Homegrown x StyleManila: How To Dress For Work

Style Manila goes to work as Homegrown does a fun shoot for one of their lifestyle articles about style in the biz world. The challenge was to come up with outfits that would take someone from meetings during the day to business gatherings with cocktails at night. Being in the real estate biz for five years, this seemed simple. But I had to consider the clothing choices available during the shoot, hence calling for help from none other than Sasha herself who was in Oz at that time (thank you technology!).

Article by yours truly goes here:


How to Dress For Work

A string of afternoon client meetings with no time to head home after—this is mostly how my days are spent working the past five years in the real estate biz.

One day I’m working from home, the next, I’m up, about, and around the metro. The last thing I need is to stress about is my wardrobe, but in this business, you’ve got to dress the part.

If you, like I once was, are at a total loss as to what goes with what in this situation, then you’re in some luck! With the help of Style Manila, we have within our grasp some essential fashion tips.

Professional help and a cool tool

We appreciate the approach of Sasha Manuel, founder and chief editor of Style Manila: she suggests but never imposes. Sasha started Style Manila in ’07, and she was a stylist many years before that.

To further this collaborative style, we use a favorite online tool, Polyvore.

Polyvore has been around for quite some time now, anyone can register for free and create their own “sets” or styleboards, view popular sets from other users (and “like” them), and also browse from the huge selection of clothing, shoes, bags, and accessories filtered from price range, specification, and brand. These are actual items sold from designer and signature brands, with prices shown. How neat is that?

With Polyvore, you can design your style board with pictures and newspaper clippings made available on the site, as if creating your own online fashion editorial! Can’t seem to find a specific item of clothing? Polyvore can import photos from clothing shops online using the Polyvore Clipper. Awesome.

Business Attire


Business attire, whether for daytime or nighttime, doesn’t have to be rigid, structured, or down right boring.

There are so many ways to keep it fun without having to go overboard or, worse, look frumpy. Pairing classic pieces with some trendy ones to keep it fresh should almost always work if you can find the mix that best defines your personality and style.

Rules for day to night, for women

Rules for dressing day to night, for women

1. Keep at least one item of clothing. Decide if it will be your top or bottom. For example, you can wear a tube style top (under a blazer) with pants and just change to a skirt later on. At the shoot, we made use of only one pair of skinny jeans for Jamie to wear: her darkest pair. For daytime, we chose a sheer vintage top with a subtle print under a tofu colored blazer. For nighttime, we decided to make use of another printed top that went well with the hot pink blazer, which brings me to my next point:

2. Don’t be afraid to mix sheer, prints, with a pop of color. Experiment with colors and fabrics that can carry you from your meetings to your parties without thinking twice if you’re looking too “senatorial”. For daytime, a sheer top will go a long way in this crazy summer heat.

3. “Jewelry should be thematic, never matching.” This is something Sasha says all the time. She loves wearing multiple rings on random fingers and stacking bracelets on one hand with a watch and a cuff on the other. Opt for gold for day to night, since gold is all weather now.
So go ahead and pile it on! Jamie wore bangles, rings, and a chunky vintage neckpiece.

4. But don’t go overboard. I don’t know if this is considered old school but wearing dangling earrings together with a complete array of rings and necklaces is a no-no. Unless it’s a mardi gras you’re attending.

5. Wear heels you’re (honestly) comfortable with. Times like these you gotta leave the 5-inch-pinch-hi-I’m-just-gonna-sit-here heels at home or in the car. Let’s face it, girls, sky high stilettos are pretty but they hurt after a few hours. Three and a half inches should be perfect to tear the town with, minus the extra varicose. Or better yet, choose the pair of shoes with added platform heels in front and you can thank me later.

6. Just clutch it. Pair your whole day to night ensemble with a clutch bag to add polish.

Rules for day to night, for men

Rules for dressing day to night, for men

1. You can’t go wrong with dark khakis. Dark khakis go with almost everything. For Luke’s daytime look, I decided to go with red shirt first, to pre-empt any coffee spills or say, mustard stains over brunch. Later on he can change into a crisp white shirt, buttoned up or down, under a chambray jacket – still looking very professional without being uptight. Shirts should definitely be tucked in.

2. But don’t go too skinny on your jeans. Leave this to the women! If your calves (and crotch) are protruding, it’s too skinny. If you can barely move and breathe, it’s too skinny. If it doesn’t fit me, it’s just way too skinny.

3. The ever basic rule: Brown Belt = Brown Shoes, Black Belt = Black Shoes. Very basic. Don’t mess this up, guys!

4. Invest in a pair of dress shoes. For someone who adores sneakers, this is a very big deal for me to say. But sometimes you can’t get away with wearing your boots and beat-up sneakers to that cocktail party, no sir you can’t.

5. Essentially, all you need to get are two things: cut and color. A lot of guys out there still prefer their old man’s oversized blazer when really, knowing the right size for you (and sticking to it) is already half the battle. And since guys won’t need most of the colors of the rainbow in one go, matching can be relatively easy. You can stick to natural or earth tones and dare to deal with some paisley later on.


Thank you, Homegrown for such a fun day!

All rights of this article reserved for Homegrown.ph {How To Dress For Work, Lifestyle Section, Homegrown.ph, 19 March 2013}.
Photos by Ian Guevara. Fashion styling by Eena Acuna and Sasha Manuel.
Makeup by Monique Jaramillo-Seneres, Iya Yujuico, and Cats del Rosario.
Models: Jamie Lao and Luke Scanlan.

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About Eena Acuña

Eena contributes for StyleManila.com since 2011. You can also follow her on Twitter (@lazyeye) and Instagram (@lazyeye_).


  1. also dress socks for men! always!

  2. I definitely agree with all the suggestions. Another thing to add, stainless or black leather strap watches is a must accessory for men in corporate attire, It is best match with stylish cuff links. Hope this helps!

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