An Abridged View of luxury menswear In Singapore
Living in Singapore is a challenge, especially when one considers the climate in which we impose and indulge our sartorial senses. As a result, many local men wear their appreciation/desire for luxury items on everything else but the fit of their clothing. Take a walk down the central business district on a weekday, or to the bustle of various hangout spots on weekends, and one can observe that many young men sport expensive accessories, ranging from belts, to watches or bags, all of which scream “luxury” and “look at me”. However, the fit of their clothing suggest a distinct lack of consideration of whether the clothing fit their morphology.
Fit aside, another common thread that arises during sartorial conversations with a Singaporean man is the opinion that our hot and humid weather is the ultimate deterrence to dressing well. However, when we take a glance at places like Italy (Naples), Japan, South Korea, etc where men constantly wear beautiful clothes that fit them well, this assumption suddenly does not look as unshakable. I would like to proposition that this mentality is a direct manifestation of Singaporean apathy. In our pursuit for recognition, we become everybody else.
We start to “not care” about whether our clothes actually fit us, buying whatever that is “on sale” (whether we need it or not), and then taking comfort in the fact that everyone around us is doing the same thing. We become machines in the workplace, churning out reports, spreadsheets, and everything that the business requires of us as employees. In the process, we lose track of who we actually are, and how we portray our individual, colourful selves to the world.
When we lose ourselves in the process, we subconsciously start to dress accordingly. Loose fitting shirts, baggy pants, squared-toed shoes, and that overbearing [insert luxury watch brand] on the wrist, branded belt on the waist, that is what many men wear on the daily basis these days, and everyone starts to look like everybody else, losing themselves in the process.
From a personal point of view, I advocate a change of attitude, focusing less on the “price” of an item, but the “value” of the item when adding something to our wardrobes. In short, shirts should fit, pants should fit (not baggy and not skin tight), jackets should comfortable, not too tight (and in line with the weather, completely unlined, unpadded, constructed from lightweight wool, ideally 8–9oz, or linen), and shoes should at the very least, maintain a slim profile.
This change of attitude does not have to come with an increase of budget (noting the rising costs of living in Singapore), but a shift of focus in spending habits. For example, instead of buying 3–4 ill-fitting shirts during a sale, go to a tailor and get one that will actually fit. Over time, with 2–3 shirts commissioned over a period of 6–8 months, one will have about 9–10 well-fitting shirts in one’s wardrobe. The same should go for other pieces. Buy less, but buy better.
Luxury isn’t about whether the brand is a “branded” brand or not, but whether the piece of clothing/accessory is aligned with one’s personal values, and how we want to portray ourselves in the public sphere. Ultimately, menswear is a timeless endeavour, and luxury should be about the interaction between classical values, our personalise, and how we develop a personal style that can evoke the past, the present, and the future.