Are you planning to travel to Singapore soon? Part of the preparations you need to make is to gather the right set of clothes for everyday wear and for special events or holidays. This is especially true if you plan to stay here for the long term.
If it’s your first time visiting Singapore, you may not have much idea of what the “everyday look” is like in this country. But before you gather some ideas on this, you need to understand several things first such as Singapore’s culture, climate, and daily activities that people do here. To know more about these things, make sure to read until the end of this guide.
A Simple Guide on What to Wear in Singapore
Singapore Dress Culture
First of all, you should know that there is no official dress code in Singapore. And so while displaying affection to your lover in public is a no-no and wandering about your flat naked is an offence punishable by fine, what you wear in and around the city is entirely up to you.
As mentioned earlier, the choice of clothing people wear here in Singapore is significantly dependent on the climate that we have here. The weather in Singapore is consistent, with temperatures ranging from 30 to 35 degrees Celsius (86 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day and around 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) at night. The humidity is high, and if you are outside for an extended amount of time, you will sweat, so bring an antiperspirant and an additional t-shirt.
Singapore Traditional National Clothing
While many Singaporeans dress in traditional cultural costume, some prefer to dress in more modern apparel. Because of the hot weather, many people prefer to dress in casual, cool apparel. This generally consists of Western clothing, such as jeans, shorts, flip-flops, and T-shirts.
However, for those who do, here are some of Singapore’s traditional clothes. But before we dive into the various styles, designs, and representation of these pieces of clothing, here’s what you need to know about Singapore’s traditional/national costume:
The Singapore fashion scene has far more to offer than “slippers, singlets, and shorts.” Their dynamic, cosmopolitan background has brought with it many magnificent traditional costumes that are still worn and seen throughout Singapore, particularly during the festival seasons. Let’s have a look at some of the ethnic costumes that are still trendy and in demand in Singapore today.
- The Nyonya Kebaya: The Peranakan race is similar to a mixed-race child born to Chinese and Malay parents. They are ethnically Chinese, having originated in Malacca and Indonesia, but have adopted Malay ways of life and culture in order to better identify with a Malay-dominated community. Males are referred to as Babas, while females are referred to as Nyonyas. The Kebaya is a traditional Nyonya costume that consists of a translucent, figure-hugging blouse worn over an undershirt and a batik-patterned sarong. The top is often embellished with exquisitely embroidered flowers and designs that represent the kindness and conscientiousness of the Peranakan woman.
Kebayas were hand-sewn by Peranakan women as part of their dowry during the early colonial period. The more kebayas they had sewn by the time they were married, the better it reflected on their upbringing and sophistication, and hence the better their marriage prospects. The most authentic and magnificent examples of this unusual clothing may now be found in the Katong region (the Peranakan district in Singapore)
- Cheongsam: The Cantonese pronunciation for ChangShan, or “long garment” in Chinese, is Cheongsam. Although it is commonly assumed to be a traditional Chinese costume, it actually dates back to the Qing (Manchu) era. During the Qing era, both men and women wore an article of long, one-piece clothing that hung loosely from the body and was expressly meant to disguise the wearer’s body type.
Women’s Cheongsams today are body-flattering and come in a variety of lengths, colors, and styles. It is often worn in Singapore during Chinese New Year and Chinese weddings.
- The Sari: If you’ve spent any time in Singapore, you’ve probably spotted numerous Indian women dressed in their traditional garbs, draped with a long, flowing, and glamorous-looking piece of cloth. This unstitched piece of cloth is known as a sari. The sari originated in the Indus Valley civilisation and is highly popular in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. It is worn over a top known as the choli and is adorned with accessories and embellishments.
The Nivi method, which entails wrapping it around the waist and tucking it under the skirt, then hanging the leftover cloth over your shoulder and allowing it to hang around the waist level, is the most generally seen way of draping the sari to exemplify the body in Singapore.
The following are the titles of the additional draping styles you can try: Bengali and Oriya style, Gujarati, Maharashtrian/Konkani/Kashta, Dravidian, Madisaara, Kodagu, Gobbe Seere, Gond, Malayali are some of the languages spoken in India.
- The Dhoti Kurta: The Dhoti is a traditional Indian men’s bottom made of a rectangular piece of cotton that is skillfully wrapped around the waist and legs. The top is called a Kurta, and it is a loose garment that gets wider towards the bottom. This arrangement, known collectively as the Dhoti Kurta, is traditionally worn by men in Northern India for formal events but has recently gained popularity in a variety of other settings.
- The Baju Melayu: The traditional Malay clothing is known as a Buju Melayu. It is worn by men and consists of a shirt for a top, a sarong worn over a pair of slacks, and a songkok cap. The songkok is a religious headgear that first appeared in Muslim countries during the 13th century, with the development of Islam.
- The Baju Kurung: Malay women sometimes wear baju kurung with tudung, which serves to hide a woman’s hair and neck for conservative reasons. The early baju kurung, which emerged as the Silk Trade became richer in the 13th century, was looser and longer, gradually evolving to seem more beautiful and refined as it does today.
The Baju Kurung is available in two variations: Telok Balanga and Cekak Musang. The Telok Balanga lacks a collar, whereas the Cekak Musang has one with two buttons stitched on it.
Singapore Dress Code Business
A Business Professional dress style conveys an overall formal appearance. Head down to the Financial District or the CBD region for the best example of Business Formal. Try to stick to neutral or deeper color tones when dressed in a Business Professional manner.
- For the ladies: Business Suits | Business Styled Dress
- For the gents: Business Suits
- Suitable for: Corporate Office Setting, Business Presentations, Corporate Business Lunches, Job Interview
Singapore Casino/Nightlife Dress Code
When entering the casino, guests must adhere to the smart dress code. Guests wearing singlets, shorts, slippers, hats, caps, helmets, sunglasses, masks, veils, or any other items that obscure (totally or partially) their facial features are not permitted to enter the casino.
Combine Business Casual with a dash of savviness. A Smart Casual outfit is one that is both comfortable and presentable.
- For the ladies: Blouse with Skirts| Top accompanied by a Blazer with Pants| Simple accessories & simple make up
- For the gents: Buttoned-down shirts with jeans or slacks
What to Wear when Visiting Tourist Spots/Beach
Short shorts, sleeveless tops, and low cut tops are acceptable in most tourist areas, including the beach (locals wear them as well!).
- Attire: Comfortable T-Shirts and Shorts | Flip-flops | Anything goes!
Singapore Nightlife Dress Code
Singapore offers a nightlife that many cities across the world can only dream about. The never-ending celebration, brilliant night lights, and loud music make Malaysian town an ideal destination for partygoers and rock & rollers alike. Prepare a gorgeous and sparkly costume while in Singapore, as you may want to spend an unforgettable, glamorous, and enjoyable night out with your pals.
- For the ladies: Evening dress | Gowns | Some Bling
- For the gents: Tuxedos
Raffles Singapore Dress Code
If you’re going to Raffles Hotel for High Tea, or shopping in luxury high-end stores, or eating in costly restaurants, be cool and comfortable, but dress up a little. To be on the safe side, you may follow the smart dress code.
Singapore is a tropical country so your attire will be mostly comfy and casual, with the exemption of a few pieces for special events or partying with friends at night. Now that you’ve reached this part of the guide, you will already have some ideas on what you need to pack your bags when traveling or moving to Singapore. Mix a couple of pieces to bring out your own personality and style, and you should be fitting in perfectly wherever you need to be around Singapore. The good thing here is that there’s consistent weather in the country – which is mostly sunny throughout the year, so dressing up isn’t much of a hassle if you’ve got all the right pieces to wear for this kind of weather.