It's a small world as they say, and even more so among the menswear community. Style Forum, Facebook, Instagram and social media in general have introduced us to so many fellow enthusiasts from all corners of the globe, all with their own take on matters of style. Many of them also manage or contribute to a blog in their spare (or full) time, including Nabil Mustafiz of the tumblr blog "We're all alright", whom I spoke with recently.
Growing up in Singapore, his foray into sartorial affairs began after seeing Scott Schuman's photos on The Sartorialist. It was 2006 and he was attending University, a time when one usually lives frugally and can't afford to spend more than their budgeted stipend. As he put it aptly, "dressing smart, dressing well, wasn't unattainable," and what he saw in those photos wasn't so expensive, and didn't require an overhaul of his wardrobe. About the time he started dressing well, he wanted to showcase how it was alright to do so in Singapore's muggy weather. Whether anyone was paying attention or not, he tells me "The blog was meant to be a reference log of how my personal tastes have changed." A lawyer by profession, his taste in clothing has not succumbed to the uniformed suits plying their trade. You'll find him dishing out advice regularly on his blog, a culmination of his knowledge passed on to those wanting style tips and shopping advice. "Read, read, and then some" is his mantra, not just the first link you see on Google or a single article on Wikipedia. His advice is to approach people who know more than you do and ask them what you want to know, without ever intruding, and as he strongly says "without ever pretending to know something I don't."
Nabil splits his time between Sydney and Singapore, and one can only imagine the havoc that wreaks on his wardrobe. "The key difference is the humidity in Singapore, which Sydney is blessed without," he tells me, although "Sydney still gets fiercely hot in the summers, but the humidity is just something else." In Singapore, you'll find him sporting fabrics with open or loose weaves, lighter weights, and unlined jackets. Sydney on the other hand is a bit more forgiving, where heavier weights and layering options are at his disposal, and that allows him to rotate parts of his wardrobe. "Layering is especially important in Sydney" Nabil mentions, as the temperature can drop significantly in the evening hours from the day's high.
Nabil describes his style as "Well fitted but comfortable. Bold, but not brash." As with most well dressed men, an evolution of style is inevitable and his has become more restrained. "I'm quietening down the chatter in my clothes, without losing their ability to be conversation pieces," Nabil tells me, by using less bold prints and fewer colors at the same time. He's come to this point after having been influenced by other tastemakers including the likes of Lapo Elkann, Luca Rubinacci, Simone Righi, Ethan Newton, Steve McQueen, and Antonio Liverano. Notice the progression? Having asked almost everything, there was one last question on my mind, his brand loyalties. Without hesitation, he tells me "Vanda Fine Clothing and Ascot Chang. They're not just brands to me. They're relationships. We tend to forget these days that we're dealing with people, not just a string of text behind a computer screen. I don't just go back for the craftsmanship, I keep returning for the friendship." Here is a perfect example of an evolved style from the young Esquire (details below):
RAF blue suit by Iris Tailor, fabric by H Lesser & Sons.
Brown suede double monks by Crockett & Jones, via Double Monk in Melbourne.
White cotton pocket square by Vanda Fine Clothing in Carlo Riva cotton.
Charcoal socks by Bresciani.
Watch by Officine Panerai.
Brown knit tie by Brioni.
White dress shirt by Ascot Chang.
All photos courtesy of Nabil Mustafiz.