Until COVID-19 hit Singapore and WFH became a thing, I was a huge advocate on dressing up. As a child, going out to dinner was a Big Deal, because it meant I could don whatever outfit I was obsessed with at the moment. There were the poufy princess dresses, my Barbie fur slip-on heels that I would clumsily teeter around the house in, bell bottoms and denim skirts that I were obsessed with even though I was 11 and had no concept of ’70s fashion, and even a kid’s version of the SQ stewardess’s uniform… and so forth.
This behavior would follow me well into my adulthood as I chose a career in publishing, relishing the ability to wear sequins, ball gowns and pairs of purposefully designed pants that were meant to be worn back to front (in fashion speak we call that Comme Des Garçons) all in the name of creative expression. So needless to say, whenever people spoke about Singaporeans’ unofficial uniform of a t-shirt, shorts and slippers as well as our bad reputation for dressing sloppily, I would take offense for even being lumped in with this group. “I put in effort! How can?? I’m not one of those Singaporeans!”
But now that all events have been cancelled, and the only reason I have to get dressed is on the off chance I head out to a restaurant because I’m just sick of cooking — ironic, since this used to be my reason for dressing up as a child — I’m starting to feel that maaaayyyybeee I should have given that look a fighting chance after all.
Hear me out.
Look, I still think fashion is a great freedom of expression, and I severely miss it at times, especially when I see the crazy 80% mark down sale on Net-a-porter filled with beautiful items from Jacquemus, A.W.A.K.E Mode, JW Anderson, Rotate Birger Christensen…where was I again?
I’m sorry, I digressed. But the point I am trying to make here is that in my sixth month of WFH, and with two of those months spent as a freelance writer with zero meetings to attend, I’m starting to wonder if I would wear anything with a non-elasticised waistband ever again. Also, should I be spending what little income I’m lucky to have on beautiful clothes if no one was ever going to see them?
And while I am super keen to partake in the current loungewear trends and frolic around my house and supermarket in tie-dye sweat pants and feather-embellished pyjamas, alas, it is also 32 degrees out and I can’t afford to have the air conditioner switched on 24/7. And it’s not for lack of trying. The one time I attempted to step out of the house in a tracksuit, I was hit by a sweltering wave of humidity, my sweat pits shaming me into changing back into a loose-fit t-shirt and a pair of denim shorts. Punishment for daring to wear anything that was ill-suited for the warm weather.
So perhaps 30 years later, I’ve decided to finally accept our unofficial national costume. Without the need for peacocking, or an office full of other stylish colleagues to egg on my impulsive and ridiculous fashion choices, have I finally become, *gasp*, sensible? Call it adulting, or embracing comfort with age, but if 2020 is going to be the year which should be discounted from our calendar, then f*ck it, I’m going to be embracing my bo chup-ness instead of suffering in style.