I have had two great loves in my life: Nihonbashi Tei, the quaint Japanese restaurant down at Adriatico Street, and UNIQLO, the Life Wear retail giant that takes up half of my closet—fine, 80 percent. I have been living in their clothes for the past three years, making it my favorite and longest running love affair. Sorry, spicy makis.
The first time I encountered UNIQLO was on a trip to Bangkok a few years back. I made the mistake of dismissing the clean space neatly stacked with Basic repelling basics—I probably was quite Basic back then—in search of Timberland boots. The second time was in 2012 when they opened their first flagship store in SM Mall of Asia. The line probably reached the bayside and so I chose not to join in on the fun. It was later that year when I finally went inside the wide-open space and fell madly, deeply in love with everything they carried; I guess third time's the charm, right?
What catapulted my ongoing romance was that at the advent of floral-printed, Aztec-patterned everything, here came a retail brand that gave me the freedom to be stylishly discreet. It taught me that a basic oxford shirt that hung beautifully on my shoulders and a pair of Easy Twill Pants (Php790) in the perfect shade of navy blue were all that I needed. Add to that all the Single Jersey Polo shirts, Supima Cotton Tees (Php 590 each) and Woven Light Oxford Trunks (2 for Php590) that would fit in my basket (and closet). The point is, UNIQLO showed me that basics need not be boring, Japanese dressing didn’t have to be all out Kawaii and good clothes don’t mean a six figure billing statement; unless you thought you needed everything in the store like I did.
Really good value.
Woven Light Oxford Trunks (2 for Php590) and Chambray Oxford Shirt (Php1490), UNIQLO
It has been three great years since UNIQLO took custody of what I put on my back. Each outfit turned into a uniform; there were some comfortable enough for school or for hopping around the city and others that I dared to wear to events—yes, head to toe UNIQLO makes for easy breezy day-to-night dressing. Though I have had countless UNIQLO only outfits, a favorite has been named. A Chambray colored broadcloth oxford shirt tucked into their Women’s Ankle Trousers (yes, I wear women’s pants and if you saw how it falls on my waist you would understand why). Worn with my brown tasseled loafers, it has been my go to outfit since I bought the trousers in December of 2014. It may sound boring, wearing my favorite pants as if I wouldn’t get over them, but its comfy texture and elastic waistband do not disappoint. People have asked and many have purchased it as well but my fondest memory of the pair would have to be when the whole Stylebible team asked me where I got them and if they were tailor made. (Uniqlo is the ultimate fashion intern's uniform: cheap, chic and infinitely matchable.)
Only one of these is from the men's section: the jeggings in the middle.
Women's Ankle Length Trousers, Php1490
Everyone has a guilty pleasure. Some indulge in doughnuts, others have their corny movies and I (along with many) spend my grocery money on a pair of Japanese denim jeans from UNIQLO—giving up my sartorial soul (and body) to the Japanese retailer. The space it takes up in the prime real estate that is my closet sometimes already feels wrong, but is later counteracted by my reflection in the mirror.
Thank you, UNIQLO, your beautifully comfortable pieces ease the hole that you left in my wallet. Cheers to more years and to restocking old forgotten favorites (give those Men’s Denim Jeggings another chance will you; I’ve worn out the last pair from my stash).