Twenty seven year old Kit Bencharongkul, a Thai native, won us over not just with a keen sense of personal style, but also with his million-watt smile and signature (almost pencil) moustache. Hailing from the bustling capital of Bangkok, Kit seems to have mastered the art of dressing sharp in a sometimes oppressively warm climate. Expertly mixing more formal elements with a breezy, casual style, Kit is perfectly suited (up) for his job as a freelance fashion photographer.
We speak to him about his trade, his idea of personal style, and how he got that recognisable moustache.
HIS STYLE DIARY: What drew you to photography?
KIT BENCHARONGKUL: I like to capture moments of people through portraiture. It is a great way to meet new interesting people and help them capture a moment in time that they may not encounter ever again. I also love fashion shoots as I think fashion is a key element that brings the whole picture to life. It draws out the characters and sometimes fulfils your imagination as well.
HSD: How would you describe your personal style?
KB: A mix between casual and sophisticated may be? I wear clothes that are comfortable yet I pay a lot of attention to details and cut. I like to be experimental from time to time as I enjoy fashion and I think it is fun to always mix it up according to the occasion and environment. I like to wear both plain muted colours as well as bright colours (especially when I go to the beach or to a festival). It is fine to go wrong sometimes with fashion. Experiment, and learn from making mistakes.
HSD: What are your top rules when it comes to dressing up?
KB: Dress according to the occasion. It is important for me to respect the host or wherever you are going to.
HSD: If you’re asked to evaluate if a man is stylish, what would be some things you look out for?
KB: How he combines everything together, and the little details he has put in.
HSD: It can be hot and humid in Thailand! Does that affect the way you dress up? How do you get around that?
KB: Yes, most definitely. I love layering when I am abroad, but of course in Thailand you can’t really do that. So most of the time I’ll be in a T-shirt and jeans or even shorts if i have to work outdoors. There’s no point in dressing up if you are going to be sweaty and uncomfortable all day.
HSD: Do you think guys in Thailand/Bangkok are stylish? Why, or why not?
KB: I think so… or at least more and more guys are becoming more stylish. As the world is more connected now, it is really easy to find inspiration from stylish men all across the globe. And also the fashion industry in Thailand has grown immensely over the past few years.
HSD: Some guys love shoes, some love belts. What’s your favourite accessory? Why? Can you tell us more about a certain special piece you have?
KB: I am a shoe guy. I always look for nice shoes when I shop. I like to have a pair for every occasion but I buy a lot of loafers because I don’t really like to tie my shoes! I also buy a lot of evening shoes (although many of them are very similar) but there are small details that I love about each one of mine. One of my favourite pairs is by Lanvin, with black leather and dark blue silk. I also love Prada Derby shoes with a thick base, which gives me extra height for that extra confidence.
HSD: Which brand makes the best shoes, in your opinion? Why?
KB: This is really hard as I love shoes and I love many different brands but I might have to go with Lanvin because some of my favourite evening shoes are from Lanvin as well as trainers, which are super comfortable for a long walk unlike many other high-end brands that also make trainers.
HSD: What’s your favourite color pairing? What’s the most common colour in your wardrobe?
KB: Dark blue and maroon/burgundy. You will see a lot of different shades of blue in my wardrobe.
HSD: If there was a fire and you can only save one item from your wardrobe, what would it be? Why?
KB: That’s really a difficult decision to make. I think I’m torn between my Alexander McQueen bespoke tuxedo and a Tom Ford tuxedo. First of all, because they are very expensive and secondly because I like them a lot. The McQueen one took a few fittings for some months before it was finished. The Tom Ford one my mum bought me so it has that sentimental value as well. So I guess I’ll see which ever one is easier to grab…?
HSD: Do you have a style icon? Someone who you think is stylish?
KB: I don’t think I have a style icon. As I like to change up my looks every now and then, I always look to different people and mix them up. From James Dean and David Gandy to Tom Ford and Nick Wooster, I think all of them are pretty darn cool.
HSD: What does “personal style” mean to you?
KB: When you put your own personality into the way you dress. One can have the same shirt as another but how one wears it can make it completely different.
HSD: If you can only wear one brand for the whole of next year, which brand would it be? Why that brand?
KB: Oooh….That is another very difficult one as I go to different brands for different things. But looking around now, maybe I’ll have to go with Valentino just because I think I can have fun with it. They have something for every occasion from casual to sporty to business. They have a lot of fun prints and graphics to keep me excited yet enough plain items for everyday use.
HSD: Tell us one fashion trend that you love, and one that you cannot stand.
KB: I like seeing more and more of as I have said, fun prints/patterns for menswear. Guys can be more playful and experimental that way. What I can’t stand… hmm, I don’t think it is a trend but I cannot stand people who wear a lot of logos on themselves. A big logo of any brand on yourself is not very attractive. Even just one that stands out is not really my cup of tea.
HSD: What is one clothing ensemble that you think any man can pull off?
KB: A good shirt and a nice fitted suit. Always!
HSD: You rock a great moustache. How did you get that idea? Why do you keep it? Do you think facial hair is something every guy should try out?
KB: Well, thank you! Funny enough it started off by me being too lazy to shave. I would shave every week or every other week when I was about 16. When it became longer, sometimes people would tell me they like me with a bit of a stubble. So, I decided to try growing my moustache every now and then. After two or three years I received many compliments for it, and so I would wear my moustache more often. Now I’m too scared to shave it completely even though it doesn’t take very long for me to grow it back. I think every guy should try it once to see.
HSD: Who do you wish to look like when you’re 60?
KB: I recently met Andy Lau, who is an actor from Hong Kong. I used to watch his movies growing up and let me tell you, he has not changed that much at all. So if I can maintain my looks and be as healthy and half as good looking as he is now, I would be very happy indeed.
HSD: What do you think about guys shaping their eyebrows? Do you do it? If you do, any tips?
KB: I don’t see why not. Eyebrows are a significant part to a man’s face. People sometimes do it for me when they shoot my pictures but I don’t do it on a regular basis. I think if you are going to get it done then get it done with a professional! It isn’t something you want to mess around with.
HSD: Some hairstyles take longer than others. What’s the maximum time acceptable to you? Are you a no-fuss kinda guy when it comes to hairstyles?
KB: I usually cut my hair every month but it can go on for two months, I think. As long as it can still be easily styled! I am pretty fussy about my hairstyle because I don’t think every hairstyle looks good on me (I can’t have hair coming down on my forehead, only up). But I like both natural (very little product on) where it can be manageable all day as well as slicked back hair with a lot of gel.
HSD: Tell us where a stylish man would go on the weekends in Bangkok. What’s so great about that place?
KB: Thonglor is always a good area to hang around, with great restaurants, coffee shops and bars. You can find all sorts of places with different atmospheres with stylish people about town here.
HSD: In what way do you think Instagram has changed your life? Are you an avid user? You have quite a big following! What’s your secret?
KB: I think a lot of people know me from my Instagram. They even call me KitB, which is my Instagram name. I think I post a picture almost daily. It’s like a photo diary almost. Most of the followers came from my friends who are actors and actresses in Thailand, and partly I would like to believe that I have nice and cool photos as a photographer on my Instagram…so maybe that is also why i have a lot of followers? [laughing]
HSD: If I looked into your bag, what would be the one thing that surprises me?
KB: Dental Floss… I carry it around with me all the time. I need to floss my teeth after every meal. Not that I’m super hygienic or anything but my teeth are a bit out of line so food always gets stuck and it is very annoying.
HSD: Lastly, please give our readers a tip on how to be as stylish as you are!
KB: Don’t be afraid to try out new styles but you need to know what works for you and what doesn’t. And as i have mentioned before dress according to the occasion!
You can follow Kit Bencharongkul on Instagram here.