How to dress in Singapore: a visitor & tourist guide

by Sylvia

How to dress in Singapore
As you may know I live in Singapore which is a hot and humid place. Temperatures range from about 33 C (89.6 F) during the day to 22 C  (71.6 F) in the evening. This is combined with a very high humidity level of about 94%.  As you can imagine, the weather is rather sticky here. This weather is pretty much the same the whole year round, although this time of year (around December) could be described as the ‘cooler’ months. I’m not complaining though; I very much prefer the Singapore weather to that of my home country The Netherlands, where it is usually cold and miserable.

But how to dress for Singapore?

Now you may think that dressing for Singapore is a breeze, which it is, if you stay outside all the time. In that case all you need are some shorts and a singlet or t-shirt. The less you wear, the better and pure cotton, linen or silk is mandatory. You may want to pack an extra t-shirt in your bag, because you will sweat all over in no time at all. So make sure to take your deodorant with you as well.

HOWEVER, most of you will not just walk outside, as a lot of Singapore’s activities take place indoors. And then dressing in Singapore comes with whole new challenges. So here is a quick how to dress and pack for Singapore guide in case you ever come to visit me 🙂

Singapore’s changing temperatures

Although the outside temperature is hot and pretty much the same whole year round, it is a different story when you go indoors. Air conditioning is everywhere in Singapore and the Singaporeans like their aircon freezing cold. On a recent visit to the chiropractor the lady was wearing a big winter jacket and scarf indoors. No kidding! The problem is that even though you may not like the aircon, it is often centrally controlled and in many offices and buildings you cannot turn it off.

My general dressing advice

So my advice to everyone visiting Singapore is to always take a cardigan, pashmina or scarf, wherever you go. You never know when freezing temperatures (indoors) are going to hit you. Blazers are not so practical as they are far too hot outside, but pashminas and cardigans can easily be stowed away in your handbag. And if you take both, you will be covered for every situation.

Here is more detailed advice for several locations:

How to dress in…..

The office: temperature can vary a lot, but some offices are really freezing cold. Business attire tends to be quite formal. Depending on the temperature in your office it’s ok to wear suits with blazers. It’s always best to wear layers as you never quite know what the temperature is going to be like. I always see visits to business offices as an opportunity to wear a nice suit or pants.

A Taxi: taxis are affordable and everywhere in Singapore. So chances are you enter one on your stay here. The temperature inside taxis here is freezing cold though, so be prepared.

The Park: anywhere outside in Singapore, you want to wear as little as possible. Singles and shorts / skirts are the most comfortable. Or wear a long sleeved very thin cotton shirt so you’re covered and protected from the sun.

Metro (MRT) is air-conditioned everywhere.

Shopping malls tend to be on the cold side too, although you usually get away with a light scarf here. There are a LOT of shopping malls in Singapore so expect to spend a lot of time there, when you’re into fashion!

The Cinemas are very cold as well, so I always wear long pants when going there. This is actually a good occasion to wear a jacket as well. Most cinemas are inside shopping malls, so you can try on your ‘warmer’ clothes for once.

Fairs tend to be a place to show of your best day clothes. So dress up for the occasion.

Parties: definitely dress up for these. If outside, then wear your sexiest party dress. Do the same for inside but be sure to bring some cover.

Fancy bars and clubs: guys be sure to wear long pants! Although you can wear shorts in many bars here, some of the fancier ones (like the popular Skypark bar at Marina Bay Sands) require you to wear long pants. Otherwise they will not let you in.

On the picture: pattern mixing in fuchsia, white and black

Here are some dressing ideas for Singapore with cool cotton clothes. Pattern mixing is a hot trend right now and I particularly love this trend with black and white and one accent color. Mix & match everything on the picture and you’ve got yourself a wonderful travel capsule! This could be bright blue, red or in this case fuchsia. If you want to know more about the items in this picture or where to get them then see this set in Polyvore.

Conclusion

In the end, packing for Singapore is pretty easy. A lot of breezy clothes,  and some scarves and cardigans. Enjoy the lovely temperature in the evenings, where you can sit on a terrace with almost nothing on and take in the atmosphere of Singapore! You should definitely come and visit.

So will you be planning to come to Singapore anytime soon?

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P.S. If you are indeed coming, you may also like to read my Singapore shopping guide

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Suzanne

Sounds lovely! It is going to be a high of 28F here by the end of this week. 🙂 But I do adore my boots and coats and would miss them.
The lacy white dress is gorgeous!

Sylvia

Yes you do not get the variety of dressing here. I will get to wear some of my winter clothes again in a couple of weeks when I visit The Netherlands and Austria!

Bella Q

I love all the prints!
I am not travelling anywhere anytime soon, sad to say. But I would love to see Singapore!

Sylvia

Bella, you are always welcome here!

Pam

Good Morning from the deep South of the US !
I live along the coast of Alabama and we have extremely humid weather in the summer (May – Sept), so I can relate to the high humidity problem you have in Singapore. Our winters are short but cold and damp….we have beautiful spring and fall weather! I have enjoyed your blog and the research you do to help us gals stay glam! Thank you!

Sylvia

Thanks for your feedback Pam! It’s always wonderful to hear that readers enjoy my writing and inspiration offerings.

Silvergirl

those are some great pieces and will look awesome mixed and matched
brett

Sylvia

thanks. I just love the combination of black and white and once bright accent color!

Heather Fonseca

It’s funny because even on the hottest days in L.A. I grab a lightweight jacket to bring with me “just in case”. Air Con can be horrible here too, and it seems like everyone gets summer colds from the freezing inside air.
Like you I think a pashmina is a great addition to any outfit! I don’t know if I’ll be going to Singapore anytime soon but if I do I’ll take your advice for sure.

Sylvia

It would be so nice if you could make it one day. Would be so nice to meet you! Such a pity I did not know you yet in August as I was in California then…

Nanne

Lovely pieces and beautiful colors!

Sylvia

Thanks Nannc. I’ve actually been inspired by my own post. Tomorrow’s post will be about that.

The Style Crone

Singapore sounds perfect to me as this week’s temperature in my city hovers around O F. Beautiful photos and the burgundy hat would go well with each piece in your travel capsule.

Sylvia

It’s a wonderful hat isn’t it. I don’t have a burgundy hat yet, but I did purchase a stylish purple one and even one in a kinda animal print…

Cathy

Hi! This was great advice! I am coming for a month to visit over the winter holidays and am unsure of what to pack for evening. Will a sweater be enough? Also, how formal is dressing for theatre there? I never go anywhere without a pair of riding boots. Is this one time I won’t be able to wear them? So many questions, but bringing only one bag!
Thanks for being my fashion guru!
Cathy
Texas, USA

Sylvia

If you are outside in the evening all you will need is a very light top. It’s still very warm in the evening. No need for a sweater. You will only need a sweater or cardigan when you are inside as the aircon can be too cool. That is why cardigans are so good as you can just pop then on when needed. Theatre dressing is not so formal. Many people wear their nicest clothes but there is also quite a lot of casual attire. Make sure to bring a cardi (aircon again). No definitely leave your boots at home. They are much too hot for Singapore!

Sharon

Hi! Glad to have found this post. I am off to Singapore next week to visit my sister who lives there. I’m a 46 year-old slim woman and always wear pretty short shorts at home in the summer. Should I plan to keep my legs / upper legs covered with skirts or longer shorts while in Singapore?

Sylvia

If you’re happy wearing shorts, you can wear them here. It’s certainly hot enough and a lot of women wear shorts.

Kerry

Thanks so much for this advice. My mom and I are coming to Singapore in November after a little over a week in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. We live in the US – one in Denver where its hot but dry and the other in San Francisco where its cool but humid. We were both scratching our heads at what we should pack since I’m 41 and she’s 68, so we know better than to show up in shorts, tank tops, and flip flops looking like we are headed for the beach. I’ll bring a cardigan and pashmina both now! I’d already planned to bring linen pants and cotton tops.

Actually I love your website in general and was glad to find it as you’ve great taste, so glad to have found it while researching Singapore. Thanks again.

Sylvia

Hi Kerry. Lovely to get your message and great to hear you found the tips useful. If you check out the what I wore section (under the style tab) you get a pretty good of what I wear in Singapore too. I look forward to connecting with you further on the site.

Catherine

Great info – heading to Singapore to visit my brother next week and your info re air conditioning was just what I was looking for – my pashmina will be going for sure.

Annie

Your advice is just what I was looking for – it’s hard to imagine Singapore’s temperatures from damp chilly Manchester,UK. The tip about air conditioning is especially useful so I’ll pack a pashmina as well as the shorts and t-shirts. The info on what to wear in different places is useful too. Thank you, Sylvia.

arshiya

Thanks for the advices sylvia..I’m heading to Singapore with my friends…and that’s the first time I’m going on a foreign trip…Singapore sounds amazing and there are a lot of lovely places there to be visited…I was really concerned about what to wear there as in india the weather of this part of the year is really cold and dry…so there was a big confusion about what to wear…Warm clothes or cool ones…Your article proved to be very helpful to me…but one thing I wanted to ask that if it is alright to wear skin tight jeans or knee length shorts here during the day time….????

Sylvia

Streetstyle is very casual here so you can certainly wear those. Skin tight jeans will be a lot warmer of course so lose clothing is preferred when you are sightseeing. When commenting again please don’t use shorthand as I had to edit your entire comment and fully spell the words…

Gemma

Hi, I’m planning to come to Singapore late October, I’ve heard that there are a lot of thunderstorms at this time. What sort of clothes will I need? Will it still be warm and also will the thunderstorms effect the activities you can do? Any help greatly appreciated!!

Thanks!

Sylvia

Hi Gemma. Thunderstroms are usually short and when one comes, you will just hide somewhere. It is still very hot, so you don’t need anything other than a light cardigan for the indoor airconditioned spaces. Although you can expect a shower everyday, they usually don’t last long so you should still be able to plan all your activities around them.

stylinred

I had the choice of going to Japan or Singapore this month, and I chose Singapore because I wanted some warm weather! but hearing that it’s extremely humid has me dreading my decision! I never really liked Hong Kong because I felt it was too muggy and now Singapore sounds worse! doh!
Thanks for the tips though, at least i’ll be prepared…i hope

Sylvia

It’s definitely humid in Singapore but I still think you will have a great time. Enjoy!

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