Singapore OL clothing fashion people make fun of, but shouldn't

Singapore OL clothing fashion people make fun of, but shouldn't

Hold your tongue

Text: Jolene Khor

This National Day, practice tolerance for your fellow man (and woman) who may not be as advanced in style as you are

You know the scene.

Riding the North East MRT line on a hump day morning, you're barely awake en route to City Hall. It's business as usual, where the closer you get to your destination, the more the crowd blends together. Car #7 reeks of young corporate fashion, barren of imagination. Lowering your eyes, you make note of the peplum top on your right, matched with a pencil skirt, obviously. Flats of unidentified origin, adorned with a mini bow, on your left. There's a Pandora charm bracelet in that equation as well, and possibly a Michael Kors Selma satchel, though you couldn't be sure.

Singaporeans call this alchemy OL fashion — OL acronym for office lady. It's the pinnacle of insult to a woman's dressing, sort of like being called the "b" word if you're a feminist. But they exist, walking among us between the hours of 8 and 9am, then after 6pm, escaping flak only in the safety of their cubicle. 

In the defense of the style cognoscenti, there's very little to be celebrated in the OL ensemble. It doesn't incite excitement, it doesn't warrant a double take. Purely functional, they serve the primitive purpose of clothing, to clothe. Yet, they're endlessly mocked by those claiming to be in the know.

Enough is enough. Below, we round up (and cheer on!) the top 5 pieces dearest to the hearts of OL, the ladies processing your transportation claims, and analysing complex Powerpoint presentations so you don't have to.

Salvatore Ferragamo's Varina ballet slippers too fall into this category. While we're crying from blister pain, our smart OLs are rocking their worn-in flats like a boss. Instead of criticising, teach. They could use your help in jazzing up this workday staple with some of Tory Burch's romantic frocks from fall/winter 2018.



Ah, the Heart Tag Pendant — a ubiquitous classic which shine has largely fizzled over the years despite Tiffany & Co.'s recent millennial remix to this range. Wearing it with irony takes a certain je ne sais quoi, so we recommend pinching pennies for Tiffany HardWear instead. You work hard dear OLs, let those balls and chains style you instead.



When the Selma hit the scene several years back, it shot straight to the need-list. It's positioning now... is not quite at the pedestal it once sat on. Yes, abiding by strict corporate dress codes can be limiting; push its limits with Michael Kors' limited edition Mott Graffiti Crossbody. Admissible shape, only with a thunder bolt's worth of panache.



Nobody should feel their memories are irrelevant; by no means should you retire your string full of charms. Elevate, elevate, elevate. It's all in the stack. Build yours with Pandora's open bracelets and strand bracelets, then add some new precious stones from Monica Vinader. Think of it like a sugar sprinkle finishing on your all-time favourite dessert. 



Passé or not passé, walking away from a figure-flattering piece takes a strong stomach. Swap up, not opt out. A ruched blouse has the same forgiving tendencies, and so do slashed-shoulder tops, breezy countryside dresses, longline blazers and high-waist trousers flashing piping — available at the local retailer and a slew of other on-the-pulse labels.