Growing up in Daytona Beach, Florida, wearing shorts, shirts, and flip-flops to almost anywhere was the norm for The Naked Foodie Christian Mark Jacobs. “Those are what everybody wore because of the weather,” he explains.
But when he moved to South Korea in 2008, the food blogger and pastry chef immediately realized the need for him to put more thought into his clothing. “I lived there for four years, and that was my first experience living in an urban city,” he recalls. “I couldn’t go out wearing just sweatpants and a t-shirt, because I’d stand out like a sore thumb among these very stylish Koreans.” Jacobs’ first style makeover involved getting rid of his baggy clothes, switching from tees to button-down shirts, and finding pieces that fit his six-foot-frame better.
Undoubtedly, though, he credits his husband, designer Francis Libiran, to whom he has been married for more than a year, for inspiring and challenging him to explore and develop his personal style. “Francis is my muse and my guide when it comes to fashion,” Jacobs admits. “I like wearing black and ripped skinny jeans with slim button-down shirts, but I’ve been wearing slightly looser tops lately because of his encouragement. I’ve also been getting into wearing patterns.”
Because of his tall and lean frame, Jacobs has a lot of his clothes custom-made. “About 80 percent of my shirts are tailored to fit me, but whenever I’m going on a trip, like to Bali, I also find some stuff at Zara and H&M, the international brands.”
He’s not big on accessorizing, preferring to wear only his engagement and wedding rings and any one of this three Francis Libiran watches. “I want the focus to be on the shoes,” he explains. “I like shoes that stand out, so for the rest of my accessories, I wear only those that really have meaning to me.”
Though he has his reliable favorites that he gravitates towards—skinny jeans, black v-neck shirts, slim button-down tops—he has gotten into the habit of trying on five or six items that he otherwise wouldn’t wear whenever he goes shopping. It’s a strategy that Jacobs is encouraging other men to try to flex their style muscle. “Just try them on,” he says. “You don’t have to buy them immediately, but there’s no harm in seeing how you’d look like wearing a wacky pattern, right? Maybe that unusual piece actually fits you perfectly, you never know.”
Jacobs believes that putting some thought and intention into what one wears is the most necessary step in any kind of style evolution. “That’s what I realized in my 20s,” he reflects. “Whether we like it or not, people judge each other based on appearance; it’s just human nature. That makes our clothes a representation of who we are, whether we intend that or not, so we need to dress appropriately for the occasion.” As for the most important element in dressing up, a guy for whom most retail options prove to be too short cannot emphasize enough the importance of a proper fit. “Seeing guys in nice suits that don’t fit them make me go, ‘Oh, such a waste! You’re almost there!’ Just a little more effort, a little tailoring, can make a lot of difference.”
Photographer: Dookie Ducay
Stylists: Edlene Cabral and Yzza Hablado
Hair and makeup artist: Muriel Vega-Perez