Baby, you make me look good

Five couples show STACEY CHIA and LESLIE KAY LIM how a stylish partner may just be the best fashion accessory

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Chief executive of Prudential Malaysia Philip Seah, 59, and housewife Christine Chan, 54. The couple have been married for 31 years and have four children aged 19 to 30.

How and when did you meet?

PS: On a flight to Hong Kong when we were both flight attendants with Singapore Airlines in the 1970s. I was attracted to her short hair, which I thought was funky, as well as her firm handshake.

CC: He was quite persistent and asked me out for a meal several times during that trip, so I obliged and we went out for porridge.

What do you like about your partner's style?

PS: I like that her style is evergreen. She sticks to earthy tones, sneakers and minimalist pieces.

CC: It's colourful, casual and comfortable, but sometimes, he can get a little too carried away with colours.

How has your partner inspired the way you dress?

PS: My work attire is pretty boring. I usually wear a white shirt with a dark suit. She has inspired me to inject more colour into my everyday workwear by giving me ties with interesting designs and colours.

I never buy anything without her opinion.

CC: I've always dressed the same way, but I'll always get his opinion when I'm dressing for his work functions. He has never objected to anything I wear - whether it's low-cut, low-back or strapless.

What has your partner worn that you've disliked?

PS: Christine has a very good dress sense. She has never worn something that I don't like.

CC: Sometimes, he has to wear batik shirts for work. Some batik prints are nice, but others are just a little old-fashioned.

Do you share clothes?

PS: Once, but only by accident. She had a pair of boyfriend jeans which I thought were mine. When I wore them, I wondered why they felt so tight.

CC: He has many good white shirts that I like to wear even though I have my own.

What tips have you picked up from each other?

PS: I've learnt to try on something before I rule it out completely.

CC: I don't think we've shared tips that much. We mainly seek opinions from each other.

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Property agent Darius Chia, 31, and public-affairs executive and part-time model Annabel Tan, 29. The couple have been together for two years and recently got engaged.

How and when did you meet?

AT: I chanced upon his Facebook page and thought he looked familiar, so I messaged him to find out where I knew him from. It turned out that we went to the same junior college, so we exchanged numbers.

DC: Within a week of getting acquainted on Facebook, I met a woman at the gym called Annabel, I saw the M1 billboard that Annabel had modelled for and bumped into her at an event. After all these signs, I decided to ask her out.

What do you like about your partner's style?

AT: He's really creative. He has turned old bracelets into lapel and collar pins.

DC: Her style is rather eclectic. Some people may look at her and think it's over the top, but she has a way of putting together frills, bright colours and chunky accessories.

How has your partner inspired the way you dress?

AT: He gave me the assurance that I can dress as theatrically, silly or mellow as I want.

DC: She made me realise that piecing together an outfit is fun. Previously, I was more of a T-shirt, bermudas and flip-flops kind of guy.

What has your partner worn that you've disliked?

AT: When I look at his old photographs, he wore shapeless clothing with trucker caps.

DC: She wears backless dresses occasionally, which

I find too revealing. I'm a little bit old-fashioned, but I don't stop her from wearing them.

Do you share clothes?

AT: I borrow his shirts and jackets, although they are a little too big for me. I sometimes like to try out more masculine styles.

DC: She was going to give away an oversized zigzag patterned sweater, so I decided to take it for myself. I've already worn it several times.

What tips have you picked up from each other?

AT: Don't buy something that you don't really want.

DC: You can buy things that aren't in fashion now because they're bound to make a comeback.

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Director of Uniform creative consultancy Darren Lee, 33, and Club 21's senior writer How Kay Lii, 29. The couple have been together for six years.

How and when did you meet?

DL: I approached her six years ago because she was wearing really big, interesting glasses.

HKL: We met on the dance floor of Zouk. It turned out that we both worked in the publishing industry and had a lot of friends in common.

What do you like about your partner's style?

DL: She's experimental and crazy, which is interesting. We "accessorise" each other, too, in that we tend to balance each other out with more bold or subdued outfits.

HKL: He challenges himself with unusual silhouettes and colour combinations.

How has your partner inspired the way you dress?

DL: I used to wear a lot of black, but she introduced me to the wonders of colour. It wasn't on purpose, but I think there's a sense of togetherness in how our aesthetics developed.

HKL: I like that whatever I wear, he doesn't judge. And he doesn't care what people think or say about his outfits.

What has your partner worn that you've disliked?

DL: I wasn't a fan of the look where one tucks a shirt into a long skirt because it looked disproportionate. But I appreciate it when girls try something crazy. Sometimes, I think the weirder, the better.

HKL: I might say something only if I think his outfit is too bland or has too much colour. But usually, the outfit just needs a little refining.

Do you share clothes?

DL: I used to borrow more stuff from her when I was skinnier, such as chambray shirts or skirts to wear as kilts.

HKL: I've borrowed oversized T-shirts, hoodies, sweaters and socks. Between us, we have almost 80 pairs, I think.

What tips have you picked up from each other?

DL: She's taught me how to clash colours and prints in a nice way.

HKL: He's particular about fit, so now I pay more attention to tailoring.

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Architect Benedict Lim, 30, and owner of multi-label boutique Et-i-kit, June Huang, 29. The couple have been dating since 2006, but have known each other for more than 10 years.

How and when did you meet?

BL: We met at a friend's birthday party, but didn't start dating until a few years later.

JH: He had to serve national service, while I was going to Australia to study, so we didn't start dating immediately.

What do you like about your partner's style?

BL: She dresses in a way that is edgy but still sweet.

JH: I like how he mixes prints and colours together. When we go out for formal events, it's not all black and white.

How has your partner inspired the way you dress?

BL: She has a knack for stacking bracelets, so I started doing that. I've even started stacking rings.

JH: I bought my first pair of sneakers after we started dating. I never really wore sneakers after school, but he showed me how stylish they can be.

I have about four pairs now.

What has your partner worn that you've disliked?

BL: Early on in our relationship, she wore glasses with yellow- or blue-tinted lenses. I feel that glasses should have just regular lenses.

JH: He used to wear baggy T-shirts and pants. He also kept his hair long. I'm glad it was just a phase.

Do you share clothes?

BL: From time to time, I'll borrow some of her accessories, such as ball chain necklaces or those that aren't too feminine.

JH: His collection of caps comes in handy on a bad hair day.

What tips have you picked up from each other?

BL: She taught me how to create a brand-new look just by accessorising.

JH: To get the most mileage out of your sneakers, pick those that are simple in design as they can be worn with anything, from shorts to dresses.

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Cameraman Bey Ariffin, 29, and advertising account manager Ellyna Rahim, 29. The couple, who got married last year, have been together for 10 years.

How and when did you meet?

BA: I was at Temasek Polytechnic to meet a friend when I saw Elly. After that, every day for six months, I went back to try and bump into her again.

ER: A friend then introduced us to each other and things took off from there.

What do you like about your partner's style?

BA: She can look good in just a simple T-shirt, jeans and minimal make-up - her style is effortless. She doesn't spend ages in front of her wardrobe deciding what to wear.

ER: He doesn't try too hard and isn't concerned about what people think.

How has your partner inspired the way you dress?

BA: She likes me in dress shirts and pants. Before, I would wear only T-shirts and jeans and probably not even comb my hair.

ER: I used to dress in tank-tops, skirts and flip-flops. Now, I'm edgier. He influenced me to dress in streetwear brands such as Stussy and Obey.

What has your partner worn that you've disliked?

BA: It's hard to think of something. The first time I saw her, she was wearing a tank-top and a batik skirt. Even though I don't like batik, she looked good.

ER: He likes wearing things in brown, but I feel that there's no contrast with his skin. I don't like his goatee either, which he has just started growing.

Do you share clothes?

BA: I borrow her Calvin Klein watch. She buys men's watches for herself occasionally. My watches are more casual.

ER: I use his caps and beanies.

What tips have you picked up from each other?

BA: Balance is important. A baggy shirt should go with pants that are more streamlined.

ER: You don't need branded items to be fashionable. Even a white T-shirt can be stylish.

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