For today’s installment of Style, we’re proud to feature Tom Claeren, PR/Marketing professional and founder of TomClaeren.com.
As with our other features, Tom Claeren has an impeccable sense of style. He also happens to live in one of the most elegant and beautiful places in the world – Monaco.
We had a chance to talk to Tom about his personal sense of style, his blog and what it’s like to live in a place we only read about on Instagram.
In your blog, you describe yourself as someone who is “passionate about the elegant way of life” and invite your readers “on a journey of unique life experiences, glamorous events and exquisite travels, all accompanied by latest trends and outfits”. Tell us about yourself – what do you do for a living aside from managing your blog? Secondly, give us a background on how your blog started?
First I would like to thank the team from Essential Style for Men for its interest in my profile and this interview; it is a pleasure for me to share information about my personality and my passions.
Aside from my blog, I work in Monaco as a Director of Public Relations and International Marketing for a company specializing in the luxury market.
This company is a start-up – sort of a family business – as we have created the brand with my dad and his associate around 2 years ago.
Evolving in Monaco through a very interesting network of professionals from different industries and mainly in luxury, I developed my skills and started to participate in the best events in the area (GPF1 Monaco, Cannes Film Festival, Monaco Yacht Show to name a few…).
During all those events I wore a nice suit (I love to wear suits as it is my daily outfit), met great people and sometimes met celebrities and bloggers.
I also have a passion for photoshoots and cinema, so day after day – thanks to all the people I met – I started to think about creating my own online platform where I could share my lifestyle experiences and feature the elegant style I am exposed to on a regular basis.
At that point I decided to gather a team of professionals together and create my blog, www.tomclaeren.com.
What do you think differentiates your blog from all the other blogs out there? Additionally, tell us about how you get such beautiful photography on your site?
I think there are a lot of very nice blogs out there, with great creativity and style.
What makes mine so different? I am located in one of the most glamorous place in the world, Monaco, and I am evolving in this atmosphere every day from the inside. This allows me to attend amazing events which parlays into exposure for both myself and my blog.
I also have a team of collaborators who specialize in their field – website management, text editing and professional photography.
One of my principles is you cannot do everything on your own, so I am very thankful for the help of my team.
And this makes a difference. For example, I write my own text but my content is edited by an Australian Editor, Ana Krndija who is passionate about writing and masters this art better than I do.
The beautiful photography is produced by a very talented photographer from the French Riviera, Loic Thebaud.
As a partner of TomClaeren.com, Loic is the official photographer of the blog.
Finally, I’ve built the website with Pierre Josseaux who is the website manager (and addicted to his Macbook).
ESM is all about style. If you could describe your personal style in one sentence, what would it be? Do you think living in one of the most upscale and beautiful cities in the world has an impact on your personal sense of style?
I don’t know if I am the best person to say how I would describe my own style, but to sum it all up, I would say I am trying my best to keep it as elegant and as classy as possible.
For sure working and spending a lot of time in Monaco, which is (as you said) one of the most upscale cities in the world, has had a strong impact on my sense of style.
I am surrounded by luxury and style around here, but it does not necessarily mean everything I am surrounded by is “good”.
I make my own choices regarding style and I work with brands that I like because of what they create, their values and also because of the people who work for them.
My relationship with people has a strong affect on me and this drives a lot of my personal choices.
What advice would you give readers who are also trying to develop their own style?
I would advise your readers to keep their own style and not be obligated to be in the same mold as everyone else.
One can be inspired by different people around you, but try to keep your own personal touch of creativity.
Has your style developed as your social media presence (Blog, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) has developed? If so, how has it changed?
My style first developed with my work in Monaco – wearing suits everyday has now become a standard for me.
From there, events and people I met influenced my style, but I wouldn’t say the amount of followers I have has had the same impact.
Nowadays I am trying to partner with different brands I work with for the blog in order to provide some sharp visuals; always challenging myself to create the “wow” effect on a picture and style.
What are some of the amazing experiences and challenges you have experienced as a fashion and lifestyle blogger living in Monaco?
So far the most challenging experience for my blog was organizing a photoshoot with two luxury brands and my friend Daniella Rahme (who is a Lebanese Celebrity) in a palace on the French Riviera.
I had to organize everything from A to Z – from the creative (with support from my photographer); to organizing the location; to booking both the brands and products.
I had the chance to work with Chopard and Ermenegildo Zegna for this particular feature and it was amazing!
The article will be posted within the next few weeks.
What are some of your favorite looks right now?
Right now I am really inspired by double-breasted suits and very high quality fabric.
More and more I feel you need both a great cut and great material to provide awesome style.
I will probably wear a stunning double-breasted for my next professional photoshoot and I hope that the audience will like that.
Do you have brands or designers you favor? For our readers who are developing their style on a budget, do you have affordable brands you can recommend?
I had the chance to assist last year in the Moncler Fashion show in Milan, with backstage access and I also got to meet the great Thom Browne. I think he is a really creative designer with good energy, and what he did with Moncler was powerful.
I also have a special attraction for Ermenegildo Zegna suits. The quality is awesome, the elegance is there, all you need to do is just wear it.
Regarding watches, I love Audemars Piguet, Chopard Tourbillon and I am more and more surprised by the quality and designed proposed by Mont Blanc, which I feel is a “must-have” brand for men.
For affordable brands, I personally own a very affordable timepiece from DapperTime.com, the simple but Elegant Athos Edition which I would highly recommend.
Do you have any style icons? Who are they and why?
To be honest, I don’t have a mentor or real style icon.
I can tell you I have a passion for cinema and (Leonardo) DiCaprio for me is one of the best actors in the world, with great style and energy.
He definitely brings some inspiration to the table.
At ESM, we have a list of “Style Essentials” or pieces that every man should have in his wardrobe. Do you have your own list of style essentials? What are they?
There are three essentials you can touch and there is one essential you can neither touch nor see.
For the ones you can touch, my essentials are the watch, the belt and shoes.
Try to collect them in order and color match them with your different outfits (coincidentally, this practice will also help your style evolve).
What is the last essential? A good perfume, so your olfactory signature is unique and undeniable.
What is your definition of “style”? Is there a difference between “style” vs. “fashion”? If so what differentiates each?
For me, everyone can build their own definition of style, day after day, with creativity and personality.
Style is something that changes with time but especially with people who create it.
Don’t hesitate to have your own style and believe in it, because you might influence some people around you.
What does the future hold Tom Claeren?
Developing my audience in order to deliver my message to more and more people; working with major brands and create; create everyday original content; fashion, events, photography and who knows, maybe cinema…