There’s never a dull day for KC Concepcion’s wardrobe. An actress borne into the spotlight, she’s long mastered the subtle art of standing out without the need to grapple for attention. After all, she knows class when she sees it, and for her, the quality doesn’t just rest its laurels on trite, one-dimensional looks or head-to-toe designer ensembles. It can also come gliding along the streets in torn jeans, leather jackets, or sultry, body-hugging corsets. KC’s secret? It's all in the details. A connoisseur in high-low dressing and mixing and matching her clothes, she’s learned to elevate her outfits with one unexpected hero piece that says it all—be it a pair of her comfy Manolo Blahniks, a mix of jewelry from her own line, Avec Moi, or a Hello Kitty adorned varsity jacket gifted to her by a friend.
That said, the actress’ way of dress is also informed by her climate. Currently embodying her style philosophy in Los Angeles, KC has admittedly now found more leg-room to show her curves some love. “I find that maybe in the Philippines, we still need to appreciate that body type a little bit more,” she told Preview, when speaking of getting to dress in a way that highlights her assets, unfettered and unbothered. "[In LA], they celebrate it. They celebrate when you have big hips or big butt or certain things. I really like to celebrate my curves along with other women in places where they are celebrated."
Taking time off work, the actress and entrepreneur sat down with Preview to talk more about her growing love for LA fashion, how she curates her looks, supporting local brands, and her busy yet glamorous life in the City of Angels.
Preview Best (Under) Dressed List 2021: KC Concepcion
How would you describe your personal style?
“Now that I’m in LA, I actually have always loved the look [here]. It’s really very high-low. I love mixing luxury with some pieces that are easy, [and] pieces that are low maintenance these days. Especially in these times, it’s so important to wear...something that is not screaming too much, just to be sensitive to the reality of what is happening around us.
"But I really love being able to express myself with color, and then there are days when I love being minimalist. So it really is more of... the concept is mixing high and low. I love having luxury shoes, luxury purses, and then a highstreet top or jacket. It’s always been like that, and I’m very… I like to be fun. I like to be quirky. I like to include unexpected pieces with sophisticated pieces as well, just like my jewelry.”
Which brands would you say that you love wearing best?
“I really actually love Italian brands. I love Prada, Miu Miu—those are the classics. Right now, I think, you know, it’s really important for us these days to be supporting local artists and designers, especially small and local businesses. In the Philippines, of course, local means Filipino. It still always means Filipino for me, but now that I’m in LA, [this jacket] I’m wearing is by a friend of mine. His name is Jordan [Bentley]. He’s from the show Sweet Life: Los Angeles on HBO Max, and he talks about his brand [Hypland] there. And he gave me this. It’s really streetwear."
"He also has the same values as me where it’s high-low, so he uses quality materials like wool and leather, which is great now that the weather is getting colder and colder. So, I like to get to know who the local designers are, or what the trending businesses are for that season that I travel somewhere. I also love [Agent] Provocateur, which I’m wearing right now. I love this corset. I can put it over a simple black slit dress or a big white T-shirt, wear my Dior heels, and I’m good to go."
How has your style evolved over the years?
"A lot. I mean, when you’re working in the Philippines as an artist, you have the most tight schedule ever, and you tend to really work very, very closely with your stylist. I think in the last 15-20 years of being on TV, doing show after show, I’ve had to change my style a lot because the Philippines wasn’t as ready for the kind of fashion that we have now. We weren’t as exposed to Instagram or social media as much at that time. I loved torn jeans, blazers, band shirts, and basket bags, with my Hermès scarfs and some things like that. But coming to the Philippines, I have to be a little more princess-y and I have to wear my make up a certain way. I always have to be proper, and I always have to be in my dresses."
"But I’m glad to see that we have more room to express ourselves and really stick to our personalities or mood [now]. So, I think now, I’m more conscious about what young people are doing, what young entrepreneurs and designers are doing, and it is really important to support businesses like that. So, I see it in a different way now, but I just want to make sure that it’s fun and that I wear something not just because it’s a trend, but because it looks good on me or that I can go all day and all night with the pieces that I wear. I also used to try androgynous looks, which I still love. I love wearing men’s wear and I mix that with more feminine pieces. I was a little obsessed with that maybe six years ago. I had to be ultra feminine, but now, I love mixing masculine and feminine."
Do you remember a specific moment when you were sure you finally found your style?
"I remember the moments when my clothes were not me, I don’t know why. I have a lot of those. I think recently, when I discovered Provocateur and more daring lingerie pieces and brands that really cater to more sexy but super classy and sophisticated [looks]—I love the thought behind that. And then, just mixing that with a more conservative, more staple, more timeless piece, like a YSL blazer,...for me, that’s really me. It’s low maintenance. but it’s quality, and you can see the juxtaposition. I love outfits like that."
What are the three items that make up your style DNA?
"Definitely my jewelry. I have a mix of jewelry I designed and jewelry that my grandma or my mom have passed on to me. Same goes with purses, so, accessories basically. I also would definitely go for great lingerie that you can wear intimately or as part of your outfit for going out. And then, I would say, heels. I have these Fendi heels that I can wear all day. I have Manolo Blahniks that I can wear all day. And I really don’t see the difference between that and sneakers. When you find the most comfortable and friendliest heels that look fierce, I think that should always be a staple. It’s always a staple in my closet, anyway."
Did the pandemic change your relationship with fashion in any way? How so?
"What I did over the pandemic last year, with one of my best friends and my stylist Adrianne Concepcion, she and I culled from my closet. I am big on sustainable fashion. I have KC’s Closet wherein every Sunday or every other Sunday I drop preloved pieces from my closet. So I help people access luxury that way. Adrianne and I just went through my wardrobe and I said 'Look, let’s make looks. I want to see my clothes from new eyes, and I want to be able to still dress up over the pandemic.' So, preloved luxury, for me, is important because you don’t need to splurge that much and it’s time to give people the option to access luxury [without having them] splurge so much. I always joked that I have a budget for splurging. Of course, that changed in the last two and a half years. I just learned to work with what I have, and I learned to be more experimental and more creative with them from top to bottom."
Has your urge to shop for designer items lessened?
"I would say I use my things more. I mix and match more. I had to be more creative. I’m not as quick to dispose. I’m not quick to switch it up. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I think it’s great to be sensitive about that these days because there’s still so many looks you can make and so many places to wear them to. Definitely, it’s slower for now."
Is there any difference in the way you dress when you’re traveling as opposed to your day by day in the Philippines?
"Yes. [Being in the] Philippines, for me, is work. I have to admit, I hardly go out in the Philippines for pasyal. If I do, I go to the beach, so then, [I have on ] resort wear or a tropical luxe [look]. But I think when I travel, especially with places that are cooler, I love dressing up when the weather is cooler kasi hindi ka mamamawis. You can layer. You can unlayer. You can work with different pieces and you won’t have to worry about sweating or getting too hot. I think that people [in LA] also are open in a way that they don’t criticize you for having certain curves.
"Here, they celebrate it. They celebrate when you have big hips or big butt or certain things. I really like to celebrate my curves along with other women in places where they are celebrated. And I find that maybe in the Philippines, we still need to appreciate that body type a little bit more. Maybe I don’t have the Asian stick-thin body, but it’s celebrated here in the US, so I quite like accentuating them when I’m here.
"Definitely, there are moments that I want to conceal them a little bit with my men’s wear, [and] wear more structured pieces, more accentuated shoulders, and pants that just fall and don’t really hug certain body parts. But I definitely enjoy when I can have a tight-fit dress when I can show a little more body and skin."
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