Baguio’s shopping gem

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Sunday, August 31, 2014


IT OPENED its doors to the stylish residents of Baguio in 1997. Seventeen years old now, it has grown from its humble beginnings and it looks like it’s here to stay.

“We started with just one glass stand in my mother-in-law’s thrift shop in Patria de Baguio,” Mary Ann Navarette, wife to Francis (brother of Sun.Star columnist Karen Anton), told Sun.Star Baguio.

The thrift shop, which sold home decors, was already named “Trinity” and the couple decided to carry the name even when the thrift shop closed.

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Fresh from graduating from college and full of passion for fashion, the couple started selling shoes, clothes and bags starting with a capital of P300,000, a huge amount to gamble with during those times.

It is safe to assume sales were good since Mary Ann shared return of investment only took a year.

When asked what was the first item they sold, she answered, “SHOES!”
Ah, shoes. The subject of women’s (fashion conscious or not) fantasies – a closet full of shoes to give Imelda Marcos a run for her money.

But that’s just it. Trinity is not just for the fashion-conscious as stressed by the better half of the couple who dreamed this boutique into fruition.

Trinity carries a lot of brands, some designer, some retail and some totally unknown to me, but always with the brand of quality and high-end taste I have long associated with this store when I was first able to buy a dress from them.

And Trinity is also a testament to the saying, “Fashion need not be pricey.”

Indeed. Trinity, right from the start, already adopted the policy of a layaway plan, payable within a month.

“We noticed a lot of our clients were students. And since they only rely on their allowances, we thought the layaway plan will suit them,” Mary Ann shared.

And how has this helped Trinity in terms of a loyal following? “We have clients who come up here to Baguio from surrounding provinces. The layaway plan works for them.”

Trinity requires for a downpayment on the item you wish to reserve and the item may only be claimed upon full payment and so this plan works for the store as well.

If you’re expecting to find the biggest trends in fashion in this store, leave those expectations at the door.

“We’re not too big on trends here. I opt for the more classic, timeless pieces,” Mary Ann stressed. “But you could find a piece or two which appeals to the more trend-seeking customer.”

One look at this stylish woman and you will be inclined to believe her.
And her merchandise speaks for itself. Not to mention better suited to Baguio weather.

Stylish knitted sweaters and jackets, both for men and women, are always in stock in Trinity.

You’ll also find the classier cut of men’s pants in store. Meaning, none of those really skimming men’s pants which a lot of retail stores are inclined to carry.

Women, on the other hand, will probably find themselves drawn to the dresses which calls for your sweet and yet fierce side, drawing on the confidence one so needs to pull off any outfit.

“Confidence is key,” Mary Ann said.

“You may have nice clothes on but without confidence, it will be lost. Asa pagdadala din yan. Sometimes we tend to sacrifice comfort for fashion. But this should not be,” she said.

This as she highlighted the importance of wearing clothes that actually fit you.

“Embrace your size. When you’re uncomfortable with what you’re wearing, it will show and people will know,” she advised. Is style inborn or learned?

“It could be learned if you really have a passion for it,” she said.
Is dressing up a form of vanity?

“No!”

She attributes faith in God, hard work, time management and a competent staff as the secrets to Trinity’s success.

“You got to prepare to make some sacrifices as well if you truly want to succeed in business,” Mary Ann said.

Trinity, most certainly, gives a whole new meaning to "dressed for success."

The Iron Maiden's take

My late Pops Willy, who practiced during the Golden Era of journalism in Baguio, lived at a time when they need not be reminded of dress codes. They covered their beats in their coats.

He could don a pair of denim pants but always with a coat. A light cardigan during the summers. No rubber sandals.

My mother, on the other hand, could have passed as a model during her younger years given her penchant for fashion. This, I believe, she got from my grandmother Natividad, who had stylish clothes as well. At least stylish for their time.

And so this is the kind of atmosphere I grew up in. To me and my Ate Cherry dressing well is a form of good manners.

I also agree with Mary Ann when she said being stylish doesn't need to break the bank. My father was a bargain hunter. My mom, my older sister and I go straight for the clearance racks in our favorite Loft outlets.
But I still believe in investing in a few expensive pieces which will last you a lifetime.

My basics?

A good watch. A good pair of sunnies (shades to us Filipinos). A good leather tote bag. A go to blazer. The little black dress. The little white dress. Ballet flats.

And remember, good hygiene.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 01, 2014.

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