Let's Play Dress Up

So everyone is capable and hardworking at the office. How do you stand out then? Challenge taps the brains of some young designers for fun ways public officers could dress to impress.

It’s a common sight: public officers clothed in unadventurous garb, too often in the predictable blue shirt or the safe black skirt. But we dare say the tide is changing. There is a small but growing population of officers who are stepping forward in more eye-catching outfits. If you crave new ideas and stylish designs, check out the 18 new local labels at PARCO Marina Bay at Millenia Walk. The labels are by the third cohort of young designers nurtured by the fashion design incubator project PARCO next NEXT, a joint initiative by PARCO Singapore and the Textile & Fashion Federation Singapore, with the support of SPRING Singapore. Challengeapproached four design labels to sketch up something special just for public officers. So gather some courage and start cultivating your own sartorial style. Remember that Mark Twain once advised: “Clothes make the man”.

Lion Earl

Spring/Summer 2012

If you’re a public officer faced with the dilemma of having to look chic and yet not overdressed, then you may have your answer in Lion Earl. Lionel Low and Hariz Lim, the design duo behind the label, hail from a background of fashion and architecture, respectively. The result? A collection with clean lines, form and elegance. It balances a strong silhouette with fluid details, incorporating designs that reflect influences from other art forms such as music, painting and photography. For Challenge, they came up with two looks, with elaborate touches that show up prettily in ruches, drapes and pleats, outlining the feminine form. “These dresses would be versatile for public officers to attend networking events and functions after work, while during work, they can be toned down with a simple jacket,” says Mr Low.


Spring/Summer 2012

Evelyn Ng and Pearly Wee’s emphasis for their designs is on practical, versatile and comfortable clothes. For public officers, they visualise classic, demure long-sleeved silk shirts and dresses, and loose skirts for women; crisp shirts, tailored pants and sharp blazers for men. “Dressing professionally is critical as a public officer is a capable and empowered individual. We want public officers to create a positive first impression that allows them to send out powerful messages,” Ms Wee says. The designs, specially created for Challenge but using their current collection’s colour palette, are based on light fabrics and a loose silhouette, targeted to enhance comfort for the busy executive who spends long hours at the desk or is constantly on the go. Outfits are paired with quirky accessories such as a braided necklace constructed from ropes and hardware, or a feathered collar chain, to add a playful touch to an otherwise solemn outfit. The duo also believes in creating clothes that are easily mixed and matched, and can be easily cared for – fitting well into their idea of a fuss-free wardrobe.


Spring/Summer 2012

Cousins Genevieve and Jamie Goh have a penchant for working with less-than-cheery colours – their inaugural collection for Parco next NEXT is based in black. So for Challenge, they relied on shades of pale grey and black, with lots of details for contrast. Distinctive pleats on the dress bodice and pant legs, mandarin collars, asymmetrical skirts, and double waistband on pants all come together to create something a little unusual from the typical executive “uniform”. “Being a good worker enables one to stand out; dressing well also lets you engage fellow colleagues’ attention,” Ms Genevieve Goh says. For the gentlemen, she recommends: “Straight-cut pants can look too baggy on some men, so we have designed the pants to taper slightly towards the bottom.” Meanwhile the black pleats and double waistband offer something different – even a little groovy – from the basics.

Kae Hana

Spring/Summer 2012

Kae Hana has picked from her current collection ensembles she thinks will free public officers of the square-shouldered, sombre look that they might have been associated with. “They (public officers) would need to look good while interacting with the public,” Kae Hana says. There are the everyday urban basics – tailored skinny pants, an executive long-sleeved shirt and a tulip skirt flavoured with Kae Hana’s flirtation with colours and print. The ensembles run to a fluorescent colour palette of orange, pink, blue and green – which work prettily with earth-toned togs and cheery accessories. Her love for prints shows up in the striking graphic juxtaposition of flowers and skulls – a prominent feature in many pieces of her collection. Clearly her aesthetic is anything but dull, and those looking to perk up their wardrobes will wear Kae Hana gladly.

    Jul 18, 2012
    Yip Min-Ting
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