Interior Design, Fashion And Beauty Meet In Dr. Aivee Teo's Posh Closet
Aivee Teo gives us a glimpse into her home and closet, showing us just how she has polished the tricky art of balancing family life, a successful career, and time for the things she loves
On a somewhat gloomy day, Dr. Aivee Teo welcomed us into her sleek home adorned with more than a handful of beautiful, interesting pieces of art and furniture, and gave us the honor of being the first to see inside her exciting closet.
With her fun and usually colorful choices, Aivee is untroubled by her fashion-forward choices. Growing up with three other girls, Aivee always shared with her sisters the love for clothes, makeup, bags, shoes, and shopping. She narrates, “I grew up in the same room as my three sisters (and) we shared everything. So it was like having a slumber party every day. We also traveled together, often to summer holidays in the States. Our summers were spent in the shopping malls, and we could shop from morning until evening, simply because we were all girls.
Of course, we had sports, we had piano lessons, and we went through ballet lessons. But I think what ultimately put us together would be eating and shopping.” With lunches that extended through dinner in the Aguilar home, courtesy of her mother, the Aguilar girls gushed about fashion more than they did about the politics that they grew up surrounded by.
When she was in high school, she was steered toward medicine by her father, who hoped one of his children would become a doctor. Aivee recounts, “My late grandfather was first a practicing doctor before he became the mayor of Las Piñas. Then he and my grandmother had six kids, but none of them went into medicine and became doctors; all of them went into business and into politics. So my dad wanted one of us to become a doctor. I’m the most studious among the four of us; he sort of bribed me with things like a car to go to school and other smaller things. Although I didn’t really have to be pushed too much since I like studying in general.”
She took a pre-med course at De La Salle University, and took medicine proper at the University of Santo Tomas. She often missed out on family trips, opting to burn the midnight oil, and her father felt she might miss out on life and may not end up happy being an endocrinologist. He advised her to choose a specialty that wouldn’t be as demanding, and suggested dermatology. Always respectful and wanting her father’s approval, Aivee thought about it and realized it was something she could enjoy very much. At a time when the knowledge and technologies in dermatology were fast evolving, Aivee found herself liking the field.
Nonetheless, she continued to express herself through her clothes even during residency training. “I was always told I was so fashionable. I would play up our lab coat with a nice belt or colorful shirts. Then eventually, everyone started wearing belts and wearing funky shoes. This is because I feel that when I feel good about what I wear, it helps me with my work and with my interactions,” she shares.
A few years after, she met Dr. Z Teo in Singapore and soon after, got married. The doctor tells us, “The most memorable day of my life would be when I married Z because he changed my life. I am who I am now because of him and I think that one of the best decisions you can make in your life is being with the right person.” Believing in always doing and giving her best in everything, she had her wedding gown made by Monique Lhuillier. She flew to the designer’s Los Angeles boutique twice before the wedding to ensure a perfect fit. The rest of her entourage wore creations by no less than Inno Sotto, who became a dear friend after making her gown for her 18th birthday.
Showing how she can be a chameleon with her adventurous sense of style, Aivee wears an adorable jumpsuit paired with one of the funky colorful rubber shoes she currently favors.
The synergy of beauty and fashion
Aivee sees herself as an artist as well, being able to express herself and her beliefs through her businesses, the way she dresses, and even in the way she conducts treatments and procedures such as facial contouring,
facial symmetry, injectables, and even laser procedures. She shares, “You have to have the eye to deliver good results, and I feel that I have always had that in me. I’ve always liked fashion, and I feel that I am able to express the artistic side of me with my work and my fashion. Even in the clinics, it’s really about my personal touch. I feel that interior design, fashion, and my work in aesthetic dermatology are really an expression of who I really am.”
Aivee’s passion for excellence and beauty in all its forms can be seen in how her clients get the best experience in her clinics. “I wanted to make sure patients feel very comfortable and that they are able to see me through the clinic, have a feel of who we are and what we represent. I feel good coming to work and knowing my work space is really beautiful. I live to give my best in everything, so I try to create that atmosphere and lifestyle that I will enjoy so my patients will enjoy the same. I try to be the best or the worst critic of myself. I will only do things that I feel will make me happy and I know will make everybody happy as well,” she shares.
Easily, Aivee can say that she has always found pleasure in dressing up and believes it’s one of the things her clients love about her. In fact, the glowing doctor proudly confesses to not planning what she wears to work; she puts together an outfit on a whim every day.
“That’s why I feel like fashion is something that I’ve always had interest in. I like putting things together. I like to mix and match, and that makes me happy. I don’t plan so much, because I think it’s just a waste of time for me to prepare what I’m going to wear. I’d rather be more productive doing other things.” With a work schedule that’s packed six days a week and months dotted with trips abroad, she truly is blessed to have the ability to put together an outfit and get ready in less than 15 minutes.
This is also the reason why Aivee prefers to just buy things she loves and wait for an occasion to wear them, rather than buy for a specific purpose. “I only get to shop if I travel without the kids or when Z’s at work. So when I’m in Singapore and I have free time, that’s when I am able to do my shopping and maybe go to one or two stores. But it’s not a priority anymore, unlike when I was young and can shop for eight hours straight. Simply because I feel that my priorities now have changed especially when I travel because that’s when I really spend time with the kids and my husband. I’d rather channel my efforts into being with my kids and my husband (than shopping). Even in Manila, I don’t get to go to the malls because my priority is work and my kids,” she confesses.
When a special occasion arises and there is a need for something exceptional, the fashionable doctor prefers to approach local designers such as Inno Sotto, Francis Libiran, Dennis Lustico, Rajo Laurel, Charina Sarte, and Vania Romoff.
Aivee Teo’s charming personality shines through in her colorful closet filled with dazzling shoes, dreamy clothes, and her beloved assortment of bags and accessories.
Though she has always had a “girly” sense of style, Aivee shares with us that her choices have definitely changed. “I don’t like something too classic and something very plain. I understand my body and age, and I dress accordingly. But I still am adventurous and I still like to play with colors. I like accessorizing a lot, too.” She shares that she particularly likes designers and brands such as Stella McCartney, Dries Van Noten, Lanvin, Balenciaga, and Jil Sander, and looks to brands such as Carven, Self Portrait, and Vivetta for more playful designs.
She gladly shares that after going through a weight-loss program, she has been once again able to wear some clothes that she hasn’t worn in the past five years or so. Aivee tells us, “There are pieces that I know I’ll be able to wear again, but there are pieces that I like to give away. Because I don’t want to keep things that I don’t need. Simply because I like to share what I don’t need.” She treasures all the gowns made for her by Inno Sotto, a black Balenciaga dress, and a few pieces from Lanvin, among others.
Whether she is wearing four-inch stilettos from several years ago or the rubber shoes she can confidently wear today, colorful dresses or basic jeans, or statement necklaces and rings, she puts all of herself in all that she does, in hopes that everyone around her will feel the same way: genuinely happy.
An assortment of makeup, bracelets, and neckpieces that are currently on heavy rotation; her closet’s center island is a trove of fashion treasures mainly of books on fashion, beautiful jewelry, and accessories from some of personal favorites such as Lanvin and Hermès.
This was originally published in Metro Society's November 2017 issue.
Photographs by Jinggo Montenejo
Makeup by Patrick Alcober of Make Up For Ever
Hairstyling by Francis Guintu of Revlon Professional