I returned home from Singapore last week, and I’m still dreaming about the warmth, the amazing food, and the retro-fabulous fashion.
When I was little (and, ahem, still now to this day) I had an obsession with the 1954 romantic film Three Coins in the Fountain. I watched it constantly, noting the gorgeous fit and flare dresses, the powder blue convertibles, and the fact that Italy seemed so rustic and real. And then I went to Rome in high school and was crushed to learn that modern-day Roma didn’t look like that anymore. I said I was obsessed, not smart.
But then, I traveled to Singapore and my 1950s fashion loving heart skipped a beat, because unlike Rome, Singapore seems very much in line with midcentury fashion, and it was a kick in the pants to see.
While I didn’t get to see much during my short stay, a few steal-worthy street trends were clear to me in the first ten minutes:
The Fit and Flare Dress
The Singapore Look: Ladies in Sing are all about skirts and dresses (you would be too – it’s freaking hot there!) and the 1950s silhouette with full pleated circle skirts and a boatneck top are all the rage. I saw most paired with wedge or three inch heels, belted, with cardigans. For modesty, not for warmth. Because again, JUNGLE HEAT. The fit was straight out of Populaire but the modern fabrics kept things looking fresh and not fussy. Modcloth has fabulous fit and flare dresses that would be perfect for summer bridal showers and teas.
Steal it Stateside: if a big flouncy dress isn’t quite your thing – or the thing to wear at your place of employ – you can certainly make it office appropriate by choosing a less boisterous amount of pleats and adding a blazer instead of a cardi, and leather or suede wedges and tights.
The Singapore Look: It may be inspired by Singapore’s incredible architecture, but it may also be part of the whole retro aesthetic. Either way, handbags were streamlined, on the smallish side, and worn daintily over the crook of the arm. No slouchy hobo bags here!
Steal it Stateside: If you’re not quite ready to downsize or switch out bags, looks for transition pieces you might already own. The Longchamp le Pliage bag – a staple that seemingly every SF girl has over her shoulder – is a clean, classic look when not overstuffed (something I’m very guilty of doing) and Charles and Keith has gorgeous architectural bags that are still roomy enough to carry it all.
The Singapore Look: Polished buns, half-back twists, and slicked back pony tails were everywhere. The clean, coiffed aesthetic, combined with the tailored details mentioned above, meant that Singapore women were as chic and stylish as I’ve seen anywhere – including Paris! It especially helps to keep your hair out of your face with all that humidity. Take a page out of Kate’s book from her trip to Singapore and twist it back in a beautiful bun and accent with studded bobby pins.
Steal it Stateside: I’m alllll about the wash ‘n go. My hair is naturally wavy so with a little product and two hours, voila! Beach hair. The only problem is that I don’t live in what I’d call a beachy, laid-back environment, and I need to be able to look polished quickly, whether I’m in DC or SoHo. Find a go-to hairstyle (I like to french braid half my head and pull it all together in a low bun) that can help you look pulled together quickly, or else invest in high quality tools that work quickly and efficiently, like the mini Chi travel straightener.
Would you embrace the full ’50s fashion of Singapore in your hometown?