Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Do Singaporeans Dress Badly?


In conjuction with the annual Great Singapore Sales, we were finally reached the time of the year  to get what we've wanted without feeling the heavy impact in our {shallow-hahaha} pockets! Be it the leather shoe from Bata (eh, now they've "upgraded" and have pretty darn awesome shoes okay!) you've been eyeing on for months or that sleek Gucci spectacles that probably cost more than your iPod, so just part some cash already. Since it's all about discounts and privileges, I was entitled to another type of entitlement - to be fashion critic for a post, and I'm definitely not going to let that chance slip.

I adore fashion.

Well, not in the I-luuuurve-Anna-Wintour kind of way but more of a street&fashion-observer manner. I like to think I am blessed with an eye for what will look good on a person, depending on the person's physique, of course. On the streets and in the train cabins, I'm always on the lookout for the commuters' dressing - from head to toe (but not in the critical judging way though). A person who can't afford expensive bags can still look fantastic from her fabulous buys from thrift shops.

If a foreigner were to critique harshly on Singapore's fashion sense, I would beg to differ. You see, fashion is like any economics, it is motivated and shaped by the country's culture and spending habits, as well as the way Singaporeans were brought up.

For example,  Singaporeans are known to be more conservative and I have known many conventional parents who will forbid their darling daughters from wearing anything below the collarbone or above the knee. That leaves us with what - T-shirts, polo tees, long dresses/skirts and jeans?

In addition, Singapore's horrible humid weather is already a huge limitation to how Singaporeans can dressed. Take a look at this mainstream fashion website: The Satorialist, where it features well-dressed people mostly living  in Paris, New York and Milan. Judging from their older entries, they play up with their outfits according to the seasons. They get the opportunity to wear thick Dr. Marten boots and gorgeous velvet winter coats every year, while in Singapore, I haven't known anybody who can withstand the heat if they don that kind of outfit.

 Pictures from The Satorialist

See what I mean?

It is for sure that in Europe and America, they carry more labels and products due to the resources they own. Locally, both women AND men have began to shop online because that's where they can get their regular dosage of Abercromie & Fitch (that comes in XS sizes for those really petite ones), American Eagles, GoJance, F21, ASOS, Victoria Secrets... you name it, they've got it. So is it safe to say what they wear over there is comparable to what Singaporeans wear over here? Afterall, they are all the same, aren't they?
Picture from ASOS
 Picture from Victoria Secrets

But no, somehow they seem to look much better in them. Why?

My take is that they know what complements their body figures and features.

However, do Singaporeans dress badly? I think not.

But there is definitely space for improvements.

Everytime I heard about a friend visiting Japan, one of the first few questions I would ask if it's true that majority of the Japanese are good-looking and well-dressed. And 10 out of 10 times, my friend would reply, "Hell yeah, not only do all of them look like they just walked out from the manga, they're also brand conscious. It's like a walking town of fashion magazines."
Japanese Street Fashion

In countries closer to home like Taiwan and Hong Kong, they are said to be fashionable too. Taiwan seems to the headquarters for cosmetics and beauty products while Hong Kong for their dressing in the boyish demeanour.

The younger generation in Singapore has this growing trend as observed in this Community, which I used to frequent every two days to spy on what people my age are wearing everyday! As time goes by, I feel the urge to comply and doll up, post pictures of myself to prove that I can dress better than them (right,hahaha)! Hey, competition like these are healthy okay!

Picture from RunwayCity@Livejournal

In a nutshell, Singaporeans are capable of dressing well, provided that they're dressed right for the occassion. Please do not try to hard to stand out, such that during a funeral you wear florescent pink or something (fine, unless the deceased is a fashion sucker).

Here's what I think about What's Hot and What's Not now and forever (in no particular order).


1) Awesome fashion sites like the following:
Face Hunter ("A man out and about in london and beyond: eye candy for the style hungry")

Weardrobe (Features youngsters all over the world)
Lookbook (People who have the passion for fashion can upload their outfit pictures here)
FabSugar (Discusses celebrity fashion and their atas buys)
Style Rookie (13-year-old sharing her fashion stash, she's very good)


But the abovementioned are only those popular websites, scout for those unique individuals and be inspired (and no, I'm not sharing my personal collection of blogs). Heh heh. 

2) DIY Clothings
Once again, as much as you think you cannot fit into a shirt or that it is out of season already, snip and snitch it into something snazzy! Personalise it to make it your own, or even use fabrics to create your own piece! I know oversize tees are IN now, but I'm sure you don't want to look like everybody else who owns the same shirt? Paint it, braid it, shred it! Jazz up your outfit with something bold - like a huge bow!

3) Local Designers
Take a walk down Haji Lane, Ann Siang Road and the multi-level FEP and you'll realise there are many aspiring fashion designers who are really good at what they're doing! Some of these talented artistes can also be found hiding in a corner of Queensway Shopping Centre. Do note that local designers are often coming up with new quirky collections, which usually differs from your basic tank tops/racerbacks and plain-jane shorts.

4) Flea Markets
In recent years, it is not difficult to find them anymore! Every month or so, there are flea markets held by different organisations and there you can find a good mix of everything! Get our of your comfort zone and try getting new/second-hand clothes. Have a variety of colours, cutting and accessories!

5) Knowing Your Body
Once I saw a slogan, "I'm in shape. Round's a shape". What I'm trying to say here is that there is no right or wrong if you're bigger or smaller, it's just how you pick clothings that suit your body. I think it's perfectly fine even if I'm not a Size 0, I am comfortable in my own skin and I can look better than the boney people.


1) Fake Silver/Gold

I don't know how to identify these, but once I have a ring from this online site (shall save your business) and after wearing it for a day, my finger turned blue from the paint that's coming off from the supposedly gold ring.

There's also the kind of silver that will make the skin on your neck green, so be careful of what you're spending on!

2) Tattered clothes
I understand how comfortable those old Giordano T-shirts are. You can wear them at home, and wear them to sleep. But just the other day, I saw this middle age guy wearing a pukish green T-shirt that's clearly been washed 1000 times or something, and the cotton is expanded, thin, hanging loosely, plus there were cuts and holes all over the shirt.  Can you use it as a rag please?

When it's time to go, it's time to go. 

3) Broken Shoes
If the front of your shoes is split open, send to a cobbler to fix it. If it's beyond repair, please don't wear it allowing to flap and creating a loud tiak! sound with every step you take. It's not hot. So is the heel of the high heels. Once the rubber/plastic wear out, you can hear the metal clicking sound. It's not cool. And oh, if you want to wear kitten heels, please make sure you can walk properly in them.

4) Heavy Make-up.
In a country with a weather like we're in desert all year round, I don't think looking like thick white cake helps cool....the guys down. In fact, some women look damn scary with the heavy make-up. Besides, I think there are more guys who prefer natural beauty than some ... plastic doll.

5) Pants Too Low

First there was hihg-waist, then low-waist, now with pants just hanging to the peak of the butt. WHY?! Why buy pants that loose that it can barely hang on your hipbones? Is it that hard to get a belt or something? I do not want to see your buttcheeks when you're wearing white undies or checkered boxers! I hate it the most when the guys walk awkwardly with their legs open side so the pants won't fall to the ankles.


So... there is also an ongoing debate on whether flip-flops are acceptable. In my opinion, I think it's acceptable if you're going to the beach/pool, and not a wedding dinner. My China tour guide was telling me, "When I bring tourists around, I just need to take a look and know that they're Singaporeans!" I asked him how did he find out and wanted to make a bet with me.

"Only Singaporeans will wear flip-flops EVERYWHERE! In China, rarely will you spot anybody in flip-flips."

Jialat, now Singaporeans' trademark in dressing is a pair of flip-flops!

That is not good news. Havaianas (omg, the website is awesome!) is like the new iPod, everybody wants to own a pair to fit into the 'cool' lifestyle. Still, I don't think that's an excuse to wear it everywhere you go - school, shopping, movies etc.

Well, it's Summer all year round and these jelly-looking shoes does make it comfortable for walking. just keep it to a minimum okay? :)

Lastly, I am not one who will go out in my PJs! I am too vain and self-conscious for that! Besides, my "PJs" are acutally clothes I used to wear when I was in Primary and Secondary school. Unless you have the Pjs from Cotton On or look like the famous:

I would say, no, better leave your PJs when you want to seduce your man in bed.
Nevertheless, I think Pyjamas parties should be fun, judging from the many blog entries and pictures from fellow Nuffnang bloggers.

This is the closest as I can get to looking good in PJs:

This versus -->

These --> (something like that)
Pictures taken with my two sleeping must-haves (which I also bring them out)!

Oh wait, I DID wear this "sleepwear" to Suntec once and had lunch + shopping around! Holy cow!

On a final note,
Eh, so who still say Singaporeans dress badly?

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