Know your shoes: The Oxfords


Classy, elegant and sleek, the Oxfords are staples in men’s wardrobes. Every Oxford features closed lacing, which means that the front (or vamp, to be technical) covers the back (or the quarters). Below is a comparison of the Oxford (top) and a Derby (bottom), the latter characterized by open lacing.

June 02, 2017 — vanessaneo

2017 Father's Day Gift Guide

Many of the older men out there have a certain ascetic streak – with no particular need of material gifts. But I am guessing though, you’ve put your old man through a lot during your time on this universe and he has always been there for you. Hence, he definitely deserves a reward or at least some sort of bonus.

June 18 – the special date to show the most important man in your life just how much you appreciate him. (Although it shouldn’t be the only time) Whether he’s a gadget-obsessed techie or workaholic office executive, we’ve rounded up the perfect gifts for even the pickiest padres out there. Read on for our suggestions!

1 – Dads who can’t refuse a cuppa
NESPRESSO Coffee Machine

(Image source: here)

2 – For the Dad who needs to take the edge off
DROPCATCH magnetic/wall-mounted beer opener with personalized engraving

3 – If your Dad is an Apple guy and doesn’t own one of these yet, it’s time.

4 – For the Dad who’d enjoy some virtual reality fun
SAMSUNG Galaxy VR Gear + Controller


5 – For the travelling Dad
SADDLEBACK Big Leather Wallet
*Pig skin lining*



6 – For the Dad who has too many gadgets
*Pig skin lining*

7 – Dad who deserves a little grooming upgrade
TRUEFITT & HILL Wet Shave (They offer a variety of services such as haircuts, mani/pedis, massages & waxing treatments too!)
Ann Siang +65 6223 5263 / Capitol Piazza +65 6384 1440

8 – For Dads who prefers more vintage, low-key fun
UNCOMMON GOODS Desktop Skee Ball / Desktop Basketball


9 – For the grill-happy Father

COLEMAN Grill Cool Stage Table Top


10 – For ALL Fathers, everywhere, anywhere

A fail-proof gift that has more value than anything you can buy from the store– your time. Trust us; all your Dad really wants is to spend some time with you. Take some time off this Father’s day to spend some quality time with your Dad. It will be the best gift you could ever give :)

May 31, 2017 — Roy Chan

Shoe Trees: Do I REALLY need them?

Many are unconvinced of their use, thinking they are just fanciful accessories for your dress(y) shoes. I understand, it's painful to get a pair of shoe trees with a wallet that is already empty from investing in a pair of dress shoes. Besides, there are cheaper alternatives out there that can help perform the same functions (I have friends that stuff crumpled newspaper into their shoes)! Surely, shoe trees are all part of a marketing gimmick to make us spend more money, right?
In this article, we ask the question: do I REALLY need a pair of shoe trees? To be fair, we have to understand what they are and how they work. Of course, for the friends who are always looking for a cheaper alternative, we will also be assessing how well newspapers fare in their shoe care role. The goal here is to know if a pair of shoe trees are even worth the price tag.
Shoe trees are one of few shoe care items, brush and wax aside, but what do they do?
1. Maintaining shoe shape
By providing a shape for your shoe when unworn, the leather is less likely to shrink. It also straightens out those unwanted creases and wrinkles (which, if left unchecked, can lead to the cracking of leather).
2. Absorbing moisture
Just take a moment to think about all that sweat from your feet in hot and humid Singapore. Now, consider also the amount of rain we get all year round. Moisture from rain and sweat is absorbed by your leather shoes, making them more prone to decay than you think. If left to accumulate, the moisture wears away at the inner lining, also cracking the leather as the leather dries up.
Needless to say, any pair of shoes with moisture is unhygienic, and likely to cause nasty feet infections (think: Athlete’s foot). I’m pretty sure we don’t want that, do we?
At this point, I think we can all agree that by removing the moisture in your shoes, they are kept in good shape, with its lifespan prolonged. Let’s also not forget clean, hygienic feet!
3. Preventing Odour
Sweat in shoes inevitably causes an unwanted, pungent odour. A pair of cedar shoe trees, with its natural aroma, can keep your shoes smelling fresh!
4. Shoe Care Aid
When shining your shoes, it is always convenient to have some extra help – and your shoe trees are there to do that. With them inside your shoes, the shape is held in place and you need not fumble while polishing.
Types of Shoe Trees
Shoe trees come in various materials (different woods or sometimes plastic) and shapes, and of course, different price points. Below, I’ve ranked the shoe trees according to its cost, starting with the cheapest.
1. Cheap Shoe Trees

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Costing the least, these shoes trees do not have heels, but a knob instead to stretch the shoe. They are minimal and lightweight, making them suitable for travel (or if you are just looking for a cheap option). However, what you will be short-changing here is the maintenance of the shape of the shoe because of its lack of a heel.
2. Split-toe Shoe Trees

(Purchase a pair
The split-toes allow for a more accurate fit, which can be adjusted by tightening or loosening the screws found along the side. With a heel, the whole shoe is filled up, which allows it to better perform its functions. Positioned in the middle for price point, these shoe trees are considered the most practical in terms of cost and function.
The only shortcoming for this is that it does not fit the shoe as perfectly as the next pair – lasted shoe trees.
3. Lasted Shoe Trees

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Lasted shoe trees are the exact copy of the lasts of your shoes. Born of the same shoe mould, these shoe trees will give you a perfect fit to your shoes. Many high-end retailers provide a free pair of lasted shoe trees when you purchase their dress shoes. But as you can guess, lasted shoe trees probably can only fit THAT pair of shoes that has the same last.
It’s really not that difficult to know why they are priced at the hundreds; bespoke and customised for a particular shoe, it is impossible to find other shoe trees that can fit more snugly than they can.
The Alternative – Newspaper
Up in the running with the three types of shoe trees, newspapers are still popular as a cheap alternative. What’s more, they are abundant, recyclable, and conform to just about any shoe size and shape! Isn’t that great?
Or so I’ve heard. Sure, newspapers can remove the moisture, but that is just as much as it can do. Contrary to popular belief, its shape-conforming property does not maintain the shape of the shoe at all. If your shoes crinkle and shrink while the moisture dries up from within, so does the newspaper in it.
The purpose of a shoe tree is not only to remove moisture, but to also maintain the last by providing a structure for your shoes when left unworn. You get what you pay for, and to compare newspapers with a shoe tree is grossly underestimating the latter’s functions.
So… Do I REALLY need a shoe tree?
That is entirely up to you to decide. Everyone values their shoes differently; some are avid shoe collectors, while others change their shoe as often as the weather changes. Some only wear their dress shoes out in events of high formality – which doesn't happen too often. It would be imposing of me to say that you NEED shoe trees, but here are some points of considerations to help you answer the question.
1. How often do you wear your shoes?
If your answer to that is very often, you should probably invest in one. The more you wear them out, the more moisture they accumulate and the faster the leather loses its shape. Conversely, if you feel that your shoes are underused, a further investment in shoe trees may be uncalled for.
2. Are your shoes expensive?
Needless to say, most of us would wish to prolong the lifespan of our expensive shoes – the longer the better. If, upon reading this, you instantly think of a particular pair of shoes, you should probably get a pair of shoe trees for those precious shoes.
3. For how long do you plan to wear your shoes?
If your shoes are an investment pair expected to serve you for a long time to come, then another investment in shoe trees would make sense. You wouldn’t want to have it turn crinkly and weathered one year on. But if you are one that doesn’t mind changing their shoes as soon as your existing pair is worn out, you can choose to skip the shoe trees.
All in all, shoe trees aren’t fanciful accessories to pair with your shoes. They are purposeful, and just like what hangers are to clothes, shoe trees can be considered indispensable for shoe care. However, unlike hangers, you won’t need shoe trees for every pair you own. It is possible to rotate them among different shoes, and they typically last you a lifetime, at only a fraction of the cost of your shoes. If you ask me, shoe trees are a worthy investment. But ultimately whether or not it is a need is something you have to decide for yourself. 
Enjoyed reading this? Comment down below to tell us what you would like us to write about next!
May 29, 2017 — Vanessa Neo

Basic Guide: How do I match my shoes and suit?

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One question that has plagued pretty much 99% of men who want to dress up or are learning to dress up: "Does this shoe match my suit?" If coordinating colours isn’t your area of expertise, don’t worry! In this article, we share our thoughts on how we would recommend pairing your shoes to your suits! Of course, there are many other ways to pair this duo depending on your style. This is just a basic guide if you’re just getting the hang of things.

Black Suits

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Although a staple in every men's closet, do keep in mind that a black suit is the least flexible as it is usually worn for strict, business meetings/black tie events and not on an everyday basis.
  • Formal Compatible Shoe Colours – Black
  • Smart Casual Compatible Shoe Colours – Blue, Chocolate, Oxblood, Wine

Featured shoes: Alexander - Black, Manchester - Chocolate, Carnegie - Black


Navy Blue Suits

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A highly versatile colour which is appropriate enough for most occasions. 
  • Compatible Shoe Colours – Black, Tan, Chestnut, Oxblood, Wine, Burgundy, Bordeaux Red, Chocolate

Featured shoes: Manchester - Tan, Balmoral - Chocolate, Cambridge - Deep Veridian/Black


Light/Medium Grey Suits

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While they are not really ideal for proper business wear (given that they are rather subtle in terms of colour), they work fine in offices where suits are worn in a more ‘smart-casual’ dress code.           
  • Compatible Shoe Colours – Black, Blue, Tan, Chestnut, Oxblood, Wine, Burgundy, Bordeaux Red, Chocolate

Featured shoes: Balmoral - Tan, Cambridge - Black, Kent - Chocolate


Charcoal/Grey Suits

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Similar to Navy Blue Suits, these are versatile colours that pair with a variety of colours.
  • Compatible Shoe Colours – Black, Blue, Tan, Chestnut, Oxblood, Wine, Burgundy, Bordeaux Red, Chocolate

Featured shoes: Cambridge - Black, Balmoral - ChocolateBalmoral - Tan


Brown/Linen Suits

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These are great options for formal daytime events/summer weddings as we reckon they are considered less formal than its darker counterparts. Do however; keep in mind that the tone of your suit and pants are to look visibly different if you are wearing brown on brown. If the shades are indistinguishable, the entire outfit will look off.
  • Compatible Shoe Colours – Black, Tan, Chestnut, Oxblood, Wine, Chocolate

Featured shoes: Carnegie - Black, Manchester - Tan, Kent - Chocolate

We hope you've enjoyed this post! Comment down below how you would usually pair your shoes & suits and let us know what you'd like to see next! :)


May 24, 2017 — Roy Chan

Know your shoes: The Oxfords

Classy, elegant and sleek, the Oxfords are staples in men’s wardrobes. Every Oxford features closed lacing, which means that the front (or vamp, to be technical) covers the back (or the quarters). Below is a comparison of the Oxford (top) and a Derby (bottom), the latter characterized by open lacing.


Some men prefer the open-laced feature because it allows for the expansion of the upper, enabling a more comfortable fit. Nevertheless, closed-laced shoes make for a more formal pair than the open-laced, exuding elegance which instantly sharpens your suiting into a classic masterpiece. It is no wonder that they are the go-to dress shoe for formal and business events.

The Oxfords may look simple, yet its history remains a riddle. There are two opposing stories behind the emergence of Oxfords. The more popularised one is undoubtedly linked to its name; it is said to be made by students of Oxford College in the late 18th century to early 19th century, in response to the uncomfortable high-calf boots men had to wear then. The second narrative involves Oxford’s other name, the ‘Balmoral’, which is associated with the Balmoral Castle in Scotland. And as the story goes, the Oxfords originated from Scotland.

Regardless of which narrative you may think is more valid, there is no doubt that the Oxfords gained popularity from the mid-19th Century throughout Europe. Not only is it more comfortable than its predecessor, it also maintained its predecessor’s sturdiness, remaining the staple shoe of men’s wardrobe to this day.



There are variations to Oxfords. First up, we have the traditional, whole-cut Oxfords that emanates simplicity and unity. Unlike most leather shoes which are made of multiple pieces of leather, the whole-cut is only made of one. Have a look at this pair of Westminster in Tan (coming up this June)


Indeed, less is more. There are no seams nor perforations, but its lack of detail makes for a sleek pair of dress shoes that conveys luxury.

If you feel that the traditional whole-cut Oxfords are too formal, and are looking for a more jazzed-up pair, go for a pair of cap toe Oxfords, such as the Norwich in Black (top) - made with an additional piece of leather right over the toe. Another interesting pair of Oxfords we recommend is the Cambridge in Black (bottom) that plays with different textures: Pebble grain for the vamps and calf leather for the rest of the shoe. 



The Norwich is suitable for both work and business casual events. If you were to own only one pair of dress shoes that’s suitable for both work and casual events, then this is the shoe that you should get.

However, the Cambridge, with its pebble grain texture, is meant to be styled casually and not suitable in events of high formality. With regards to material, this is the rule of thumb: The smoother the leather, the more suitable it is for formal events.

Another shoe I would recommend, which is smart casual, is this pair with a medallion right on its tip – the Cavendish in Tan.


This pair of Oxfords calls for attention, with a darker shade of brown at the tip adding dimension to the shoes. Its smooth calf leather makes for a polished shoe, while its broguing allows you to make a statement without being overstated.

What style of shoes is your favourite? Comment below and tell us why! Also, feel free to tell us what kind of shoes you would like to see featured next!


May 23, 2017 — Vanessa Neo

3 Grooming Habits to Feel Your Best

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The times have changed, gone are the days when looking like a real man means looking bedraggled, unkempt and a decade-older version of yourself. We’ve come up with these 3 essential grooming habits that we feel would make a tremendous difference in the way you look and more importantly, in the way you feel.
A Good Haircut and a Neat Shave

The trick is to be a regular at your barbers. If you’re there for a haircut, be sure to make your following appointment there and then so you no longer have to procrastinate making an appointment for your next grooming session.

Getting a neat shave is easier than it looks unless of course, you’re going for the cave man look. You need just 5-10 minutes while you’re in the bathroom before heading to work. 

Try out:
Truefitt & Hill

15 Stamford Road #01-61
Singapore 178906

Pearly Whites

People notice your teeth more often than you think. Don’t waste those mesmerizing eyes over a set of teeth that hasn’t seen the dentist in months (or years). If you’re a coffee/tea lover like us, start getting into the habit of drinking your caffeine from a straw as it helps to prevent them from getting stained. 

Try out:
Pearl Drops Restore White
4D Teeth Whitening for Tea & Coffee Drinkers

Signature Scent

Your signature scent should become a subtle part of your overall presence instead of being overpowering. We feel that light and citrus-y scents works best for our summer all-year-round weather in Singapore. But always keep in mind, subtle is key.

May 16, 2017 — Roy Chan

How do I shine my shoes?

Before we get into the tips and tricks for up keeping your leather shoes, let’s talk about the basic items you’ll need and why they are important.
  • Shoe Trees: Makes the job easier as it holds your shoes in place when shining them. Not only are they useful during shoe shining, they absorb moisture from your shoes which in turn, prolongs the lifespan of your shoes!
  • Shoe Shine Brush: Helps to prepare the shoes by removing debris and dust lying on the surface of the shoes. It is also an essential tool for shoe shining.
  • Soft Cloth: Anything from an old t-shirt or special buffing cloth. Both works just as good. A soft cloth is needed as you will need to wax specific areas of the shoe evenly and thoroughly (explained below).
  • Shoe Polishes: Wax polishes will lend colour, mend scuffing and minor scratches and create shines. 
  • Few drops of water: For extra shine.
  When you have these essentials ready, it’s time to start shining!

Step 01: Ensure the shoe trees are in place and you have removed the laces on your shoes.
Step 02: Buff off excess debris and dust on the surface of the shoes using the shoe brush.


Step 03: Apply a thin and even layer of wax using the shoe brush with up and down motions. Before moving on to the next step, check that there is an even layer of wax coated on the entire shoe. You can start brushing vigorously to ensure that you have removed the excess wax, leaving on a thin film.

Step 04: Once you have an even layer of wax coating, you can start using your soft cloth to make small circular motions with a dab of wax, focused on the toe and heel of the shoe to start creating extra shine.

Step 05: When you start to see some shine peeking through, you can add a drop of water whenever you need and continue making little circular motions. Sit back as shoe shining takes time and patience, especially if you are looking for a mirror shine.

Step 06: Repeat step 5 until you are satisfied with the shine. You’re done! 

May 06, 2017 — Chan Wei Hao Roy