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Kezia Toh
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Singapore

Homme invasion of the wardrobe

The Straits Times | Kezia Toh | Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mr Lambert Chen spends about $5,000 on up to 40 shirts and 30 suits during his twice-yearly trips to Bangkok while his wife, Ms Joanna Lin, usually buys dresses from blogshops.

To stem her husband's tide of new clothing purchases, Ms Suriati Sukor periodically rotates his clothing stacks in their shared closet.

"I put the clothes where he can see them, so he will stop buying new clothes," says the housewife, 45.

Her husband, Mohammad Nazri Asnawi, 34, sheepishly agrees. "If not, I will forget I have them, and when I am out and I see something that catches my eye, I'll 'top up' my collection," he says.

Mr Nazri, who runs his own recruitment business, takes up about about 80 per cent of their closet space with his jackets, shirts, jeans and football jerseys; leaving the rest for Ms Suriati's staple of jeans, blouses and baju kurung.

Their shoes also do the talking: Mr Nazri's sneakers and leather shoes take up four shoe racks, while

Ms Suriati has just one outside their three-room Housing Board flat.

He also has a fondness for sunglasses, with eight pairs of Oakley shades that cost between $140 and $280, while his wife owns a $140 pair.

It seems that the men do get it - in the fashion department, at least.

Some men are taking up more wardrobe space and dwarfing their wives' collection, saying they wish to look good and create a good impression at the workplace.

Other reasons for burgeoning closets include the male tendency to buy clothes in bulk when something fits and the popularity of male style icons, such as David Beckham and Kanye West, who strike the balance between being fashionable and macho.

Heightened vanity is all too evident with

Ms Suriati's two teenage sons, aged 16 and 19. "They look in the mirror more than I do," she says.

It seems like the wives must now keep up with their husbands' sense of fashion, says Ms Joanna Lin, 32.

The housewife is married to Mr Lambert Chen, 28, who runs his own leather manufacturing, diamonds and F&B businesses, and counts upmarket brands such as Hugo Boss and Ermenegildo Zegna among his favourite brands. The pair have a four-month-old daughter and live in a semi-detached house.

Ms Lin, who usually buys dresses from blogshops, says: "He gets more excited when he dresses up and goes out, so I may have to buck up."

Mr Chen takes up about twice as much closet space as she does, partly due to the fact that Ms Lin frequently clears out her wardrobe to pass on items to relatives or donate them to the Salvation Army, while he hoards his clothes, "hoping some would come back into fashion someday", he says.

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