Men With Personal Style Series – Jeffrey Ying
A continuing series of interviews with men who have cultivated their own personal style.
With an affection for 60’s & 70’s fashion, exotic reptile skins and travel, writer Jeffrey Ying is an example that there is room for creative personal expression in the world of on-line media.
Where are you located and what do you do?
I’m currently in Beijing, and write for magazines and digital outlets such as Style.com. Beijing has both a grittiness and stately grandeur which I find appealing. There is also a rather lively underground scene here tempered with some massive parties hosted by the big luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Prada.
How would you describe your style?
I’m attracted to the late ’60s, and early ’70s school of high-end clothing which is rarely seen nowadays. People are either into the “classics”, namely stuff from the ’20s and the ’30s, or that kind of overly minimalist Mad Men-esque look. Then there is also the Menswear Blogger look which I find relentlessly ubiquitous despite the colorful array of accessories involved. I’m rather into the turtleneck and suit look, quite reductive but also quite ’70s, redolent of Halston.
What are some of your major interests and talents?
Various forms of decadent subversive movements be it the “Fin de Siecle”, or the whole New York scene in the late ’70s, early ’80s. I am also into disco music, but not the kind that middle-aged women who have had too much white wine slosh to at bar mitzvahs. Other interests include architectural history and theory, hi-fi equipment and obscure artisanal goods.
Why do you wear what you wear?
How has your style evolved?
I used to favor more patterns and clashing shirt and necktie combinations but these days I like accessories that on their own might be construed as tacky: say, a light blue alligator skin belt. I’m also a big practitioner of the suit plus turtleneck look.
Who or what inspired your sense of style growing up?
Salvador Dali, Studio 54, Cowboy Couture like Nudie, Jean Pierre-Melville movies, the concept of a chic lesbian.
Favorite article of clothing or men’s accessory that you have received as a gift?
I’ve gotten some nice pocket handkerchiefs.
Worst fashion mistake?
Where do you get your inspiration today?
I’ve found some interesting tailoring scans from the ’60s and ’70s where master tailors would model their wares; many times it’s rather nerdy or generally dumpy old man wearing flamboyant clothing and because this was the ’70s, gaudy hairstyles and oversized glasses. I’m also quite fond of mohair fabrics especially the Dormeuil Toniks, and the like.
What do you like to wear and carry with you while traveling by air?
I check in all my luggage so the list would be too exhaustive: I carry two rather large suitcases by Zero Halliburton who incidentally have a rather wonderful warranty policy.
Recently I’ve been into the Italian brand Artioli, especially some of the older models; I like sleek shoes with a higher heel and they did a bit of that.
Anna Matuozzo makes a nice shirt.
Favorite jacket or suit?
I tend to have my things made up at my tailor using cloth I buy from England. I’m also quite into trench coats made out of leather or suede. I recently got a Raf Simons leather trench that resembles a Gestapo item.
I wear two antique gold rings and a 1968 18k gold Rolex Oyster Day-Date on an alligator strap. For a more personal touch, I’m partial to nice breast wallets made out of exotic skins. I usually also carry an ’80s ST Dupont lighter that is inlaid with brown Chinese lacquer.
Do you keep everything forever or donate frequently?
I’m quite acquisitive.
Any especially memorable fashion or menswear moment you care to share?
I once saw a middle-aged Chinese man wearing a fringed suede coat, an inordinate amount of gold jewelry and what appeared to be makeup in a theater audience in Beijing. It was truly glamorous.
Pisco Punch and gin martinis, lemon peel only.
I’ll know it when I see it.
Jeffrey’s work can be seen online here and was known on Styleforum as Label King.