Personal Style: Teja Salehuddin
The newlywed on love in South America and that perfect find at her bachelorette getaway in Paris. By Cai Mei Khoo.
Teja Salehuddin is still the very picture of a glowing bride, her radiance most likely due to the fact that she’s recently returned from her honeymoon after being away for close to a month. “Right after our wedding we headed to South America, which both my husband and I have been wanting to visit for as long as we can remember. We used to talk about it even when we were just friends,” recalls the 31-year-old. “He likes nature while I prefer cities so we planned to do a combination of both. As it turned out, I actually really enjoyed the outdoorsy parts of our trip. We spent most of our time in Chilean Patagonia hiking and horse riding through Torres del Paine National Park, ending our trip in Peru, exploring Machu Picchu and other ancient ruins. It was totally worth the 30-hour journey from KL!”
Citing Eva Peron as her fashion icon, it’s unsurprising that Buenos Aires was particularly enjoyable for Teja. “I grew up reading about Evita. To be able to learn more about her life and work was really interesting – that and seeing her final resting
place in the beautiful Recoleta cemetery. There was also a section of the museum dedicated to Eva’s most famous outfits, some of which are totally wearable today.”
For her nuptials, Teja chose to wear local designer Alia Bastamam at her solemnisation, and Reem Acra for the dinner reception. “I’ve always wanted a Reem Acra wedding gown,” reveals Teja. “They are oh-so-glamorous without being over the top. My taste runs to classic cuts and attention to detail. I had my eye on some from Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad as well but ended up with the Reem Acra Eternity gown. It’s simple but I felt like a real princess in it! As for that ‘something borrowed’, I used my best friend’s veil for good luck. It matched perfectly.”
Having spent 10 years studying and living in the US, the head of special projects at Bloomberg TV Malaysia describes her style as “super casual”. “Printed dresses are the easiest to throw on. Right now I’m loving Clover Canyon’s prints, and also Dipped Row earrings,” she says, referring to the Malaysian accessories brand for which she’s the unofficial face. “Other times, you’ll see me in jeans and a T-shirt or leggings with a collared shirt. Comfort is key to my style.
“At work, I generally like wearing dresses paired with a blazer and some comfortable shoes with a bit of height. Recently I bought a pair of Tod’s wedges, which help get me through a long day. When working, comfort comes first! It’s also a good idea to have some sexy pumps and a nice clutch in the car, in case there’s a work dinner or event to head to afterwards. That said, I will probably need a work wardrobe update since I’ve taken a few months off to plan my wedding!”
As contemporary as Teja’s taste aste may be, she gives it a unique twist pairing handmade kebaya tops with jeans. “I have Nyonya heritage on my mother’s her’s side. I love that kebayas are so feminine and flattering, while hile not showing much skin. The kebaya top and jeans combo works for casual dinners, and I have even worn it clubbing.”
Like most girls, Teja readily admits that it was her mother who taught her about style. “My mother was my earliest style influencer,” shares Teja. “I thought she was the most beautiful woman ever. She passed away when I was 17 but I remember watching her get ready all the time. Whether it was for work or a dinner party, she almost always wore pearls. Her jewellery, along with my grandmother’s kebayas are just some pieces I will never part with – along with my wedding and engagement rings, of course.”
Evita aside, Teja’s modern-day style icon is Olivia Palermo. “She has the best shoes and coats! I would definitely swap wardrobes with her if I could,” admits Teja. “I have a thing for winterwear. It’s just a shame it’s too hot in Malaysia to take full advantage of winter fashion. I found an amazing cape in Peru. It’s made of baby alpaca wool and is incredibly soft!”
Teja counts Istanbul (“I got a gorgeous blue leather jacket there”) and Paris as her top shopping destinations. “I picked Paris as the destination for my bachelorette party as it was sort of a midway point for my friends who were coming from Malaysia and the US. It’s a shopping haven after all, from thrift store to designer labels. All nine girls left with luggage much heavier than they arrived with! Some of my friends are real fashionistas and it was inspiring watching them shop,” she laughs. “It was also in Paris that I finally found the perfect elephant grey clutch at Givenchy. For quite a while I had been looking for one to add to my collection,” says the selfconfessed clutch collector. “I have them in all shapes, colours, and sizes. My all-time favou favourites include a metallic gold Saint Laurent clutch, as gold goes goe with everything, a blue glitter Anya Hindmarch, which liv livens up every outfit, and that grey Givenchy. A girl can ne never have enough!”
Teja Salehuddin with her cat, Quinn
Sitting pretty in sophisticated pieces
Her favourite Anya Hindmarch clutch