by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

Angie Chen-Tan’s Guide to Style, Skincare & Starting Conversations

If we spotted Angie Chen-Tan walking down the street, we’d have to stop and ask where she bought her impeccable accessories from. The curator of secondhand luxury resale site The Fifth Collection is also the owner of her very own jewellery store called The Lobang Shop, which sells quirky accessories.

We chat with Angie virtually as she talks about her career journey (she had a short stint at Alexander McQueen!), why she’s going back to reading and her minimal-makeup-but-extensive-skincare-routine beauty philosophy.

Tell us more about your career journey. Are there any highlights so far?

I’ve always worked in various sectors of fashion—I was a PR intern at Alexander McQueen in London but I found my calling in preloved luxury fashion because I’m a fashion history nerd.  I’ve been in this business for 7 years and would say every day is a highlight and learning journey! I work with a wonderful team and dealing with some iconic and historical pieces is always a huge thrill for me.

What is the most valuable professional lesson you have learned?

I would say the key lesson is patience. Working retail requires a lot of patience. This is especially so when it’s online. We don’t get to see the customers face to face and, sometimes, people can get very harsh and demanding. They forget that there’s another human being at the receiving end. This patience I’ve learned has also extended to how I deal with external situations and how I make sure to treat everyone I’m dealing with with the same kind of respect and kindness. I go the extra mile because you never know if someone is having a bad day and you might just be the person to make their day better.

How do you stay creative and inspired?

Reading. With everything being digitalised, I’ve actually gone back to my original favourite medium to get creative and learn more.

Describe your style in 5 words or less! 

“Schizophrenic, quirky, unpredictable.”

How has your personal style evolved over the years?

It has become more versatile and there is more attention to detail and to quality. 

What is your ultimate favourite fashion investment piece?

My Christian Lacroix Cross Top! It’s the ready-to-wear version of the one on Anna Wintour’s first issue of Vogue.

What are your tried-and-true style tips?

What you wear should always tell a story—it can be a piece of clothing, accessories, et cetera. It does not have to be expensive but it should be able to be a conversation starter.

How does what you’re wearing impact your beauty choices?

I always keep my makeup to a minimum because my clothes are already so out there (laughs)!

Let’s talk about beauty. What’s your beauty routine like? 

I do a quick wash but I don’t actually cleanse in the morning—shocker! Then I use Skin Inc’s Serum Glow Filter followed by a layer of sunblock from Anessa. I don’t wear foundation or face makeup normally so I finish off with eyeliner, mascara and brows. If there’s a dinner I’ll use my favourite eyeshadow palette from Suquu for some definition.

At night, I first cleanse with Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish, then Dr Jart’s Dermaclear Foaming Facial in the shower. My showers are super important to me and where I decompress so I try to make it a luxe spa-like experience. I love all the hair care from Christophe Robin and body care from Diptyque and Ashley and Co. I do a scrub 3 times a week and always make sure to moisturise my body! With all the handwashing we do, I also don’t forget to use hand lotion after washing my hands. 

After which I usually use Biologique Recherche P50W to prep my skin, followed by an essence, serum and moisturiser, which I always change up because l love to experiment! Right now I’m loving Beda Skin because of how multipurpose it is and I can actually just use it alone. I try to do a leave-on mask or sheet mask twice a week but sometimes I do get lazy. 

When it comes to your beauty regimen, where do you like to splurge and where do you save?

I save when it comes to products I use every day like eyeliner and mascara as the drugstore brands I use are excellent! I splurge when it comes to skincare, especially serums and moisturisers because I believe that good skin is the best canvas you can work with.

What was your worst beauty disaster and when did it happen?

Overly thin eyebrows (laughs). Luckily that happened a good many years ago when social media was not so big.

What is most important to you: comfort, beauty, or innovation?

Beauty—I love anything that is aesthetically pleasing and feel it brings me genuine joy. My mum and grandma are my biggest influences in life and they’ve always taught me so much about beauty. I believe that beauty can inspire and make even the most dreary day light up.

I’ve been volunteering actively for the past year and while I wear comfortable clothes, I also make sure it doesn’t detract from my personal style and grooming because that’s the standard I uphold for myself. The elderly who I see weekly always tell me that they look forward to seeing me because they love to see what I wear. It creates a conversation with them as well and from there I can find out more about their lives and how better to help them. Beauty is a wonderful conversation starter.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Being happy and living life to the fullest! I don’t believe in setting particular goals but having the right mentality instead to help me achieve whatever I want to during that period of time. 

Angie’s Beauty Picks

Skin Inc. Serum Glow Filter, SGD54
Ashley & Co WashUp Hand & Body Wash, SGD45
Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, SGD29
Dr.Jart+ Dermaclear Micro pH Foam Facial Cleanser, SGD25
Biologique Recherche P50W Lotion, SGD125
Christophe Robin Regenerating Shampoo with Prickly Pear Oil, SGD73
Beda Skin Multi-Active Treatment Essence, SGD128

If you liked Angie’s story, there’s plenty more to come. Hit that ‘Sign Up’ button at the bottom for the latest round-up.