Each summer there is a mass exodus from Singapore. Expat families heading off to reconnect with friends and relatives across the globe in those precious weeks before school restarts in Autumn. Cue a deluge of happy reunion images on Facebook in nostalgia-conjuring destinations. Although this is all heartwarming stuff I’m fairly certain that some part of this happiness stems from the fact that a large proportion of these Facebookers are wearing jeans. Perhaps knitwear. Maybe even some light layering.
It may sound ridiculous but I’ll admit it: I have climate-based fashion envy of locations with weather that allows you to decide what to wear, rather than the other way around.
In the UK you can pretty much wear every trend going. On top of each other if you want to.
Those of us spending the long hot summer in Singapore (for work, out of choice, or because we’ve had too many children to justify the airfare) know where I’m coming from. It takes energy to decipher how seasonal fashion trends can work in 40-degree heat, when even a t-shirt can be too much. The natural temptation is to give in, and ‘settle’ with a beach-style cover-up and flip-flops all year through.
But I like to think i’m not a quitter. So, yes, I stand on a rooftop bar in long bell sleeves and high-waisted jeans, and tell myself how clever I am for acclimatising. In other words, I suffer for the cause.
So to say it’s refreshing that some of s/s17’s biggest trends have perfectly suited the Singapore climate is an understatement. These trends are not just summer, they are high summer; forty degree heatwave-worthy, and enough to make us Singapore residents feel ever so slightly smug that we can wear them and not need to factor in a cardi for the evenings.
Even better, these trends were still seen on the a/w catwalks so we can safely hold onto them for at least a season longer. (Who am I kidding? This is the land of no seasons, we’ll be wearing them for years.)
Here are my current hero pieces to take us from S/S17 to A/W17 catwalks via summer’s street style looks:
HERO PIECE 1: THE HOLIDAY DRESS
By which I mean the sort of dress that looks like you’ve picked it up on holiday at a Greek market, or in our case a Bali boutique, with embroidery, florals and a slightly reckless feel. Woop to us: we can achieve this type of dressing in the dark. Surprisingly the holiday dress is on course to make waves for Autumn as vintage Americana and folklore are key trends, involving mass layering for much of the world, which we tropics dwellers will bypass.
HERO PIECE 2: FLAT SLIDES
A godsend in Singapore, where feet magically go up a size and never again fit a slimline stiletto. This summer, although there have been a plethora of worthy options (espadrilles are a close runner up), the pimped-up pool slide (think pompoms, tassels and fur, with or without a platform) is emerging king. Surprisingly, fashion is keeping them for Autumn. Good for us. Bad for much of the world, where soggy sock and chilly toe traumas will surely ensue.
HERO PIECE 3: OFF-THE-SHOULDER ANYTHING
A trend that continues to display incredible staying power, the shoulder shows no sign of losing its place as fashion’s erogenous zone. Where our cool weather cousins have had to save this trend for the high summer months or holidays, this is a perennial winner in the tropics. And it’s going nowhere next season, albeit necessarily teamed with a turtleneck. We’ll be sticking with version one.
HERO PIECE 4: GINGHAM
If there was ever a trend designed with the sunshine in mind it’s gingham, conjuring up happy-go-lucky, retro beachside ingenues. Its popularity has continued on the Autumn/Winter catwalks, but somehow the juxtaposition with more covered up styles manages to dampen its frivolity. Us Singaporeans can still wear it with frills, bare legs and a tan and feel rather pleased with ourselves in the process.
HERO PIECE 5: DECONSTRUCTED SHIRT
The humble pinstripe shirt – slashed, one-armed, off-the-shoulder or generally any shape but its original incarnation – has been a surprise winner for summer. Lucky us, as the only way that we like to wear a shirt on this side of the world is when half of it missing. Good news that deconstructed is remaining huge for fall, so we can carry on as we are while others will have to work the cut-outs around plunging temperatures.