Where both ends meet

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 July, 2012, 12:00am


Meeting us in his apartment in North Point, J.J. Acuna, the man behind the blog The Wanderlister, is dressed in local designer brands from head to toe.

He's sporting a navy jersey jacket from Hill, a tangerine T-shirt from Moustache and acid mustard jeans from Initial for men.

'I respect all the independent designers. We really must do our best to support them because they give us fresh ideas,' he says. 'Sometimes you don't want to look like everybody else. The indie designers are great because you know you are wearing something that not a lot of people are wearing.'

Acuna, an architect, moved from his home in Texas to Hong Kong almost seven years ago. Last year he started blogging about culture, arts and fashion in Hong Kong.

It has gradually influenced the way he dresses. 'I'm tired of people saying that Hong Kong is a cultural desert. I think Hong Kong is creative and offers plenty of fashion events and exhibitions, especially in the past few years. I started the blog to showcase local designers, artists and cultural events. This year has been crazy. I've got so much to write about,' he says.

Acuna says he goes for a tailored look with a playful touch.

'Some people stay at the formal end and some at the slouchy end. I get things from both ends. I elevate the casual pieces and tone down the formal ones,' he says.

Acuna's colour co-ordinated closet - which he rearranges every week - is filled with basic Oxford shirts from Ralph Lauren, T-shirts from American Apparel and jackets from Hong Kong-based labels such as Mark Lui Chung-tak's Cool Day, Sir and Hill by Anthony Hill.

'Hill's craftsmanship is Old World, but he mixes it with the new. I also buy from fast fashion chains. It's always been high and low for me. Wearing only established designer brands can be boring. It's more fun to mix and match,' he says.

Dressing up in the morning is like a game for Acuna, although he's careful to keep it tasteful. 'Nothing should look like a costume,' he says. 'Fashion shouldn't take over the look, but it should help present your best self.'

One of the ways Acuna likes to 'upgrade' his look is with his growing collection of bow ties and pocket squares. These include a few knitted ones from vintage boutique Luddite in Causeway Bay.

'There are ways to incorporate bow ties into day-to-day wear. You don't have to go to a black tie event to enjoy them,' he says.

'If you have a really colourful bow tie, you want everything else to be simple - just a white oxford shirt or something in khaki. That does the trick. Pocket squares don't need to be very expensive. When you see a colour or pattern you like, just buy it. It's always good to have more choices.'

Acuna also likes to use a navy leather satchel, which bears his initials, or a printed Givenchy tote to inject the desired splash of colour into his look.

He knows when he sees a pair of 'investment shoes'.

'I love lace-ups because I choose them based on the ability to wear them with a jacket,' he says. He points out a favourite pair, from New York, by the eco-fashion brand Civic Duty.

'They are waterproof and tough. You can't rip them and you can wear them in the rain,' he says.

As for the watches, Acuna stashes his classic Rolexes with vintage-looking Seikos and plastic Nixons. He also has a Mickey Mouse watch similar to the one he used to wear as a child.

'I hate it when guys only wear one watch. Sure, you can take a Rolex from day to night, but I think watches say a lot about men,' he says.

It's the same with his sunglasses - there are H&M pieces alongside Tom Ford, Henry Holland and Pierre Cardin.

'I don't differentiate them by name, price or prestige. I shop at Lane Crawford and also buy from the street,' Acuna says. 'That's the fun part of getting dressed every morning. You are styling yourself.'