Elements of Style

High Polish

Our monthly primer on the city's best-dressed begins with fashionista Duyen Huynh.

By Kerry H. April 25, 2013 Published in the May 2013 issue of Houstonia Magazine

We think Duyen Huynh’s cape jacket is appropriate, because to us she is a little like Batman. A scrub-wearing general dentist by day, she bides her time in a Katy office, polishing the tiny bicuspids of her mostly kid clientele. But you probably know her by her night persona—as a perfectly put together, party-going, oft-photographed supporter of the contemporary arts. (“No problem,” she said when we asked her to think spring for our May issue, “I’ve already put my furs in storage.”) Nighttime Duyen is most often accompanied by her husband, artist, and, yes, fellow dentist Marc Nguyen, who is no more likely to be caught in scrubs after dark. And if you’re wondering what life is like in that household, consider that not one but three of their daughters grew up to be professional models. 


When I was 15 years old Vietnam was still very conservative; most women wore traditional dresses or black pants and white shirts. I would wear red, high–waisted, bell–bottom jeans and a sleeveless, dark blue knit sweater with a beaded peacock in the front—and heels, even though I was considered tall in Vietnam. People would stare at me like, why is she wearing something like that? But I’ve just always loved clothes. 


My style—well, I wouldn’t say it’s a style. I’m just different. If a trend is happening, if people are wearing it on the street, I will stay away. 


When my husband’s family came to the States, they survived by starting a tailor shop, and my husband worked there while we were dating. I would go to his shop and just watch him. He would say, “Let’s try something for you.” He made me this one dress—it’s black silk with flowers and lace and a little ruffle. I feel very feminine in it, the way it swings when I walk, and even though it’s 20 years old, sometimes I pull it out of my closet. I wore it just last week to brunch at Quattro, with a short Chanel jacket and a bunch of Chanel necklaces. 


Céline jacket, Versace boots, Ennis cuff, Balenciaga necklace, St. John shorts, Maison Martin Margiela bodysuit. The top is one of my favorites—clean and simple, modern but classic. 

Clutch City style

Houston, you have a mix, I have to say. People move here from other places, New York, Los Angeles. It’s not as edgy or fashion–forward as New York, but you have some people who are. You have people who have been here for years and years and keep the same traditions. And you have nice restaurants where you can go and people won’t say you’re overdressed! 

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