A Rustan's Father's Day story | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Photo by JT Fernandez

In a full-circle moment, I can now say that all the years my dad spent at Rustan’s have ultimately inspired a Father’s Day story



One of my fondest memories of my dad growing up was spending Sunday afternoons with him at the men’s department of Rustan’s in Shangri-la Mall. I spent so much time in this section that my senses were already accustomed to the familiar mix of goods I was constantly surrounded by. I knew which chairs were the most comfortable to sit on while I waited for him to try on all his clothes.  The faces of his favorite sales assistants, the smoothness of a crisp button-down shirt, the fresh leather smell of a new pair of shoes, and even the sound the floors made while he browsed the racks—these familiar yet distant sensations brought me a sense of comfort because it gave me the chance to spend time with my dad in a place he truly enjoyed himself.  

The selection at Rustan’s certainly made it easy for him to shop to his heart’s desire. His weekly shopping habit meant he took home an endless supply of fashionable pieces that were part of his signature wardrobe. No matter where he was going, he was thoughtful about the way he dressed up. He was never overly flamboyant and his clothing never attracted special attention. Though, he was certainly stylish in his own little way. He had more hangers in his closet than the rest of our family members combined. 

READ: The best onscreen dads that unknowingly raised us

Honestly, many of his clothes looked the same, but to him, they were all different. He was incredibly particular about how thick a certain kind of denim was, or how heavy a jacket felt when worn, or how big the shirt’s front pockets were (because his lighter and pack of cigarettes had to fit in just right) because he chose everything based on both form and function.

Some items were for rainy days, others for sunny beach trips. All his polos were for meetings, but there were a select few for more important occasions. My dad didn’t accessorize much, but he always completed his looks with the right pair of shoes. A family friend jokingly dubbed him “Imelda” because of how many pairs he owned. 

He had a collection of loafers in different kinds of leather. He usually bought them in neutral colors, but one day he brought home a pair of electric blue suede driving shoes from Hackett and we laughed at them for days. He even went through a phase where he started dressing younger which meant adding more sneakers to his rotation, his favorites being the ones from Lacoste. Another thing we found amusing was when his sales associate introduced him to Fitflops for men which he wore endlessly, despite not even being able to pronounce the brand correctly (he always insisted they were just ‘flipflops’). 

Something my dad appreciated the most was that Rustan’s in-house brands had so much to offer that he didn’t have to go far for whatever he needed. Because of this, he found joy in shopping for other people, too. When my brother was old enough, he took him there for all his needs, from  basic daily essentials to trying on and finding his first suit for formal occasions. 

At Christmas time, we’d spend hours going through his gift list of doctors, friends, clients, and other recipients that he had to shop for. But no matter the time of year, there was always something he could grab for a birthday, wedding, or any other special occasion.

And when it came to me having to buy gifts for my dad, I also always turned to Rustan’s as well simply because it was the easiest option. For many years, my brother and I would try to convert him to being more tech-savvy. We’d attempt to get him things like speakers, headphones, and other interesting gadgets to add to his arsenal, but ultimately he’d always revert back to his beloved menswear department. The best part was that I could just ask for a gift receipt and he could easily just exchange whatever it is we bought and get himself what he wanted (which he often just did.)

Today, these are the things and experiences that remind me the most of my dad. After he died in 2021, I found it difficult to go back to Rustan’s without him. The first time I did, I fought back tears thinking of all the new arrivals he would have loved to try on. Nowadays, I still walk through the men’s department even if I don’t actually need anything, because it makes me reminisce about how things were when he was still around. 

His wardrobe told many different stories and was a reflection of how much his life changed over the years. When he started getting sick, he lost a lot of weight, which meant he constantly had to replenish his closet with new things that would fit his changing body. He was never the type to throw things out or give them away, so when the task came for me to clean out his closet I decided to share some of his things with the people I love. As we went through the mountains of clothes he left behind I was constantly being asked “How often did your dad go shopping for him to accumulate this much stuff?” I always answered it was because we practically lived in Rustan’s and the store made it so easy for him. 

Instead of keeping my dad’s nice clothes gathering dust in storage, I am now able to see some of the people I am closest to wearing his things again. I see them as gifts he left behind and whoever these things fit best can keep them—a Cinderella moment, if you look at it that way, especially since many of his things are pricey and valuable goods that not a lot of people would normally treat themselves to. When I see them worn on random occasions, I even like to play a mental game where I guess which brand it came from and try to remember when he bought it. 

To most people, clothes are just clothes, and material things can be superficial. And while that also rings true, my dad’s wardrobe is also an indication of a life well-lived. To me, seeing his things out of the closet once again is a subtle reminder that his memory lives on in the things he used to own. And now, they get a second chance to make someone just as happy and appreciate them as much as when he was the one wearing them. 

As a kid, I never truly understood the value of these experiences I had at Rustan’s until I got older and saw how great of an impact my dad’s Sunday afternoon shopping habit had on me. I now attribute my fascination with the luxury retail industry to my dad’s love for fashion, which has eventually led me to pursue a career where I am still constantly exposed to this field. Funnily enough, I also believe that following my dad around and helping the sales associates clean up after him also taught me some valuable life skills that came in handy in all my early years as a production assistant at photoshoots. Folding clothes, carefully packing items back into their paper bags, handling delicate fabrics, and caring for premium goods, all these things I started doing for work were already things I found joy in doing because of how much I got to practice them in Rustan’s with my dad. It just goes to show that even the smallest actions can make the biggest influences if you really look closely. And in a full-circle moment, I can now say that my dad’s penchant for fashionable things and all the years he spent at Rustan’s have ultimately inspired a Father’s Day story for the store he loved the most.


Shop in a Rustan’s store near you, online 24/7 at Rustans.com or contact your favorite Rustan’s Personal Shopper On Call (09171111952).

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