My Wardrobe

Comfort over trends

ST PHOTOS: NIVASH JOYVIN
ST PHOTOS: NIVASH JOYVIN

Freelance photographer Marc Tan wears whatever suits the weather

Q & A

Mr Marc Tan, 27, engaged, freelance fashion, architecture and interior design photographer

How would you describe your style?

Casual and comfortable - whatever I put on for the day would have to suit the climate I'm in. In Singapore, I usually wear a plain T-shirt, which I layer with a long-sleeved shirt as a light jacket and a pair of loose chino pants. I don't wear tops that are made of linen because I want to avoid that bohemian, tropical look, which I think is corny.

When did your interest in fashion start?

Towards the end of primary school, a friend who skated introduced me to local skate and sneaker stores. At a time when most people under 15 were being dressed by their parents in mainstream brands such as G2000, the realisation that there was an alternative culture was very appealing. Inspired, my go-to outfits would consist of T-shirts from skate brand Spitfire Wheels, very baggy chino pants or shorts and either Nike Air Force 1 or Adidas Forum sneakers.


Mr Marc Tan likes to wear oversized T-shirts, Dickies pants and sneakers. ST PHOTOS: NIVASH JOYVIN

I still wear oversized T-shirts and Dickies pants and sneakers, only now I pair them with jackets, Oxford shirts or a parka.

Who are your favourite designers and your go-to brands?

New York-based menswear brand Engineered Garments, American clothing brand Dickies and apparel and shoe brand Vans because they are not trendy or overly hyped.

Who are your style icons?

Daiki Suzuki (the Japanese-born American fashion designer of Engineered Garments) and British fashion designer Margaret Howell. They have practical wardrobes that are fitting for their seemingly relaxed and balanced lifestyles - Suzuki wears a lot of loose, olivegreen chinos, while Howell wears pants and loose, white tailored shirts and plain black sweaters.

What are your favourite pieces in your wardrobe?

I like my Bedford jacket from Engineered Garments (photo 1) because it is versatile and can be worn with almost anything.

I also like my New Balance 990 shoes (photo 2). They look like "grandpa shoes", but they are the most comfortable pair I own.

I like my blue T-shirt from New York streetwear brand Supreme (photo 3) with its logo embroidered on it because of the thicker material and how smooth it feels. Plus, the fit is perfect on me. A thicker tee holds its form better.

My pants from Dickies (photo 4) - which I have in three colours: grey, khaki and olive. I've almost completely given up on wearing denim in Singapore because the weather is too warm and humid for it. Dickies' pants, which are made of cotton, are more breathable and hardy. They also hold their shape well and are not as expensive.

There is also my "Arnel" spectacles from American brand Tart Optical (photo 5). I like their retro look.

Lastly, my Marine Master dive watch from Seiko (photo 6). It looks chunky, but not when it is on my wrist. I like that it is hardy. It's my everyday watch.

What are your weaknesses when it comes to shopping?

I am drawn to plain white tees because I can never have enough of them. I like how fresh a white tee can make me look, especially when it is new. Vintage dive watches and eyewear are also my weaknesses. For watches, I must like the history behind them and their design. Eyewear has to fit me well and also feel comfortable.

What is your favourite splurge piece?

My navy leather Perfecto jacket from American leather jacket company Schott (photo 7), which I bought at its Tokyo store. It costs more than $1,000 and is something I've always wanted as I prefer a blue or navy leather jacket to one that is black.

It has quality and heritage - Schott has been operating since 1913 and its Perfecto jacket is one of its most iconic pieces.

Is there a purchase you have regretted?

I regret buying Visvim FBT shoes, which look like high-top moccasins with white soles. I wore them for about three months before the soles started to peel off. That felt a little painful, especially since I paid between $400 and $500 for them.

What is your most recent fashion purchase?

A light grey hoodie from a collaboration between Japanese brand Beams and Popeye magazine (photo 8), a Japanese fashion publication for men. I remember it cost just over $100 and I bought it when I was in Japan last November. I love it and wear it whenever the weather permits me to.

What is the best shopping or style advice you live by?

Never buy into fast fashion, don't follow trends, and dress practically.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2017, with the headline 'Comfort over trends'. Print Edition | Subscribe