When discussing our own wardrobe and style essentials, Coveteur staff members found that their feelings could often be summed up in the phrase, “this is literally the best… white t-shirt, pair jeans, pharmacy find, etc.” So in our new series, aptly titled Literally the Best, we ask industry insiders to reveal the style essentials they turn to time and time again and just can’t live without.
Gia Kuan is a well-known and respected name in the fashion industry. Running her own PR firm, she represents some of the coolest names in the business: Telfar, Luar, Kim Shui, and more. Between personal and professional relationships – did we mention that her husband works at Stüssy? – Kuan’s knowledge of emerging and under-the-radar design talent is both immense and enviable.
Despite her professional abilities, Kuan hasn’t yet given up on her youth aesthetically, a notion evident in the bead heaps and contrasting colors you’ll find in all of her ensembles. Add to that a nod to what she describes as her “90s Chrome Hearts emo phase,” and you have a very intriguing collection of everything from jade hoops to corseted t-shirts to pants. Stüssy tracksuit. Below, she gives us a look at her personal style and explains the essentials she absolutely swears by.
Paint us a picture of your personal style. What kind of outfits do you wear on a daily basis?
“Honestly, my style changes so much. One thing that probably defines my style a little bit is that no matter how old I am, there’s always a bit of a teenager in me. I like things that are cute, that are kinda funny. I own my own business now. In that sense, I feel like I’ve started dressing differently since. Right now, I’m probably channeling some sort of boss lady look where I’m a bit lazy and I don’t want to think too much about what I wear before I go out.
“I am a huge eBay customer. I buy a lot of used, a lot of vintage designers. I think my wardrobe is probably a mix of vintage designers and emerging independent designers. I also collect a lot of vintage designer two-piece suits on eBay. A lot of old Jean Paul Gaultier, old banana republic Where Ralph Lauren. I buy them oversized and lounge in them all day with a hoodie underneath. Then I’ll top that off with a hand beaded necklace or bracelet that looks like a 5 year old. It’s my style. I think I need something a little funny, cute and young to go on. Additionally, I accessorize through my nails.
When shopping for a new piece of clothing or an accessory, what boxes do you look to check?
“I’m pretty aesthetically pleasing. I think durability comes in, but I have to say the #1 thing I think is comfort or practicality. I work from home a lot. I lounge around a lot. I feel like everyone is living the same life right now. You’re wearing something cute over the top, and in fact, you’re wearing pajama bottoms that no one can see.
“I look at comfort, but I also look at color. I have this problem with buying anything black for my wardrobe, which is funny because I feel like I had so many black clothes when I was in college, going through that dark and brooding phase of Rick Owens. You can’t find anything dark in my wardrobe. I think I’m just a very colorful person [right now]. I put a huge emphasis on prints and textures in my wardrobe, which I think is often something I look for, especially since I shop a lot online. I think a lot of the differentiating factors when shopping online is that color pop. (It’s a bit difficult to buy black online.) That makes me happy. I’m a person who is very affected by weather and color, so I think sometimes my mood determines what I wear that day and vice versa.
Shop Gia’s must-haves:
“Weslah is a kind of underground freelance designer based in New York. He is super talented; everything he does is truly bespoke. He specializes in these crazy corsets. Many of them were personalized for artists or celebrities, but last summer he released t-shirts and hoodies with the Weslah logo on the front but still a bit gothic grunge. Then they have super tight corseted waists. I like a twist on a basic thing. I honestly love this piece. I wear it with everything from sweatpants to dress pants to skirts. He’s a genius.
“I’m really big on jewelry. It’s honestly my main form of investment because I really never take it off, not even when I shower. I have a stack of rings that I always wear. One of them is a very fine Chrome Hearts ring decorated with small diamonds. This takes me back to my 90s Chrome Hearts emo phase that I revisited recently.
“I went to Dover Street Market and found Suzanne Kalan. She specializes in this kind of spaghetti-like diamond rings and bracelets. Probably my most expensive investment, I bought an emerald cut ring with a rose gold finish. I stack it with my others, and I love it because, as you know, I do my nails a lot. Honestly, my hands are probably the most beautified part of my entire body, so accessorizing them is especially important to me. I love sparkles, so all my rings have sparkles or diamonds or something on them.
“On the other hand, I have this ring from Comme des Garçons that I’ve honestly worn since 2013. I’ve been wearing it for so long that when I take it off I realize my finger has a different shape underneath. It looks like to the traditional school champ ring, but it’s sterling silver It’s great, super sturdy and I’ve been wearing it for almost seven-eight years It’s definitely a staple that I never take off – that is part of my uniform now.
“I wear a lot of different hoops. Sophie Buhai is one of my favorites in terms of well-made simple hoops. I have many of her gold and silver hoops, but recently I bought her some jade hoops which I wear a lot. They are nostalgic because jade, in Chinese culture, is a type of stone that we use. I think she did it particularly well.
“I actually wear this commission sweater right now. Honestly, this is the most beautiful piece of cashmere I own. It’s baby blue with a loose turtleneck. I have so much respect for what the Commission boys are doing in terms of design and philosophy. I was lucky enough to receive this sweater from them last year. I don’t even have anything else in this color, but I’ve worn it all winter and it’s incredibly luxurious.
“I have a rotation of Stüssy sweatpants. My husband works at Stüssy. We just have a lot of Stüssy. But honestly, their sweatpants are the most comfortable, and I share them with him too. I really like them. oversized clothes so we’re half sharing a wardrobe These are just great basic sweatpants but obviously I have to get them in crazy colors and prints I’m wearing these with my cashmere sweater right now Committee.
“Kozaburo is a Japanese brand founded by Kozaburo Akasaka. He’s a close friend with an amazing Japanese brand. This one is a very simple white hoodie that I got from him during the winter. It’s made from a very organic, very thick cotton, so it doesn’t pill like many of my other hoodies. It’s almost a little crispy, but there’s something amazing about it. I inhabit in hoodies. I also put it on as an XL so, again, super oversized.
“Oori Ott is a LA based brand by my friend Hannah Park who lived in New York. She makes these amazing, very basic versions of jersey loungewear. There is this pair of black jersey track pants I’ve had from her – I’ve had them for about four years, and they really are the most comfortable things. It’s a lightweight jersey, but there’s a high slit on the upper thigh so they flow when you walk on both sides, which is great during the summer. Then for winter I just layer stockings or leggings underneath, and it still works. I wear them indoors and outdoors. They are black, and I have almost nothing black that has lasted me so long. (Similar option linked here).