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Style Inspirations From Zayn Malik, Wak Doyok, and KJ

Style ideas that you can adopt from Zayn Malik, Wak Doyok, and YB Khairy Jamaluddin.

By Shakir Yusop

In this era of knowledge at our fingertips, men regardless of age could simply look up online resources for tips on how to wear a suit. Myriad of suggestions include wearing the latest fashion trends, rocking the slim-fit suits, matching vintage pieces, and finally, wearing a suit with a looser, older cut. In addition to the blogs and forums, the rise of social media influencers has raised style inspirations on suits. The challenge for men is to adopt the suits style that is relevant to their personality and profession.

Which ones are suitable for the readers? Is there such thing as too much of an accessory? Would a skinny-fit suit be suitable for a business event? Should a man separate his suit pieces? Do the rule in menswear needs to be followed, or ignored for the sake of total freedom?

One way to look out for the answers is by emulating other well-dressed suit-wearers. Inspiration from other men is a good strategy, especially true to those who is starting to carve his sartorial path. Pick an inspiration, learn the essence of the man’s style, and adopt it as your own. As such, this article will be describing the suits worn by three different men from diverse backgrounds and professions: Zayn Malik, Wak Doyok, and YB Khairy Jamaluddin.

All three are from different occupations, yet they shared a similar essence in their style. They embody each their individuality within the limitations of their industries; all three injected their personal taste and embraced the modernity of the suits in their own unique way. They have contrasting backgrounds – global artiste, fashion entrepreneur, politics – yet the spirits of their suit style screamed a similar echo; “I am my own man. And I am paving my own way.” Let us observe their style...


(1) Zayn Malik – The rules of suits are meant to be broken.

The first man is Zayn Malik. He is a global heartthrob who used to be a part of the British boy band, One Direction. Since becoming a solo act, Zayn has been involved in different ventures apart from music including philanthropy and fashion. Unsurprisingly, his outfits include the very casual, athleisure, as well as the high fashion. Although his suits range from the classic look to the modern fit with bright colours, Zayn somehow made them all look effortless and good on him. Since Zayn is an international singer-songwriter, his suits may not be suitable for business setting. To all readers: Proceed with caution.

The 1st photo show Zayn in a three-piece suit with a modern perfect fit – not too tight, not too loose – with a simple pattern and texture. The coat has a wide peak lapel with a striped accent stitching buttonhole. Notice also that he is wearing a knitted necktie in a similar shade of colour with the suit. That trousers was tailored with a break that perfectly complements that perfect dark leather shoes. With a simple crisp white dress shirt showing the right amount of cuff, this look is potentially the best classic formal wear that Zayn worn over the years.

The 2nd photo shows Zayn wearing a light grey two-piece suit with a modern fit, as well. The lapel is also a wide peak one with a more subtle accent stitching buttonhole. Again, he is wearing a knitted necktie and a white dress shirt. It is not surprising if the necktie and the dress shirt are the same as in the previous photos – highlighting the versatility of classic accessories in a man’s wardrobe. The only difference this time around is the colour of the suit and its pattern. This grey suit has a windowpane pattern, which add sophistication.

The 3rd photo show Zayn attending the Tom Ford fashion show 2016, Zayn donned a custom-made double-breasted black suit with a matching dark rollneck jumper and dark leather shoes. Again, he keeps the lapel a wide peak one. This outfit is simple, but the perfect fit of the suit made it a decent eveningwear choice for the more fashion-forward men. Do note that swapping the rollneck jumper with a white dress shirt and a bowtie would transform the outfit to a classic tuxedo for an evening event.

The 4th photo show Zayn opted to go for a preppy style (or Ivy League style). He paired a navy blazer with a white shirt, grey trousers, and a pair of Chelsea boots. Notice that the contrasting colour scheme between the blazer and the trousers works out well, due to the balance between the minimal patterns of both items. Zayn added a bit of modernity to the outfit by having the trousers break ended up higher, which shows more of the high-cut boots. The blazer has the classic British style of military-precision tailoring and is adorned with gold buttons including on the cuffs too. He makes the outfit even more casual by leaving the buttons undone and keeping the shirt untucked.

The 5th photo show him in smart-casual dress code. Unless the reader is also an internationally recognised singer-songwriter, wearing this outfit to any event is not recommend. Disclaimer aside, the outfit in the left photo is a decent way for a man to start incorporating tailoring into everyday life. Having blazer as the only center piece of the outfit, this is simple, but effective way to up-dress any outfit.

On the right, the pink pastel suit worn by Zayn in the right photo is not for the faint-hearted. He somehow combined the right amount of simplicity and just the right amount of ‘extra’ to make the overall outfit interesting yet not too overwhelming.

(2) Wak Doyok – Savile Row style.

The next inspiration is Wak Doyok. Wak is regarded by many as one of the pioneers in bringing modern menswear fashion to the mainstream media in Malaysia. With his penchant for impeccable suits combined with a signature beard, Wak managed to garner followers and fame in social media since 2010. Since then, he has ventured on various endeavors; not limited to, acting, TV show hosting, business, and consultancy. 

Wak formula is simple; combined rightly fit suit with accessories. Wak combined classic undertone, yet he pushed the boundaries with mixtures of non-conventional patterns and colours. This is how he expresses his style and gained stardom on Instagram. 

The 1st photo of Wak shows him wearing a pin-striped suit paired with a pair of nice black leather shoes. The suit itself deserves applause; a nicely tailored fit, complemented by "Peaky Blinders" dress collart shirt with a pin collar and double cuffs. Notice that the trousers also include cuffs at the end of the legs. Trousers cuffs that add character to the suit. Wak again demonstrated his fondness for accessories. From this photo, he is seen wearing a wristwatch, several rings, a metal bracelet, a pair of glasses, a necktie, a pocket square, and a songkok on his head. As a rule of thumb, accessories must not be more than three to be worn at one time. However, if the reader aspire to dress like a style-star with panache like Wak, why not?

The 2nd photo shows Wak in well-coordinated outfit. As a rule of thumb, one should not wear a necktie and a pocket square of the exact same fabrics. Take a page from Wak’s look book; his necktie and pocket square are purposely mismatched but complemented each other.

The 3rd photo show how well-fitted suits are the key to become a well-dressed man. The fit of a suit should be the foundation for a man, then supported by the details and accessories to make up the rest of a proper outfit. Here we can see that Wak mastered “spezzato” (suits separation); in the left photo, he paired a blue coat with black trousers and leather shoes, which exudes the same amount of formality compared to the light blue suit he is seen wearing in the right photo. Considering the location and the formality of an event, a man must choose the best outfit to wear to respect the host and the occasion. 

On the right photo, Wak injected "sprezzatura" (nonchalance), by purposely "forgetting" to tie up his monk strap shoes. The monk strap was a pleasant surprise, a much-needed, fashion-forward alternative to the usual dress shoe suspects.

Choosing to mix and match different colours and textures for an outfit would require one to understand the rules, and Wak Doyok shows his sartorial finesse here. The colours of the coat, shirt, and trousers do not clash directly with one another which gives a nonchalant stature of a man. 

(3) Khairy Jamaluddin – The "Eton" Style.

The third suit inspiration that we could take from is YB Khairy Jamaluddin. Often referred to as KJ, he is one of the Malaysian politicians in the country that is no stranger to giving speeches in formal attire. As such, it is refreshing and welcoming to see him having a modern take on the traditional outfit of such as traditional profession. Perhaps, wearing suits with a modern cut – instead of abandoning the outfit completely – is a subtle way of portraying his understanding of the need for modernity to stay relevant in these times without totally discarding the old rules and traditions. Or maybe KJ simply has excellent tailor. 

Out of the three men in this article, KJ’s interpretation of the modern suit is the most conservative one. A modern fit is timeless and bodes well in any environment. His penchant for a darker colours and simpler patterns, in which he chose to add patterns to his neckties and pocket squares. This is the style fundamental; get a dark suit tailored to your body, the rest comes later.

The suits of KJ can be summarized as being traditional with a hint of Eton syle (elite school for the young gentry in UK). He wore his suits with a modern tailored fit – not too loose, not too tight. The colour of his suits is in conservative dark tones – either shades of navy or greys – with subtle, almost non-existent patterns. The remaining parts of his outfits are where he adds more ‘life’. He plays with the dress shirts, neckties, pocket squares, and accessories. Instead of the usual white shirts, KJ has been seen in a light pink shirt and subtle pinstripe, among others. He tend to wore a necktie-pocket square combo that is colourful and patterned. KJ’s overall look has been consistently decent for the past few years, with the only changes now in terms of his longer hairstyle and more pronounced facial hair. 

The 3rd photo show KJ wears conservative suits with a simple dress shirt. He adds personal flair with the colours and patterns on the neckties. Notice that he is wearing pocket squares that are not from the same fabric as the necktie, which is the modern rule that every man should adopt. Having a pin on one’s coat that marks someone’s affiliation also helps, in this case, KJ is wearing the Malaysian crest to show his role as a public servant to the country. In the photos, KJ wore plenty of accessories – bracelets and a signet ring. It is advisable to wear a subtle accessory. If the reader just started his sartorial path, we suggest to start with a simple signet ring, then proceed with other forms of accessories.

A gentleman should present themselves with the best outfit within their means. Much of the secret of this distinction lies in the fact that the first thing these three men learn is the importance of never looking "dressed up", while always looking well dressed.

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