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Wanderlust

The X O |

On a special edition of the X O Series, I’m bringing up the word “Wanderlust,” a term used to describe a strong and innate desire to roam or travel into my blog for positive energy. In about 24 hours after this piece is published, I’ll be embarking on a 26 day journey in Bali, Indonesia. With stops in Jakarta, Singapore, and an extended trip into the Philippines making the entire trip around a month’s worth of exploration. I will be documenting my journey on this blog, and I am beyond excited to share my adventure with each and every one of you.

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                Today my message is simple.

Feed your own definition of wanderlust. As your own journey and destination are unique to the book you’re creating for you.

A Wanderlust Essentials Kit includes:

  1. Traveling Within (A Heart Map).

When exploring, don’t forget to include your heart as a destination.

  1. Bringing a Flashlight.

Not a real one (at least not in my experience), what I mean by this is a positive outlook. Keep your heart full of happiness. It’s the most powerful armor we have against anything that can hurt us.

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Side Eye the Negativity
  1. Feel it All and Be Intentional.

Absorb it all both good and bad. Embrace every moment, even if these moments aren’t according to plan because you only live the same life once (cliché but honest to goodness true!)

  1. A Wish Guide

I make one yearly, with a list of things I’d like to accomplish within the year. I keep it close to remind me how important my wishes are, and how I believe that I can make wishes happen for myself, even if it takes a little patience and love. (Bringing it to Bali, of course).

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  1. A Secret Weapon

Mine has always been a bottle of glitter. I keep a bottle of Martha Stewart Glitter in any bag I take with me. I use the bottle every time I make a mark in a new place. (A theatre where a performance was just held, a trail I’ve never hiked). It gives me a sense of confidence and comfort, after I blow a wish I feel empowered.

  1. An Outfit that brings out the happy in Y O U.

My look in this shoot taken in Old Town Sacramento, (a place ripped from time), is meant to represent my current place in life, a mixture of timeless pieces and a colorful outlook.

This essentials kit sounds silly but for me its powerful, and it holds most importantly, a mantra I thought I lost.

Treat yourself how you would want to be treated by others. Yes its reverse whats been taught forever, but it means something. It isn’t bad to put others needs over yours, but never forget to give yourself the love and happiness you deserve, don’t compromise this because there’s nothing more powerful in this world, than a

heart filled with love and strength.

You’d impact more lives with a happy heart. Make it a priority and the rest will follow.

Does anyone have a destination they want to get to in the next five years? I’d love to hear your plans, (and yes, dreams count in my eyes) in the comments below.

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Inner Happiness is a Must.

H E A D to T O E |

 

Aviator Sunglasses. Sunnies.

Patterned Button Up. Navy. Thrifttown.

High-Waisted Shorts. Maroon. TOPMAN.

Suede Boat Shoes. Off-White. Cole Haan.

See you all from Bali Soon,

Miguel Raphael X O.

Photographer & Collaborator | Isabel Bagsik

Be Brave.
Be Brave.
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Bubblegum Love

Giggling at my love life. The usual.
Giggling at my love life. The usual.

In Retrospect: Just a few days ago, I had gone on a date dressed to the nines (the usual). The catch? The entire time we were together, I was the only one who thought it was a date. (And you can probably guess where the story goes from here). As I sat there, I grew more aware of how this night became a pity party for one. I sat through a conversation where we talked about his exes, his current flame, and how wonderful a friend I’ve been. I remember leaving the restaurant and walking to my car in tears over a night that progressed into a train-wreck effortlessly. As I headed to my car, I saw through the window of Paesanos, two of my wonderful Davis friends whom were in a long-term relationship, laughing uncontrollably at one another while chomping down on what looked to be really yummy pasta. I could feel the energy radiate towards me. It was warm. I let out a smile and when I got to my car, those tears turned into laughter. –

The X O |

I’m the worst when it comes to dating. You know that moment in Princess Diaries where Mia gets the “knee pop kiss?” In that scene, the slow lifting of her leg elicits a dazzling light show in the background, leaving viewer’s hearts fluttering in pixie dust once the film credits roll in. Unfortunately, my love life is instead, similar to that dream sequence where her knee attempts to pop (cue French music), but doesn’t manage to go up all the way because the stickiest gum known to man kept that moment from achieving full-fledged relationship goals.

The unfortunate part of this whole situation is that I’m a complete, hopeless romantic. In fact, my Netflix algorithm involves 90% of the following: Romantic Comedies, Romantic Drama, and all things Julia Roberts. (Lifetime movies, most definitely included). Is this my proudest moment? I’m not sure, but no shame in the love game according to my book.

See, I tend to envision dating a certain way, and I’m completely invested in the notion of it all going according to plan; no “sticky strings attached.” Of course, this is never really the case, right? I think I can speak for most of us who’ve had relationships or been on many train-wreck dates when I say we’ve all questioned this process at some point. Why are we doing this? Is this what it takes for a relationship? I call it “Bubblegum Love:” The kind of sticky dates gone wrong that are meant to serve as lessons. Now, Bubblegum Love is two things.

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One: It’s not always ideal.

Embrace the sticky! Oftentimes when you look back those relationships or dates weren’t ideal, but why spend energy on allowing bitterness to sink in? See it as a different color combination that life threw at you for a reason. You may have learned more about what you like and don’t like in a relationship from that one bubblegum love you had to scrape off your desk.

Translation: The Neon Blue and Purple Flannel isn’t my ideal color combination. I’m going to be completely honest in saying that this flannel wasn’t something I’d ever see myself wear because the color palette was a bit too bright and outlandish for my taste. In fact, we were already in line and I grabbed it on a whim thinking “What a great sale,” if it didn’t manage to work out I could give it away. Little did I know that I would fall in love with how it looked on me in all its oversized, electric spunk glory.

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Two: It’s Necessary.

Bubblegum love is the type of situation that you need to go through because it will only make you stronger. Just like a flannel and cap combo are necessary style staples, so is bubblegum love when it comes to life staples. Think about keeping what you’ve learned from what went wrong on a terrible date in your “life closet.” If another interaction leads you down a similar path, it’s time to whip that knowledge out of your closet and put it to good use. Apply what you learn.

Translation: The flannel and cap combination? A smashing combo for any closet. I firmly believe in having staples like flannels and caps because they are typically compatible with many different looks, allowing for a rotating option of recycled pieces that look novel every time. A flannel worn tied around your waist or layered over another top creates a completely new look on any given day. Note: wearing a flannel and baseball cap is quite trendy nowadays. You see it everywhere so if you’re looking to make it unique, make it personal.

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For example:

  •      Put a pin of your favorite band or song on your cap and wear it backwards.
  •      Pin or sew on a different patch of fabric or denim to your flannel for character.
  •      Wear the flannel around your waist instead of wearing it as a button up (Men, you can do this too)
  •      Wear the ensemble with another pattern like stripes or polka dots for an eclectic combination.

I personally like that my flannel is a color combination that I don’t see at corporate brands like Urban Outfitters or H&M. In fact, I thrifted this from Thrifttown in Sacramento for 75 cents!

Bubblegum Love is like the neon blue and purple hues on my 75-cent flannel. It’s electric and most importantly, distinct enough to be memorable. There are choices I’ve faced where I had to look back and pull from a memory to convince myself, NO, not again. Scraping off that gum is painful and can seem routine for many of us, but have faith in knowing that with each attempt, you’re one less bubblegum love away from whatever happiness you are meant to find.

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Taking a Break from Scraping Gum. (Stands to Stretch)

H E A D to T O E |

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Baseball Style Cap. Gray with Tan Accent. ASOS.

Flannel. Neon blue and purple. Thrifttown.

High Waisted Denim. Cerulean. LEVIS.

Braided Belt. Navy. LEVIS

Almond Boots. Gray. ALDO

Truly,

Miguel Raphael X O.

Photographer & Collaborator | Isabel Bagsik

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X O Diaries: “7.13.15”

As They Lay. 

I sat as they lay wilting.

5 sunflowers on a park bench.

The color of the stems took a pale brown, with tips of yellow nestled in the crippled remains of what once were vibrant petals,

And I imagined it must’ve been difficult.


 

To let go of something that once was so vivid and so special

And I imagined they were meant for someone

Someone so breathtaking and painful,

Who had enough courage

To let it wither away on a park bench

Waiting for the moment

For someone as captive to romance as I,

To find the pain all over again.

7.13.15, Truly |X O.

Photo Jul 13, 7 28 06 PM (2)

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Unapologetic

The Candid becomes the Shot.
When Bliss and XO Collide.
The X O|

I know we all experience what I call the “5 second closet rule,” where we reach for what we intended to wear for the day, give it five seconds of thought, and then we quickly place it back into the closet opting for the safer route (because those 5 seconds of thought were really 5 seconds of, “quick lets list as many things wrong with this look as we can now before it’s too late” type of thinking). Now don’t get me wrong, I have those days where what I pictured in my mind didn’t quite translate to what I saw once I visually paired items together, but the problem is this “5 second closet rule” is happening a little too much for the wrong reason!

I tend to shame myself deliberately until that little spark of confidence runs away until the next day when the urge to try something different comes again. I don’t play the 5 second closet rule because I’m spewing out truth, I play it to avoid the chance of being ridiculed or hurt by what I decide to wear. The ridicule can take the shape of many forms, from careless side whispering to unapproving eyes that decide they want it known that they disapprove of what I’m wearing. I often get this, because I believe clothing is genderless and I choose to wear pieces that don’t fit into the male norms.

I think it’s time to be a little more “Unapologetic.” Why? Because frankly, I don’t owe anyone an apology for wearing what liberates me, and neither do you. See, Unapologetic is a powerful word. And this look is powerful for me in 3 (which is my favorite number) ways:

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Neck Cramps.
  1. Black all year round.

I’ve been afraid of black forever. It was only very recently, say a month or two ago that my obsession with black began. It began when I purchased my second leather jacket from Urban Outfitters (Cheers to finding one that fits, and NOTE: Found it in the Women’s Section!). My transition into black began with focusing on a softer color palette. At first, I started to rely heavily on neutrals, cream and gray only specifically to round out my daily looks because I was always scared I could never do black right.

But who’s to say how to do black right? Here’s my response to the personal shame I give myself for thinking I can’t, when in truth, we ALL can. Checking that nonsense off my list of fears. Oh and moving forward, black is no longer a seasonal thing in my book (meaning wearing it all year woo!).

X O ADVICE: When people say “(insert any hue here) isn’t my color,” it’s a myth. There’s a way to wear the color with the proper pairing of color combinations, you just can’t quit the minute you try one unsuccessful look. Keep at experimenting!
  1. Conquering one of my too many D.I.Y. dream projects.

I’ve always wanted to distress my own pair of denim jeans. (I own about 15 or so pairs, ahem). Lately I’ve been to many different stores to find that jeans priced at $60 dollars a pop have one little tear on the knee, and this qualifies as “distressed.” In my opinion, if you’re going to buy a pair of tattered denim jeans you might as well purchase one that is distinctly distressed and worth the pricey purchase. Since I’m a college student on a budget, I decided to try my hand at distressing a pair of black denim jeans I’ve had for years and this was the turnout. Not too shabby!

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
X O ADVICE: When in doubt, Youtube! I was really happy that I was able to select where I was going to place the rips rather than making do with whatever the department stores had, and I’d like to thank my friend Amy Yu, for introducing me to JairWoo (if you ever read this, I am beyond grateful for your feed) a YouTuber who made my DIY life easy to execute and fun to complete! (Writing about this in a different segment to come!).
  1. Unapologetically Patterned, Thrifted, and Me.

The Unapologetic Chest.
The Unapologetic Chest.

I put these pieces together because I wanted an edgy, experimental representation of my closet. I had recently purchased an olive tone, paisley-patterned winged long sleeve at Thrifttown in Sacramento, (for only 3.99) as part of my march to more pattern movement. Yay to closet diversity. I’ve begun to explore and embrace an eclectic array of patterns away from stripes and solids which before this summer, use to fill up the majority of my closet.

X O Advice: The paisley long sleeve is the type of top that needs to be tried on and deliberated! I was hesitant picking it up but changed my mind after talking to myself about how much I loved it in the dressing room. (I promise I’m really cool in person!).

The beautiful thing about style is that it allows for options. Just because a look isn’t what you may typically wear on the daily, it doesn’t mean it makes it any less you when you do decide to bring out that different side of you. And what a gift it is to get to play with all kinds of looks that are different extensions of you, whether it’s your current mood, new obsessions, or just because you wanted to. Style is a choice, your own unapologetic choice.

Much like an opinion, at the end of the day it is your version of your look over anyone else’s. When I say your version, I mean how you felt about what you wore. I felt so liberated and in true simplest form, happy wearing this piece, and the only person that can ever stop me from feeling both of those things when it comes to what I choose to wear, is me.

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So because I love music and 1989, Taylor Swift sang about “haters gonna hate,” and although none of us can ever control the endless “trolls,” I’m going to be less of a hater to myself and make my world a better place.

 

H E A D to T O E |

My Rockstar Moment.
My Rockstar Moment.

Leather Biker Jacket. Our Neighborhood. Urban Outfitters.

Paisley Print Wing Tipped Long Sleeve. Olive. Thrift-Town.

Demi-Curve Skinny Jeans. Black. Levis. (Distressed by Me).

Pilgim Boots. Black. Steve Madden.

Truly,

Miguel Raphael  X O

Exciting new projects coming to the blog this month. Share and Subcribe! Please don’t let go, as I’m just finding my voice and fully embracing this and all of you. 

Photographer & Collaborator | Isabel Bagsik

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UC DAVIS Pilipino Culture Night | L O O K B O O K

A look into a collection I created along with 4 other talented style gurus for Pilipino Culture Night. A chance to celebrate the Filipino heritage through dance, theatre, music, and of course, S T Y L E.

Truly,

Miguel Raphael | X O

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Renewed Fire


My “Oh I dropped a pen on the floor” Look.
The X O |

Sometimes our lives just spontaneously combust. It releases a series of “fires” that can happen at any given time, and any given moment.

This specific piece that Daniel, “DJ,” and I are collaborating on for our XO Series journey embodies that idea completely. We had an entirely different concept, look, and location set for this day. Now just imagine every possible detour that can happen in a series of 24 hours (so I’m exaggerating just a tad, but really just a tad!)…and let’s just say it all went south on me on the day of the shoot. When I finally got to Daniel, the location no longer made sense due to time constraints (ahem, 20 minutes of shoot time left), and the outfit I had in mind no longer felt right to wear. I know from my previous entry, I dove into the overwhelming and unexpected ride life has me on these past few months, and the one thing I am realizing now, is to not let this ride “throw” me off.

                There was a moment where Daniel and I just looked at each other, I was clutching a pile of possible top options and he was holding the straps of his camera, uncertain if we should even attempt this. And in a split second, we did.

Sometimes, when the fire combusts, you have to just run right through it.

  So it all changed. In a moment, everything we planned went out the window, and yet the product of our spontaneous adventure was more than either of us expected or imagined. DSC_0107

We both walked away from the experience feeling a newfound spark, one that ignited even further during our Leadership Retreat out in Lake Tahoe, Nevada for the weekend. This weekend in itself was spontaneous for me. But deciding to go and immersing myself with beautiful leaders who are students like me looking to elevate the Filipino-American Community in Davis reignited my spark and affirmed my current place in this journey. All because I took a chance and ran right through.

I let spontaneity take over for a moment, and allowed for the combustion to take me. My heart just said, “go.” And I did. With hesitation, yes. With regrets,

no.

Roll Up.
Roll Up.
The L O O K |

What I wore reflects the current phase of my life. A mixture of old and new in a current state of “transition period.” The only new pieces from the outfit purchased this year is the Topman puritan hat and ASOS tribal ring. Every other piece I’ve had for two years. but what’s striking to me, is that from these pieces I found a way to wear it like I’ve never worn it before. I’m moving into a place of experimenting with my look. Allowing for the style to evolve on its own. Little things like cuffing up the pants just a touch higher to show skin between my shoes and jeans, to wearing my LEVIS high on the waist like its meant to be, no longer afraid of what people may say about a male wearing high waisted jeans. (It should only ALWAYS be about fitting well, not what gender its “marketed” towards!). Completing the look with a braided belt for a “vintage” feel, and my go to pair of pointed-toe boots. I decided to wear these high-rise distressed LEVIS boyfriend skinnies with a white mesh Armani long-sleeve. This Armani piece is one of my favorites, as it can easily be worn on a classy night out or on a simple stroll through campus. It allows for breathing due to the mesh component as well.  A side note: My high rise skinnies are one of my FAVORITE pairs. Ever. My motto when it comes to ripped jeans is simple, if you want ripped, BUY RIPPED. The idea of buying a distressed pair of jeans that only has one tiny patch of  “rip” drives me crazy.

Rings.
Rings.

Those nuances have shown me how much my own style has changed alongside me, and the realization of my style evolution didn’t occur till that “spontaneous combustion” hit, forcing me to trust my choices (both in fashion and in life) through believing in myself,

Trusting this gut of mine.

It’s funny because there’s this quote, about how you can be standing in the exact same place for a year and although it doesn’t look like you moved, when you reflect you realize how much you’ve actually changed, even being in that exact spot. That’s how I feel about my style. How I’ve kept and utilized so many pieces over and over again, not even realizing I’m reinventing myself in the process.

This look highlights that reinvention.

It brings my evolutionary style period forward.

And it celebrates what can come out of embracing life’s combustion.

              Renewing myself by dancing in the fire.

DSC_0095H E A D to T O E |

Puritan Hat. Almond. Topman.

Long Sleeve Mesh. White. Armani Exchange

Tribal Print Ring. Silver. ASOS

High Rise, Distressed Skinny Jeans. Washed Denim. LEVIS.

Braided Belt. Dark Brown. LEVIS

Pointed-Toe Boots. Brown. ALDO.

Cassette Necklace Leather Strap. Brown. Philippine Market.

Truly,

Miguel Raphael XO.

Collaborator & Photographer | Daniel Anciete

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Spectrum.

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I’ll Smile and Say “I’m Good.”
The X O |

Figuring out what to write next has been difficult. You know when life just comes at you like this huge gust of wind? At first you think you’ve got this and you buckle down, anxiously awaiting the moment it hits, thinking you’re absolutely ready to come out looking like you did before it comes…and the next thing you know, your hats flying off, your hair becomes a monster, your other belongings fly backwards and you play the game of “chase it all before it disappears into the abyss.” You realize the wind got to you, that it a c t u a l l y got to you.

And that’s what life’s done to me recently. Its sudden decision to send a strong gust of wind my way overwhelmed me, and the next thing I knew I was caught in a tornado, my everything spinning back and forth, just waiting for the calm, hoping it exists. You know that moment, that one moment where everything is uncertain? It’s happening.

And then I went back to this. This was the very first concept shoot for my blog, and is part of an ongoing project with Daniel “DJ” Anciete, titled Color. Color is such a simple sounding word. But I’ve found to appreciate how even in its simplicity, you find an entire spectrum of possibilities…depending on, well, you.

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If there’s anything in the world that’s true, it’s the beauty of the uncertain spectrum. How we see different colors and its ability to represent different parts of our life. How the color blue doesn’t always have to mean sadness, it could be your little sister’s favorite color, it could be the color of choice at your best friend’s wedding, or the color chosen to launch an important activist campaign.

 At some point your tornado is coming and it can hit any part of your spectrum. It can change the colors currently in your life, adding new ones or blowing away other hues, heck it can even move you to a different place on the spectrum… Can you control it? Unfortunately, no.

but the outlook…your outlook…that’s something you have at your disposal.

Right now, my life is at a point where one end of the spectrum is brimming with life and the other end was struck with a powerful gust of wind. It reminds me of the wall we shot behind. A blend of this beautiful bright yellow and lifeless white. The gust of wind came, and now I’m lost in my own spectrum.

But I realized, that’s okay. The spectrum is beginning to change, and so am I.

The L O O K|

I wanted to embrace the idea of color and how I see this project advancing on an endless spectrum of combinations and possibilities. The baby blue blazer was a major steal at H&M, and I love how I can dress it up or dress it down. I paired it with one of my favorite tees from Abercrombie & Fitch with the words, “Buckle Up, Buttercup.” I love tees with text that I can relate to. (I’m ready for you my tornado).

I decided to cuff up my Khaki Levi’s to partner it with my white ASOS Sneakers (which I got on sale for $9.00), to create a comfy and casual easy to wear look. I am typically a neutrals type of guy, so buying a baby blue blazer was a big step in embracing the spectrum for me.

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Now in one version I am wearing a baby pink beanie, in part due to my obsession with the color pink, (yes everyone, color should not be gendered), and also because I thought it would be fun to see how the pink, blue, and yellow play in the same photo. It was me embracing the wall behind me to the fullest, even if it wasn’t going to actually work out in the shot. And that’s okay too. It’s okay when life and all its colors don’t make sense at times. Sometimes it’s through that mess that you find the beauty in the specks of color you’re surrounded by.

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My Warrior Weapon.

So just like in the first shoot, today as I sat in my room feeling like I’m ready to fall apart, just eagerly awaiting the tornado to end, I grabbed my bottle of glitter.

Sprinkled it in my hand and wished hard as I sprinkled it all over me. And then I blew it into the air, imagining I was throwing it into the turbulence this tornado has me captured in. It left me with shimmering specks running through my skin, and that was when I remembered how much of a warrior I am.

Don’t let the uncertainty of the tornado, destroy the beauty of the spectrum. Your spectrum.

Photo Jan 16, 10 04 49 AMH E A D to T O E |

Blazer. Baby Blue. H&M.

Beanie. Powder Pink. Forever 21

Buckle Up, Buttercup Tee. White. Abercrombie & Fitch.

Khaki Demi Curve’s. LEVIS.

Rustic Belt with Gold Buckle. LEVIS

Sneakers. White. H&M.

Cheers,

Miguel Raphael, XO 

| Photography: Daniel Anciete | XO Series Collaborator: Daniel Anciete

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Noise.

Photo Mar 13, 7 01 15 PM

The X O |

So for my first XO Series Feature, the theme was “Something Uncomfortable.” Isabel, a fellow style spirit animal, and I got to talking about where we wanted our new venture to lead towards, and we realized that this entire “blogger” journey is at its heart,

Organic.

All we really know is that our here and now, involves a beautiful journey with each other and ourselves.

And that’s why I wore white. To me wearing white out in the middle of Davis’ Arboretum is symbolic of the current stage of my journey. It represents my want to remain integral to who I am, surrounded by a world full of complete unknown. Sometimes I feel like a complete fish (because I’m a Pisces) out of water.

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But see, this unknown isn’t by any means quiet, it’s actually quite noisy. It’s so easy to end up losing your voice in all the noise….this is something I learned out here in Davis, that forgetting who you are because of what you’re surrounded by, can leave you feeling emptier than you could ever think to feel. When I decided to pick out an outfit that kept with the “Uncomfortable to Wear” theme, I chose white because to me it’s the most vulnerable color. The minute you spill the sauce from your pasta dinner on your brand new white jeans, your flaws are exposed. In fact, white outlines your body and highlights it, which means if you’re uncomfortable with your body, you’re uncomfortable with white. So people tend to shy away. But in my eyes, White is Brave.

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And remember, that you are too. So, drown out that noise friends.

The L O O K |

I also wanted to showcase the beauty of an all-white outfit, partnering a traditional fit white, long-sleeve button up with fitting pin-striped shorts (which in my opinion is a style staple for any style lover’s closet) I like to cuff up my shorts because my legs are a little awkward looking, so the tighter around the knee, the better! (Sigh). Now because I decided to wear pin-striped, I already have a standout signature addition to my look, so as far as accessorizing goes I decided to keep it simple. Caramel Toned, thin belt partnered with Ankle Heeled Boat Shoes, (which I consider my dressiest casual pair of shoes) completed the look.

And of course, a necklace, because why not.

P.S. I’ll make a lot of Denim References because I lived in Levi’s for the longest time. 3 years, baby.

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Long Sleeve Western Button Up. White. LEVI’s.

Thin, Silver Toned Belt. Caramel. Aldo.

Pin Striped 511 Shorts. White/Navy. LEVI’s.

Ankle Boots. Light Tan. Aldo.

Necklace, a present from the most beautiful grandmother in the world.

Cheers,

Miguel Raphael, XO 

| Photography: Genie Obina | XO Series Collaborator: Isabel Bagsik

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Bring Back the Fashion Blogger.

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I feel like I’m endlessly window shopping. My feed is over saturated with beautiful men and women who’ve made it big in a profession that really only started to exist a few years ago. Who knew that snapping photographs of your shoes or your “morning read” and notifying the world of your day to day life or attire could land you a career of your dreams? Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against living the life of your dreams, but if there’s one thing that matters most, it’s that bloggers should never forget.

And then sometimes, they forget.

They forgot about that day when they wore a gorgeously fitted caramel turtleneck that received all sorts of compliments, but all they could do was laugh a little inside after every compliment because the turtleneck was a total cover up for a ridiculous hickey the night before. Or when they wore that over-sized white long-sleeve corduroy button up they found in their dad’s closet because it was the first official day out in college in “adult-land” and a piece of their dad felt like home all over again. Or the reason why places like Ross or Marshalls, which are where many people who belong to a socioeconomic group like myself can afford to shop when I was growing up, were actually “special” rare bonding moments spent with their mother who works 60+ hours a week to put food on the table.

                They forget about the “why.”

And I for one, love the why. Sometimes the why can be painful, but the why is the reason. The reason why we blog in the first place, is because we found something to say. For years I’ve mulled over this decision, but I finally realized that style is how I convey my heart. What I wear is a relationship all on its own.

And no, it’s not a statement, it’s a way of life. My life.

Finally,

I found what it is that I would like to share on my journey. A journey I hope to begin with all of you.

So many of the fashion bloggers I see now, blog because it can be lucrative, and it’s all becoming the same thing to me. Yeah that’s cute, “like.” Oh she’s pretty, “like.” Great he’s sponsored, “like.” And then the feed becomes convoluted with forced promotions and ad placements hidden in every picture. I forgot that every outfit, every decision made before I leave in the morning matters in so many beautiful ways.

So if you’re here for a good read, a dose of style, and pinch of humanity, I am the spirit animal for you.

I’m bringing back that Fashion Blogger. The one that blogs because he loves denim, human connections, and stories…lots of stories. (this involves you, of course). And it all starts, with being brave.

Truly,

Miguel Raphael, XO.

| Photography: Daniel Joseph Anciete