Chinese New Year was traditionally that one time of the year when people of my parents' generation would have new clothes, being financially-impoverished. My parents recount many stories of how they would look forward to more food on the table, their yearly treat of soft drinks and everything a child would love. Today we have much more to the point of excessiveness; nevertheless, new clothes are still purchased (some even make sure they have brand new undergarments and socks!), whether to mark a new year or as an excuse for more. As for me, CNY is a time of togetherness and tapping into my roots, and a time of gratitude. The obsessiveness with excuses for new clothes that I used to have is no longer around. This was the only new piece I bought for the occasion, because I decided to stop getting caught up with reasons and excuses. I saw this dress on massive sale at the Oasis website, and purchased it. Upon confirming my tickets home, I decided this would be for the New Year. My mother fell in love with the dress, so I left it back in Singapore for her :)
It was an itsy-bitsy teeny weeny yellow-polkadot bikini. Gosh, I can still remember myself dancing around as I blasted the tape on the cassette recorder and sang that song (a little of a tongue-twister that liner is, isn't it!) as a wee toddler, and then my brother doing that six years later with the same tape. These yellow-and-white polka dotted shoes always make me think of that song and those memories. . . and of course I love the silver heels :)
I realise that in Singapore do I hardly ever use lip colour. It's only upon being in winter climes and looking at pallid complexion do I do that. And possibly how I started really falling in love with red lipstick and discovering my Showgirl side ;)
These photographs were taken in my back garden-- do I miss that jungle so much! Over the months as I dig out old shots of Singapore will you probably see loads of it too. .
Oasis dress; Pleaser shoes; YSL clutch; Diva leopard cuff; Diva ring; m)phosis belt.
Whilst I was in Singapore, my mother informed me that two pieces had been rendered unwearable. Which is really saddening. I was telling her my fantasies of wearing a particular top with a certain skirt, and she was laughing at me for having my wardrobe planned out in my mind already, but that's how you don't overpack! Here's some memories of They Who Have Since Died. . . as well as some snippets of Singapore across the past few years. Looking at these also make me realise how much my style has changed. . .
This happy, vibrant floral number was my mother's, something I hated when I was younger, then grew to love as my fascination with florals and prints took over the diktat that trends rolled out. One thing I really adored about this high-waisted number was how you could wear it as a halter-dress or fake a jumper with it. (Pictures taken back in 2007)
And this was the morning the official letter from UCL came, saying I had been accepted into their program. That meant. . I was leaving the country after my graduation! I was so excited! I was jumping around the house, texting D (who said, "See I knew you would get it, why were you so worried") and then changed into this happy floral number with Happy Colours all over. The skirt was worn high-waisted rather than as a fake jumper. The next night, my status on the online Cambridge system (which I checked every few hours) had changed from "Application made" to "Offer", and I was dizzily happy. So yes, this skirt is associated with "I Am Going To The UK". (Photo from April 2009).
Another happy riot of colours here. This cheery yellow Marciano top has since breathed its last, as the material spoils really easily, despite the fact that my mother is such an excellent carer of stuff her things last forever. I bought this top for her, and loved the scalloped edges. This photo was probably taken in October 2008, when on some late mornings, my father would go, "Let's all go out for lunch before you go to school" (I always call uni 'school', much to the amusement of everyone). I loved days like that, all happy and warm, and stuffed with food. Those were the days when rings that size were considered large, and I was making my first forays into the world of Cocktail Rings. And the pretty knee-length skirt? I wear it quite regularly, and it was about 20p from the SPCA (Singapore) jumble sale. The Postman Bag also has many memories. It was the schoolbag for the year I was 16, whilst doing my O-Levels. Many years later, it is still going strong :)
And there've been the clothes that traveled back to the UK from my wardrobe in Singapore. .
My retro wallpaper-print dress that I fell in love with at Mango. My mother took one look and said, "That's the sort of print your grandmother would buy" and I replied that was precisely the charm. The first shot was from late-2006, worn on one of those rare days when the weather was cool, and I'd gleefully wear my knee-high boots. Together with vintage Indian necklaces in all sorts of stones belonging to my mother, a large gold-buckle Aldo belt and my grandmother's Doctor Bag, it is a combination that works for me. The second look was taken in mid-2009, next to a dirty umbrella, in brown stitched leather wedges, a Guess? clutch with multiple feline prints, loads of other feline-related bangles, a leopard-printed belt and a leopard-printed hairband-cum-scarf my student gave me. I'm envisioning wearing this dress as a light summer coat too, because it is a button-up piece.
A red-and-white printed camisole and a blue abstract-paisley print Concubine Top, the latter looking a little like the undergarments ancient Chinese emperors' concubines would wear, and hence my name for them. The first was found in some factory outlet in Perth (WA) for about AUD$2 and you can imagine how happy I was because I love the colour, the slinkiness and the print. Both photographs were taken in early-2007, probably within two weeks of each other, and I realise I look like two completely different people there. Sometimes I have problems recognising myself.
This floral print green-and-pink silk dress from GG<5. I was taking my aunt-in-law M from Perth whom I'd met only the night before for a shopping trip around Singapore and had passed by the display window, drooling at the dress. Dresses there were quite expensive for me back then, and I told myself to forget about it. Later on, we passed by there again, and I took a deep breath and walked in. M said, "I saw it too just now, and thought you'd look really good in it". Dang. Walked into the dressing room, tried it on, it fit like a glove, took a deeper breath and bought it. Worn with the Indian bangle I've had since two years old, and my first pair of Nine West shoes which have since died too. Photo taken February 2007.
Oh, this beautiful orange-toned printed halter-neck dress! This Fashion is a budget brand. So it doesn't have the best name, but sometimes, like The Best Friend says, you 'can find flowers in shit piles if you dig hard enough'. I used to take a walk around Level 3 of ISETAN shopping center in town whenever I needed motivation to study for my examinations. On that floor was Shelli Segal's Laundry, where dresses are well, at least £300. Completely out of my price range. So I'd tell myself, "Okay study hard, do blardy well, and wear such clothes in future!". Two days before going to TF with a classmate to 'dig for roses' (which they do have!), I saw a beautiful orange-printed dress. Then, I spotted a similarly beautiful one in TF. Oh goodness. There was only one piece, and it fit like a glove! And it was only £10! I clutched it tightly to my chest and paid for it, feeling extremely triumphant. This was Christmas 2006, with my Pygmy Christmas Tree decked a little eccentrically (I love to buy Christmas decorations!). Worn with über-large Aldo earrings, beige snakeskin-style VNC pumps, free L'oreal clutch and Forever 21 earrings worn as bangles.
July 2009. Another version of me wearing this dress. This time with an elaborate necklace I designed myself out of a spoilt bracelet and a thick gold hoop earring. My friend Vee and I held a Wire Party where we brought forth all the pieces of broken trinkets and things we'd never wear again, complete with her tools, and she taught me how to string things together. So we sat down, configured the design, and she helped me put it all together with a thick loop of wire from the hardware store :)
This is a better view of my Lady in Red (cue Chris de Burgh's crooning!) dress you saw here, except that it has been hacked much shorter today. But of course, I kept the hemlines folded because I know I would be unable to pull off the über-short one day, so it'll go back to that old length then. I was so tanned in that photograph only because I'd been badly sunburnt during the cruise. I also remember that pair of red heels fondly too. I had been looking for a pair of red patent peep-toe heels with scalloped edges for ages-- you know how when you have that exact image of something in your mind, everything else fails to deliver? One day coming back from school, I walked pass this boutique Pazzion and saw it! They fit really comfortably, so I bought them. And I probably overwore them too, at least twice a week, pounding down the pavements of various streets in them. Ensemble also accessorised with bangles from Mango and the Singapore Zoo (seriously!), and Chloé handbag.
This Charlotte Russe dress was bought at some factory outlet in Bintan, Indonesia. I love the summery feel of the dress. It was worn for one of those occasions when the girls and I would book a room at some hotel/country club, take photos all day, eat and indulge, have a slumber party, and talk till we fell asleep. We termed this day/night The Runaway Housewives AGM (because it's their aspirations to be housewives, not me lol) and also took our own graduation shots then. And why the backpack? I picked up my brother's army cadet backpack and filled it with stuff for the 'overnight trip', thinking it'd look amazing with the dress and heels. The lush greenery that you see in these photos were taken at this gorgeous place Little Bali where we helped ourselves to many large platters of Thai and Indonesian food whilst reveling in the amazing and tranquil surroundings. July 2009.
Besides this psychedelic dress that you saw over Christmas, I also designed this colourful halterneck dress. The cloth was remnant material, so I probably got it for less than £2, which was a steal. Photograph taken in mid-2008, with Accessorize earrings and VNC heels.
Finally, a pretty printed silk dress, loved for its delicateness and the way it flows. I first wore it for Lulu's 23rd birthday four years back-- those days were the beginning of a steadily-growing friendship between us both, and I brought her to CHIJMES, a beautiful fairy-like place in Singapore, where my old convent school used to stand in the heart of town. Today the grounds been refurbished into one with various restaurants and watering holes, whilst the old chapel is used as a venue for weddings. The laidback vibe in the heart of the bustling city does feel like an alternate reality. The top photograph was entitled 'running away from the nunnery' by us both, and the bottom right was part of the desserts for that night. The bottom left one was probably in mid-2009, accessorised with silver heels and glass beads.
Am definitely looking forward to wearing these dresses in the summer! xxx