Style inspiration: Robert Smith

What can I say? I love Robert Smith of The Cure—I don’t think I’ll ever tire of their music and as far as I’m concerned, they will still sound as fresh as they were back in the 80s (totally revealing my age, here). Here’s a guy that doesn’t give a shit about what people think—and how many of us don’t want to have that mindset, honestly?

Fat Bob makes an unlikely (and perhaps undesirable to some) style icon, but looking at today’s fashion, he’s actually not too far off the mark (well, except for perhaps the hair)—and the 80s is still in, apparently. Why, I’ll never understand—some of the things I’ve seen people wear these days are still as unflattering as they were back then. 

Robert Smith by isobelo
Photo: isobelo
Robert Smith tends to wear an oversized top (anywhere from a coat, to oversized sweaters and button-downs to sports jerseys), black denim or leggings, and bulky, high-top shoes (light-colored sneakers or tennis shoes).

Let’s also not forget the bed head and red lipstick. He’s said to use MAC’s Ruby Woo, which I think is a fantastic shade even though I don’t personally wear it—it’s unfortunately too cold on someone like me.
Now, unless you’re a hardcore goth, Sean Penn, or just really like to dress up—or, let’s face it, dress terribly—I don’t think we really want to look like Robert Smith every day. What I’m after with his look is edgy and dark (cue Wooo-ing sounds), but not scary or downright frumpy. Here, some ideas for that Robert Smith look:


1. An oversize sweater in a lightweight knit (or at least, not too heavy) is perfect for those of you enjoying the fall weather (which does not exist where I live). This one from Topshop is just a touch wilder compared to the classic cardigan.

2. A classic button-down shirt is always a good thing to have in your closet. I believe in something that’s a bit more fitted, though—to lessen the bulk. I find that loose, oversized shirts work best on those who are on the small, slim side. This one from Joie is also pretty flattering, too.

3. I notice that today’s loose, oversized silhouettes seem to call for a more streamlined or tight-fitting bottom. I’m not big on leggings (for myself) but I do like the look of this pair from T by Alexander Wang.

4. If you’re averse to high-tops, boots are always a great option. I’d wear these Rag & Bone Deacon boots if a) I could afford them and b) if it wasn’t so hot here. I’d wear them anyway regardless of weather!

Speaking of which, a good pair of boots seems pretty hard to find in Manila. I have a soft spot for Doc Martens, but I still feel that might not be enough, especially if you’re after something less rugged. Sometimes you can luck upon a good pair in boutiques during the F/W season, but I’m extremely picky about shoes so I’m never happy with what I see in stores. I find that one of the best places to find interesting boots is the ukay-ukay (thrift stores carrying clothing and accessories from Japan and Korea). If you have the cash, though, you can go all out and have a pair custom made in certain shops in Cubao or in downtown Manila.

5. Red lipstick will never be out, as far as I’m concerned. Lipstick Queen is my favorite brand, which I was only able to find during a trip to Hong Kong. I love the way Sinner Red looks on me because it’s a true red—not too orangey (warm) but not too blue (cold), either. If you find matte lipsticks too heavy, Lipstick Queen has a Saint line, which offers the same shades in the Sinner line but with less pigment. Medieval is also a great alternative if you want to go with a stain.

Other great red shades can be found in Manila at NARS, Chanel, and of course, MAC. For those of you not looking to splurge, I hear good things about Revlon’s red lipstick shades, but I’ve yet to try it. My mother swears by their Just Bitten line.

Tousled, wavy hair completes the look, but I like the idea of wearing one’s hair in a tight ponytail or bun for contrast and drama.
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