming and personal care coming out next week! 

Until next time!

💋 julia

A 25-year-old writer with an obsession for beauty and an ineffable love for all things sharp—from cacti to hedgehogs to intense winged liner.

Dressing for the Itty Bitty Titty Committee

A sartorial rundown of the perks we get as ladies with small boobs but big dreams.

Hands up, if you’re a member of IBTC!

Like all girls, we were supposed to grow and bloom out of the awkward stages that puberty hit us with when that chapter of our lives came to a close. Acne should’ve faded, hips should have widened, and breasts should have developed—should being the operative word. Imagine my despair when I was in the throes of university life and I still felt that I looked like I had the chest of a prepubescent boy.

I used to tirelessly wait for my “boobs to grow in” as I am constantly the butt of jokes in the décolletage department—precisely because I barely have any. So to all my sisters who’ve been struggling or who have struggled with their cup size, you are definitely not alone! 

I’ve grown to accept and even love the smallness of the boobage that Mother Nature has bestowed upon me and I am very thankful for the fact that the benefits of being a member of the IBTC definitely outweigh the cons: no underboob sweat, no trouble finding bra sizes, and no need to wear a bra without feeling self conscious about people noticing.

Thanks to my IBTC membership, I’ve barely run into any issues in the sartorial category—definitely my favorite perk!

Just a quick and friendly reminder to note that this is not a “big vs small” debate. All breasts are beautiful—whatever size they come in.

Scroll on to my favorite ways on how I’ve learned to dress with my itty bitty titties.

Without the big boobs interfering with sizing, fit around the bust area has been a breeze and I honestly have very minimal problems risking my girls from spilling out from various necklines or low cut tops and ensembles. Feel secure tucking in that plunging neckline into high waisted pants without having to worry about taping or looking too risqué. Pop on a variety of lengths for necklaces to polish off your look. 

You can try to unbutton as many buttons you feel comfortable with and not risk a peek-a-boo. An unbuttoned blouse is easy breezy when you don’t have to compete with your own cleavage.

If you’re feeling a bit more on the conservative side, high necklines enhance the illusion that you’ve got more going on than in actuality—all the while being able to steer clear of the uniboob. Halter necklines also accentuate your body, maintaining a sexy air of mystery at the same time as a little tasteful sideboob never hurt anyone.

That tiny chest you’ve been despairing at in the mirror? Girl, that’s your sartorial canvas! You have the enviable option to pile on layers that bustier girls don’t have as it tends to result in looking bulky and frumpy on top for them. Layering is such a fantastic way to show off your style prowess and add an avant-garde flair to your lewks

Sis, you may still be feeling a bit self-conscious about your flat chest but you are blessed with such a beautiful body that you can draw eyes to your more favored assets if you so wished.

Personally, I am all for the high waisted anything trend as I am lucky enough to have a cinched waist (and my hips flaring out). Cinching your waist with a belt, especially if your waist is smaller than your boobs, is always a great way to create the illusion of a fuller bust. You can also try booty popping jeans or skirts to accentuate that fine butt you’ve been working out. A fun skirt with frills or patterns is also a great way to draw the eye away from your chest.

Not having to deal with bras is one less effort that you would need to deal with. Going braless is such a divine perk to having small boobs that you can go down various routes in the clothing department without risking a Janet Jackson.

Business in the front, party in the back with no bra needed? You can count me in! Flirty backs and unexpected cutouts are such a fun way to go, especially in the sweltering heat of Manila where we’re constantly reaching for clothing with minimal fabric that would save us from heatstroke.

Didn’t anyone tell you? Bras are made to be seen. It’s actually why they’re so expensive. Don’t be afraid to wear bras as tops—as long as they don’t obviously look like a bra. If you’re feeling a bit demure but still want to tease, you can tastefully flash a little of your favorite bra.

You could throw on a chic blazer on top of a swanky bra, and everyone would be none the wiser when it’s paired with playful high waisted pants. Definitely très chic!

The bralette trend is also heaven sent. They are adorable, sexy, highly comfy, and you can pair them with anything and everything. Being able to wear these babies without having to worry about comfort or support is über sexy. Pair a lacy bralette underneath sheer tops for a playful look or let it live its best life by utilizing it as a crop top!

You can feel free but safe with the knowledge that you aren’t revealing too much. It’s very classy!

Love yourself and your girls, sis. They’re made exactly for you and you alone.

If I’ve successfully convinced you that small boobs equate to big perks, then let us know in the comments below or you can tell us about how you’ve been dressing your itty bitty titties—we’d love to hear all about it!

Much love ‘til next time, and remember: small boobs, big dreams. With that, I’m leaving you with a little something something from legendary Miss Sandra Oh:

Recent K-Pop MV Looks That Fueled My Makeup Obsession

For beauty lovers with a soft spot for K-Pop, here’s a list of memorable looks from 2019 – 2020 to inspire your next #MOTD.

Truth be told, I’m not the kind of K-Pop stan who is constantly in the know about recent comebacks or MVs (unless the group was one of my ults, of course). But with the quarantine still on-going and my work-related duties on pause, I’ve had too much time to myself; so much so that I’ve spent hours and hours of my days just scouring YouTube for something to keep me occupied.

That’s how I came about making this list: going through the top 2019 – 2020 MV releases and thinking to myself, “Damn, she looks good!” As someone who loves to experiment with makeup in her spare time, I had so much fun putting this list together and I hope it fuels your makeup obsession as much as it did mine.

EDIT: I wasn’t originally planning on recreating these looks, but I couldn’t resist! Scroll down to the end of the article to see how I fared. Judge me gently, please.

BLACKPINK – Kill This Love

With a (very) underwhelming number of original songs since their debut way back in 2016, it truly makes you wonder what BLACKPINK is up to inside the prison that is the ever-problematic YG dungeon–perhaps they’ve been taught to knit instead? Jokes aside, I’m part of the heavily polarized population that actually loves BP, from their few yet explosive songs to their gorgeous styling to the high quality productions to their undeniable stage presence.

Despite the “Lazy Jennie” controversy, I can’t deny how fond of her I still am–especially since she knows how to work a look. The way Jennie’s piercing ruby lid is topped with a metallic stripe down the middle really takes this dramatic look to another level; like borderline clown makeup so stylish that it might even make Pennywise shed a tear. It’s been a little more than a year since this song came out, but her makeup is still top of mind when I think of genuinely memorable looks. You just don’t see this kind of makeup often, you know?

I honestly considered moving on to the next video with just one mention, but Jisoo’s ethereal wet-look was too good not to include. I remember audibly gasping the first time I saw this scene, and even though it leans more on the natural side, the combination of under-eye shimmer, scattered rhinestones, wet edges, and the S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G horizon backdrop was more than enough to burn the image of Jisoo’s majestic countenance into my brain and keep it there. The reflection in the black water, the contrast of the black against a burning sun, the flayed fabric billowing behind her, and the glossy pink coral-esque headpiece truly came together in one of the most visually appealing sets I’ve seen in a while.

CHUNGHA – Stay Tonight

Chungha is one of the K-Pop artists that I’m always excited to see come back because she doesn’t disappoint–I don’t think she knows how! From her iconic waacking dance style to her captivating choreography to her fierce stage presence, I could go on and on singing her praises because she really is that b***h.

In ‘Stay Tonight’, every change in her look brings a vastly different appeal; it was so difficult to choose just one, so naturally, I chose three.

The metallic emerald lid blended into a salmon crease was a particularly interesting look for me, as the brilliance of the green shadow was something I hadn’t immediately noticed until she squinted. Paired with the nose and lip rings, this easily became one of my favorite looks on her; it’s grungier yet stays classy, darker yet irrefutably gorgeous–a feat when you consider how difficult it is to find a good green shadow in the first place, let alone work it. 

Her romantic dewy look with glossy crimson eyes and a bold red lip boldly contrasting her all-white ensemble, as well as her unconventional pearl-topped lid in complement to her netted top, definitely don’t lag far behind as each look perfectly shows how dynamic her image can be. It just goes to show how capable of an artist she is, morphing seamlessly from her bright-eyed ‘Roller Coaster’ days, to her girl-next-door tropical ‘Love You’ looks, and now to a heavy-bass club track with ‘Stay Tonight’ that features so many mesmerizing sides of her that leaves me itching for more. 

Chungha had already made it so difficult to be bored of her before this release, but now with new infectious beats, eye-catching visuals, and game-changing male backup dancers in heels bigger than my life goals, she’s proven how eager she is to push the boundaries of K-Pop and topple it.

ITZY – Icy

There’s just something about Ryujin’s pink-on-pink-on-pink look that I can’t quite let go off. Despite their more recent comeback with ‘Wannabe’ (another bop that deserves a spot on your daebak playlist), I find this look to be the first image I think of when I hear her name. Her styling was done so coherently from head to toe that I didn’t even dare mention ITZY without bringing this up. Her outfits were loud in both pattern and color, but the stylist always made sure to keep a pop of pink. The addition of the dandruff-but-make-it-cute hair glitter was also a detail I really appreciated, making me want to dye my hair pink STAT just so I can dust some on myself and be as daintily badass as her. 

Had this look been on anyone else but her, I may not have featured it at all. What makes it truly distinctive to me is the fact that it was on Ryujin, a member known for her calm stoicism and tomboyish manner. As someone who adores girls that don’t seem bound into a specific category, I was thrilled to see her take on such a bright look and dominate it. 

This second look was something I only noticed when I was fetching screenshots since it appeared too quickly that my eyes didn’t register it the first time. Yeji’s iridescent liner accent was so entrancing that I had to go back for it–took a good couple of tries for that photo, mind you. It’s impressive how such a subtle detail, like a sliver of glitter, takes the whole look to the more confident I-don’t-give-a-damn level that their song projects. Plus, the color it turns as the light hits it also matches well with her jacket completely. Don’t you just love attention to detail? But let’s be real: Yeji can make anything look amazing.

Red Velvet – Psycho

I’ve been obsessed with this song for so long that I wouldn’t be surprised if the neighbors are plotting to break into the house just to tell me to turn it off. It’s such a contagious song from beat to choreography, and I always find myself drifting back to it whenever I pop open my Spotify before I shower. Red Velvet’s duality was always an aspect I found fascinating about them, and I love how boldly this was presented with their looks.

As a proud junkie of all things shiny, Seulgi’s subtle green shadow with chunky glitter is something I need to achieve for myself. It’s both wearable and characteristic, interesting yet not overblown–perfect for turning Euphoria-esque looks that are lowkey enough to be enjoyed at family reunions without drawing the ire of your opinionated titas. Those that want to be a little more glitzy will love Irene’s golden halo eyeshadow; its intense sparkle yet classy tone make it perfect for looks of luxury (fluffy headpiece and chunky jewelry optional).

Glitter aside, I also really appreciated how well they wore their vampy, modernized Victorian looks in stark contrast to their youthful rendition of flapper dresses. The deep, gothic lip that all the members wore was perfection, driving the two-faced love that sat at the core of this song deep into my memory. Wendy’s was particularly memorable, having paired it with platinum hair and a deliberately colorless base.

(G)I-DLE – Oh my god

To be completely honest, I never cared much for (G)I-DLE until this song. I didn’t even know it was pronounced like ‘idle’ and not ‘gee-idol‘ until after my shock-induced research. Trust me when I say I sat through a full five minutes of silent contemplation on how stubbornly I slept on this talent for so long.

The track itself is incredibly intriguing, bouncing seamlessly between hypnotic melodies, to light, plucky tones until it plummets into a deep, trap-based hook, jostling my entire soul in under a minute. This degree of darkness (overall concept-wise) is something that isn’t often seen in K-Pop, which leans into the fact that this group has openly mentioned creating a genre specifically for themselves; needless to say, I was floored. Anyone that STILL thinks K-Pop is just for canned cutesy or pretty concepts can redirect themselves to this video and choke.

Concept and execution aside, this release also gave us stunning looks. The intensity of Minnie’s dark brown smokey lid plus the braids, the blunt bangs, and her hospital-patient-meets-purgatory-chic was such a smart look for her. The added drama of a heavy smoked out lid plus her innate acting skills really gave both her start and end the strength to captivate the viewer through the entire narrative and sell it.

As the symbol of purity, Miyeon’s dainty, fairylike look hit the nail right on the head. The softness about her, from the subtle shadow and glistening pout to the small stone tears, and even to the hazy, sparkle-filled cinematography truly brought out her natural innocent charm–such a cute look to replicate!


I definitely do not claim to be a makeup artist, but I tried my best! Hahaha! Let me know what you think in the comments!

Aaaand that’s all for now! What did you think? Did I miss any iconic lewks from this past year? Let me know below!

Let’s roll call, Jazz

A style spotlight on Jazz, our author who’s gaga for clothes, champagne, and dancing…among other things.

Hey stranger, fancy seeing you here!

This little intro to who we are was definitely both exciting and daunting to create—mainly because I didn’t realize how much self-meditation it would entail to learn more about who I am based on my aesthetic.

Though I have honestly come such a long way from my more timid and shier, younger days—having grown up performing—it is still more often that I will wait for people to initiate contact or conversation before I reveal my more extroverted side. So this is me, being an extrovert, making the first move, and drawing you into a conversation about my personal style.

I’m telling you now that I’ve flipped through tons of articles and editorials  just to figure out what made them all click together like some sort of crime investigation board in my head—a moodboard of everything that visually screams who the hell I am. I’ve come to conclude that personal style is an ever evolving beast that can’t be pinned and scrutinized in one glance.

Many people that personally know me are aware that I’m a very transparent person who just usually says what I think and feel at the moment and I find it interesting that it directly translates to my sartorial aesthetic value of genuinity and elevated chill-ness. Given that, you’d often can tell what I’m feeling based on what I’ve decided to wear for the day. It’s honestly not really one specific thing or another—so if I really had to give my style a labeled definition, it would be that my personal style is a very cool and effortless minimalism, with a dash of hubadera and statements.

LET’S SET MY HAPPY SCENE. If you sat with me for a day, we’d have a very late brunch after lunch filled with mimosas and fruits and pastries, hunkered down in a quaint cafe somewhere. As the breeze huffs, the mildest scent of cotton, sesame, and baby soap wafts through the air—I’m not one for complicated and fussy scents, not really caring for citrus if I’m not eating it. When the day begins to fold into night is my favorite time because of the softness of muted golden hour sunshine—the painless and heatless type of sun that I often crave to bathe in. When I’d finally let the night take over, I definitely want nothing more than bubble baths with a side of champagne or tinto de verano coupled with a book or a feel-good film rolling. Ugh, I’m grinning ear to ear just thinking about it.

THAT PARISIENNE AESTHETIC. Whatever you do, please do not limit yourself to the images of dainty dresses, mariniere tops, and baguettes; it’s definitely much more than that! From its neutral tones with bold pops of color to the overall “anti it girl” feel that it screams, I am so terribly fascinated with how effortlessly put together Parisiennes are and how much they value comfortability  without ever sacrificing style. It’s entrancing to have je ne sais quoi imbibed into one’s closet and still looking amazing. There’s honestly something so attractive and easy with just a white button down and cuffed up jeans that I find myself automatically grabbing for the combo whenever I’m headed out. This directly translates to how I usually decide to do my face as well, never leaving the house without opting for winged black eyeliner, natural brows, and a swipe of either lipstick—always a toss between, vino, nude, or bold red—or gloss. 

*If you want to know more about this style,I definitely reco How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are (Berest, Diwan, de Maigret,  Mas) and Dress Like A Parisian (Alöis Guinut).

STATEMENT POPS. Though I prize an understated (la discretion), effortless (la nonchalance) elegance (l’élégance), I am definitely not one to shy away from other influences and styles—particularly since Hallyu was such a big influence on my consumption of media. The 3rd generation of K-Pop idols have paved a more relaxed look for stage outfits that I get so excited to cop with my own spin. Mixing up trends is just something fun to do, especially when a blend that I’m able to achieve translates to fun outfits that still resonate with my personality. Patterned kimonos and silk robes are such a staple in my closet precisely because they off-set the neutral palette that I usually wear as well as are my go-to cover ups given how breathable the fabrics are in the unparalleled heat of this country. I also always make sure to bring or wear a statement piece—be it a bag, jewelry, or done something special with my makeup—to tie together my looks. So you might see me with a full black ensemble underneath a pleather fire truck red coat or in a striped linen blazer set with ginormous locally handmade earrings (that screams maharlika) and chunky white shoes. You never know really.


EFFORTLESS. Having been a dancer for quite a while now, I like the simplistic ease of just wearing what I feel but with a certain refinement. Also, I’m very conscious about my lines and what would make my body type look great and long, what would show off my best features and whatnot because it’s ultimately what’s going to be able to make me feel good as I go throughout my day

With that, I definitely value the freedom of motion and of skin especially with the heat constantly blazing down on us in Manila where the temptation to wear minimal fabric is a never-ending argument with the more conservative individuals of our society—aka my dad. To minimize the risk of looking like an unsavory girl, I tend to style my hubadera (skin revealing) pieces with items that can lend a cover up or are inherently more conservative (like jeans) to strike a well balanced look; which always makes me reach for my white sneakers (my wardrobe go-to) as it goes well for everything and doesn’t give me the hardest time running around to do errands or something to do for work.

My mother’s motto makes it to the forefront of my mind now that I think about it and everything makes sense: look presentable every time you go out, you never know who you’re seeing—but don’t let them know that you’ve made an effort

Julia and I honestly didn’t think this little introduction would reach this long. If you’ve made it all the way down here, then give yourself a pat on the back! I hope that I kind of made sense to you and you can visualize more of who I am—we are definitely not strangers at this point.

We’d definitely love to see you back here when we’ve got more things for you to find and enjoy (fingers crossed)!

✨ jazz

A 24-year-old writer, producer, and stylist who’s got the starry-eyes of a shopaholic with an irrefutable love-hate relationship with carbs and wine.

But first, introductions: Julia

Get to know one of our authors: Julia, our cacti-hoarding, hedgehog-owning lover of makeup and gorey anime!

Being the anxiety-ridden introvert that I am, I have always been daunted by the task of describing myself. Each time I’ve been asked, I’d have trouble coming up with anything to say, as if my mind empties completely every time a spotlight hits me. And even if I did manage to find the words, there would be a voice in the back of my head that would berate me for being bland and uninteresting. 

Through the years, I tried to force myself through my own discomfort, and while I still have some ways to go, I take pride in the fact that I’ve shed a lot of the shits that I would’ve given as the quivering prepubescent girl that I was, so unwilling to open herself up. That growth, as well as my love for the written word, is partially why I was drawn to this joint venture—to find a new means of breaking myself in even further and hesitating less about putting myself out into the world. 

Though the thought of talking into the void that is the Internet is still unnerving to me, I genuinely hope that some of my ramblings may find you at least a little bit entertained. So, without further unnecessary build up, here’s a peek at who I am and how I style myself.

Of stories and daydreams

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved to think up stories. I’d imagine animals, both real and fantastical, floating all around me as I walked. I’d imagine scenarios in my head as I watched scenery pass by through the car window. As I grew, I came to realize, however, that my favorite stories were often those that were just a tiny bit odd, and so I begun to write that way—a teenage grim reaper collecting souls in a Chryssler, a world of bizarre dreams ruled by bored Bogeymen, a strange student accidentally undergoing a summoning. 

Of course, these were stories I’d drafted and kept for only my own indulgence, but this love for darker themes had definitely seeped through to the books and anime and films that I hold dear to me.  I enjoyed things that appeared more grim, things that had a drier, more sarcastic sense of humor, and things with a subtle tongue-in-cheek tonality that was just a little more off-putting than it should be.

Looking back at it now, I suppose it makes a lot of sense with how my ideal aesthetic for life was born. I enjoyed things with a hint of darkness, and it carried on to most aspects of my life. For example, if you knew me back in high school and came upon my Tumblr, then you’d know for a fact that I love the appeal of disposable cameras more than any other style there is. I remembered a time where my Tumblr was mostly reblogs of other people’s disposables, even if I had no idea who they were or what the context was; all I knew was that I loved how they looked—high contrast, deep shadows, harsh flash, and a hazy glaze that made any memory look that much more picturesque. 

Something about it also seemed so genuine to me, so commonplace, so minimally touched yet so filled with character. This thought process is also why I have a mild obsession with Winona Ryder, our favorite cigarette-guzzling actress from classic cult-hit films like Beetlejuice (1988) or Girl, Interrupted (1999). I find that even the very air around her exudes this kind of effortlessly cool energy, especially during the 90’s with her bolstering of the relaxed yet iconic trend of androgyny chic. It’s precisely this aspect that I feel encapsulates the kind of person I want to be—understated and unassuming, dark and muted, yet with its own distinctive traits that bring intrigue to those with interest.

Of denim and leather

That said, my sense of style would naturally follow a similar line of thinking. To say it simply, I love subtly, but with a twist. 

I’ve been finding my ideal style drifting towards the calm, yet less conventional; think items that are not so outlandish that they become difficult to pair, but are decorated enough to draw the eyes in. I’ve been obsessed with things like mesh sleeves and printed tops and unorthodox pants, but, through my perusal of accessible stores, I have been having a hard time either coming to terms with the prices of similar street style items or finding more affordable pieces that exude the same unique feel. My fondness for soft-pedalled peculiarity is definitely a tricky style to perfect, especially when I haven’t even the faintest idea of where to start, but it’s where I know my future will lead me. 

As I lament the fact that I haven’t fully achieved my ideal wardrobe, you’ll probably still catch me clad in either of my two favorite and indispensable pieces: a trusty pair of five-year-old ripped jeans and a leather jacket that is much too impractical to wear in the Philippine heat but I bring along anyway. It’s still a very, very long journey into the world of off-center apparel, but I bask in the knowledge that I’ve slowly graduated from my teenage wardrobe of endless black band tees and a beat up pair of classic white Chuck Taylors (which I still wear to this day, but don’t judge me for it) into a more diverse set of clothes.

Even so, my style is still very much relaxed. I think the main reason for it is because I’m generally very simple when it comes to clothes, and I tend not to shop unless I definitely need to. Even then, I would always hesitate, wondering obsessively if I could wear it over and over again for the course of at least the next three years. If I deemed that I could, only then would I have bought it. 

Now, I have never and will never claim to be a fashionista, as I tend to cycle through the same five outfits without realizing it, but I do love to admire clothes. If I had my way and a much deeper wallet, then I’d love to spend it on more statement items, but alas, life was not that kind. If I could, I’d definitely buy items with louder details, like coats with gorgeous painted prints or denim jackets with neon tags coiled through them—articles that bring a little extra pizzazz to the more muted items underneath. I love clothes particularly with a tiny bit more personality than normal, giving them the ability to elevate an otherwise simple outfit into something that tells you that you didn’t even have to try to look stylish; you just are.

I will admit, though, that my obsession with K-Pop in the latter half of the past decade had played a big part in how I spiraled into the world of newer, more interesting styles. A lot of Korean fashion, especially their street wear, made me open up my sartorial horizons, giving me the drive to go after more courageous styles. It also greatly influenced how I like to do my makeup, from peachier tones and my newfound love for all things shimmery, though I haven’t quite let go of how much I adore a big, dramatic cat eye. 

There’s a lot more I could be saying, but I’ve just looked over the size of what I’ve already written and thought, “Sis, this needs to stop at some point.” Truth be told, when Jazz and I discussed writing our respective introductions, we only envisioned writing snippets. Maybe a few paragraphs, but definitely not anything of this length. If you’ve made it this far, I’d like to give you my thanks—for bearing with my stream of consciousness and learning a little more about me on your own volition.

I hope you stick around when we write up some more things, and hopefully our growth in both ourselves and our styles will bring a smile to your face. Or, at least, have you blow slightly more air out through your nostrils in amusement. 

See you soon!

💋 julia

A 23-year-old writer and content associate with an obsession for beauty and an ineffable love for all things sharp–from cacti to hedgehogs to intense winged liner.