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Hilarious style rules in Singapore: The normal fashion handbook doesn’t apply on this island!

This climate renders all the normal style tricks useless

By the time you reach a certain age, you should have a few style rules. Or at least a copy of the guidebook. Somewhere. You know what parts of your body should be centre stage and which should only have a supporting role. You know the inverse makeup rule: the less you have on when you leave your home, the greater the number of people you will run into. And you are completely attuned to the power of the shoe and know that the correct choice can transform an outfit from “I am with my kids”, to “I am with the band”.

So what is a girl of a certain age to do when she arrives in Singapore and discovers that its climate renders all her sartorial tricks as useful as a suitcase of designer dresses trapped in lost luggage at Heathrow? She grabs that style handbook and rewrites the rules.

Old Rule

Cream eye shadow is a gift from the cosmetic gods to a time-poor woman. Impossible to apply incorrectly and guaranteed to make your eyelids shimmer attractively.

New Rule

In Singapore, your whole face is shimmering. Focus on your lips. They don’t sweat.

Old Rule

Jeans are a classic. In the right fit they can reduce your age by five years. Styled up with the right accessories, they can take you from the park to the first-class lounge.

New Rule

Wearing jeans in Singapore will make you look like a jetlagged refugee on an eight-hour layover from Changi Airport. Save them for next time you’re in the business-class lounge en route to somewhere else.

Old Rule

Shoes can transform an outfit. Invest in a wardrobe of different styles.

New Rule

Sunglasses draw attention to your face and away from your feet, which are too sweaty and swollen for you to wear any shoes, other than those from the flip-flop family. Buy Aviator, cat eye, Wayfarer, butterfly; actually, invest in a display case of different styles.

Old Rule

See it, like it, buy it. But if you should miss out, console yourself with the knowledge that you could only have worn it for a few months before it got packed away when the seasons changed.

New Rule

See it, like it buy it. But if you should miss out, beat yourself up for weeks as you realise you could have worn it for at least another six months before the jumpers and leather jackets stopped taunting you from the racks of Singapore’s stores and a new summer range was released.

Old Rule

Invest in swimwear once a year before your annual overseas trip. Try on a range of styles to find the most flattering, comforting yourself with the knowledge that you only have to endure this form of change-room torture once a year.

New Rule

In Singapore, you will meet most of your new friends, neighbours and work colleagues half-naked, by a pool, in swimwear. Surgery may be required.

The good news is that there is one form of style arsenal that is resistant to perspiration and retail fashion seasons. Jewellery. Clearly, there is nothing left for a stylish girl in Singapore to do but head down to Orchard Road, taking the money she has saved on shoes, coats and cream eye shadow, and invest. See our top jewellery picks in Singapore here.

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