(some of) what I wore - jan-feb 2018


I've been gravitating towards taking mirror OOTDs again of late, partly out of a desire to track what I've been wearing, and see if any preferences have emerged. And partly because sometimes I catch my reflection and a mirror and think: "Why not?"

These are all work outfits, and although I thought my current workplace was a lot more casual than my last (already quite casual) workplace, my photos don't suggest a significant difference. I can get away with the jeans-tee-sandals outfit on a daily basis, but I'm still wearing some of the shirt dresses I wore in my previous job, albeit in a more relaxed way.

Top row, from left:

The high-socks-and-shoes combo is a not a popular look with my friends - some think it’s too cutesy - but I've always liked the nerdiness of it, and it's my favourite thing about Margaret Howell shows. It also reminds me of uniformed groups, like the Girl Scouts, Girl Guides, Girls' Brigade and so on, and I do like uniforms.

The shirt dress is a Uniqlo gem. It’s made of a crisp linen that doesn’t wrinkle too much, and it’s opaque enough to look decent. It’s comfortable because the shoulder is dropped, almost like a raglan sleeve so I don't feel constricted. It has nice deep and functional pockets. And best of all, it’s a good length that almost reaches my knees - a lot of shirt dresses make me look like I forgot to wear trousers. I sometimes wear it open with jeans or other dresses, like a "coat".

I don’t have much use for sweaters generally in Singapore, but this beige one from Muji gets more wear than most because it’s made of linen, which more than sufficient for keeping the chill of air-conditioning off my skin. I also bring it a lot on my dive trips because it’s the sort of thing that you can wear when it’s very windy yet sunny - it does just enough to cut the wind chill while keeping some of the sun off my skin. Plus, it dries fairly quickly, and it’s lightweight enough to layer well. It's too sheer to wear on its own though, and so I like wearing it over dresses, like in this case.

This is a linen dress from Muji I got in 2013, and I bought it to replace an older dress in essentially the same shape. It’s a great summer travel piece because it’s cool to wear, but the waist-tie cinches just enough to give some shape to the look. Also, it has pockets! On holiday, I would wear this dress with sandals, but for work, it's back to trusty Oxfords.

Bottom row, from left:

This is my idea of what people wear in more traditional “work” environments, although I know it's nowhere close to what people have to wear in truly conservative settings. I used to wear outfits like this a bit more, especially when I rose to more senior positions and I wanted to assert some authority by not wearing faded and torn jeans. These days I have very little reason to have to dress like this,  but when I do, I like how it's an outfit that blends into a more "corporate" environment while still feeling "me".

I love the top, it;'s basically a fancy T-shirt and it has a nice weight and drape (it's cotton blended with some synthetic). It's from a Singaporean label called In Good Company.

I got this dress from COS in 2016 - I found it on steep discount when they were clearing the last of the sale stock, and I suspect it’s something someone returned because it’s one of those things too good to be the last piece hanging around on the sale rack in my size. At a glance, it looks like a standard shirtdress in a straight-up-and-down cut, but there are all these little details that make it distinctive: subtle darting at the waist to create a slight “nipped in” effect; back is cut with more volume and billows a bit when I walk. It’s also made from a smooth cotton that doesn’t crease much, and there are deep, functional pockets. It’s the kind of dress that lets me conform to a traditional workplace or function, but it makes it own quiet statement.

I feel like I wear some variation of this outfit maybe once a week. I default to jeans and T-shirt a lot. No one really bats an eyelid when you come in looking this casual at my current workplace, but sometimes I still get caught off guard by my reflection. I could only get away with an outfit like this at my last workplace on weekends.


Pret a Porter P said…
All thumbs up from me. I especially like #4. You have consistently great style. And even when wearing loosing silhouettes and living in a tropical climate, you still look polished :)
Lilah said…
I like your shoes and socks combo also. I've never been able to pull it off myself but seeing this I may have to try it again. Once it is a little bit warmer.
Lakshmi said…
As much as I like the idea of shirtdresses, I simply don't feel comfortable in them. I got a real nice one from J Crew in military green a while ago. I love the shade, it is 100% cotton, and it actually fits me... but I feel odd/awkward in it. Ahh, well. I do wear it with leggings sometimes, but I am not too enthused. Perhaps it's time to let it go.

P.S. A new reader of your blog! I came here via Archana's style post about you on her blog. Love reading your thoughtful analyses on style, travel, etc.
MC Bontemps said…
Here's a link you might enjoy - your pics evoke the same feeling of an everyday uniform for an easy traveller, of light-coloured linen and cotton on a hot day.

miss sophie said…
i think you're the only one who can pull off the high socks w/ shoes look. and it doesn't look overly cutesy either! all of these looks are so effortless yet very 'lin' :)
lin said…
Pret a Porter P: Thanks! I think if I ever wrote a book on dressing, it would be about dressing for the tropics...

Lilah: This combo only works for me when I wear dark socks, Aside from Margaret Howell, I was actually inspired by athletes who wear dark high socks a lot, like soccer and tennis players. If grown men with hairy legs can work the look, why not us...

Lakshimi: The right shirtdresses are pretty hard to find! I learnt through experience that I don't like them belted, and I don't like them short. I also need lots of room in the shoulders because I have broad shoulders and I don't want to be tugging at my dress at the time.

You could also try wearing the shirtdress open over a tank top and trousers, like a long jacket.

And thanks for visiting my blog!

MC Bontemps: That link! So much beauty. I wish I could touch and see some of the pieces in person.

miss sophie: You never know till you try! I noticed how a lot of women in Bolivia and Peru wore thick knit knee socks with sandals, knee skirts and cardigans - very Miuccia Prada!
Anonymous said…
Hi there, may I ask where you got your black double strap sandals (in the last picture)? They are perfect. Are they comfortable enough for all-day walking? Thanks!!
lin said…
Anon: Hi, they're from COS, and it was a recurring design for a few years in their summer collection (comes in black and white), but am not sure if it's coming back this year. Yes they're comfortable but my feet are rather wide so the short strap nearer to my toe feels a little tight at the end of a full day of walking. Also while I like the support of the cushy soles, I'm still used to the flexibility of sneakers or rubber flip flops so I prefer those if I'm travelling and walking all day.

I'd say they're good for a full day of walking, but not multiple full days of walking.

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