Not an heir out of place

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 November, 2011, 12:00am


You'd expect Justin Chang's wardrobe to be filled with shirts of every imaginable colour and print. After all, he is an heir to Ascot Chang, the renowned shirt maker.

You would also imagine that there would be a separate wardrobe housing a row of suits and sports coats. Doesn't having a bespoke tailoring company that bears your family name give you access to an unlimited wardrobe, and afford you the luxury of ordering shirts and suits on a whim?

That isn't the case for Chang. His closet is relatively humble. In fact, it houses no more than 15 shirts and four or five suits.

'If I want something made, I still have to pay for it, at least for the labour,' he says. 'I've never been a big spender or shopper, and I have to earn whatever I want to buy.'

But what Chang's wardrobe lacks in volume and quantity, it certainly makes up for in style.

Chang, 25, is a disciple of the school of classic dressing. That timeless, elegant and gentlemanly look is seeing a big revival this season. He wears tailored jackets and trousers every day.

He has, in his modest closet, the foundations of a solid men's wardrobe - a navy blazer, a grey suit, well-fitting trousers, white and pale blue shirts, chinos, a couple of simple dark jeans, monk strap shoes and classic lace-ups. The pieces can be combined in many permutations. This creates the illusion that the wearer has an extensive wardrobe.

'Classic dressing allows me to dress up and look polished and respectable without having to follow trends,' says the Groton and Cornell University graduate.

He adopted the look when he started working for the family's New York outpost three years ago. Before that, he confesses sheepishly, you would have found him in streetwear from Quicksilver.

Today, however, he's all spruced up. He pays particular attention to details like the shape of his shirt collars and his cuff-to-jacket sleeve ratio.

'I like a spread and high collar because I think I have a thin face and a long neck,' he explains. 'And I like to show half an inch of shirt sleeve underneath my jacket.'