My Style: Marcus Teo

Portrait of fashion stylist Marcus Teo

Photo: Courtesy of Marcus Teo

Which designer never fails to impress you?

Ralph Lauren — it’s a constant uplifting revamp of a Night at the Museum. Every season, he sheds new light on some or all of my icons: gentlemen, aviators, actors, explorers, officers, cowboys, Native Americans, skiers and surfers.

Please describe your style in three words.

Hindsight informs foresight.

What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?

Dressing in the dark.

Do you believe in role models?

I believe in role-playing.

What are your favourite fabrics?

Washed cotton oxfords and tees until the first chill. Then it’s cashmere, tweed and grey flannel.

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

No objections. Mix it up, I say.

Which city has the best-dressed men?

London leads with experimentation, Milan with sartorial flair, and New York for being a big mash up.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

A dash of both. I often want to add flash to conservative dressing and put a conservative cap on bold dressing.

What are the rules in the way you dress?

Rules are meant to be challenged. Fit, though, is an absolute. I have a tailor that fits everything to a tee. Beyond that, I dress so I can be up for anything. You never know when a day can turn from financial strategising to creative think tank to a lobster bake.

Celebrities and style...

Are rare bedfellows. PR will have you thinking otherwise, but it’s often a one-styled-wonder.

Name one garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?

Washed white cotton tees.

A man should always look like...

The best version of himself.

Who taught you what you know about style?

My grandfather taught me about the traditional rules and sense concerning dressing. My dad taught me about making my own choices. My mom taught me to try anything once and don’t look back. Beyond that, I am blessed with meeting many stylish individuals who have imparted style notions along the way.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

Depending on my mood. I make sure everything fits like it should. Apart from that, anything goes. I have tried planning what to wear the day before. I always change my mind when I am ready to get dressed.

What is your biggest regret?

None. Especially in dressing. Never missed a trend.

The three essential things a man should know about style are...

Fit is essential. Find a good tailor and make him your friend. Good grooming is a necessity. Nothing is more stylish than an attractive scent and clean skin. Confidence is fundamental. Wear everything — suits to sweatshirts, jeans to jodhpurs — with confidence. It always works.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

I shop wherever I go. I am very fond of museum stores.

We will never see you wearing...

Never say never.

The most stylish person you have ever seen...

Michael Chow. Trendy in the 70s in Nehru jackets, timeless in Hermès suits, and downright trendsetting in black socks and shorts last month at the age of 70, he is at once impeccably tasteful and irreverent.

What is the first thing you notice on a man?

His temperament. Then, his hair.

The one image that defined your approach to style...

My grandfather’s school photo in his crested blazer, bow tie and white trousers — perfectly turned out with an up-for-anything glint in his eye.

Which new designers do you follow and why?

Antonio Azzuolo, Junya Watanabe, Thom Browne, Michael Bastian, Hedi Slimane, and Raf Simons. While each of them have a different aesthetic, they adhere to a very succinct traditional style and then give it a fun and unique update.

The only article of clothing that a man needs to pay close attention to is...

Good shoes. Quality footwear can keep you looking good from the city pavements to great trails and dance floors.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

An early Helmut Lang coat, a herringbone coat and a suit from Hedi Slimane’s first Dior Homme collection, my bespoke suits made by Bruno at Alfred Dunhill, and my 21-year old Levi’s jean jacket.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

Stylish gents are never at discomfort. Fashionable folks, however, are often not at ease.

Who would you like to recommend for My Style€?

Aaron Young, Jim Nelson at GQ.

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

Potential has shelf life.

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