Fit Talk with GQ's Yang-Yi Goh
We chat with the boy from Toronto and talk about landing his dream job, how to get dressed, late-night eBay finds, the genre(less) state of menswear, sharing clothes with his girlfriend, and more.
One of the best parts about creating Sprezza has been connecting with people with genuine taste and style.
Yang-Yi Goh is one such man with delightful taste in clothing, and someone I’ve been following for a while.
What I love about YYG is how he holds space for different genres and aesthetics and finds a way to merge them beautifully into one look. Call it the art of power clashing, because he always knows how to make it work.
We chat with the boy from Toronto and talk about how to get dressed, landing his dream job, late-night eBay finds, the genre(less) state of menswear, sharing clothes with his girlfriend, and more.
What’s the YYG story?
Let’s see: I grew up in Canada (hence my annoying over-politeness) and went to NYU (hence my annoying sense of entitlement). I spent a year working at ESPN out in Connecticut after graduation and then spent most of my twenties in my hometown of Toronto, working at several local magazines.
Eventually, I landed my dream job at GQ and moved back to NYC in 2019, where I’ve been ever since.
Outside of work stuff, I’m a rabid Toronto sports fan and lifelong Tottenham Hotspur supporter (the main reasons I’m in therapy), try to see as many movies in theaters as I can, and listen almost exclusively to the same pop-punk and emo bands I liked at 13.
We’re in this moment with menswear, where there’s no singular, dominant genre. It’s like we’re making room for everything…
Yeah. I guess the short answer is… the internet. Even in the last fifteen years, you’ve seen those dividing lines slowly melt away online—it used to be you’d go to one blog to read up on traditional workwear, some other guy’s Tumblr to learn about high fashion, and then an obscure Japanese site to uncover the rarest sneakers.
Now you go on Instagram, and all of that stuff is jumbled together on your Discover page. It’s cool that social media has made discovering all this stuff easier than ever, but less cool that it sometimes results in everyone dressing the same and following the same trends.
Your style epitomizes that genrelessness, too–you pull from so many different genres stylistically. Where does that come from?
The main thing is that I try not to take how I dress too seriously.
I’m kind of allergic to anything that feels like a uniform or “picture perfect.” So, even when I’m wearing a suit and tie, for instance, I like to have an element or two that feels offbeat and freaks things up a little.
The backbone of my style tends to lean preppy, which makes sense because I literally went to a prep school. But I also grew up obsessed with subcultures—hardcore and hip-hop, pro wrestling and comic books, sports, and sneakers—that all came complete with their own inherent styles.
I feel like that whole mess of influences is swirling in my brain and competing for attention every time I get dressed.
What brands and products do you keep on rotation? What are some pieces that feel evergreen or timeless to versus a piece you copped out of sheer emotion?
Beyond that, the most-worn items in my closet are probably my Issey Miyake pleated trousers, my Tecovas cowboy boots, and my ever-growing stack of Blue Jays fitteds.
As far as timeless pieces are concerned, there are a bunch of special things in my wardrobe that I’ve had since I was a kid and still wear regularly:
My ‘80s-era Lands’ End tie, embroidered with little rugby shirts, was a hand-me-down from my older brother
The Uniqlo tweed sport coat I bought in college that people always mistake for vintage Brooks Brothers
Pleated Dockers chinos I borrowed from my dad years ago and never gave back.
And then pretty much everything I cop these days is out of sheer emotion, ha.
Most of that takes place on eBay between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m., which is why I own so many pairs of early-aughts Vince Carter Nikes and random bits of Conan or Letterman merch.
I’m also lucky that my partner is really stylish, and we share clothes a lot, which makes justifying purchases a lot easier as long as she and I can both wear something.
What’s your favorite GQ piece you’ve worked on to date?
Recency bias would lead me to say my profile of Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley—-one of my childhood heroes and a total sweetheart. A few other personal faves/deeper cuts: this list of the 50 greatest Nike collaborations of all time, for which I got to talk to everyone from Tinker Hatfield and Serena Williams to Michael J. Fox and Errolson Hugh; this essay about buying Bruce Lee’s watch; and, last but not least, this little piece about buying socks for my dad.
Since we’re name-dropping, what’s the worst fit you’ve seen from a celebrity who pulled up to the office? Best fit?
Honestly, I’m struggling to think of any truly awful or great celebrity fits at the office, so I’ll tell you my two fave sightings: Grimace from McDonald’s came by last summer to bring us all milkshakes, and back in 2019, I shared an elevator with Bernie Sanders.