#2011| How to dress for Abu Dhabi

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I did Abu Dhabi last October with Etihad Airways, and came face to face with the realisation that my dressing, which I till then had thought was relatively conservative, was actually atrocious by Middle Eastern standards. When plunging into a new culture it is only polite to respect their cultural boundaries, which meant that their rules of dressing (no bare shoulders, no cleavage, nothing falling short of your knees) had to be adhered to. Thus commenced days of panicking over pairings, rummaging through the wardrobe, and googling frantically: how strict are these rules, and did they mean rules, or suggestions? Ah, desperate times.

In any case, I am glad to announce that we got kicked out of exactly zero places, which I’m going to take as our having passed their strict dress code rules. One of the things that came up while searching for visual wardrobe references online is that there are virtually no guides on how to dress for Abu Dhabi (think Dubai, but more conservative) despite it being both strict and hot (no hiding behind a trench coat here), so I figured – why not?

1. The T-shirt + Skirt + Blazer combi

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T Shirt: The Fifth Label via Fashionbunker, Skirt: Her Velvet Vase, Blazer: Lovebonito, Boots: Timberland, Necklace: Mint and Pint Accessories

God knows how long it’s been since I’ve worn a t-shirt. But the no-bared-shoulders rule made it something of a necessity. The problem with T-shirts are, they’re so damned plain. I piled on the costume jewellery for this one, and layered a cape blazer over to dress it up – too warm for a proper blazer in Abu Dhabi!

2. Flowy top + Sequinned knee length skirt + heels

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Top: Zara, Skirt: H&M, Necklace: The Ordinary Co, Heels: Sofia Webster, Bag: Serapian Milano.

This is one of those tops that never seemed to go with anything back in Singapore.. but when paired with a tight, sparkly skirt in a city where bared shoulders are frowned upon, it somehow was just the right amount of dressy while more importantly not roasting me under the heat. It was apparently one of the cooler months when we were there, but trust me: it felt anything but!

3. Sheer pussybow top + leather midi skirt

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Top: Her Velvet Vase, Skirt: Zalora SG, Boots: Timberland, Clutch: Braun Buffel

There are limits to how many t shirts or mid sleeve tops one can possess… but when resorting to long sleeved ones in such a warm city, go for something made of sheer-ish material. Thankfully this one was made of thin enough material to be breathable, and that it actually matched a black leather midi was something that surprised me as well. Still, it worked.

4. The draped leather jacket

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Top: The Fifth Label via Fashion Bunker, Skirt: Zalora SG, Jacket: MDS Collections

Ah, the leather jacket. Once upon a time I would not be seen without it. But how much is too much? Where do you draw the line between possible heatstroke and style?

The great thing about a mid-waisted leather jacket is that it looks good draped, worn, or carried. I opted for the drape for obvious reasons: too hot to wear it fully, draping it keeps it modest, while giving you the option of shrugging it off in private from time to time easily when it gets too hot.

5. The oversized denim + charcoal pants

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Oversized denim jacket: The Fifth Label via Fashion Bunker, Top: Soigné the label, Pants: GU Japan, Heels: River Island, Bag: Fossil

Following the previous point, the drape style really is your best friend in a hot but conservative country like Abu Dhabi. And the only thing more perfect than a leather jacket is a majorly oversized denim one, like this baby from The Fifth label which has become something of a staple for me. It’s so oversized that you never need to worry about it falling off your frame, and dark washed denim goes with practically anything while glamming it up, you know?

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The same jacket reworked into a different outfit when in the desert

6. The maxi

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Maxi: OhVola

Could we really make it one round without mentioning the maxi? Could we really?

This one is pushing the no bared shoulders rules a bit, but I found that there are places in Abu Dhabi where the dress code isnt as strict – ie. the desert, and formal places – not that they’re a green light to show up in a buster or tank top, but they’re a little more focused on the overall of your outfit rather than the gritty details. So a semi formal maxi like this? No eyebrows raised at all.

I wore this to dinner at the Emirates Palace, which despite its name, is really more of a hotel and fine dining place than an actual palace when the royals reside. Although I wouldnt be surprised if royalty did pop by to stay from time to time..

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Alright, so I think that’s about it. Six looks for Abu Dhabi, a city so unlike any other that something as arbitrary as a dress code shouldnt stop anyone from considering it as a potential destination.. And I hope this post has helped any of you looking to pop by the UAE! It really was a fantastic trip, but you dont have to take my word for it – come and experience it with me:

Thank you for your generosity, Etihad Airways!

x
♥jem

#2010 | Hairloom does it again.

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There is really no greater vote of confidence than the ability to say “Do whatever you’d like” to your hairdresser. It says “I trust you”. It’s the hairdresser-equivalent of the sacred I love you in any relationship.

I have raved about Hairloom’s cuts for months now, but I thought I’d take things a step further and document their all rounded proficiency in all things hair. A couple of weeks ago I stepped into Hairloom for a shoot, with no idea what they were going to do to me that day. As with all millennials, I am both afraid of and all for embracing change. So with equal parts anticipation and excitement, and a full beating heart, I settled into the hallowed hallways of hairloom and waited for them to work their magic.

And work their magic they did.

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Done by Reno of Hairloom, Conceptualised by the Hairloom team + founder Calvin Gan.

The resulting hairdo they gave me turned heads everywhere – from back home in Singapore to along the streets on the Gold Coast, where I flew the week after for work. The ashy blonde streaked with shaded blue and green hues created the illusion of volume that I’d never known before. And everytime I moved my head, it shimmered.

Ever since debuting my new hair, the first major change since I embarked on the ombre four years ago, I’ve gotten compliments both in real life and via email/snapchat/instagram comments, and this is something I say with no shame because it is the work of Hairloom, and credit must be given where it’s due.

My hair is bleached thrice over, and in between each round of bleaching Hairloom religiously applied their new Olaplex treatment to my tresses. It’s been three weeks and till this day there’s been no hair breakage, no noticeable split ends, and no additional dryness. This Olaplex is a godsend and it is made available to the masses via Hairloom. You don’t have to take my word for it – reviews about Olaplex all over the world are taking the internet by storm. For people lusting after the different hair trends – be it a new type of perm, rigorous bleaching to achieve a new hello giggles trend, or rebonding – the Olaplex treatment now lets us have our cake and eat it too. It has taken the term ‘miracle’ and applied it to real life. It’s the treatment we always knew we needed, and now have access to.

The introduction of both Olaplex and the newly debuted hair shading technique you see on my new ‘do is really testament to Hairloom’s ability to take me by surprise everytime, to their dedication at making the salon better and better perpetually. In the short six months that I’ve been attached to the salon, they’ve improved their already strong offerings and every time I’ve walked out of the salon I’ve been happier than I’d thought possible. I’ve thought about this, and I think this is what it is: in every Hairloom ‘do, is heart. The stylists love what they do, and they’re passionate about creation. And that’s what your hair is to them – a creation. Their instagram page is a continual feed of inspired haircuts and styles that they can and should be immensely proud of – you can see what I mean there. And I think this is what sets it apart from the masses – the careful dedication to creating the perfect look customised from every head of tresses they touch. And the resulting effect is always that: heart, soul, perfection.

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Hairloom Singapore
100 Beach Road
Shaw Towers #01-50/52
+65 6295 2088
11AM-8PM

x
♥jem

PS. I wanted to plug that as part of Hairloom’s April promotions, they’re giving 20% of all hair services for the whole month and $20 haircuts till April 9th. More details here.

#2007 | fashion tip: match your flowers to your pants

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imagesRaffles Hotel, Singapore

Shot on the Nikon D750 on a 35mm lens
Top and Necklace: Dorothy Perkins Singapore | Pants: MDS Collections | Sunnies: Tens Asia | Shoes: Office London | Accessories: The Ordinary Co (leaf bangle) and Wanderlust + Co (rings) | Watch: Olivia Burton
Flowers: A Better Florist

So – I was hosted for high tea at Raffles Hotel awhile back, an altogether chichi experience that I shall now brand Singaporean, for tourist and local alike who would like a (literal) taste of how the upper class live in Singapore. A full disclaimer: I loved it. I shall only take my sandwiches with their crusts cut off by someone else now. Raffles you have spoilt me, oh my heart, whatever shall I do? Etcetera.

We snapped these shots after tea – I was repping Dorothy Perkins for the Singapore Women’s Weekly magazine, one of the issues coming out later in the year (was it April? Anyhoo.). Singapore can be so beautiful when you look at the final pictures from an air conditioned room and dont feel the humidity. That’s why we do this over and over and over again, risk melting into a puddle for pretty pictures. Too much disillusionment? Okay.

Here I’m carrying a bouquet from Steve, who I met for coffee before high tea. Always have coffee with a man who brings you flowers, I say. But seriously though – Steve is one of those guys I’m always proud to say I knew, before he got big.. because deny it as he does, thats what he is now: big. He left Google to start his own floral business and now he has better flowers than everyone else for a better price because he sources his own damned farmed flowers. This means they last for double the time other bouquets do, by which time I know it’s time to meet him for coffee again, because: always have coffee with a man who can and will bring you flowers, I say!

Aaaand there we have it – your daily dose of impractical advice. Till next time x

x
♥jem

#2002 | life on the edge

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imagesNew York, America
Outfit: Gutsy Glam Singapore | Shoes: River Island via Zalora Singapore | Make Up: Urban Decay | Accessories: Wanderlust + Co | Watch: Claude Bernard

I feel safe to post this now that no one can arrest me for it.

The gorgeous loft style apartment I lived in during my two month stay in New York came with an even more gorgeous rooftop which we were forbidden to enter on the pain of a 300USD fine. Of course, being a modern, 21st century girl who doesn’t know what’s good for me, telling me I cant do something just makes me want it more.

We snuck up on the roof one morning to shoot this red lace number from gutsyglam, a piece that brought me back to a time I only remember from romanticised and unrealistic television shows. Still, there’s no denying that this piece is an attention grabbing one – you can wear it with or without the inside camisole depending on how Miley Cyrus you feel that day. I converted it into my Mrs Claus outfit for SANTACON NYC 2015 and was told by at least fifteen drunk people that I looked like a princess. And of course we all know that if someone is drunk they must be speaking the truth. It’s a rule of life, write it down!!11!!!11!!!!!1

You will be glad to know that we did not get fined three hundred dollars for this photoset, though a very grumpy neighbour did come upstairs to tell us off only to realise that we were the girls who gave out chocolate chip cookies on a regular basis, after which he just smiled and nodded and went back downstairs to sleep. The moral of this story is that giving people food will make them extra nice to you. Boy, this blogpost is full of great life lessons!

Seriously, though. I hope you cant legally fine someone who doesn’t live in New York City.

New York, you were amazing as always. I miss you so much it hurts.

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x
♥jem

#1998 | Wait a minute..

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Featured: Olivia Burton via Just Tangy SG

I’ve never really been much of a timepiece sorta girl – watch wearing is a very recent thing for me, like, the last two years sort of recent. But the thing about me is that my likes and dislikes are entirely too extreme, which meant that the minute I did get into watches, I went all out, obsessively collecting new pieces of every design and possible style.. and late last year a newish designer duo based in London caught my eye. Lo: Olivia Burton, brainchild of London College of Fashion graduates Lesa Bennett and Jemma Fennings. The fact that one half of the duo shares a name with me is but a small plus point in their favor..

But their timepieces! How strange! Over the past two years I’ve grown accustomed to the minimalist swedish style of design, with clean watch faces, chrome accents, and mesh details. Classic, simple, and easy to match – but when something as quirky as Olivia Burton bursts onto the scene, well..

The designs I picked (I have three) from the local online stockist, Just Tangy SG, are already counted rather safe, I think. I’ve been checking the other designs out online and I particularly like the line featuring birds, butterflies, bees, and more flowers. It seems Olivia Burton has approached death and decay with gothic sensibilities and made them romantic. I absolutely adore the line. I think the next one I purchase will have a dead bee on it. There’s just something about the strangeness of it all that I cannot stop thinking about..

Just Tangy: For always bringing in fresh and new international designers that we cant get in Singapore and shipping them everywhere so quickly – whether locally or internationally – thank you.

x
♥jem