Covid sequestered us in our abode, forcing us to slip into something comfortable—our PJs, that unwashed one-week-old sweatshirt, the depression bathrobe. Occasionally, we dress up for Zoom meetings but that effort is focused only from the waist up.
Now as restrictions lift and immunisation rates rise, we return to the outside, draped in our splendour. We pulled some of them from across the spectrum of dressing up in Singapore—especially after a devastating pandemic—and find out how they dress now.
"The Yohji Yamamoto ensemble that I wore was from the season when I interned with the brand. This was my favourite look from the collection but I was a student studying in Japan back then and I couldn't afford it. I remembered how much I wanted these pieces from the FW2014 collection as a memento of my time with the brand. After graduating, I started working and I managed to hunt for this particular outfit after delving into many fashion sites."
THE TAKEAWAY: It hardly ever matters what season a particular fashion item is from—no one is ever the wiser. The key is to invest in pieces that fit your own style and what you could see yourself wearing for years to come
DJ/music director and co-founder of Telok Ayer Arts Club
"I enjoy vintage shopping and also seasonal lines by various favourite designers. I will try to keep up with the season and pick out items that might suit me and take it from there."
THE TAKEAWAY: Being a fashion snob restricts your fashion choices and the kind of style individuality that drawing from different types of fashion brands can afford you. Mix your wardrobe options with high-end fashion, local designs and even the vintage finds for pieces that tell a story. Why stick to just one lane?
Marketing and communications manager
"Everything that I purchase these days I try to be more consistent and more conscious about its environmental impact. I don't race to grab that new piece on the rack. Nowadays, I'd hunt vintage pieces online. I follow a couple of designers like Phoebe Philo and Dries Van Noten and try to attain some of their past collections. I managed to snag an iconic Celine spring/summer 2011 top by Phoebe."
THE TAKEAWAY: Wearing socks with sandals will forever be a contentious style choice. But for a less jarring visual, a colour-matched combo effectively creates an illusion of a sock-boot hybrid. And always go for fine gauge socks.
Founder of Nomade and Colony Clothing
"I've been interested in fashion since I was a child. Then, when I was enrolled at university, I worked part-time for the Japanese boutique Beams so I was influenced by the seniors, designers and craftsmen around me. Now, having moved to Singapore, I am continuously influenced by my friends from around Southeast Asia."
THE TAKEAWAY: Sometimes, we pay too much importance on being impeccably dressed that we forget doing things in a rakish manner creates more of a visual appeal. An effortlessly tied jumper around the neck makes all the difference— a wonderfully calculated style choice disguising itself as an afterthought before heading out.
Co-owner of Union Studios
"I always look for pieces that aren't available in mass quantities, but most importantly they should have a story. The pieces that I wore for the shoot were my in-house label of Union Studios. Inspired by the current Covid situation, the outfits were supposed to bring out the vibrancy and better times ahead through the use of colours and patterns."
THE TAKEAWAY: Style rules can be broken. When you're someone with a lot of personality, there's no reason to really stick to them. The multicoloured printed shorts would typically be a statement piece requiring every other element of the outfit to stay relatively plain. But draw on the colours from the print, add some textural accents, and you could end up with a banger of a look.
"From what I remembered, I was influenced by how my brother would dress when I was young. He'd always have on the coolest outfit, and just by being around him I slowly developed my own sense of style."
THE TAKEAWAY: A cap goes a long way in grounding a look, especially when it's composed of more specifically tailored pieces. It's a neat trick you'd commonly see on the streets of Florence during Pitti Uomo and just one of those fashion things that's applicable in real life.
"My process involves creating an inspiration folder, which I would update with everything I come across that inspires me. It's not about putting on more clothes than you need, but adding more versatility to your closet that allows you to create daily outfits."
THE TAKEAWAY: Wide-leg trousers may be tricky to get right when it comes to what tops to pair them with. Go for the extremes—either super slim to balance out the proportions, or complement with equally oversized layers. Top it off with some chunky footwear and you're all set.
"Anyone can be best dressed. If you're comfortable in your birthday suit, then you can be comfortable in anything."
THE TAKEAWAY: What to get when the stores are chock full of winter selections? A knit vest. It's a step up from the usual jersey vest/tank/wifebeater we'd gravitate towards in the tropics, and a knit vest is the perfect layering piece for colder climates. Who doesn't love a twofer?
Marketing and communications manager
"Nothing's perfect and a state of perfection can never be reached. I believe that fashion and style is about evolving and constantly finding new creative forms to express yourself in."
THE TAKEAWAY: Commit. It's pretty rare these days to find people who stick to just one fashion brand for everything. But if you're a fan of a designer and their aesthetic speaks to you, there's no sense in deviating. It especially helps if they have such a strong point of view, like Rei Kawakubo.
Founder of Uniform
"Do where I live dictate how I dress? To a certain degree, yes. The heat and humidity in Singapore do not bode well for me, but with air-conditioned offices and malls I can still layer up a little. I guess it's more about what I'm doing day to day that determines my outfit—this can vary from a simple oversized tee and linen pants for a shoot, to the full works ( jacket, shirt, loafers) for a client meeting."
THE TAKEAWAY: Whether it's blue, black or white—just about the three most staple colours in every wardrobe—creating depth is essential. It never fails to go from dark on the outside to lighter shades for inner layers. And the more juxtaposition you can achieve with each layer in terms of texture and silhouette, the better.
Words byAsri Jasman and Wayne Cheong
Photographs byShawn Paul Tan
Grooming bySha Shamsi using Laura Mercier and KMS
Photographer assisted byXie Feng Mao