Hubert Burda Media

Partners in style: Chan Kok Weng and Elaine Lim-Chan

Winners of the Most Stylish Couple 2016 at our Prestige Ball, the duo shares some tips on styling.

What role does fashion play in your lives?

ELC: Weng and I both keep abreast of trends and new arrivals in fashion. However, we are not followers. We pick and choose what suits us best based on factors such as the climate and our physique. We always incorporate our own touch into the looks we choose. I would say that I’m flexible and like to sport different looks. For work, I choose simpler silhouettes — no frills or fussy details — but would inject bright colours such as yellow. Outside of work, I am more adventurous with details such as cut-outs, or louder prints. I have also learnt to do my own hair and make-up in less than 45 minutes.

CKW: I’ve always enjoyed fashion and favoured bold colours. My sense of style has evolved over the years and of course, went through fine-tuning. When I first met Elaine in the 1990s I wore Hawaiian shirts as they were quite trendy (laughs). These days, one way I express myself is via my collection of spectacles. I have more than 50 pairs, all prescription and in a myriad of colours. I had to go for cataract surgery recently, twice in six months, and had to get them all changed. Twice. That was painful.

How do you decide on your outfits for the Prestige Ball?

ELC: It really depends on the current mood or phase I’m in. It could be whimsical, classic and so on. It starts with the dress, which I usually prepare ahead of time. We eat and drink a lot so I need ample time to get into shape for the occasion. I usually show Weng the options and he always offers his honest opinion. Most times we coordinate with and complement each other.

CKW: I dress according to the theme, which for you, is usually Red Carpet or Black Tie. Elaine picks out a few options for me and I will add on accessories and choose the spectacles that suit the look best. My bow ties are typically in a contrasting yet complementary colour. I’m not a one-style person and can shop from any brand that carries something I like. This can be a brand-new designer or even one that is considered a classic. Elaine and I try to complement each other in dressing as we’d be photographed a lot together during an event such as the Prestige Ball.

Should age be a consideration when dressing up?

ELC: To me, the things you wear have to be age-appropriate. I’m in my mid-40s so I would not wear things such as a mini-skirt. Even if one is slim and has long legs, I feel she should look at other ways to express her sense of style such as vibrant colours.

CKW: Some people, depending on their personality, can pull off more adventurous looks even though they might be older. Different people can wear the same pieces but the effect varies so it doesn’t depend only on their biological age. If the clothes fit the way they carry themselves and their personality, well, why not?

Weng, why do you think men, in general, are reserved in their fashion styles?

CKW: They are probably trying to live up to expectations from the people around them. I feel this is also due to the work that they do. If the gent is a working professional or in a serious trade, there is a certain look that people expect from them. Doing otherwise may compromise how people perceive them and could even affect how well they do. It’s a different story for me as I’m in the business of helping people look good and rejuvenated, so to an extent people are more willing to accept if my style is louder or colourful. My patients may get a shock if they see me in a corporate suit.

What can we do to add a bit of fun into our daily style?

CKW: If there is a need to wear a suit and tie, I’d suggest a suit in a softer fabric and brighter colour. They say grey is the new black, even though I’d go for white. Explore colour with accessories such as ties, watches and shoes.

And for evenings?

ELC: The offerings for men have gotten a lot better. For women, brooches are a good way to jazz up an evening look. There are many in the market now.

So who is more stylish?

ELC: My husband! He has a bolder personality, which makes it easier for him to pull off louder styles.

CKW: I’d say that I’m more daring than stylish. Perhaps it’s age, as I get older I’ve become more confident in my style. Elaine and I have never quite cared what others thought about our sartorial choices. We wear what we like and what makes us feel good.

Your fashion must-haves?

ELC: An LBD, stilettos and a nice bag in exotic skin.

CKW: Shoes and watches.