Skirts below the knee, nothing sleeveless, closed toe shoes, no t-shirt material, trousers are fine but only full length … did I mention it’s hot?
I’m not unfamiliar with dress codes and I scrub up pretty nicely when I remember to brush my hair and trade in PJs for skirts and blouses, and I don’t really feel “restricted” by the dress code for work. I do, however, find it terribly stressful. Singapore itself doesn’t seem to have strict rules around what you can and can’t wear – apparently it’s impolite to show people your underarms (but many women wear sleeveless and simply don’t lift up their arms) and, walking down the street, exposed fleshy bits isn’t an uncommon sight. Generally, though, I look at beautifully dressed women who walk down the street looking thoroughly composed and unaffected by the heat and I envy them.
I experience horrible anxiety around clothing over here, not because I’m worried about being dressed inappropriately but because the humidity is so unbearable that my check list is along the lines of: is it appropriate for work, will I melt walking to the bus, will I freeze when I’m on the bus, will I have unsightly sweat patches when I arrive at work after walking from the bus stop …
Unfortunately, a lot of my clothing is black and simply not suited to the temperature here. Despite thorough packing (and repacking), I am struggling to make it to work without melting. Granted, even when I wear shorts and a t-shirt across the road I swelter and melt.
I am learning to keep my pashmina handy to wrap around my shoulders when I’m on public transport (and, after yesterday, I’m wondering if I should have a blanket handy, too). Not being able to wear a singlet and shorts all day every day also means that when looking for accommodation I have to factor in how much I’ll melt before I even make it to the bus … Eek! It’s all very frustrating!
Dress codes. Life was easier when I lived in my PJs and never left the house.