Hi everyone! I just want to share with you a list of clothes that you might need when you go abroad. I think it's better to buy them in the Philippines because they're way cheaper. Also, it's better to be prepared than sorry.
For winter clothes, you may buy them at SM Surplus stores or better yet from the Ukay Ukay (thrift stores). You may also check out the sale in Terranova, Mango, and Zara because they usually slash the price by half during off-season.
For knitwear you could buy them from tiangges (bazaars). If you have friends from Baguio, you can ask them to send you locally-made knitwear.
For accessories, Divisoria and Quiapo are good places to go to .
First, you have to consider what seasons does your country of destination has. As you know, in the Philippines we have two seasons: hot and hotter, just kiddin. Seriously, we don't really get to wear jackets as much and it gets a bit mind-boggling which jacket to wear.
The general rule is, if you are wearing a dress or a skirt underneath, wear trench coats or longer coats. If it's just jeans, you could wear a coat up to your waist. Wear longer tops for layering.
Normally black is the basic color but it really is according to your taste. You may wear darker colors for fall and winter and lighter and brighter colors for spring and summer.
I have a bit of a guideline on what to wear according to the temperature:
* 12 to 18 degrees Celsius - Cotton/Twill Trench Coats/Denim Jacket + Top
This temperature is just like our early morning on December. If it is a bit cold for you, you may wear a cardigan underneath. You could also use a light scarf made of cotton (just cut a long strip of fabric for this). Or instead of a trench coat, you could also wear denim jackets.
* 8 to 11 degrees Celsius - Wool Coat + Cardigan + Top + Scarf
This temperature is a bit cold already. Some people find it unbearable the first time so I suggest that you layer your wool coat with a light cardigan. It also helps to wear a scarf (knitted ones) and a pair of cotton knit gloves. Instead of a wool coat you can also wear leather jackets.
Avoid wearing two jackets at the same time because it would be so uncomfortable and you will look bulky. A knitted cardigan will do. If you have to layer some more, you can wear two cardigans on top of each other. I know some people also wear stockings underneath their jeans, although in my case I'm still okay without them. I just use thick socks.
* 5 to 10 degrees - wool coat + heavy knitwear + top + scarf + gloves + hat/bonnet/beret + leather boots
Although you can still manage to use your wool coat, you may want to wear thicker cardigans underneath. If you don’t like the additional bulk, you can wear two layers of light weight cardigans instead.
You may also wear leggings/thermal pants underneath your jeans. I know sometimes I’d even wear stockings underneath if it’s really cold. Also for pants, you can wear corduroy pants because the fabric is warmer.
* 5 degrees and below - Bubble jacket + heavy knitwear + scarf + gloves + ear muffs + ugg boots
I will replace my wool coat with a thicker jacket like that of a bubble jacket or parka in this extreme cold. Or you can wear heavy fur instead (faux please!) Ugg boots will also keep your feet warm. Never mind if they look bulky and ugly.
2. Tops or T-shirts in Knits
Buy solid colors as they are easier to match. You could buy those from Divisoria or Tiangge, as they are quite cheap.
3. Filipiniana Costume and Barong Tagalog
Bring these for those occasions where we get to wear our national costume. You’d never know when you would get the opportunity to showcase them. They are particularly fond of pina or jusi fabrics.
4. Daster/Malong Printed Dresses
You know those daster you wear as pambahay? Just add a belt or accessorize them a bit and they’d be perfect for summer dress. Believe it or not, my friends are crazy about them! They even bugged me to buy whenever I go home. It’s so affordable and yet unique!
5. Bright/Printed clothes
Remember when we shop for clothes, we often say "Ay, ayoko nyan nakaka-itim!"
Well, now is your chance to wear whatever you like. Foreigners love our skin color and they always wonder why we don't accentuate it with bright colors. So don't be shy, add some colors on your wardrobe it makes you look more tanned. Being tanned means you travel a lot and go on vacations, we’re lucky we have this beautiful color naturally.
It's so hard to buy foundation here in China coz most of them have fair skin. So buy whichever makeup you use in the Philippines and keep stock of them. Also I believe we’re not so “hiyang” with foreign brands. Well, I don’t know about you, but I still prefer Eskinol over any brand.
7. Logo T-shirts
I think when one goes abroad, it’s the time when our nationalistic side shows and it would be cool to express that on logo t-shirts with familiar phrases like: "Astig!" For my birthday, my Pinay friend gave me a shirt that says "Trust Me, I'm a Filipina!" It was so cool!
Before I used to buy thermal pants from Marks & Spencer but I realized that leggings from SM or other shops are just as warm underneath your jeans. Choose light materials though as it could get uncomfortable when you layer them with your pants.
Pile up on wooden necklaces, beads, shells etc. During summer, I always see from H&M and Zara accessories that we could buy in our local markets at a fraction of the price.
Also cool things to have would be bayong, pamaypay, bakya etc. Believe me, they would go gaga when they see these stuff coz they don't have them.
Wala lang, I really like our handkerchiefs at home. People here just use tissue eh. :)
Overall, the idea is to be comfortable without losing your sense of style. It is better to anticipate what you might need rather than buy them when you are still getting accustomed to your new home. Also you might want to consider some cultural preference, like some countries prefer women to wear longer skirts or pants.
http://www.polyvore.com (most of the clothes)
http://www.barongsrus.com (filipiniana dress)
Maris Manalili is the author of the blog Style Shanghai, winner of the Best Blog Element in the Philippine Expats Blog Awards 2009. She is based in the People's Republic of China.