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Singapore’s best-dressed gentlemen on personal style

For one gentleman, it started with Richard Gere’s suits in Pretty Woman.

Benjamin Kim, fighter pilot

benjamin kim serene tan

Benjamin Kim with his wife Serene Tan

I think I am bipolar when it comes to dressing. I like serious and formal suits, but I also love suits that are slightly outrageous. It really boils down to the nature of the event I’m attending and my mood. My style developed insidiously from Hollywood movies. The first time I remember consciously noticing a gentleman’s suit was Richard Gere in Pretty Woman. He wore custom-made suits from Cerutti. Then came Daniel Craig’s Bond in Tom Fords. Clean, simple lines and solid colours. That to me, is essential. The outrageous element was the result of my wife thinking I had 40 of the exact same suit, even though they looked different to me. They were solid, pin striped, chalk striped, notched lapel, peak lapel, shawl lapel, single breasted, double breasted, navy blue, royal blue, black, dark gray and so on, but she said no one could tell the difference.

I do both online and offline shopping. The boutiques are nice because I get to try on the suit, but they don’t always have the style or size that I’m looking for, hence whoever has it in stock prevails! Fortunately for me, an off the rack Dolce suit fits like su misura. That makes things a lot simpler.

My two go-to brands are Ermenegildo Zegna and Dolce & Gabbana. For the more formal look, I go with Ermenegildo Zegna’s Couture XXX range of suits. Hand stitched using only premium materials, their suits represent the epitome of quality and fine craftsmanship, bar none. In them, I feel I can achieve the clean, smart, simple look that I so desire. Dolce & Gabbana suits have a sense of cheekiness. I am more selective here and stay away from the insanely flamboyant, picking those which to me are perhaps just a little more daring and thus an extension of my personality.

(Related: Ermenegildo Zegna’s new Marina Bay Sands boutique hosts launch of XXX collection)

Gilbert Madhavan, GM One Farrer Hotel & Spa

Gilbert Madhavan

Gilbert Madhavan

I am not a big follower of fashion trends, so I keep my personal style to three basic fundamentals – well-cut, good fabric with interesting prints or design that makes a difference in a tasteful way, not just for the sake of being different. I have to admit that over the years, my sense of style has taken a more adventurous path especially with more colourful and at times “playful” outfits due to the influence and encouragement of my wife.

I shop both online and offline. For online, it is mainly from Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus as my wife has a personal shopper assigned to her by these respective platforms. She gets VIP preference so she gets to pick the latest offerings for me before it goes out to the general market. I also do offline shopping as I enjoy looking at the outfit, feeling it, touching it and trying it on to ensure that it fits and looks good before making the purchase.

I wear many different brands but have a soft spot for the following which takes up much of the wardrobe space in my walk-in closet.

Dolce & Gabbana – I love their interesting prints and well fitted suits.

Versace – Very unique suits and shirt designs.

Issey Miyake – For their colourful, and “playful” outfits.

Roberto Cavalli – Interesting prints and well-cut suits.

Dsquared 2 – Interesting designs and quality fabrics.

Alexander McQueen – Always something different.

Tom Ford – Well-cut suits.

Etro – Colourful shirts.

Hermes – Interesting casual shirts.

I usually embark on an annual “pilgrimage” with my wife to Milan or New York to shop for the year. At times I do bespoke suits from Tom Ford in Singapore. My shoes are mainly from Giuseppe Zanotti, Christian Louboutin or Jimmy Choo. My wife tells me that I look better from the neck down, and I fully agree with her, so it gives me a great excuse to shop even more.

For me, it’s always important to have a well-cut black suit and a good pair of black shoes handy. Matched with slacks or jeans, over a shirt or T-shirt, it can generally take me through any occasion unless it is a big formal event.

(Related: Stylish men at The Peak | Adrian Tan, founder of Ad Planet: I have gone to meetings in pink jeans)

Mervin Wee, creative and managing director of Jean Yip Group

Mervin wee with his daughter Cheryl Wee and son-in-law Roy Fong

Mervin Wee with his daughter Cheryl Wee and son-in-law Roy Fong. Photo: Instagram/@weecheryl

My personal style is loose and relaxed combined with irregular lines and shapes. I developed it at a young age, since about the age of 12. I was influenced by blues music.

I shop from boutiques that I come across, not online. I need to feel the material and see the fall of the outfits.

The brands I turn to are Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Commes Des Garcons and Craig Green. In Singapore, I would shop at Club 21, but I also buy from Tokyo, Milan and London.

There are no style shortcuts for me, as I’m particular on the feel and fall of the outfits.

(Related: Stylish men at The Peak | Marcus Chew, chief marketing officer of NTUC Income: I have more than a hundred pairs of sneakers)

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