Why Eugene Tong Is on Everyone's Style Moodboard

Eugene Tong@jamesmacari

Before he transformed into a leading fashion consultant for men, Eugene Tong cut his teeth at New York–based men’s magazines like FHM, Cargo, and Details, where he was the style director. As a globe-trotting editor, Tong—who has a penchant for big black overcoats, white tees, and sneakers—was an early evangelist for contemporary, dressed-down street style. Aside from appearing on the mood boards of many a guy who appreciates the power of a tuned-in, understated aesthetic, he has styled multiple shows and campaigns for brands like Public School, John Elliott, and Dyne. And his influence shows no sign of slowing. Since 2022, he’s been the VP of visuals at Kith, responsible for all manner of creative output for the pioneering retailer. We caught him in between a couple of his many appointments to chat about opting out of trends, grail watches, and why he loves Japanese designers so much.

Esquire: Going sockless with a suit?

Eugene Tong: Definite no.

Sneakers with a suit?

Definitely a yes.


Yes, but not for me.

Coat by Auralee. Jacket and T-shirt by Kith. Trousers by Sasquatchfabrix. Sneakers by Adidas. Hat by Rocky’s Matcha. Sunglasses by Oliver Peoples.@jamesmacari

What’s your one go-to style rule?

Don’t let the clothes wear you; you should wear the clothes.

What’s an under-the-radar brand you’re loving right now?

All my under-the-radars are now very well-known. With social media and just how much attention there is on fashion right now, it’s getting harder and harder. It’s always nice to go to someplace like Japan where you find a nice domestic brand that isn’t so widely distributed.

What’s your grail garment?

Could it be an accessory? The Paul Newman Daytona.

One trend you don’t like right now?

Trends in general. I don’t think you should really follow trends.

What designer or designers are you loving right now?

It’s always Japanese designers: Yohji Yamamoto. I always love Comme des Garçons. Auralee. Teatora.

What never goes out of style?

A white T-shirt.

What’s something that you never wear but you absolutely refuse to get rid of?

Seventy-five percent of my closet.

What do you spend the most on in your wardrobe?



Which is worse: try-hard or zero effort?

Given the choice, trying hard is worse.

What was your aha moment when evolving your own personal style?

Just working in the industry and realizing that there are no rules, and everyone’s style is their own.

What’s the difference between style and fashion?

Trends. If you follow trends, I don’t necessarily think that translates into style. But someone who has innate style is always stylish.

What’s one thing that you buy over and over again?

Sneakers and white tees.

Who is your style icon?

Hiroshi Fujiwara of Fragment Design.

What watch are you wearing right now?

My Garmin running watch. I have a lot of watches, but it’s funny: I started running and wearing it daily, and now every time I put on a different watch, they all feel heavy.

What do you think American guys always get wrong when it comes to style, and what do you think they get right?

I think their biggest issue is probably fit and knowing what fits the body. Obviously, America has a big melting pot with a lot of different body types, and so I think it’s understanding clothing and how it should look on you. And one thing that they get right is casual style in general. Given where we’re at in fashion right now, it resonates—the more laid-back, not-as-fussy style.

Is the necktie dead forever?

No. As a man, you should always at least have one. You may not wear it a lot, but you should always have one on deck.

Gold watches or steel?


What is your go-to summer shoe?

A retro runner. Nike has good options. Adidas. New Balance. Yeah.

Photography: James Macari
Sittings Editor: Alfonso Fernandez Navas
Hair: Kevin Ryan using Unite
Grooming: Ryo Kuramoto for Nars
Design Director: Rockwell Harwood
Contributing Visual Director: James Morris
Executive Producer/Director: Dorenna Newton
Director of Photography: Elyssa Aquino
Camera: Derrick Saint-Pierre
Video Editor: Josh Archer
Associate Producer, Video: Janie Booth
Associate Producer, Video: Carly Bivona

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