28 May 2015

Keeping It Together

Marc, Interior Designer, Sunglasses from Tom Ford, Top from COS, Shoes from Camper

Marc’s integrated design firm Takenouchi Webb has a no-footwear rule, and the airy, open-plan space makes it feel more like a home than an office — exactly what he wanted. It also allows him to wear anything he wants to work. “Occasionally I wish I could justify buying more jackets if work was more conventional,” he says. “But I don’t know what else I could possibly do. I really enjoy my profession, especially having our own office. I suppose if I was really pushed, I’d like to be a member of Kraftwerk.” Marc’s style is simple and practical, but he looks out for quality and a good fit. He runs his own design firm with his wife, which means that they get to see each other enough, but with their two children at home, the couple tries to make it a plan to pack as much as they can into a 9-hour day and leave work on-time. Marc loves what he does, however. “Every new project is a new challenge and learning experience, with a new set of personalities to deal with,” he says. “We always try to see how things could be better, and strive to achieve perfection. Seeing people enjoying our designs is the most rewarding.” If there’s one thing he’s learnt, it’s that perseverance pays off. “Design doesn’t come easily,” he says. “Don’t give up striving for the best result.” As a boss, designer, husband, and father, there’s one more thing that he tries to remind himself to do, to keep it all together: “Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep.”

27 May 2015

Browhaus x Shentonista #BrowHunt: Noblewoman

Nobelle, Student, Dress from Reckless Ericka, Shoes from Charles & Keith.

We spotted Nobelle just hours after she chopped off her long locks into this edgy pixie cut. The undergraduate student says she usually isn’t very experimental with her look, however; she merely wanted a change. Nobelle takes the opportunity to gain some work experience during the holidays, working in PR & events. “This translates to meeting a lot of different people, most more experienced than I am, as well as managing a plethora of unexpected situations,” she says. “I’ve learn that being confident, firm yet flexible is important.” Nobelle certainly exudes confidence, even though she says this wasn’t always so —  she used to be overweight and had a really bad skin condition, exacerbated by sensitive skin. These days, Nobelle’s striving to be as physically fit and active as she can, and is careful about what she uses on her skin. We speak to her to find out what else she’s up to at the moment. 

1. Do you think it is important for women to be well-groomed, and why?
Definitely, and not just women. The way we present ourselves matters, and being well-groomed is indispensable. Looking neat and tidy is way more important than having makeup on. In fact, just between us, I think guys with really thick and tidy brows and beards are really hot.

2. How do you find ways to match your makeup to your look? Are there any pet peeves or no-nos that you have when it comes to make-up?
I haven't been very adventurous with my makeup, mostly because my very pretty mum barely uses any and constantly reminds me to keep it minimal. I only pay attention to my brows, eyeliner, and maybe a touch of gloss or lipstick if the occasion calls for it. I guess my biggest no-no would be having on makeup that makes one look too mature. We can't ever turn back the clock, so I believe it's important to look young and fresh while we still can. 

3. Is there a look (style-wise or makeup-wise) that you’ve been wanting to try, but haven’t given it a go?
I love colours and I've always been really interested in incorporating them into my look both style-wise and makeup-wise. My style is very influenced by my mum who likes neutral colours. I find it really interesting to work with colours but I haven't really found a way to make it work for me.

4. What is the craziest/most adventurous makeup look you have ever tried?
For Halloween one year I did a Venetian masquerade eye mask purely with makeup. I used loads of eye shadow, blusher and pencil to create that look. It took over an hour of fiddling to get it right. It was really fun and dramatic, and most definitely the only time I was any bit of a daredevil with makeup! 

5. How have your look and brow shape evolved over the years? 
I didn't actually care about my brows till a year back. I am very much blessed with sparse uneven brows that look nothing like they should. I wasn't really aware of that till I started paying more attention to personal grooming and my image. I adore thick dark brows, the likes of Cara Delevingne, so mine are very much modelled after that. 

6. If you could only pick 1 type of make up must-have, what would it be and why?
Loose foundation powder. A variety of skin problems left my face in a terrible condition. Any makeup I use has to be light and delicate. Loose foundation powder, on top of a thin layer of moisturiser, is enough to cover any blemishes and create a clean, natural look without clogging up my pores. 

7. What is your usual look? What do you usually use?
I like to keep things light and look natural, so I usually highlight only my really small eyes and brows. Together with my jet black hair, I generally sport a monochrome look. The only specks of colour would be on my lips for special occasions. I always start off with moisturiser, then dabs of concealer if required. That's topped off with a thin layer of foundation powder, and later sealed with setting powder. For my eyes and brows I use eyeliner and an eyebrow pencil.

8. What are some items in your wardrobe/on your dresser that you can’t live without?
I have a few pieces by Cameo Collective and Thea by Thara that make up my repertoire of "basics". Simple chic cropped tops and some high-waisted pieces — these are really versatile. Not forgetting denims. I love my denims.

9. If you could wear a uniform of sorts for the rest of your life (to school/to work), what would your outfit consist of, and why?
A neutral-coloured fitted top, jeans, and really good black heels. Maybe a cardigan or blazer if it's more formal. I like to keep things simple. Working in fashion for a bit also taught me that simplicity can go a long way.

10. Do you think Singaporeans have a sense of style, and do you think it’s changing/getting better/getting worse? What would you like Singaporeans to start embracing more?
I don't think Singaporeans have a sense of style so much because we like particular looks, but because we're so limited by the weather. I do believe we're improving in that we're more adventurous with pairings, trends, and lesser known brands. I love that there's an increasing number of online clothing stores that are both reliable, and carry very interesting designs. My only gripe would be that many people love to simply jump on trends, without understanding that what's "trendy" or "in" may not look good on their bodies. I believe that style involves wearing clothes that fit, flaunt and compliment our body, instead of blindly wearing what the industry labels "fashionable". I think if you look good in what you wear, you're stylish.

11. What is important for you to have at work, both in a material and emotional/psychological sense?
Great colleagues, intellectual stimulation, and movement. I love challenges and coming up with new ideas/solutions. I'm also very physically active and love moving around, so I don't think I'd do very well at desk jobs.

12. What is your idea of the CBD and Shenton Way? Do you think creativity can still exist even in the most corporate working environment?
I've always thought the CBD and Shenton Way to be really stiff and boring, cause everyone's only there with one goal in mind: money. The increasing number of good F&B establishments there is really piquing my interest though. As for creativity, I think it depends on the job. Certain professions mandate a strict dress code, so creativity would be very limited, if present at all. Still, people can look amazing, be very well-dressed and stylish without having to be what the industry calls "creative". 

13. What is one thing you’ve learnt from your work/life experience?
I've learnt it's really important to be open and understanding. Open to differences, because it's a learning experience and should be celebrated! Understanding towards people's behaviours and choices, because everyone has different histories, backgrounds, and childhood experiences — all of which shape an individual. Remembering this allows me to understand why people do the things they do, and not form a judgement out of context.

14. What’s the one thing you think you should be doing more of, or that you wish you had more time to be doing?
I definitely have to spend more time in front of the mirror. I have quite a lot of clothes, but I don't spend enough time playing with the different pieces and coming up with newer, more creative looks. I'm a really deep sleeper (read: I have a problem getting up on time) so I end up throwing on pieces and combinations that I've tried and am comfortable with. Which is a huge waste cause I think my wardrobe has a lot of potential for new looks!

This is a Shentonista project for Browhaus Singapore.
For more information about Browhaus, visit their website here.

Join in the #BrowHunt by submitting your own selfie which you feel best represents Browhaus, and add #BrowHunt and @BrowhausSG. The winner wins up to $5,000 worth of prizes, $2,000 cash, and $3,000 worth of prizes from Browhaus, Spa Esprit, and Strip, as well as the opportunity to be the next face of Browhaus. Submissions close on the 14th of June. 

26 May 2015

Out Scouting

Val, Advertising, Pants from Uniqlo, Bracelet from Jawbone.

Val’s friends describe her style as “hipster as hell”, and that probably boils down to her penchant for scarves and badges. However, she likes to think of herself as a boy scout, going out to look for adventure, and we think that’s a more befitting term to describe her. This natural curiosity suits her well in her job, and she loves that it allows her to be curious, both in terms of her attitude, and in her dress sense. “The great thing about work is I get to wear what I want,” she says. “I don't really separate what I wear to work and what I wear outside of work. Everything goes. I think the important thing is — I know a lot of people always say this — to be comfortable.” This comfort comes in handy especially when she takes long walks. “For real!” she says. “My favourite walking route is from West Coast to Telok Blangah. You cut through West Coast Park, NUS, South Buona Vista Road, Hort Park, Henderson Wave. You finish along Telok Blangah Road.” At work, Val says one of the most important things she’s learnt is to say no when it’s time to say no. That helps her to manage her personal life with her work life. She also advises, “Never think of yourself as that lowly marketing or account executive — you really are who you make yourself out to be.” Ever the curious mind, she ends off by sharing one of her personal favourite quotes, and what it’s taught her. ““The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something…Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”” (The Once and Future King, T.H. White). “I guess what it's trying to say is that no matter how terrible a situation you find yourself in, there is always something to learn from it,” Val says. “As long as you have a willing heart and mind.” 

Val was previously seen here and here.

25 May 2015

Browhaus x Shentonista Present: #BrowHunt

The search for the next face of Browhaus culminates in this. Shentonista hit the streets of Shenton Way and Orchard Road to look for ladies with potential, a bit of spunk, and plenty of style. Over the next two weeks, we'll be revealing six of these ladies who will share about their work, their lives, and their thoughts about grooming. 

If you missed us during our on-the-ground shoot, fret not — you can still join in the #BrowHunt contest on Instagram by submitting your own selfie which you feel best represents Browhaus, and add #BrowHunt and @BrowhausSG. The winner wins up to $5,000 worth of prizes, $2,000 cash, and $3,000 worth of prizes from Browhaus, Spa Esprit, and Strip, as well as the opportunity to be the next face of Browhaus. Submissions close on the 14th of June, so get cracking!

This is a Shentonista project for Browhaus Singapore.
For more information about Browhaus, visit their website here.

24 May 2015

SHENTONISTA Looks: T-Shirt Weather

Featuring (top to bottom, left to right): Eunice, Adib, Naoko, Pat, Stella, Yah-Leng

The only thing we can be sure about our weather is how unpredictable it is. The day might start out wonderfully cheery and sunny, only to descend into gloom and thunderstorms later on. We also have to battle the indoor climate — some offices are known have air-conditioning temperatures that feel practically arctic. We definitely don't think the weather should be any excuse for sloppy dressing, but how do you manage this spectrum of change? The trick is in light clothing, and light layers. Being in the tropics doesn't mean wearing as little clothes as possible; take some inspiration from these stylish dressers. An airy maxi dress; a shirt over a tee; clothes in light cotton; co-ordinated separates; slouchy pants; a linen jacket. Layer on or off when necessary; keep a cosy cardigan or jacket in the office for warmth or more formal meetings.

23 May 2015

Clean & Clear

Naoko, Interior Designer, Top from COS, Sunglasses from Celine, Necklace from By Invite Only

Naoko is expecting her second child in this photo, but her baby bump isn’t stopping her from dressing up. Her loose-fitting cotton top and drawstring pants are great for the heat, and she doesn’t forget to accessorize. “I would describe my style as simple and comfortable, but also innovative at the same time,” she says. “Natural materials like cotton, linen, and silk are important to me.” As a mother, and one-half of interior design firm Takenouchi Webb, Naoko says that she often finds it difficult to juggle work and life, but finds help in an understanding husband and a good helper. It also helps that she loves what she does. “Being in nice spaces and creating nice spaces brings me great pleasure,” she says. “Anticipating the final product, and imagining it as something very special, keeps me going.” Her advice, therefore, to anyone starting work is to find something you’re passionate about, and to always stay hungry. “Make sure what you are doing is what you like, and then work hard and absorb everything you can.” As a designer, her ideal workspace is one that allows her to talk and exchange ideas between. “It would be nice to be in a space that is tidy, yet relaxed, clean, fun and with lots of greenery!” Tidiness is a key word for Naoko, and she laughingly describes her “most boring hobby.” “I love to tidy up,” she says. “If I have free time, I’ll keep tidying up.” Naoko believes in not taking herself too seriously, and we think that’s one of the best ways to live. Her goal in life: “Laugh as much as I can before I put my foot in my coffin.”

22 May 2015

Big Blue

Eunice, Advertising, Dress from MTWTFSS, Shoes from Cotton On, Sunglasses from Sportsgirl

“If you can't tell a story about who you are, your identity and your point of view,” Eunice says, “then why even bother?” As such, she always dresses the part when she’s at work, dressing more smartly to channel intellect at a client meeting, or being more comfortable when she has a shoot to attend. She never skimps on the accessories though. “I always wear a pair of giant pearl earrings; it immediately dresses up any outfit. I love cuffs and necklaces as well, those that are minimalist but with an edge.” She jokingly describes her style as “an intellectual Alison Mosshart”, and music is one of her outlets. “I love making music,” she says. “I spin at home to let off steam.” Work is fulfilling for her, she says, because she gets to meet new people, experience different cultures, ask questions and influence the way people think, although she says it gets tiring when she can’t segment her personal and work life, because so much of herself get into her work. One way she tries to cope is to never bring work home. “This helps to create mental differentiation between work time and personal time. I try to start the day early — there are days where I can be at work by 730am to have time to space out my thoughts,” she says. “Also, this may sound lame but exercising is really important. I am driven by a perennial fear of being a victim of poor health — not that I'm super fit, but I try lah. Most importantly, have a close bunch of friends with whom you can just sit across the table in silence, because sometimes what's unspoken can be more powerful.” Another of Eunice’s big loves is diving. “It's the only thing I do where I only focus on one thing and one thing alone: what's in front of me when I'm underwater.” As such, if she could do anything she wanted, she says it would be something involving cake, vinyls, music, books and a beach where she could dive off into the deep blue whenever she wanted to.