The Reluctant Stylista

“This is so Alex,” Noel Manapat remarked last night, while we were all viewing the photos of everyone’s sets and marveling at how each one looked so different from the other. Even our photographer that night, Jo Ann Bitagcol, agreed that our looks seemed like an extension of our own personal style (possibly based on what she’d seen of us so far, since it was our first time to meet her). And because my classmates, especially Nio and Jenny, kept exclaiming (repeatedly!) at how my set was so me, I ended up wondering why that was.  I came to that shoot with a couple of shredded and cut up white t-shirts–I don’t remember ever going to class in such, and I said so.  “Maybe not, but I can definitely see you as that girl,” Noel said, referring to the finished photo of the model I just styled.

What makes an ensemble sooo Alex?  Why could they see it but I couldn’t?

Though I once wrote about finding your personal style, I don’t spend that much time thinking about it.  And at this point in my life, there is little you can show me that I’d refuse to wear unless it were Lady Gaga-esque.  Although I suppose it’s a bit different when it comes to things that I buy for myself (just because I can wear it doesn’t mean I’d buy it).  I know what I like when I see it and that’s it for me.  For example, I’ve always had a passion for vintage, things that look old and worn.  This translated to my artworks and design in college that students and professors alike could almost always tell if something was an Alex Lapa production (as it was dubbed).  In fashion, it translates to my accessory box full of dirty gold lockets, a lot of retro-styled charms, ornate rings and ropes of pearls.


Black and patterns
Black top, thrifted skirt, patterned tights (which I can safely say is really part of my style) and black pattened booties

I won’t claim that I love black, but I seem to wear a lot of it. And I don’t wear ornate stuff all the time.  In fact, lately I’ve been going around the metro for weeks in my laidback outfit.  Unfortunately, that included Philippine Fashion Week events where I was simply wearing a shirt + jeans + zebra brogues + red leather jacket.  My Ice Watch was my only accessory.


At the Freeway event

At Freeway's Ramon Valera inspired collection launch. Another lazy outfit consisting of my trusty red leather jacket (thrifted), skinny jeans from Jag, peacock earrings, ornate silver necklace, vintage pearl ring.



Fishtail braid and peacock earrings

Fishtail braid and peacock earrings (also a favorite). I like tying up my hair though people tell me repeatedly it looks better when it's down. I know it does, but it's also more...unruly.

I know that I also love structured, architectural pieces, though I don’t own anything of the sort.  That’s why Ivarluski Aseron is my favorite local designer.  I am also an avid fan of Vivienne Westwood and stylist Patricia Field.  Do I look the type?  I’m honestly not sure.

I know I love hats, but I only have a precious few. Below are some.


Equistrienne hat from What a Girl Wants

Equestrienne hat from What a Girl Wants. I rarely wear it, as there is not much in my closet that matches it safely. It's probably my only girly hat, too.


Gray knit cap from H&M

Gray knit cap from H&M, which I wear almost every time I go out now. Photo from Nio.

And yes, I know the Doc Martens are me, since I’ve practically made it into my everyday footwear like how some people would go about wearing their sneakers.  And if there’s been any doubt left about my fondness for patterned hoisery, let me present further proof.


Going nautical

In my trusty DMs, patterned tights (which unfortunately, I CANNOT find anymore huhu) and knitted cape. For the record, I RARELY wear this nautical top. Photo from Bestie.

Personal style is tricky.  There’s really a difference in what you love looking at, what you buy for yourself and what you actually get to wear.  Maybe that’s what Noel meant when he observed that my styling last night looked like me.  He’s never actually seen me in anything like that but I suppose it was just my personality showing through.  At that point, I can’t help but agree, since after all, my concept was eco-chic meets badass post-apocalyptic–which I really dig.  In retrospect, it is a very me idea, fashion aside.  (I didn’t mention it out loud, but my look was also inspired by my fascination for zombies).  I suppose the only thing left to do is to post about the shoot and ask you guys if the styling was obviously mine.  It’d be better if you all guessed, but you’ve already seen the shirts I lovingly mutilated so that’d be pointless.

I’d end this post by sharing my personal fashion philosophy that I always try to adhere to: always wear something that tells a story.  Even if it’s just casual wear, I like wearing something that usually people pick out, notice, or ask about.  It could be some dorky earrings or a really geeky necklace.  I think maybe the only exception to the rule is when you’re out for an ukay jaunt and you need to dress as plainly as possible.  In that case, your story could be that you want to fade completely into the background unless appearing otherwise enables you awesome haggling powers.

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