In this ongoing monthly series, join the editors of Lifestyle Asia as we dive deep into the proverbial closets of Hong Kong’s most well-dressed individuals. From statement footwear to indispensable wardrobe basics, we ask each month’s subject to share some of their favourite pieces with us, and give us glimmers of insight into what defines their personal style.
Few men in their twenties have the fully developed, preternaturally honed sense of self with which Arnold Wong dresses. Our May “Style Hero” — Senior Brand Manager & Buyer at Attire House — is nothing short of a fixture on the sartorial menswear circuit, having appeared in Men’s Ex, The Rake Japan and (of course) on Instagram feeds from here to Timbuktu. Years before a vanguard of new designers — Abloh and Gvasalia, to name a few — upended fashion with their “large and in charge” silhouettes, Arnold (and many of his classic menswear compatriots) were already singing the praises of a more forgiving and altogether romantic kind of proportion.
Indeed, the defining quality of Arnold’s personal style — “Bertie at the Drones Club” vibe aside — might be clothing that is generous in disposition towards its owner: whether that take the form of a canary yellow sportcoat that swells the chest and smooths the shoulder; or linen slacks full enough for even the clubfooted to go dancing in. Below, we asked Arnold to pick 10 wardrobe essentials that he’s wearing right now.
Cesare Attolini double-breasted suit (MTM)
Duke Kahanamoku rayon shirt
“I have a soft spot for textured fabrics, especially in the summer, as you will find me wearing linen almost all the time. Equally, Rayon shirts are great for the season thanks to their lightweight, soft and silky properties. When paired with a linen suit, I find the stark contrast between the rayon’s silky sheen and the creased linen to be a perfect marriage. Besides, since rayon is typically offered in a variety of colors, the possible shirt and jacket combinations are unlimited. The “Duke’s Shell” rayon shirt shown above is a reproduction by Sun Surf. The print was originally designed by Duke Kahanamoku in Hawaii in the early 1950’s.”
Borsalino felt hat
“Hats are like second skin to me. When I travel, I’m never without my trusty hat. No matter how beautifully made they are, they have to be comfortable on the road. The Borsalino fedora which I’m seen wearing here is my default travel hat. Made in rabbit felt, this material is extremely light and soft. It’s also rollable, which makes it practical as I can keep it in a tote bag or even my jacket pockets. When it comes time to use it, all I have to do is unfold and the fedora springs back into its original shape in less than three seconds.”
At Last & Co “Lot 147” jeans
“Denim plays a big role in my wardrobe. For many years, I’ve been looking for the perfect pair of jeans, which is no easy task. Finding good denim isn’t difficult — as most menswear enthusiasts know, the Japanese have taken replication of American workwear to another level. So what I’m after isn’t the technical stuff, but rather, the cut itself. Although there are a handful of excellent denim makers out there, most of what I found turned out to be relatively slim and was cut mid-rise, which isn’t really ideal. One day, I stumbled upon this pair of heavyweight denim from Japanese maker At Last & Co. Their “Lot 147″ cut is generous and features a proper high-rise and straight leg. It’s also extremely solidly made, with beautiful details throughout — exactly the way I wanted.”
Baudoin & Lange Belgian loafers
Ateliers Baudin bespoke horn glasses
“I recently commissioned a pair of spectacles bespoken for me by Ateliers Baudoin — a renowned Parisian glasses maker. It is in my view perfect, no matter how I look at it. Only with bespoke can you achieve something which sits comfortably around your nose whilst curving neatly around your ears. This is a unique commission made from water buffalo horn — the colours and natural patterns are one of a kind. Such horn glistens in the sun and has a wonderful depth to it.”
“I collect a lot of vintage ties, especially from the 30s to 50s. I find such accessories reveal much about one’s culture and heritage. To many, vintage ties look dated and hideous. To me, they are wearable works of art. They bring excitement and vitality to a boring navy/gray suit. The shape is something I like a lot: vintage ties are usually cut shorter and wider, so they rest just above my high-waisted trousers and are proportionate to the wider lapels I tend to have on my jackets. I’m also fond of their vivid colour combinations and bold patterns. My favourites are the ones with Art-Deco or abstract expressionist inspired geometric prints like what I’m wearing above.”
“Shirt jackets are a gift from God. Think about it: they help you to be presentable whilst being comfortable. They’re great in-flight, at the beach or in the open sea. There’s an understated elegance to the Teba: traditionally designed in its native Spain for hunting, they famously lack almost any construction and feature shirt sleeves, notchless lapels and a ventless back. My first couple of Teba jackets are from Justo Gimeno. They’re soft, light and get me through Hong Kong’s hot humid summers without ever looking underdressed. Given that the original design is a little too loose and boxy for my tastes, nowadays I have my own bespoke Teba design that features wider lapels and a curved gorge line.”
Vintage sterling silver cigarette case (ca. 1922) and unique Dunhill lighter (ca. 1952)