“SUIT GEEK” is PRINCIPLE M’s original feature column where each month we reach out to one of our loyal customers & friends and ask him to share his clothing, life, and his unique point of view on gentlemen‘s style.
For our 11th interview, also the first guest of this year, we invite our friend & client Mr. Zhang Hanqing. As a regular client at PM, Hanqing went through the traditional sartorial journey, from customized shirts, to classic men’s accessories, and eventually to a Semi-bespoke suit. Today, he will also share some tips on how he dresses himself in a more conservative environment.
Hanqing is a fun person to be around, no matter if it’s an interview, or a short conversation, he could always make you laugh, with his natural, je-ne-sais-quoi sense of humour. As a Beijing local, he also shares some of his favourite spots in town, films that inspire him, and his love for music.
/His Tailoring Journey
“There was a very specific time when I really loved wearing jackets. I usually paired it up with jeans. A bit of western style. Under the jacket, sometimes I wore shirts, or even t-shirts. That was a few years ago when I just finished school.
I had a job at that time, but it didn’t require me to work at the office that much, so I got to travel a lot, meeting friends, hanging out with them. So, I wanted to look good, and posh, which was why I wanted to wear jackets.”
Justin: I remember the first time I met you was at my shop. How did you hear about us and come here?
“It was very interesting. It was a few years ago, right? I was having lunch downstairs at Bottega with friends. I was wearing a jacket that day, then my friends and I started having conversations about suits. My friend then said that there’s a very nice menswear store upstairs, we should go and check it out. That’s how it got me here.”
“The first thing I got here was three customised white shirts. I wanted to do tailored shirts because I have a very thick neck, and it’s hard for me to buy RTW shirts because the fit is always wrong. And I have to dress formally for work, so wearing shirts is necessary.
Then, I started to buy some accessories here, then chinos, trousers, then jackets and suits…I’m hooked! It’s like an addiction.”
/His Personal Style
“I don’t think I have a specific style, but I appreciate the classical menswear style very much.”
>>> Work Style
”Suits, of course. Usually in darker colours, such as navy, dark grey, or black. In the summer, maybe something lighter, like beige. Single breasted or double breasted, that doesn’t matter, but always wear a tie and a shirt.“
(Sounds quite conservative, actually. )
“Very conservative. But I tried to play it down a little bit, to have a bit more fun. For example, wearing a tie that is a little bit abstract, or maybe wear a pink shirt, or a light blue shirt.”
（Can you tell us why you wore this outfit today?)
“I remember when I was thinking to make a Semi-bespoke black suit, I had my doubts, too. But the result turned out to be pretty good. What’s very interesting is, I think a black suit can be paired up with anything, from business formal clothing to casual shoes, almost anything.”
“Today, I’m not going to work; I’m going out, then I thought I wanted to be a bit more playful, maybe western style, so I wore this denim shirt with a pair of boots, to balance out the seriousness of a double-breasted black suit.“
“This is also an amazing tie, so thanks, Nicolas!”
“I think a lot of classical menswear items are very tolerant, to mix and match with some new, modern things, like bright colour shirts, etc.”
>>> Off-work & Party Style
“If I have time to go back home to change, I’d usually take off my suit, change it to a blazer and a pair of jeans. Switch the work shoes to a pair of boots, like what I’m wearing right now.”
“It also really depends on the occasions. If I’m going to a jazz club, like I was with you last time, I will wear a suit, without a tie. If I go to underground clubs, like Lantern, or Zhaodai, just nearby, I will change to something very rock n roll, haha.”
“I played saxophone for 10 years since I was little. I mostly learned classical pieces for saxophone. It was pretty special to play Mozart’s pieces on saxophone. but it is easy for me to pick it up again and play some jazz, too.”
“I appreciate all types of music, but if I have to choose, then my favourite would be jazz, classic music and rock n roll. My favourite musicians vary, too, I worship Beethoven, and Richard Wagner, but I also enjoy Rolling Stones and David Bowie.”
“For movies, I like Blade Runner, the original one, that was pretty cool. And also some of the European classics, like Luchino Visconti’s Il gattopardo (The Leopard).“
(When you travel, especially for a longer trip, what clothing do you pack in your suitcase?)
“I usually try to travel light. I don’t want to pack too many things, but I try to bring a lot of interesting accessories, to mix it up with my clothing. If I go to Europe, of course, I will bring a suit, in case I need to wear it for a nice dinner. I also like opera a lot, so I will wear a very nice suit for that.”
“If I travel to Cuba or Jamaica, somewhere with a beach, I will bring a Panama hat, some light scarves, and different swimming trunks haha. I’m a beach holiday kind of guy.”
“The first place I want to travel after COVID is Argentina! I’ve always liked Latino culture and tango dance, but I haven’t been to South America yet. I think after the pandemic, I’m gonna take a long holiday in Argentina, three months maybe!”
(As a Beijing local, is there any place you want to recommend or frequently visit?)
“There’s a restaurant called Ling Long at Sanlitun. It’s pretty cool. The chef is from Taiwan, I think.”
“Usually I would take a weekend off every month and go to the west (of Beijing), spending it with my family. They live really close to the Summer Place, so sometimes we would go there or take a stroll at other parks. I grew up in the west (of Beijing), so I always feel a sense of belonging there. It makes me relax, like an escape from reality.“
□ PRINCIPLE M
Interviewer: Justin Editor: Carrie Photographer: Adora Produced by PRINCIPLE M