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Glenn Goh: Riding the wave of new masculinity

Fashionisto Glenn Goh isn’t afraid to “mess it up”

Helmi Yusof
Published Thu, Sep 15, 2022 · 10:00 PM
Glenn Goh in a printed shirt, mohair sweater, blazer, necklace, all Dior. DARREN GABRIEL LEOW FOR BT

IF YOU haven’t noticed, men’s fashion has been changing faster than you can say “Timothee Chalamet”. Recently, the actor broke the Internet wearing a backless red halter-top at the Venice Film Festival. Harry Styles, Lil Nas X, Troye Sivan and Billy Porter have all been photographed wearing dresses. Brad Pitt showed up at the premiere of his new action film, Bullet Train, in a skirt. As Pitt told Variety magazine:  “We’re all going to die, so let’s mess it up.”  

Glenn Goh has long been a fan of “messing it up”. Asked what his dream photoshoot would be, he said: “I’d love to do a shoot with me in dresses.” The fashion influencer doesn’t care what people have to say about his masculine identity. He’s more interested in breaking style norms and changing the way people think about clothes. Besides, his Instagram following (@glenngoh) would only surge in such an event. (Just ask Styles.)

For Goh, experimenting with fashion is simply part of his identity. “Back when I was a little boy, my mom would dress me and my brothers up if we were to go out, and that definitely sparked the interest. Ever since the first dress-up, I have wanted to put on my clip-on tie whenever we had outings again.”

Other men could only wish for a similar head start, as menswear culture is now evolving at breakneck speed beyond anyone’s imagination. “Ten years ago, Singaporean men were mostly wearing simple T-shirts, shorts and boat shoes… But today, more of them are dressing up in cool shirts or T-shirts, mixed with tailored pants and stylish shoes.”

Glenn Goh in a long camel coat, burgundy trousers and leather sneakers, all Fendi. DARREN GABRIEL LEOW FOR BT

Instagram has largely been responsible for challenging, shifting and overturning traditional ideas of men’s clothing, he said. “Now that we can see on our mobile phone what people all around the world are wearing, even as we’re commuting on the train or bus, we’re rethinking our wardrobes and experimenting with different looks. Instagram has made it okay for everybody to just join in the fun of fashion. Instagram has made it okay to make fashion mistakes.

“My role models used to be models, celebs and icons. But with social media, I have come to realise that I am more inspired by people on the streets from all over the world through their socials, simply because they are more relatable. I’m also discovering more new and interesting brands through them.”

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His own Instagram account is populated with over 1,700 images of himself decked out in some of the season’s chicest, trendiest looks. He has a following of over 28,000, suggesting that many people draw inspiration from his fashion sensibilities as well. 

Asked who or what inspires his looks, he quotes designers and labels from far and wide, high and low. “Kim Jones for Dior and Fendi, Juun J for JuunJ, Alexandre Mattiussi for Ami Paris, Simon Porte Jacquemus for Jacquemus, and Karin Gustafsson for COS … I like a lot of underground brands, because they are more experimental and unpredictable.”

His favoured look these days are white T-shirts with mid-high-waisted, wide-legged pants. His accessories of choice are ear cuffs from Seoul’s Portrait Report and a silver chain bracelet from Dior. And his go-to bags are the saddle bag from Dior and the padded cassette from Bottega. “But if I could, though, I would go with no bags. I prefer to keep my things on me very minimal.”

Glenn Goh in a printed shirt, mohair sweater, blazer, necklace, all Dior.  DARREN GABRIEL LEOW FOR BT

Countless men have asked him how they, too, could develop a chicer fashion sense. He said: “The first step is to find on social media someone who has almost the same body type as you. Then, if you like their style, just copy everything they wear or get very similar pieces. You don’t have to get the exact same piece if the person is wearing brands you can’t yet afford – there’re cheaper alternatives. As time goes by, you’ll get a better sense of what you like and don’t like, and that would help you refine your look.

“Fashion is a form of identity. For most of us, having a clear and authentic identity is very important. So it’s critical to just keep trying out different silhouettes, style, colours and fabrics – until you find something that you’re really comfortable with, something that makes you feel confident, something that comes close to defining who you are.”

What are his top fashion tips for men? 

“1. Always have a black tailored suit on standby for any event. If you buy one off the rack, get it altered to fit your body perfectly, because a little bit of alteration can go a very long way.

“2. Don’t neglect skincare. Moisturise your face once in the morning, once at night. That’ll help to repair your skin. Also, don’t forget to use sunblock too because it slows the ageing process.

“3. Enjoy accessories like bags, watches and jewellery. It’s quite fun to have more accessories than you think. Jewellery – contrary to conventional wisdom – is really quite masculine.”

Credits

Photography: Darren Gabriel Leow

Fashion direction: CK

Grooming: Zoel Tee, using Dior Beauty. 

Hair: Christvian Wu, using Goldwell

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