Mention men’s style and menswear, we think of movie posters with their male leads decked out in tuxedos – think the multiple iterations of James Bond and the entirety of “Kingsmen”.
That said, those suits with their more rigid frame and design, might not make a suitable fit for the local scene, where the tropical heat can get pretty harsh.
“We’re leaning towards Italian [tailoring], which we think is more appropriate for our time and where we are as a society – we’re not as stiff as we used to be. It’s the casualisation of society.”
“Casualisation”; I like the word.
WJ & Co is a boutique in Bangsar Shopping Centre serving the discerning men looking to up their style game. From jackets to shirts and to pocket squares and wallets, the boutique has almost everything you need to really take yourself up a few notches.
And it starts with a man taking a break from the finance sector. Meet Wen Yeunh. He moved away from finance and into menswear, drawing from his experience abroad. Rather than continue climbing a fixed corporate ladder, he decided to leave it all and start something new.
To Wen Yeunh, WJ & Co is an avenue for men to dress well; to raise standards. It is, according to him, “providing guys the access to these well-made things that have timeless design, made with traditional techniques, and they last a really long time. It’s going to last 50 years from now, and it will look good 50 years from now.”
So, back to that Italian tailoring I mentioned earlier. Menswear is usually seen as a rigid, formal affair, and according to Wen Yeunh, Italian tailoring suits (wordplay not intended) Malaysians better, simply because it is lighter – both in fabric and in structure.
“It’s sort of antithetic to British tailoring, which is additive – adding structure. The Italians do reductive tailoring – taking out, leaving the essentials. It’s most relevant here in Southeast Asia, because it’s so hot! You can actually go outside with these, because it’s more cooling.”
With lighter materials comes expanded opportunities to wear jackets, without being encumbered by weight or heat. Wen Yeunh does have this piece of advice: don’t draw attention to yourself. If you constantly fidget, it tells others that you’re not comfortable wearing something. “A lot of people assume jackets are a very formal thing – that’s not the case now. Just because it has a lapel doesn’t mean it has to be formal. At the end of the day, it’s how you perceive yourself. For instance, I will notice if I’m wearing a different pair of shoes, and I’ll draw attention to it if I keep looking at it.”
“I’d love for guys to be more comfortable in dressing up… Say if you go out with your girlfriend or wife, there’s no harm in adding that additional bit of formality to the fact that you’re going out. That’s our aim – to help guys dress better.”
Of course, Wen Yeunh also notes that the market is still new. “Our customers are always changing – the Malaysian audience in this market is new and nascent.”
So, what does the boutique have in store in the near future? “We’re quite happy with the portfolio of brands that we carry, so moving forward, it’s less of new brands and more of refining our products. It’s about us curating the selection. We’re always assessing our brand to make sure it’s what customers want. We’ll probably also host more trunk shows.”
With WJ & Co being a personal passion, and with the aim to see well-dressed men walking the streets, how does Wen Yeunh feel about his undertaking?
“I really enjoy what I’m doing. At the end of the day, it doesn’t feel like work!”
Bangsar Shopping Centre,
Shop F7, Level 1,
285, Jalan Maarof,
59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Open daily: 11am – 8pm
Tel: +603 2011 4888
Mobile: +6012 908 0893
For those looking to get some gifts for the holiday season, stay tuned – WJ & Co’s got some gift recommendations lined up!