A look at clothing in Singapore 50 years before the millennium

Singapore style

Text: Andrea Sim

Image: Getty Images

In occasion of Singapore turning 52, we cast an eye over what was once worn from the '50s till the turn of the century

Ask any Singaporean what our local style was and they'll probably compare it to the Southeast Asian delight rojak, of which the dish's name means 'mixture' in Malay. Given our varied racial makeup, there was no single definitive traditional garment that spanned our little island. Tacked onto that was clothing from across the pond — namely, the suit and tie and A-line dress — that also influenced our local style lexicon due to the British presence on our island nation. 

Decades on today, the convergence in the type of garments we favour on the daily is as sure as our independence; the threads that hark our tapestry of cultures now tucked away for special occassions. So, as Singapore celebrates its 52nd birthday, we take the opportunity to reminisce the clothing of our past: Some nostalgic reminders of our colourful traditions, some nods at external influences and intermingling cultures. Above, browse a visual diary of clothing in Singapore from the '50s till the '90s.