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Men The Don Of The Jacket: Suiting Up With Ong Chin Huat

The Don Of The Jacket: Suiting Up With Ong Chin Huat

Ong Chin Huat is all about the shape and outline a suit makes on a man's silhouette
By Jessica Liew
January 10, 2019
The multi-hyphenated, man-about-town gives us a course in menswear styling and verifies the necessity for tailored suits.

Ong Chin Huat is not your average, decorated charmer. His acumen is as sharp as his every-day outfit: impeccable, smart and meticulously put together. His eye for fashion has secured him the accolade of celebrated stylist, for a man of already many hats, including writer and TV host. The affable former social editor for Hong Kong Tatler owns an air of sophistication and worldly attitude to match an eclectic wardrobe collection. In his style bible, the rule of thumb is to own a tailored jacket. “A jacket hides a multitude of sins. Even if you don’t have a perfect body, it gives you a shape, a silhouette,” he declares, before initiating us into his style secrets.

See also: How 8 Debonair Gents Modernise Their Classic Black Tie Looks

1/7 Tell us about your must-have: The jacket.

Chin Huat styles a Dent De Man patterned jacket with a turtle neck (Photo: Khairul Imran)
Chin Huat styles a Dent De Man patterned jacket with a turtle neck (Photo: Khairul Imran)

Formal doesn’t have to be a suit – I can wear khaki pants or jeans with a jacket, it is my number one item. If you have a good tailor and the jacket is cut well, you’ll look dressed immediately. For me a silhouette is very important; the outline of the body. I have 2 very good tailors in Hong Kong. I have ready-to-wear too. At one time in the 90s, I owned a lot of Giorgio Armani.

2/7 What are your top 3 wardrobe essentials?

Piaget timepieces - Watches are a must-have accessory (Photo: Khairul Imran)
Piaget timepieces - Watches are a must-have accessory (Photo: Khairul Imran)

I wear a watch, out of habit. A belt – even with jeans, I need the silhouette. Then of course, a bag.

3/7 Favourite movers and shakers in fashion?

Chin Huat was inspired by Oscar Wilde to create this look of a velvet jacket, brooch, cravat neckband, and patterned trousers (Photo: Khairul Imran)
Chin Huat was inspired by Oscar Wilde to create this look of a velvet jacket, brooch, cravat neckband, and patterned trousers (Photo: Khairul Imran)

Prada, and Tom Ford – I love what he’s doing with menswear, and Celine is very structured.

My style icons would be Gary Grant and the British model David Gandy.

See also: Dapper Instagram Influencers Who Are 10 Out Of 10

4/7 Thoughts on menswear, then vs. now?

Sequinned Zara jacket (Photo: Khairul Imran)
Sequinned Zara jacket (Photo: Khairul Imran)

With high street brands and retailers like Zara and Asos, people can afford to dress much better now. In my London days, there were designer shops on South Molton Street, there wasn’t really a middle market. Now, brands follow higher fashion standards and make it available to the masses.

5/7 Your all-time style motto?

Family heirloom cocktail ring and cufflinks (Photo: Khairul Imran)
Family heirloom cocktail ring and cufflinks (Photo: Khairul Imran)

Clothes may make you look good on the outside, but how good you feel comes from the inside. My definition of style is to look good, dress well, and be well-groomed. But that is only one-fifth of true style, Style is also how you live. Style and elegance is how you behave and react at what life throws at you.

See also: Stylish Malaysian Men On Instagram The World Can’t Get Enough Of

6/7 What are your style hacks for guys?

"Formal doesn’t have to be a suit – I can wear khaki pants or jeans with a jacket, it is my number one item." (Photo: Khairul Imran)
"Formal doesn’t have to be a suit – I can wear khaki pants or jeans with a jacket, it is my number one item." (Photo: Khairul Imran)

Find a good tailor. The backbone of a good wardrobe is a good suit. You can dress up and rock an old vintage t-shirt underneath. A pair of good jeans, because you can’t be in suit all the time. It can be ripped jeans but make it a designer rip.

7/7 Describe your joy in dressing up

Chin Huat pairs a sequinned Zara jacket and a Zara vintage t-shirt for a dressier casual look. Slacks and gold sequinned Soludos espadrilles complete the outfit. (Photo: Khairul Imran)
Chin Huat pairs a sequinned Zara jacket and a Zara vintage t-shirt for a dressier casual look. Slacks and gold sequinned Soludos espadrilles complete the outfit. (Photo: Khairul Imran)

It’s like putting on an armour. When I dress up I feel like a medieval warriors, I put on layer after layer. Dressing well gives me confidence. When I’m well turned-out and well-groomed, not just well-dressed, I’m super confident and I can give my best to people.  

  • Art Direction Syahlia Sari
  • Location Super Saigon, Ampang
  • Photography Khairul Imran

Tags

Men Menswear Styling Tips Suits Style File formal wear

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