Ah, personal style. The ambiguity of the concept deserves all the questions surrounding it, and however much fashion folk debate, it is, in the end, very much subjective. So, okay, if we're talking opinions, let's really talk: Here, Preview overhears five of the local scene's chicest—Daryl Chang, Shaira Luna, Chi Gibbs, Pam Quiñones, and Carl Jan Cruz—tackle and discuss at the Pandora Reflexions party. Feel free to join in the dialogue!
What is personal style?
Daryl: "Personal style, for me, is a recollection of a person's individuality seen in clothes, and that person's attitude towards wearing those clothes. So I think personal style is more of a mindset to me, visually seen in the clothes that you choose."
How do you tell if someone has good or bad style?
Daryl: "I would never say that anyone has bad style. I respect everyone's taste in clothes. I think it's just a matter of being current. I think if you're wearing shoes that were, like, trendy 10 years ago, then they would look dated. But I think it's more relative to you being current and how people see you right now, so if you're wearing something that's not current, you look dated, but that's not bad taste for me. It's just more of being in the now."
Is style synonymous to taste?
CJ: "Yes, I think they're synonymous to each other. For me personal style is actually what makes one stand out. It doesn't matter how nondescript or daring or pronounced the person's style is—it's more of what makes you remember that person. It may not even be the clothes, it's just they carry themselves, the way they do their hair, the way they dab on lipstick. It's those small things that add up. They become that person's trademark. Everyone has white shoes, everyone has denim jeans, everyone has a white T-shirt, but...sometimes, when you apply all those to a certain person, it becomes personal."
Would you say that you have a trademark?
Shaira: "I've had bangs since I was two! [Laughs] I think that's a huge part of my style."
Do the things around you—your environment, your interests, the people you hang out with, your travels—contribute to your style or vice versa?
Daryl: "When I dress to go to events, or when I'm working, that's two different personas. When I'm styling a shoot, I just go insular: all black, because I don't want to be the star of the shoot. [Laughs] So when I'm working, I'm just in my 'uniform.' I don't want to be seen. I just want to be behind everything. But, of course, when you're out and about, and when I used to be Fashion Director of Preview Magazine, [I] had to represent the brand, so [I] had to put [my] best foot forward and, you know, be the Fashion Director. In terms of style, I think I am influenced by...myself, mostly. I do look at a lot of runway and street style trends—that's part of my work and I guess that trickles down to my style as well, but I really go for style that is not...easy. [Laughs]"
Pam: "You always want to be different."
Daryl: "Yeah, in a way, 'cause if I feel like I look like everyone else already, I feel like it's time to move on."
So, do you feel that your work is and was instrumental in discovering your personal style?
Chi: "My brand Neon Island is a reflection of my personal style. I think that's one criteria I have in anything I put out: 'Would I wear this?' and 'Do I wanna have this?' That's how I approach it. What do I want in my closet right now? My work is what influences my style. I make our prints from scratch and I wear those prints, so it's like a literal thing—literally, I wear my work.
"In finding my own personal style, I feel like, all of us, since we were kids, we gravitated towards certain things already. But it also involves, as you grow older, judging yourself sometimes. [Laughs] Like, how did I grow from what I wore three years ago?"