An essential footwear.

The term essential footwear is very subjective. Some people think one pair of shoe would suffice, and you only purchase another one is when the shoe gets wrecked.

I have always been a fan of investing in quality shoes even at a slightly hectic price tag. Investing in more than one pair of shoes means that they wear off much less, so the principle of volume truly applies, in this case at least.

Shoes are great, they represent character and tells a fair bit about the person who wears them. Earlier this year, I purchased a pair of MTO shoes from Meermin. They cost pretty decent, thanks to the group buy via Mr Cloth Baron (my number 1 source of great clothing and footwear).

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There isn’t any different when it comes to the shine process, base coat, and the followup layers were just thin coats of wax. I find that coating the leather with Renovateur helps alot in bringing out the color and suppleness of the leather.

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If I recall correctly, the leather is sourced from a different tannery, which makes the color and “softness” slightly unique as compared to the regular ones on Meermin.

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Here are some pictures of the shoe and it got featured on the official @MeerminMallorca Instagram too. Thanks guys, all the way from KL to Spain. Gracias !

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Here’s an update on the altered denim shirt that I commissioned via Ah Loke a month back. They are roomier now and it does scream casual a little bit more. 

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This was a spontaneous pic. I love the Fox Umbrella and of course, that suede desert boots from C&J never fails to impress
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B&W, you can never go wrong with that.

I am actually supposed to try out the Baron’s Alden Navy Suede shoes this week, not too sure if the fit is right, but I’ll keep everyone posted. That would be a damn good pair to own !

S

 

That summer..feel

There is absolutely nothing to hide when it comes to our hectic Malaysian weather. Linen is your best friend, in Malaysia or some really porous, airy fresco. I would also think that there are other variants of fabric, which would actually fit our climate *paging Mr Cloth Baron*.

Color plays a very big role as well when it comes to giving the whole outfit a little bit of “kick”. Navy and a fine shade of grey is staple, no doubt. But ideally, you venture out of the norm sometimes, and loosen up a little bit.

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You really can rock up those summer colors at a fraction of the unimaginable costs of boutique brands.

There really isn’t much spent on this outfit. I purchased this unlined jacket at a steal from Uniqlo about 12 months ago. They fit reasonably well for the RM50 price tag. The shirt comes from Uniqlo, RM49 to be specific. The pocket square, was a homemade linen, which is a little bit on the small side of things. There is a unique story about the trousers. It was made bespoke by another tailor, Jerome Tok, who is actually a mobile tailor and does most of his fittings in a hotel. I like the feel of his trousers, it is comfortable to walk, sit and still produces that very fine silhouette. The color is also unique, it is that shade of blue which I absolutely fancy.

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I like leather jackets, there is that good feeling (not very good at expressing them in words) but somehow rocking up with a t-shirt works just well enough for me. Unfortunately, on the more practical side of things, they aren’t very cooling and it gets you all sweaty and steamy in just a heartbeat. Nevertheless, if you are working indoors in an air-conditioned, well ventilated venue, this would be perfect.

I am swinging by AhLoke this weekend to have a quick fit on my most recent pair of trousers, a good ol’ white one.

That, I am definitely looking forward to.

An unexpected mail

See, the thing with moving jobs, especially from where I used to work is the slight change in outfit. I actually thought it was time for a change too. A few weeks back I spoke to Ah Loke to commission a bespoke denim shirt. First thing he asked me was “Why don’t want to buy Uniqlo”. I responded “RM 179 la, retail, if discount also RM50, that one also don’t know when”. He cackled and then took out his ancient denim swatch book.

A few weeks later, the shirt was ready. My first impression was the the chest area was too tight. Truly, it wasn’t the pectorals, he just tends to make things abit tight, and if you leave him unsupervised, he would just go on and on about why it should be “fitting”.

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Bespoke denim shirt from Ah Loke, Uniqlo tan belt (slightly too long) & the good old faithful Ben Sherman chinos

After one wear and a wash, I took it back to him to open up the chest area and loosen up the sleeve, I noticed after the first wash, the material is a little bit stiff, which is expected considering the fact that its just denim.

Denim aside, I was just browsing through my sports coat and I noticed how much I actually miss my fresco jacket. Its sitting in Ah Loke’s fitting room because he is still unable to find the cloth, sad but true. So all I have to do now is wait, which most likely isn’t going to make a difference because finding that little bit of cloth is going to be one heck of a task.

What motivates me to keep on rambling or just talking about my sartorial adventure are emails that I get from readers around the world asking me tips on how to get a decent bespoke suit in KL. Of all people, my technical skills are very little, none in fact. But what I really believe in is that you need to keep terminologies and jargons as minimal as possible. In my opinion, the key to a good suit is that you feel good wearing it, you don’t feel restricted, and you are able to move without having to adjust the sleeve all the time.

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So thanks buddy, for the email and I will definitely respond to you soonest.

Look, its been a while since i wore something bespoke, so here goes something. I love my Carlo Barbera jacket, it is nice and soft and fairly robust. It doesn’t crease easily, something that I would definitely take along when travelling, besides the fresco, which is abit small..

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Bespoke Carlo Barbera quarter lined jacket, bespoke in-house fabric button down shirt, Vanda Pocket square. Background : Fox Umbrella, a collection of ties from a variety of brands eg; Marinella, Drakes etc. & bespoke and OTR jackets. A hint of my good ol’ Wood & Faulk Carpenter bag

My goal this week is to give all my shoes a nice polish, some of them have been collecting dust because all of them in fact aren’t motorcycle friendly and I would feel really bad if I were to use my spit shine shoes and shift up the gears.

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Loake 1880s Tan Brogues, Uniqlo Tan Belt, Porsche Design Aviators, Paul Smith socks & Zepplin Automatic via Red Army Watches

 

Back to the Ah Loke story, Nick, another buddy of mine who I always look up to for inspiration, especially when it comes to living life and sartorial perspectives decided to get a bespoke suit. His old suit was abit too big, he lost alot of weight and now he seeks to pursue his sartorial desire, with less load.

10382992_10152210083554405_6951337092231117252_nAh Loke taking some vital measurements of Nick. Vitally, sartorial

Nick was looking for something subtle, and versatile at the same time. I would like to visit Ah Loke with Nick again for his fitting session, and oh did I tell you, I commissioned another white bespoke cotton pants, and this time I’m going to make sure that Ah Loke gets it spot on.

S

 

Getting a bespoke denim shirt….

I went over to Ah Loke this weekend to pickup the selvedge jeans I got from Uniqlo a while back. I managed to take in the waste and hem the jeans a little. It isn’t the best fitting jeans but it is pretty decent for RM149.

Instead of driving, I took the bike over and swapped the trousers when I got there, I was wearing a bespoke cotton khaki that needs the opened up a little bit at the bottom, too Thom Browne-ish which isn’t my kind of thing.

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The thing about going to Ah Loke is that most of the time you tend to at least commission something before you leave. I will now boldly put the blame on stores like Uniqlo and H&M that only sell slim-skinny, low fit trousers. Very minimal consideration to those who appreciate the traditional way of putting on trousers, at the belly button.

So what did I commission?

I love the shade of blue, so I decided to get one pair of cotton trousers in it. Check out the swatch book, very basic stuff but somehow it always works.

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I realised that my wardrobe does not have a denim shirt, I went to Uniqlo, to hunt one down but they cost about RM100, and for a shirt that is made, most likely in  sweatshop somewhere in the little provinces of China, I don’t think it is worth the dollar. I picked the 2nd from top, the first one is a tad too light. Initially, I wanted to go for pockets, but then, after much contemplation, making it nice and clean is the better way to go. I would love to try, Denim-On-Denim.

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Managed to also spend some time at Marble-8 last Wednesday for Esquire’s 3rd Anniversary. Congrats lad, decent job so far !

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Fantastic view of the Twin Towers via Marble 8

Bumped into Joyce Wong of course, I don’t think she ages at all ! What sorcery is this ! 

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Also met Gabrienna who used to work in DNP, she actually sponsored a couple of Ben Sherman clothing, and I still use them till today. In fact, the chambray shirt is great !

10171620_10152137617164405_3389464502755965171_nGabrienna, myself and her damn good looking friend

I went to Marble-8 with the cloth baron, and of course, he with his baller windowpane suit, killer bespoke material !

1969408_10152139110359405_2227812688120851818_nMyself and the cloth baron. You do not wanna know how much that pocket square of his cost. 

I decided to go with denim that night, threw in a little bit of colour with my bespoke button down shirt and cleaned it all up with a simple navy knit tie. This is probably one of my most frequently used tie. Knit somehow works very well when it comes to dress down casually.

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Knit tie, raw denim jacket, bespoke red stripe shirt, I like it ! 

 The cloth baron was having a little chat with me about getting the Solaro Cotton for some bespoke work, but I’m still..considering it…really..

The hiatus, again.

I have not been blogging for ages. I think the main reason behind this was, plain slacking. I’ve just recently moved to another day job and things are just about to pick up.

And I forgot my username and password. And I finally got it back.

I’ve recently found a solution to the traffic jam, the motorcycle. After months and months of contemplation, being the very fickle minded person that I naturally am, I finally decided on getting the 795.

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I had a few options, the Aprillia Shiver, The Hypermortard, The er6-N, XJ6, and the Duke 690. I think the main selling point of the 795 was the seating position and how it just feels right. Despite the price being on the higher side, it was a pretty damn good value for money, considering the add-ons that I get; a slip on Termignoni exhaust, ECU, and a performance AirFilter, AND a Corse body kit, totalled to about RM10k++ in value.

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I got a pretty good helmet to sort of compliment the bike too. The idea of getting a helmet, when it comes to color is to make sure that it is damn visible, especially at night.

10174925_10152125349254405_8467730997982924256_nI was actually expecting the aesthetics to look a little bit more off, but it does look damn good !

I was also dreading to carry stuff on my back, and decided to invest in this decent Bagster Spider tail bag. The bag is pretty damn good for how much I got it for (RM350). It converts into a bagpack once you arrive at your destination. The only drawback is the setup, but I would think that you should be able to get aftermarket bungee cords that are easier to clip on.

I have not been commissioning much clothing lately. The reason is because I ride a bike to work and wearing anything bespoke would either be too expensive, or too fragile. Unless it is a denim Kevlar jacket, then I’ll stick to bike gear.

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I currently use this and it isn’t that bad at all. Not up to Italy’s Dainese, but the Japanese have been doing a decent job with their bike gear lately

I went to Ah Loke recently to checkout some of his shirting materials. There was a Soktas swatchbook and I am actually quite keen to get some shirts done, and a couple of pants. Not too sure on how much the pricing goes but they should be fairly affordable.

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Here are some pictures of the swatchbooks. Some of them were not from the Soktas Swatch tho.

10155586_10152113565714405_8315380149039079023_nLinen would be the best option in our hectic-humid climate. 

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I managed to also get a pair of very decently priced selvedge jeans from Uniqlo. The “Kaihara” Denim – the world’s best & highest quality denim material, and that’s the real deal. For RM149, this was an absolute steal !

1911783_10152306953855935_2015409720360371071_nPicture thanks to Nick Gomez, one of my sartorial buddies who always have the eye for the finer things in life.

I’m quoting him “Now it’s no longer for rich people, but for ANYONE who wants to enjoy vintage-loom manufactured Kaihara denim with selvedge” -Nick”

I spoke to Ah Loke about how I am actually going to reduce my spending on bespoke clothing a little bit this year, and he responded “That’s ok, I can make motorcycle clothes for you too…”

Funny old man, but I still like him.

I also created a new category, motorcycle, and might change the blog layout when I have the time.

A Shoe Project

Recently, I’ve been trying to work on my shoe-shine skills. I get very fascinated with very well shined shoes particulary those that I follow on Instagram. See, the thing is, I don’t exactly have very good shoes, they are better than those you see in the shopping malls but nothing handmade etc.

Thankfully, the cloth baron trusts me with my very limited gears and skills, to shine his shoes.

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This is all that I have…really…

This is the Vass in the U-last. Sleek as ever but it was too light in color. So I attempted a non conventional way of darkening up the shoe, with a renovateur, wax, toothbrush, and an old tee shirt.

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This was the initial shade of the shoe, it was fairly light and the baron wanted it abit darker.

And…the final results…check out the pics below.

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They aren’t that perfect but I enjoy the scuffs, creates a little bit more of an antique feel to the shoe.

Perhaps it is time to upgrade the shoe care kit. Feel free to follow me on Instagram @shahzeeq because I do post updates on shoes etc.

S

Career Growth

Growth in wardrobe is ultimately measured by the quality of your clothing, how the fit improves over time, the type of clothes you keep, and how you start to packup that sweatpants for charity.

Career growth is totally a different ball game. Let’s face it; the working industry out there is not as colourful as how we think. Most often, fresh grads that leave Uni often have that misinterpretation of the working life. I think most of us are often clouded by TV series like Suits, who portrays a high flyer lifestyle of a lawyer. Well I wouldn’t say you can never reach that point but it surely as hell is not going to happen within the next 6 months of your employment.

Once you get that part checked, time to get a real job. So what is  your desired occupation? Are you an aspiring Dr House, Harvey Specter, or Mark Cho from The Armoury?

There is one thing that our country has; heaps of good talent! So how do you optimize good talent? This is way beyond a chicken and egg question. The key word here is strategy and sustainability.

“The success of our Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) depends on having the right quantity and quality of talent…..” – CEO of TalentCorp,

Back in university, I studied Human Resource as a minor on top of my Human Movement Science degree and we did a lot of work on talent retention, development etc. I guess it all makes sense when you come to think about it. Talent is hard to come by, but when you have them in abundance, keep them.

Tough call huh? Well, over the years, new initiatives have been kicked off to make sure that you seek and secure the job that you desire, the job that you see yourself working in till you retire, and most importantly the job that you enjoy doing.

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Well recently, there was this really interesting career fair gig by Talent Corp, Sector Focused Career Fair – Career Awareness. This was in fact a joint effort between TalentCorp, Graduan, MDeC and UiTM, focusing mainly on the Shared Services and Outsourcing (SSO).

These guys have been hammering heaps of such gigs just to make sure that we all end up working at places/jobs we really want to be in.

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The key message here is to educate and activate. This gig was actually held at UiTM Shah Alam itself, so students didn’t really have to travel back and forth to be part of this Career Fair.

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There were talks, Q&A session with the giants of every single industry, all consolidated in one venue. I think this is what any other Talent fairs should have; talks on career progression, choosing the right career etc.

If you think that SFCF is a pretty small gig, think again. There are approximately 30 companies that are heavily involved and these are the big names of every industry. A few to name AIG, DHL, Electrolux, Frost & Sullivan, GlaxoSmithKline,HP, IBM, LaFarge, Sime Darby and PwC.

So what is Talent Corp all about? I managed to pull something out from their site:-

TalentCorp was established on 1 January 2011 under the Prime Minister’s Department to formulate and facilitate initiatives to address the availability of talent in line with the needs of the country’s economic transformation. Collaborating closely with relevant Government agencies and employers in priority economic sectors, TalentCorp develops demand-driven initiatives focused on three strategic thrusts, specifically (1) Optimise Malaysian talent, (2) attract and Facilitate Global Talent and (3) Build Networks of Top Talent.

For more information regarding TalentCorp and SFCF, swing by their site at www.talentcorp.com or www.facebook.com/SectorFocusedCareerFairSFCF.

Remember, you want to end up with a career, not a job. All the best !

The Modern Fit 2013 Gift Guide

I am really just going to jump straight into it. There is no need for lengthy introduction but here’s a list of what I think you should get for that dapper mate yours for that awesome Xmas, which is happening in about 6 weeks’ time.

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Vanda/Kent Wang Pocket Square (RM60 – RM 500) – Believe it or not, a pocket square is a staple accessory when it comes to dressing the real man. Wearing a jacket without a pocket square is simply…incomplete. The staple white pocket square is a must. Give that mate of yours a boost of dapperness, or just add on to his collection with some paisleys etc. The varieties are endless ! – Vanda Fine Clothing | Kent Wang 

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Vanda/Sam Hober Ties (RM 250 – RM 600) – One of the major constitutes of a manly wardrobe. Ties, ties, ties. This isn’t your polyester-wrinkle-free tie. These ties are handrolled and made to order. Pick your poison, linen, wool, cashmere, or the various weave of silk, the dimples produced on these ties are absolutely remarkable. - Vanda Fine Clothing | Sam Hober 

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Wood & Faulk (RM 500 – RM 900) – Their carpenter bags are something every aspiring men would appreciate. Very versatile in nature, the navy 16 inch carpenter bag is the all-time favourite. W&F ships internationally, use the fastest shipping option available. – Wood & Faulk 

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Saddleback Leather (RM80 – RM5000) – This is LEATHER. They come with a 100 year warranty, if you live that long. If you don’t, pass them over to your kids/grandkids. This is truly one of the best investments for Xmas. International shipping is available too, but bare in mind that these bags are heavy as hell, so prepare the extra dollars. – Saddleback Leather 

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Beckel Canvas (RM 100 – RM 700) – This may appeal to some, it surely did to me ! Beckel Canvas is as legit as you could get. Just bear in mind though, most of their goods are MTO, so you need to prep up the order ASAP. They ship internationally too ! – Beckel Canvas

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Mr Porter Gift Card (varies) – You can never go wrong with giftcards on Mr Porter. These guys stock awesome brands, and personally I would love to get hold of the Car Shoe. Preload at the gift card at your own risk. Ideally, anything more than RM1000 would be…meaningful. – Mr Porter

Loake 1880s @ PLal Jalan Gasing (RM790) – Probably one of the best deals you could get around the world. PLal is located along Jalan Gasing in Petaling Jaya. They stock up a whole heap of Loake 1880s, which is the top-end of the Loake Series. According to several reliable sources, the 1880s are the only series that is still made in England. Their sizings are true to size as well, so you wouldn’t have fit issues. Plal Official Website | Address : Plal Store, 93 Jalan Gasing 46000 PJ, Malaysia

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Meermin Shoes (RM 650 – RM 1500) – All the way from Spain, Meermin is really taking over the footwear scene in Malaysia in style, all thanks to the cloth baron. Try their regular range if you have a limited budget, or else go for their linear maestro series. – Meermin Online
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Saphir Valet Box (RM650 onwards) – Shoes reflect character. Why wear a pair of ordinary shoes, when you can rock up with a pair of SHINED shoes. The Valet Box looks sexy as hell too. Shipping is offered internationally by MAY take some time. So order quickly to avoid any Xmas delays. – The Hanger Project 

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Suiting materials (RM 350 – RM700 per metre) – If still in doubt, go for a 3.5m suiting cloth. H Lesser, VBC, Harrisons of Edinburgh, the cloth baron has you covered. Drop him an email at info@straitsfineclothiers.com. Tip : Navy or Gray, you can never go wrong with these 2 colors. 

I would think that the above suggestions would suffice and accommodate everyone’s budget. They start from RM50 and above, so it all depends on how deep your pockets are chaps, after all it is a once a year agenda.

Good luck and I truly hope that this short guide helps.

 

The Roof & The Hackett Style Off @ Pavillion KL.

I went by the BDRMMY 2013 last week to check out the scene, and of course to support the Le Baron. He was wearing the H Lesser Golden Bale bespoke by Jeremy Tok.

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Winter wear was something that I always wanted to try on, in Malaysia. And to splurge on thick clothing, in a tropical weather, isn’t something very wise.

Thankfully, the guys at Melium invited me, Nabil (Cloth Baron) and a few other damn good looking blokes for a style-off at Hackett Pavillion KL.

For those of you who are not familiar with Hackett, check out the link here 

There will be a contest running soon chaps, I’ll shoot them on my instagram @shahzeeq once all is good to go, with some proper pictures of course. Prizes sound pretty damn decent, so not something you wanna skip.

But for now, here are some pictures that I’d love to share. Consider this a sneak peek.

71a976fe456811e38b9422000a1fbe38_8Myself and The Cloth Baron. He is wearing a fine looking Double Breasted. Both of us are dressed in Hackett except the shoes. Baron is wearing Vass Ankle Boots and I am wearing the C&J Tetburry

d5517f42454711e38ab122000ab69130_8 e5d9229a454f11e3b83422000ab5a88f_8Closer pictures of my entire outfit. Rudy was right, the bowtie, actually worked !

We met heaps of great people at the event. Shoot was smooth and most importantly, it is good to know that there are men out there who are very very passionate about clothing, who would go beyond the OTR suits, just for the perfect fit.

 

The One Piece Collar Shirt

Conditions change all the time. Back then I was heavily obsessed with having heaps of suits to wear on a daily basis, then the desire for a 2 piece slowly tapered down to having odd jackets instead. I find that to be more practical compared to having suits. Odd jackets give me more options, or variety.

111111Odd shirts, work very well with the nature of my job

I also like the idea of having odd trousers. A range of colors will give you a lot of room to play with when it comes to dressing up for the occasion. They aren’t as extensive as the big timers, but it is slowly getting there..

 

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I am starting to fall for un-belted trousers, with a one inch cuff. I am not very tall myself, approximately 5ft 7, and while cuffs may reflect a shorter appearance, I find that wearing trousers right below/on the belly to help in alleviating such impressions.

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I have recently commissioned a pair of trousers with AL, a slightly darker shade of navy. I did not actually know AL stocks up on Holland & Sherry. He had 2 metres left, just enough for a pair of trousers. I have not gotten up on the first fitting yet, but once I do, I’ll share some picture online.

Anyway, the single piece collar shirt is finally ready. There were a fair bit of tweaks that need to be done on the shirt, but considering the fact that this is AL’s first attempt making such collars, it isn’t too bad.

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I got the cloth at a pretty good price too, so nothing to hectic, even if the shirt does not turn out well. Personally, I find the cotton/linen blend to be just the right mix compared to pure linen.

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The initial issue with the shirt was the sleeves, a tad too long. The other one was something more on the shoulders. I am never that good with tailoring jargons but I try to explain as much as I can. If it doesn’t make sense, I truly apologize. Maybe the pictures will help.

Notice that the shoulder does not sit too well and pit area too, compared to my other shirts. AL was explaining the looser approach when making this shirt, hence the slight bunch. I insisted on fixing booth the issues, which means taking in the shirt. I got it tapered but still slightly roomier.

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Since it is the end of the year, I thought I should wrap it up with one more bespoke shirt. I never liked stripe shirts, but after looking through several inspirational figures all around IG and blogs, I am starting to like them, hence a bespoke fine stripe shirt, in red.

48f1dcfa3ee811e3904822000a1fc3ed_8Picture credit to @thearmoury

Speaking about end of the year, I am expecting the Meermin to arrive in November, this is going to be good, I hope.