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For this edition of Locals Approved Packing Lists Veena McCoole, a Singapore local, has assisted in providing a reliable account of a locals view for a realistic packing list for travel to Singapore.
Veena McCoole is a sixteen year old fashion blogger based in Singapore, she has lived in the country all her life, she loves to travel, write, act, read and eat and confesses “the answer to all my problems lies in a red velvet cupcake”’. Check out her cool and informative fashion blog Seven Inch Stilettos.
Thank you for your helpful insight Veena!
What to Wear in Singapore: Vacation Tips from Local Fashion Blogger
by Chantelle Mallin
If you’re looking for What to Wear in Singapore, you’ve come to the right place! TFG shows you how to pack for your trip any time of the year.
With its delectable cuisine and shopping hot spots, this ultra-clean cosmopolitan city, is not only a great destination by itself but it also serves as a convenient gateway to the rest of Asia. You can easily get cheap transportation to nearby Indonesia and Malaysia from this travel hub among other neighboring countries. Emirates offers good deals on flights to Singapore from Europe and also offers service from the US.
Singapore Clothing Style
The clothing style in Singapore is pretty mainstream, as in any country, style varies according to lifestyle and age, the younger generation dress fairly casual, whereas the older working adults more conservative. Keep in mind that it’s a cosmopolitan city so baggy fisherman pants aren’t a great look to sport here – if you’re wondering what to wear in Singapore classic styling is the way to go.
The weather in Singapore is hot and humid, casual t-shirts and denim shorts soon become your best friends, the less layers you wear the better and try to stick to fabrics such as cotton blends, polyester/spandex, linen and silk – these are lightweight, breathable, absorb perspiration and allow your body heat to escape.
Veena notes – you won’t see many people on the streets with crazy styles or taking major fashion risks, that’s not to say you shouldn’t wear something that makes a statement, be prepared though – anything out of the norm generally attracts a lot of attention (mainly negative), and photos of you will probably wind up on Singapore gossip sites like STOMP, whether this is a good or bad thing it’s down to you.
Singapore doesn’t have any distinct seasons as it is located right on the equator. The weather is pretty much hot and sunny all year round with the exception of the monsoon season (during Christmas time/January), where it still very hot but rains often. Loose and comfortable clothing is recommended for traveler – tunics are great – they’ll protect your skin from the sun whilst keeping you cool. Denim shorts, t-shirts, tanks and blouses work well too.
The city requires you do quite a lot of walking, so comfortable shoes are essential. Veena notes she regularly sees tourists happily prancing around Orchard Road (retail and entertainment hub of Singapore and a major tourist attraction) in flip flops.
The weather can change unexpectedly, so be prepared! A small portable umbrella is a good call to keep in your bag when you’re out on the go; the country is famous for its spontaneous thunderstorms and frequent drizzles. If you don’t want an umbrella taking up valuable packing space, you could always pick one up at a local convenience store, or even rent one at selected locations.
The Singapore sun is very unforgiving, bring high factor sunscreen and apply it regularly – the health risk from exposing yourself to the harsh midday rays just isn’t worth it! A pair of sunglasses will come in handy too, as will a bottle of water to keep you well hydrated.
If you’ve forgotten an item or just fancy updating your Singapore vacation wardrobe, the country is pretty tourist and shopping friendly. Most places are quite well signposted and convenience is something the country prides itself on, so it should be pretty easy to get your hands on whatever you need. Stores such Cotton On and Forever 21, dotted across Orchard Road, are the most accessible, wallet friendly stores for forgotten items. If you’re staying in a central location you shouldn’t have to travel far to find them.
If you’re looking to treat yourself to a special fashion memento, you’re in luck; Singapore has some very talented local designers, check out –
- Mae Pang – A designer who creates beautiful pieces by mixing neon colors, geometric shapes and interesting fabrics, inspiration comes for the likes of London’s Dover Street Market and Colette in Paris, pick up one of the labels stylish pieces in Actually, located at 29A Seah Street.
- Mash-Up – The brand is an independent, offbeat, street wear label inspired by a collection of things such as ethnic heritage, pop culture and cinematography, the designers produce clothing and accessories that incorporate recycled material and do it yourself craft methods such as an embroidery and beading, but add an current twist, for example using neon colors. Check out the funky designs in the brands flagship store locates in Parco Marina Bay, or at Actually +, located at 118 Arab Street.
If vintage is more your bag, or you fancy a unique souvenir of your trip, Singapore had some cool hot spots where you can hunt around and rummage, the streets are complete with cool shisha cafes and Turkish restaurants, be prepared to spend many an afternoon here –
- Haji Lane – A place for great local finds, you’ll be greeted by rows of small boutiques stocked full of unique finds, make plenty of time to rummage and check out stores such as –
- Dulcetfig & Loft – A boutique stocking vintage dresses (around S$50) and clutches (new and second-hand) located at 41 Haji Lane.
- Soon Lee – “When we choose our apparel, we are very mindful of aesthetics– we want our clothes to be classic and modern. It’s the middle ground we’re aiming for.” – Located at 56 Haji Lane.
What to Wear in Singapore : Year Round
Veena says: Singapore doesn’t have any seasons as it is located right on the equator, so it’s pretty much hot and sunny all year round, with the exception of the monsoon season during Christmastime/January, where it’s still very hot, but it rains particularly often.
It’s very humid all year round and although it’s a little cooler at night (25˚C approx.), the daylight sun means daytime temperatures range from 27-33˚C approximately.
Due to Singapore’s location, insanely close to the equator, the climate is characterized by a hot, humid and wet climate all year round – meaning no distinct seasons, the average temperature is between 25ᵒc and 31ᵒc and rain is nearly an everyday occurrence, don’t panic though, the brief showers are usually a refreshing interval from the sizzling sun. Generally April is the warmest month, January the coolest, November the wettest and February the driest.
Singapore Packing List: Year Round
High humidity is something you will have to combat in Singapore, pack simple, light, cotton/linen clothing, to suit the warm and sticky weather, choose loose summery maxi dresses/skirts, a pair of cropped neutral pants and shorts, numerous t’s, tanks, camis and tunics in various degrees of dressiness (you may need to change a few times a day to ensure you keep as fresh as a daisy) and a pair of light leggings/harem pants and tunics are great for keeping you cool and protecting your limbs from the sun’s rays. Don’t forget to add your favorite evening dress for drinks, meals, nights out or special events.
When planning what to wear in Singapore, take advantage of the heat and plan a trip to one the beautiful beaches (East Coast Beach being the most popular), don’t forget to pack your favorite bikini or one piece, a sarong (a beach lovers survival piece), and a simple pair of flip flops, team these with a floppy fedora, cat eye sunglasses and plenty on sun cream – Singapore’s UV rays can be harsh. Make sure to drink plenty of water and seek regular shady refuge to keep hydrated and fresh.
The air-cons used to belligerently counteract the humidity are usually whacked on high, pack a short sleeved cardigan, loose kimono style jacket or pashmina/shawl (great for transforming into a headscarf, belt or sarong) to combat the cool air, all can be easily thrown into a bag when not in use.
Think comfort, pack a pair of gladiator sandals, a pair of flip flops and some ballet flats, pack hiking/waterproof boots if your plan on taking an adventure out into the wild, stay away from soft fabrics and suede, these will probably get ruined in the flash rain showers, .
Pack an easily storable umbrella to protect yourself from the sun as well as from the rain, the weather can be erratic and unpredictable, even the drier months experience a fair few showers – check out Singapore’s weather bureau for factual weather updates.
A number of Singapore’s population are Muslim, keep this in mind and try to dress modestly when visiting cultural places, think capped sleeves and maxi skirts/palazzo pants.
What to Wear in Singapore : Monsoon Season
Singapore is affected by two different monsoon periods, the Northeast Monsoon and the Southwest Monsoon, the beginning and end of the monsoon seasons are too clear, but are separated by the shorted inter-monsoon periods – which are characterised by sudden, heavy but short periods of downpour generally in the afternoon and evening –
Generally takes place December to March, has the most frequent and heaviest rain (mainly between Dec – Jan) generally falling in the afternoon/early evenings, be prepared, nonstop rain for days can ruin your touristy plans; the wind is also at its most violent (especially Jan – Feb). The pre-northwest monsoon season runs from October to November, cool sea breeze reduce the afternoon heat, storms frequently occur in the evenings, however the wind mostly remains reduced.
Generally takes place June to September, has a slightly dryer climate so is a good time to visit the country, however be prepared for strong winds, the season is characterized by its early morning rainstorms/thunderstorms. The pre-southwest monsoon season occurs from March till May, featuring heavy early evening showers or thunderstorms.
If you’re planning your Singapore vacation in the heavy rain periods pack light tunics/blouses, your favorite bright colored dresses to combat the glum weather, a pair of harem pants/legging, various tanks, camis and t’s (bringing plenty means you can change if one gets soaked through), a pair of cute shorts – remember it is still insanely warm and humid, a pair of cropped trousers and a midi skirt. Stay away from wool fabric, not only does it shrink when wet, it’s insanely absorbent, try a blended fabric such as poly-cotton, you get the breathable qualities of cotton and the quick drying characteristics of polyester.
Think WATERPROOF, pack covered sandals and a pair of light, ankle height wellingtons, also shoes with a slight wedge are a good call – they keep your feet away from the puddles of water and mud that begin to form. Stay away from white/pastel coloured shoes, they’re guaranteed to end up a seriously darker shade.
Don’t forget a STRONG umbrella (if this isn’t obvious), avoid packing a heavy raincoat – it’ll be too warm for the humid country, instead opt for a lightweight (preferably tech) jacket, also pack a hat to defend your hair, if your prone to frizz this could prove to be a lifesaver.
Worth a note – Avoid bags made of cloth, you don’t want your prize travel possession getting ruined.
Singapore Travel Tips
Peak season for travel to Singapore is generally from December to June, the room rates rise between mid-December to the Chinese Lunar New Year (in Jan/Feb), if your visiting around this time of year you’re in luck, you’ll be present for the lively street markets, celebratory decorations, interesting traditions and the Chingay Parade. Other festivals worth checking out throughout the year include The Lantern Festival and the Art Festival.
Conveniently many of Singapore’s main tourist attractions are located in close proximity of one another; these include the prime shopping destination Orchard Road (really cheap clothing is available, so leave space in your luggage when packing to take full advantage), Little India and Sentosa Island. Don’t let the rain kill your holiday buzz, take a trip to the Singapore Science Centre, the shopping malls around Orchard Road and Marina Bay Sands and Chinatown.
Singapore has an insanely cheap yet incredibly useful transport system, meaning getting from A to B is generally stress-free (it’s hard to get lost as everything is well signposted) and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Veena’s ending advice: Singapore is a really safe holiday destination and is the perfect place to do a little bit of risk-taking and exploring, grab an EZ-link card (a tap-and-go card which works for all bus and train services) and go for an adventure!
What are your tips when visiting Singapore? Share in the comments!
For more Southeast Asia packing list, please read:
- Thailand Packing List: Islands, Beaches, and Buckets
- What to Wear in the Philippines: Island Hopping Adventure
- Japan Packing List: What to Pack for Kyoto
- 10 Step Packing Guide for Southeast Asia
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