Style Theory Apparel / Wardrobe

Style Diversity: Kathleen Leong

From The Infinite Wardrobe: CAMILLE BONDED HALTER T by AIJEK

Embrace yourself, because that’s when you’ll start feeling as good as you look.

Diversity takes on a different meaning to everyone. In a nutshell, what is diversity to you?

Diversity is about our unique experiences, personalities, values, body shapes – the list goes on and on. It’s just about being able to see the beauty in all of these things, and trying to understand other people’s different perspectives. 

In a cultural melting pot like Singapore, when did you first realise the importance of diversity at the workplace?

I was really lucky to have been a part of the ZULA (a female site by TheSmartLocal) team when it first started. Everyone was so different in terms of our personalities, how we looked, and even culturally in our values and experiences.

To be honest, I don’t think any of us ever thought about how different we all were. But we were able to open up unique discussions, get lesser-known opinions on things and create something special, and there was no way we could have done that without having our differences.




You have a rather wide range of styles, what would you say is your favourite style and why?

If I really had to choose, my favourite style is androgynous. I grew up being this huge tomboy because I’d always get my brother’s hand-me-downs as a kid, so in some way I’m always the most comfortable in a good pair of pants and a T-shirt. I also love the big slouchy 90’s silhouettes with high waists and wide pant legs – ‘cause I’m a 90’s baby at heart! 

Being someone who is experimental with clothes, how do you come to decide what styles fit you and what doesn’t?

Style has always been an instinctive thing for me. The moment I feel like I’m not completely comfortable in what I’m wearing, I know it won’t work. But when it comes to specific pieces, I always look at how something flatters my body shape. I’m pear-shaped and I used to want to ALWAYS wear skinny jeans because they were on-trend, but it just didn’t flatter my body at all. So now I remind myself that I shouldn’t be trying to fit the clothes, they’re supposed to fit me.

Share with us on how your style has evolved the past 5 years.

I think the biggest difference is that my wardrobe isn’t 90% black anymore! Besides that, my style is less about what’s on-trend and just more about what my body feels good in. I always think people look their best when they’re feeling comfortable and confident at the end of the day.

More often than not, style reflects personality. How does your personality influence the way you dress?

Ironically, I’m usually quite reserved, so I think my style lets me communicate in a way I can’t socially. I guess my style is as bold as I would like to be all the time in real life, but till then, I’ll settle for looking the part, haha.  

What are some advice or tips you would share with those who are still exploring styles?

Don’t be scared to try something new, but at the same time, you should always embrace your body type, ALWAYS. This is so important because that’s when you’ll start feeling as good as you look.  

How has your style and personality influenced the way you write?

My style and personality are very focused on comfort. I like to feel comfortable in my clothes, and I like to make people feel comfortable when I’m around them too. So I’ve always been a “conversational” writer in a sense. I like to imagine I’m having conversations with my reader, and I hope they like having that conversation with me.

What are some highs and lows about being a content producer in an agency? 

I always feel my best when I’ve written something that readers can resonate with or adds value to their lives, even if it’s just to their skincare routines. So for me, the lows tend to be when you feel like you’re churning out content for the sake of it, which is just the way it has to be sometimes, so you just have to roll with all of it.

Do you have any personal mantras that you’ve gathered as you’ve grown?

Never assume that you know everything. I feel like a lot of the time, we’re always wrapped up in wanting to be right about things or having our own set of beliefs and values validated, but if we all put our own egos aside, we’ll be surprised by how much we can learn from each other.

Was there a singular moment that led you to that mantra?

I don’t think it was a singular moment. It’s something I’ve had to learn over time and then one day I was sitting around just talking to my friends when it dawned on me that if we weren’t so open with each other, we wouldn’t be able to be together sharing all these experiences with each other, which is something I value a lot.

Who do you look to as a source of inspiration?

My mum! I say this all the time and it seems like such a cliche thing to say but it’s true. I think she’s always put in the time to understand me growing up, even though I’m a very different person from her in many ways. I don’t think I’ve ever felt a moment where I was afraid she wouldn’t accept me for who I am, which is something really important to me. And she’s also always been so self-sufficient and strong so I think I get a lot of my work ethic from her as well.

If you had to write a travel piece, which country would you write about and why?

I’d love to write more about Italy. I got to go to Sicily early this year and it was a dream come true for me because I’ve always wanted to go there. You just get a strong sense of nature, culture and vibrancy when you’re there.

Love her style? Rent from Kathleen’s top picks:

Beat the stereotypes and embraces the differences. Find out more about our celebration about diversity in our community from our interview series:

About Author

Ashley is fun-loving, and pens down anything that’s got to do with food, fashion, and films. She occasionally indulges in pop-culture narratives and secretly loves FPS games (betcha she can beat you in it!) Nothing excites her more than a trip with a scenic view -- mountains and fjords included. Her favourite apparel piece is a skirt, for it's flexible and flatters her height-- an added bonus if it comes with pockets!

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