Teaching Abroad in Style feat. Marwan Helal

April 25th, 2014

Marwan Helal (our go-to business casual expert) is an old friend from my high school days. He was also one of my very first style inspirations. When we were wearing baggy Rocawear jeans and 6″ Timbs, he was embracing slim tailoring and investing in classic menswear – early.

A couple years ago Marwan moved to Kuwait to teach at a private english school, and he packed only a streamlined wardrobe of classic American sportswear to share with his students.

Here’s three examples of his back-to-basics teaching abroad style.

1. Removable Layers


Green Quilted Jacket by Barbour, Green Plaid Shirt by J.Crew, Grey Chinos by Club Monaco, Brown Leather Blutchers by Quoddy, Brown Belt by Ralph Lauren, Navy Chunky Shawl by J.Crew, Eyeglasses by Micheal Kors, Brown Tote by Filson

Kuwait is a small, oil-rich country located in the Gulf and surrounded by Iraq to the north, Saudi Arabia to the south, and Iran to the east. I work at a private school here that follows the American school calendar year. The dress code is ‘business casual’… The mornings and evenings get quite cool, so I usually layer up when I head to work before sunrise… but I often get down to just a button-up by the afternoon.”

2. Sporty Business Casual 


Navy Bomber Jacket by Club Monaco, Red and Blue Rugby by American Apparel, Blue Button up by Club Monaco, Vintage Navy Dotted Tie, Brown Penny Loafers by Bass

“The work week in Kuwait is from Sunday to Thursday, so I like to wear jeans on ‘casual Thursday… but I usually balance them with a tie. I purchased this rugby from American Apparel and I made a few modifications to it, adding a button-down collar and elbow patches… Fun fact: tailoring is an extremely cheap service here, so I find myself making trips to the alterations shop often. For example, to shorten and taper pant legs will cost around 1.5 KD, which is 5 USD.  Shortening sleeves on a button up = 1KD which is 3.50 USD.”

3. Meet The Parents


Grey Suit by Club Monaco, White Button Up by Massimo Dutti, Brown Belt by J.Crew, Rep Tie by Boggi, Brown Leather Monk Straps by Allen Edmonds, Pocket Square by The Tie Bar, Socks by Zara

“I wear a suit and tie when meeting with parents, since we are required to be in full business attire. It’s a generally conservative culture so I like to keep it simple – this dark suit and white shirt always gets it done. I love these Allen Edmonds monkstrap loafers; I wear them with jeans, chinos and suits. Sometimes I wear them all week – they can work with any of the pieces featured here.”



Thanks for reading, and special thanks to Marwan for participating!

Yours in style,

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