Friday, May 16, 2008

Style Profile: Ryan Chua

When it comes to men's clothing, few are as knowledgeable as Ryan Chua of Polo Ralph Lauren in the Houston Galleria. His attention to detail makes him a distinctive presence.

1. Tells us a little bit about yourself. What got you interested in men's clothing?

I've worked in the fashion industry for over 10 years, in both wholesale and retail. I became enthralled in clothes at an early age, due to my father's interest in his attire. I would often accompany him on his Sunday shopping jaunts, where I would observe and learn as he assembled his collection with meticulous care. I was also heavily influenced by watching such Hollywood greats as Astaire, Cooper, Fairbanks, and Grant.

2. How long have you been with Polo? What is a typical day like?

I first worked at RL in the wholesale division, as a sales coordinator on the retail development team, for three years. I recently rejoined the company in a sales position at the Houston Galleria location. A typical day consists of contacting clients when new collections arrive in the store, allocating items at other stores per client request, servicing the needs of new customers that walk through each day, and educating clients on matters of appropriateness in their professional and casual attire.

3. Polo bias aside, who are your favorite designers?

Outside of RL, I really like Brunello Cucinelli for their exceptional collections of cashmere, Michael Drake for his substantial neckties made on old English looms, and Bamford & Sons for their detailed collections, influenced by auto, airplane, and motorcycle gear from the past. Although nothing quite captures the romance and lifestyle that Ralph has created.

4. Do you think men are paying more attention to fashion than before?

More men are definitely into "fashion," especially with all of the new forms of media through which this may be expressed. Trends in menswear tend to take place in model or cut rather than specific items, which is more prevalent in the more extreme and far-reaching world of women's wear. It generally takes men much longer to accept changes, so the time from runway to reality (department stores) differs strongly for women.

5. Describe your ideal outfit.

Well, I definitely feel my best in a suit, so my ideal outfit would consist of the following:

  • Medium gray three-piece wool suit (flannel in fall, tropical worsted in
    spring), with ticket pocket and side vents.
  • Light color/white stripe or glen plaid shirt, with French cuffs, and English spread contrasting collar.
  • Navy polka dot silk woven tie in spring, and gray/navy cashmere knit tie in fall.
  • Tan leather Oxfords in spring, and snuff suede Oxfords in fall.
  • Silver cuff links and silver tie bar, boxcloth braces, white cotton or linen handkerchief, and cashmere socks.
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