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Style struck: The Straits Times' best dressed list

Here are 10 stylish individuals with a knack for putting together looks that make them stand out from the crowd

Ms Melody Tan, 23
Unemployed, single

How would you describe your style?

Luxe bohemian.

Which are your favourite brands or designers?

I love Australian label Zimmermann and French brands Chloe and Isabel Marant for their timeless pieces.

Who are your style icons?

I love Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, who design for their high-end American label The Row. They're such empowering women who have worked hard to build their business empire and their styles are effortless and ahead of the time - no trends or must-haves of the season.


Ms Melody Tan in a dress from Self-Portrait with a vintage bag. PHOTO: COURTESY OF MELODY TAN

What style rules do you live by?

I always try to be a little casual. Even if I'm in a fancy dress, my hair will be a little undone or I'll wear sneakers. I don't like being too overdressed.

What is the craziest thing you have worn?

Perhaps my princess tulle dress from the Lanvin x H&M 2011 collection. It isn't super crazy, but it is very poofy. I posed in it for photos around a neighbourhood estate in Singapore.

What would you never be caught dead in?

Tracksuits or hip-hop gear. They're just not me.

What is your earliest fashion memory?

When I was a toddler, dressing my Barbie dolls and pretending that they were me.

What is the most you would spend on a fashion item?

Up to $7,000 on a bag - probably a good, classic staple that will withstand time.

What is the fall-back item in your wardrobe for lazy days?

A simple, white flowy dress - or denim shorts or jeans with a peasant top and sandals - accessorised with a straw clutch or bag.


Ms Dawn Koh in a T-shirt from Acne Studios, vintage Levi's jeans and a hat, jacket and shoes from Gucci. Her bag is from Hermes.
Ms Dawn Koh in a T-shirt from Acne Studios, vintage Levi's jeans and a hat, jacket and shoes from Gucci. Her bag is from Hermes. PHOTO: COURTESY OF DAWN KOH

Ms Dawn Koh, 28
Co-owner of cake company Chalk Farm, single

How would you describe your style?

Eclectic. I like experimenting with different materials and textures. However, comfort is paramount. 

Which are your favourite brands or designers?

Italian labels Prada and Gucci, Swedish brand Acne Studios, French label Saint Laurent, American fashion designer Thom Browne and Japanese men's brand Visvim. These brands define my style and each has its own DNA that appeals to me. 

Prada does quirky and unusual prints that I adore. I like Gucci for its use of embellishments and playfulness shown through colour and texture.

Who are your style icons?

The late American actor James Dean. He had a way of transforming the simplest outfits into looks that were sought after by both men and women. I also adore actress Kristen Stewart for her playfulness and the fact that she is such a chameleon. 

What style rules do you live by?

Do not follow fashion trends for the sake of it. 

What is the craziest thing you have worn?

A leather trench coat from British brand Burberry Prorsum. It was fully embellished with studs and weighed almost 10kg. My mother got it for me and I loved it.

What would you never be caught dead in?

Imitation products. I respect brand integrity. 

What is your earliest fashion memory?

My mother used to dress me up when I was young, in outfits such as a cute little dress with Dr Martens boots. She has a wonderful and elegant style and that has inspired me to find my own.  

What is the most you would spend on a fashion item?

It depends on the collection for the season. If something appeals to me, I could spend more than $4,000 on it. 

What is the fall-back item in your wardrobe for lazy days?

Skinny jeans or boyfriend jeans paired with a white cotton or denim shirt.



Mr Christopher Lin in a wool and linen sportscoat made by a friend, linen pants made by another friend, a tie by Vanda Fine Clothing, shirt by Lusso Tailors and shoes from Gaziano & Girling. His bag is from Bole Tannery. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

Mr Christopher Lin, 30
Civil servant, single

How would you describe your style?

I don't think I'm wedded to a single style. I believe in dressing for the occasion.

Which are your favourite brands or designers?

London tailor Whitcomb & Shaftesbury has made 60 per cent of my jackets. I have seven from the label. I wear them a couple of times a week to the office. I studied law at the London School of Economics and Political Science and was fascinated by the illustrious history of London's Savile Row and the science and maths that go into cutting and shaping cloth.

Who are your style icons?

I like how the late American actor Buster Keaton took classic styles and added a certain amount of eccentricity to them. I also like how the late Duke of Windsor dared to buck the trend in his day, such as pairing his navy suit with brown shoes and having his trousers cuffed. 

What style rules do you live by?

Never wear a black suit unless it's to a black-tie dinner or a funeral. I think it is appropriate to distinguish between business suits and a mourning outfit. Similar to how I would not wear gym clothes to work.

What is the craziest thing you have worn?

Baggy JNCO jeans so large they swept the floor every time I walked.

What would you never be caught dead in?

I draw the line at wearing skirts.

What is your earliest fashion memory?

When I was in secondary school and had to stretch my allowance, I found home-based tailors who would make shirts for me for about $40. I used to get a rush seeing an idea metamorphosise into something I could touch. 

What is the most you would spend on a fashion item?

Not more than a couple of hundred dollars.

What is the fall-back item in your wardrobe for lazy days?

A T-shirt, khaki shorts and driving shoes.



Ms Samantha Cheok in a top from pinkbypink, jacket and shorts from South Korea, clutch by Faure Le Page and heels from Sam Edelman. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Ms Samantha Cheok, 27
Senior public relations executive for a luxury fashion brand, in a relationship

How would you describe your style?

Ladylike, feminine and sophisticated casual chic.

Which are your favourite brands or designers?

French luxury brands Dior and Chanel for their rich heritage and classic feminine designs and Italian luxury fashion house Valentino for its ethereal, dreamy gowns.

Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons for his ingenious marriage of art and couture in projects he takes on, whether art, design, fashion or streetwear. I admire his dedication and passion.

Who are your style icons?

Twins Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, the founders of high-end American label The Row. I have been a fan since I was in primary school. They are so original and I love that they never follow trends.

American socialite Olivia Palermo for her polished, casual chic outfits and the Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton because she is elegant and timeless. She knows what looks good on her and is not afraid to colour coordinate.

What style rules do you live by?

Dress for yourself and not for others. I love dressing up and, even if everyone around me is in slacks, I will be dressed to the nines as long as it makes me happy.

What is the craziest thing you have worn?

A tube dress made of patterned kitchen drawer lining and bubble wrap with peacock feathers along the hem. My best friend and I made it for a fashion design competition organised by the National Environment Agency in secondary school - we won first prize.

What would you never be caught dead in?

Real fur. Even though it keeps you warm in cold weather, I do not like the idea that I am wearing an animal.

What is your earliest fashion memory?

Playing dress-up with my childhood friend during our play dates - I think I was five or six years old. My friend had a trunk filled with gowns, shoes and accessories and we would always imagine ourselves as princesses or brides.

What is the most you would spend on a fashion item?

Up to $6,000 and on only designer bags or shoes because of the workmanship and quality. You don't have to spend a fortune on clothes to look good - it's all about piecing items together to create a look.

What is the fall-back item in your wardrobe for lazy days?

A fuss-free and timeless outfit of a white T-shirt and fitted ankle jeans, or a printed maxi dress.


Mr Jonathan Chia in Yohji Yamamoto Pour Homme.
Mr Jonathan Chia in Yohji Yamamoto Pour Homme. PHOTO: COURTESY OF JONATHAN CHIA

Mr Jonathan Chia, 49
Creative editor of curated fashion e-commerce website thesalvages.com (launching next month), in a relationship

How would you describe your style?

I like loose-fitting outfits with clean silhouettes that have a bit of movement when I walk. I like clothes I can feel at ease in.

Which are your favourite brands or designers?

I usually wear just Yohji Yamamoto. I think the Japanese designer's clothes complement my style the most. Though I do sometimes buy other brands, such as Japanese label Needles, if they match my aesthetic.

Who are your style icons?

I like the aesthetic that Yamamoto has created. I like his subtle yet bold use of colour and floral patterns.

What style rules do you live by?

None really. I think once you have evolved a certain look, it is difficult to have rules. My look is roughly always the same. But I would say that people should not be afraid to try new things. I admire those who wear what they want regardless of what others think.

What is the craziest thing you have worn?

I do not think I would describe anything I've worn as crazy. I think some people already think my dressing is different but, to me, it is normal.

What would you never be caught dead in?

Crocs shoes and skinny jeans. I think I would be very uncomfortable.

What is your earliest fashion memory?

I first wore a piece by Yohji Yamamoto about 20 years ago and that was when I thought, "Wow, this designer is something special".

What is the most you would spend on a fashion item?

From $2,000 to $2,500 for a jacket.

What is the fall-back item in your wardrobe for lazy days?

A long-sleeved white shirt and a pair of Yohji Yamamoto hakamastyle (a type of traditional Japanese clothing) pants.



Mr Furqan Saini in a jacket from Mihara Yasuhiro, jeans from Ksubi, top from Calvin Klein and shoes from Gucci. ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

Mr Furqan Saini, 35
Fashion director/consultant, single

How would you describe your style?

I would say it's street-style mixed with high end, modern Japanese, French urban sophistication and a nonchalant attitude. I travel a lot for work so I have a lot of outer layers for colder climates.

Which are your favourite brands or designers?

Dutch fashion designer Lucas Ossendrijver for French label Lanvin, for the way he cuts his jackets and outerwear - very modern. British menswear designer Craig Green for his quilted jackets, streams of fabric and use of slits and cuts in jackets and pants. Retired Belgian fashion designer Martin Margiela because his clothes marry expert tailoring with deconstruction techniques; and Japanese fashion designer Mihara Yasuhiro - his designs are unique without going off-kilter crazy.

Who are your style icons?

I don't have a style icon, but if it had to be someone, it would be French-Swiss actor and businessman Alain Delon. Classic and cool never looked so good.

What style rules do you live by?

Dress for the weather and the occasion and dial it up a notch.

What is the craziest thing you have worn?

It would probably be a printed, quilted coat by Danish fashion designer Henrik Vibskov, which I wore last winter in Tokyo. It kept me warm, but made me look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the Ghostbusters franchise.

What would you never be caught dead in?

The three Ss: singlets, shorts and slippers. I know we live in a warm climate, but dressing up a little makes me happy.

What is your earliest fashion memory?

Watching fashion programmes by New York production company Videofashion and Canadian television series Fashion File at 10 years old and remembering how amazing the runways looked. I remember the early runways of French designer Jean Paul Gaultier and British designer John Galliano.

What is the most you would spend on a fashion item?

Too much.

What is the fall-back item in your wardrobe for lazy days?

My go-to would be a baggy shirt and baggy pants, with trainers, sunglasses and a big bag for my stuff. I'm lucky that my job doesn't have a corporate dress code and I get to express myself.



Mr Hosan Swee in a tailored shirt, suit by In Personam Custom Clothiers and monkstrap shoes by Carmina. ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

Mr Hosan Swee, 27
Works in real estate, in a relationship

How would you describe your style?

Classic menswear, street-style, or a mix of both.

Which are your favourite brands or designers?

Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons, French label Dior Homme during the era of French-Tunisian designer Hedi Slimane, and Japanese fashion brand Undercover. I like their boyish aesthetic.

Who are your style icons?

Italian entrepreneur Lapo Elkann, who is a descendant of Fiat Automobiles founder Giovanni Agnelli. I like the way he wears his clothes in an effortless manner.

What style rules do you live by?

Alter your clothes if they don't fit properly; it is better to be overdressed than underdressed; and be confident in what you're wearing and who you are - do not let what others say affect your confidence.

What is the craziest thing you have worn?

My fortune cat printed shirt and pants which I wore one Chinese New Year. I still wear them separately once in a while.

What would you never be caught dead in?

Vibram FiveFingers shoes (from Italian footwear company Vibram). They look disturbing.

What is your earliest fashion memory?

My dad dressing me up and teaching me how to tie a tie for school when I was 12 or 13 years old.

What is the most you would spend on a fashion item?

I'm not comfortable sharing because I don't want to give people the wrong impression.

What is the fall-back item in your wardrobe for lazy days?

A plain T-shirt or a white shirt, slim-cut indigo jeans and brown loafers. You can't go wrong with this combination.



Ms Cherie Ko in a romper from Playhound by Greyhound, handmade egg earrings from a friend, beret from a thrift store in Melbourne, socks from Cos and Dr Martens boots. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

Ms Cherie Ko, 25
Lead guitarist of indie rock band Obedient Wives Club, single

How would you describe your style?

An eclectic mish-mash of colour, with offbeat vintage pieces.

Which are your favourite brands or designers?

I appreciate British label Meadham Kirchhoff's work as its clothes are exhibitionistic, rebellious and quirky - me in a nutshell. (The brand was dissolved last year.)

But I usually buy clothes only when I'm travelling because I feel the clothing stores here are too mass-market and commercial and, even then, I gravitate towards second-hand or vintage pieces, which I buy from thrift stores or websites such as eBay and Etsy.

Who are your style icons?

Karen O of American indie rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs. She's so fiercely wacky and unapologetic.

What style rules do you live by?

Forget the fashion rules and dress as you please. Wear your clothes and don't let your clothes wear you.

What is the craziest thing you have worn?

A green and purple polka-dot tube dress with green stockings and sparkly golden shoes, which I wore for a performance. I think I looked like a walking eggplant.

What would you never be caught dead in?

Office attire, like a white blouse with tailored pants and dress shoes. If I have to get a desk job and wear that outfit, a part of my soul would wither away.

What is your earliest fashion memory?

When I was 14 years old and started taking charge of my style. I bought a wardrobe full of surf shorts from American swimwear brand Roxy and T-shirts from Threadless (an American fashion website which prints usersubmitted illustrations on T-shirts).

All the cool kids wore surf shorts then, and when you're an impressionable young kid, you just want to blend in with the cool crowd.

What is the most you would spend on a fashion item?

Two hundred dollars, which I have spent on a leather jacket.

What is the fall-back item in your wardrobe for lazy days?

Baggy band T-shirts because they are ratty, old and comfortable. I have about 20, which I acquired over the years from attending gigs and music festivals. Each one has a special memory linked to it.


Mr Larry Peh in a shirt and jeans from Faculty, Converse Addict Japan shoes and a jacket from Undercover.
Mr Larry Peh in a shirt and jeans from Faculty, Converse Addict Japan shoes and a jacket from Undercover. PHOTO: MATTHIAS HO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Mr Larry Peh, 38
Creative director and founder of design studio &Larry and creative director of menswear brand Faculty, married with two children

How would you describe your style?

I wear what I like and feel comfortable in, with a serious consideration for the climate of the place I'm in.

Who are your favourite designers?

Austrian former fashion designer Helmut Lang because he didn't need to shout to stand out and Japanese designer Mihara Yasuhiro for making one re-examine the familiar.

Who are your style icons?

Late American actor James Dean for being a rebel in his denim jeans and Converse shoes and late English singer-songwriter David Bowie because he was fearless and peerless.

What style rules do you live by?

You can be creative, but don't be an eyesore.

What is the craziest thing you have worn?

American designer Rick Owens' extremely long T-shirts. I don't have the height (he is 1.75m-tall) and they probably suit tall and slim men with a swagger better.

What would you never be caught dead in?

Singlets. I think wearing a singlet would be an eyesore if you don't look like a Calvin Klein underwear model.

What is your earliest fashion memory?

From primary school, when Ray-Ban sunglasses were a must have for every outing to the zoo.

What is the most you would spend on a fashion item?

Generally, nothing more than $2,000. I did go beyond that limit once, when I bought a lambskin leather jacket from Japanese brand Undercover, but that was the first and last time.

What is the fall-back item in your wardrobe for lazy days?

T-shirts, bermudas and slip-on shoes because they're perfect for our weather. But I must stress that the T-shirts and bermudas must be decent enough to go to town in - not like those which I wear when I head out to buy chicken rice.



Ms Trishna Goklani in a bralet from Zara, dress from Pomelo and sneakers from Rubi. ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

Ms Trishna Goklani, 22
Waiting to start her undergraduate studies in Fashion Journalism at the London College of Fashion in September, in a relationship

How would you describe your style?

Classy but pretty laidback. I'm the kind of girl who would choose sneakers over heels.

Which are your favourite brands or designers?

I've always loved French label Celine and Irish fashion designer J.W. Anderson, whose runway looks are always on point. I love going through their runway looks and getting inspiration from them.

Who are your style icons?

Singer-songwriter Rihanna and Vancouver-based blogger Vanessa Hong.

Their effortless styles come off as tomboy-ish, but still have a touch of femininity and class. I like how Rihanna can wear jeans and a T-shirt and still look so streetstyle-worthy.

What style rules do you live by?

Don't take yourself too seriously. Have fun with what you wear and don't wear anything that's not you.

What is the craziest thing you have worn?

For Halloween, I dressed up as the character Disgust from the Disney movie Inside Out (2015). I had purple eyeshadow and green lashes on and wore a bright green skirt with a purple scarf. That was the only time one would see so many colours on me.

What would you never be caught dead in?

The basic "fit and flare" floral dress that everyone seemed to wear a while back. It isn't flattering on me.

What is your earliest fashion memory?

When I was a teenager, I'd look forward to going to flea markets every weekend and spending my allowance on clothes. That was one of the ways I experimented with my style and figured out what suited me best.

What is the most you would spend on a fashion item?

About $3,000. It would be on a branded bag, from French labels Celine or Chanel. I promised myself I'd buy one when I feel I'm successful enough - if not, I don't deserve it.

What is the fall-back item in your wardrobe for lazy days?

Ripped jeans and slide sandals for sure.

An earlier version of the story stated that Ms Cherie Koh is the lead vocalist and guitarist of Obedient Wives Club instead of lead guitarist. This has been corrected. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2016, with the headline 'Style struck'. Print Edition | Subscribe