Style Strategies: Johan Lam, 3sixteen Co-Founder


3sixteen Heavyweight T-Shirt

Heavyweight T-shirt,
$98 (for two-pack)
by 3sixteen

3sixteen Heavyweight T-Shirt

Heavyweight T-shirt,
$98 (for two-pack)
by 3sixteen

Do you ever buy
things in multiples?

I’m trying to own less stuff, so I don’t go out of my way to buy multiples of anything if I don’t need to. With three boys though, I need to always have a few of our white heavyweight T-shirts in the closet.

Which do you experience more: Buyer’s remorse or regret for not buying something?

I’m very calculated with my purchases, so often I feel regret about not buying something that got away. I often think about the watches I was shown years ago that I should have bought when I had the chance or that vintage Navajo ring that I didn’t pull the trigger on during a trip to Tokyo.

Necessary extravagance?

I didn’t grow up with a lot of material things, so two simple pleasures mean a lot to me now: Paying for cable and HBO. When I was kid, the two weeks a year that HBO did free previews felt like a big deal. Even now, it feels like a big luxury to have an HBO subscription.

And ordering a drink at a restaurant. We rarely ate dinner out; when we did, it usually wasn’t American food. At Chinese restaurants, tea comes with the meal, so paying for a drink was a totally foreign idea to me. Even now, I feel a little guilty when ordering a drink with my meal. Wouldn’t I rather have a second appetizer?

What is something you refuse
to spend a lot for?

I’m a pretty frugal person overall. My parents made their modest salaries go a long way, and they passed down some of that to me. I still grocery shop based on what’s on sale rather than by brand, and only recently did I start buying multiples because we have a bit more space in the pantry now, and the boys are growing like weeds. In general, I’m pretty savings conscious on everyday things so that I can spend what I need on the big things I want.

What’s one shopping hack that you can let everyone know about?

Avoid the sale section. You’re usually buying something based on the notion of getting a good deal rather than true need or desire. Pay full clip for something you want, and you’ll get more wear and enjoyment out of the piece.


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