Dr. Martens




Ernie really knows his stuff, and with good reason — he works in menswear tailoring, and each time we’ve spotted him (here, and here), he’s a shining example for men everywhere. He hardly even breaks a sweat on set, even in this heat; that’s how used he is to wearing suits. He shares more about his thoughts on menswear and what he’s into at the moment — plenty, it seems!


Q1. How do you try to personalise your outfit, or find some way of making it look different from the usual office crowd?

It’s all in the details and how you put it all together. I believe in clothing that fits well and either complements or contrasts my skin tone. Less is more; you can add textures or unconventional pieces in whatever you are wearing but make sure to focus on just one or two pieces.

Q2. We think that little things can make or break an outfit. What do you personally look for when it comes to shoes and accessories?

Shape is the primary thing I look for in a shoe; I think it’s really important to choose one with great form. Next, I would go for comfort. I may work in fashion but I am realistic as a person. Nothing is worse than seeing a guy with a nice pair of shoes limping like a newborn calf. Build your shoe wardrobe with this formula in mind: 50% basics and staples, 40% weekend wear or sportswear, and 10% special events or collectors item. You won’t go wrong with this.

Q3. What are some of the items in your wardrobe or on your dresser that you can’t live without?

1. My Maison Francis Kirkdjian Aqua Universalis perfume. A whiff of this instantly uplifts my mood and gives me a jolt in the morning.

2. Navy blue linen blazer; a definite must-have for any modern-day gentleman. Dress it up with a pair of smart chinos or be dressy casual with dark denim jeans.

3. Tasseled loafers. I think I have developed a fixation with loafers over the years. It’s just the easiest thing to wear.

4. White Oxford shirt. Treat it like the bread and butter of your wardrobe. I read somewhere that a crisp white shirt is for men what a little black dress is for women.


Q4. Do you believe in routine or spontaneity, both at work and off work? How so?

At work, I think routines are necessary, but not absolutely essential. I don’t believe in working overtime. It’s about time management, and leaving some for tomorrow. Lugging in long hours doesn’t mean you are productive; in fact, it’s the other way around. Men are creatures of habit; we thrive and find comfort in mundane activities. However, as we keep running in a steady or manic pace on our own hamster wheel, we tend to overlook at things that really matter, which is living, not just existing. Therefore, I try to balance that by injecting spontaneity into my personal life. I don’t like planning my whole day. I call them “windows of spontaneity” and I leave bits and pieces of it in my daily life. Open up your channels of communication to people. There was one time I sat down with a random stranger in a coffee shop and started talking about coffee beans and life in general. It’s these random moments in my life that I find really meaningful. We became good friends, by the way.

Q5. We often hear people say: don’t work hard, work smart. Have you found any way of working differently?

I think working hard and working smart should be instilled in all of us. I learned about this when I was doing a stage in a French restaurant when I was 18. I am classically French-trained, and I had to work from the ground up. Training was hard, and apart from the technical skills, the soft skills proved to be essential; I had to understand how to accomplish tasks efficiently. I would say, build a system. Be a fast learner and be obsessively observant. Approach your work with efficiency and at the same time, take a step back to see the bigger picture. Inspiration is everywhere, but people tend to forget that the most crucial thing is unlocking your mind and breaking down those inhibitions you set for yourself.


Q6. Could you tell us about what you’re working on right now, or a personal project that you would love to undertake?

Man, where should I begin! Currently, I have four different things going on. I have my day job, which is in a bespoke tailoring store called PIMABS. Then, I do some writing for both my brother’s blog which is www.edohaus.com and for my good friend’s men-centric website called www.hisstylediary.com. This is part of my constant effort and small contribution to improve the dressing standards of men. And as a small side project, a business partner and me host a private dining concept called Petit Dejeuner on selected Sunday mornings to cater to mostly our friends. Lastly, I am planning to start my own pastry shop together with my best friend and another cake artist. Keep a look out for it!

Q7. What do you do when you’re simply having a terrible day at work? Or how do you personally cope/deal with stress from work?

Okay, believe it or not — and this may sound really crazy — I have been doing this for quite a while now, and most of my friends know this about me. Whenever I am feeling down, I will blast Stevie Nicks’ Edge of Seventeen and dance in my undies in front of a mirror. It’s just so liberating and gives me an immense bliss to feel good about myself.

Q8. What’s the one thing you think you should be doing more of, or that you wish you had more time to be doing?

Reading. This year, when I was writing my resolutions, I felt that I have neglected reading and spending some spiritual time just by myself. At the moment, I am reading this book by Gretchen Rubin called The Happiness Project. No, I am not depressed or suicidal. I just want to read what happiness is like for some people and to understand it more deeply. It is important for us to grow as a person and become the best version of ourselves.


Q9. Who is your all-time favourite musician or band? Or the artist that you’re currently into at the moment?

I appreciate art and creativity in all shapes and forms, so I don’t box myself into one genre of music. They say you can get to know someone really well just by looking at their playlist. If you look at mine, it’s akin to a hybrid of a hipster and some cool uncle who lived in the ’60’s. I love vintage jazz whenever I want to unwind, or leisurely do house chores. I can dance to soul funk or even dub step. A resident musician in my playlist would be Little Dragon, the Swedish electronic pop band who plays the coolest sounds and music of all! I love Dragonnette too (something’s up with me and dragons), with their catchy beats and unusual arrangements; it really is a stand out for me.

Q10. In light of the Dr. Martens #standforsomething campaign, what’s the one thing you stand for? What do you personally believe in, be it at work, or in life? 

I believe in living life intensely. I know we all have heard this before but only few really live up to it, pun intended. It’s about taking chances. Being bold. Feeling everything. Absorbing what the world is giving you and giving it all back, tenfold. Getting to know someone really, really well. Taste your food. Celebrate success. Laugh until it hurts. Love someone wrong for you. Get heartbroken. Stand up for something important to you. Don’t be afraid to face your fears and charge straight ahead. It’s all these things that make living more meaningful. Life is indeed short and we can only appreciate that once reality hits us in the face.

This is a Shentonista project for Dr. Martens Singapore.

For more on Dr. Martens, visit their Facebook here and their website here.

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