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Cat Juan Ledesma’s style is bigger than her personality – it is a movement in itself. Cat’s love for thoughtfully made Philippine products led her and her friends to create Try Local PH, a community that promotes quality local finds and concepts.

In between her work as a lifestyle writer, a beauty expert, and Beacon Academy’s communication associate, she shares snippets of her travels and family adventures on her blog.

We caught up with Cat one afternoon at 190 Artists Gallery where she talked about some of her favorite brands and shared the best style advice she got from her mom.  

On personal style: “My wardrobe is mostly made up of basics with a splash of bohemian. I’m very drawn to embroidery and local textiles as well as accessories that are either layered or have stones, especially turquoise. I’m not very much of a fashionista. I’m not even going to attempt wearing a certain trend if I know it will not work for me, which is something I learned from my mom. She would always tell me that what’s important is to know what fits my style and body.”

Cat wearing an embroidered skirt from Kaayo with (1) Luneta necklace set in dark green

On what she wears on a typical day: “These days, my everyday outfit for school are often skirts and shift dresses. What I like about shift dresses is that you don’t have to think about a top and a bottom; you just pick your print for the day, put it on with your accessories and you’re out the door. I’ve also been putting a lot of statement skirts into my wardrobe lately.”

Cat wearing a skirt from Anthill Fabric Gallery with (2) Catalina bracelet set and (3) Costa hoop earrings 

On jewelry: “I used to raid my mom’s huge treasure chest filled with things she bought from her travels and her collection of costume jewelry. Now I have my own little chest and I’m slowly building my collection.”

Cat's picks (from top, left): (4) Panama tassel earrings, (5) Catalina bracelet set, (6) Costa hoop earrings, (7) crescent necklace and ball chain from Luneta necklace set, (8) Sierra beaded necklace, (9) Mariana bracelet set, (10) Rama leaf necklace and (11) Vuelta bracelet

Cat's closet is full of pieces that have a story to tell just like this canvas tote made for Danjugan Island and Emthunzini hat from South Africa 

On shoes: “I love local craftsmanship when it comes to shoes. Some of my favorite brands include Zarah Juan and Suelas. My suede mule pair from Suelas is one of my favorites. If you check out Try Local PH, you’ll see that there are so many wonderful shoe brands in the country that you can support.”

Cat wearing an emerald dress from Better Basics with (12) Mariana bracelet set, (13) Vuelta bracelet bangle and (14) Rama leaf necklace 

This embroidered pair by Zarah Juan is one of Cat's favorites

On bags: “I’m very partial to leather bags. If a bag is done well with high-quality leather, it gets better with time. Local brands that I love include Katre. They have a line called Camden, which features tourist bags made with buttery soft leather that are great for travel. I’m actually collaborating with them to create a travel bag that will hopefully be launched in December. Outside local brands, my one indulgence is the half-moon A.P.C. bag that develops a very pretty patina over time. My Cuyana leather tote is another favorite, which I’ve had for almost two years and it still looks brand-new.”

Cat is very drawn to bohemian details like the playful colors of this travel towel from By Fini and this wooden bag with leather accents by Charming Baldemor

Style tips: “Rather than purchasing new fast fashion items, buy pre-loved items instead. This way, you’re helping the environment by giving clothes more wear-time. There are a lot of stores online and you can go to my little store where I sell pre-loved clothes and bags from my closet as well as from my friends.” 

Cat wearing (15) Sierra beaded necklace and (16) Avila ring with her teal Mich Araullo dress

“One useful tip that my mom gave me is to find a good and reliable kusturera (seamstress). Buying something off-the-rack doesn’t mean you can’t alter it. A kusturera can accommodate your preferences and make your clothes fit your body better, which makes a world of difference. Cutting even just an inch from a dress will change the way it looks and the way you carry it. There might be a number of items in your closet that would benefit from that and you’ll probably find yourself wearing them more often. When you see that they fit better, you feel better as well.”

Follow Cat on Instagram: @catjuanledesma

Photography by Sheila Catilo (@sheilacatilo)

Shot on location at 190 Artists Gallery (@190artistsgallery)



(1) and (7) Luneta necklace set in dark green

(2) and (5) Catalina bracelet set

(3) and (6) Costa hoop earrings - coming soon to Lanai 

4) Panama tassel earrings - coming soon

(8) and (15) Sierra beaded necklace - coming soon

(9) and (12) Mariana bracelet set

(10) and (14) Rama leaf necklace

(11) and (13) Vuelta bracelet

(16) Avila ring 

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