28 January 2015

Bare Necessities

Kyna, IT, Dress from Orchard Gateway, Shoes from Anteprima, Bracelets from Carrie K. 

Kyna may be decked in grey, but take a closer look and you’ll see little details that make her outfit come to life. Her dinosaur necklace, for example, or her elaborately-decorated nails with cats on them, and her metallic shoes. We also catch a peek of her bejeweled phone case, and there’s even a story behind one of the bracelets she’s wearing: the custom-made bracelet is engraved with the coordinates of a place that holds special memories for Kyna. That’s not to say that her dress itself is boring; quite the opposite, in fact, and we’re pleasantly surprised to learn that it’s from a store that stocks local designs, all in monochromatic colours — perfect for Kyna. “I wear mostly black, white, and grey — a lot of solid colours,” she says. “I don’t wear prints because I find them too busy for me.” Kyna says she’s usually in formal wear on most days, actually, and today’s look is a casual Friday outfit. Although work is getting busy for Kyna, she’s planning to take a short trip to Hong Kong for some time off. Other than that, she laughs when we ask her about her work-life balance. “There’s no ‘life’!” she says. “It’s all work, all the time.” At least we can see that she manages to have some fun with her style, once in a while, and maybe that’s where all her cute little accessories come in handy to get her through the days.

27 January 2015

In The Moment

Rasyiqah, Advertising, Top from Editor’s Market, Skirt from Bugis street.

“I feel that you need to feel good in what you wear at work because if you feel great, you'll do great work.” As such, Rasyiqah usually wears whatever she feels comfortable in wearing for the day, be it sandals or jeans. “I'm very big on basics but in order to make it "my own", I'll throw on accessories, especially necklaces, and outerwear for the office as it can get quite chilly.” It helps that the nature of her industry usually allows for this. “There was even one day that the boss declared to be Flip-Flop Friday,” she laughs. Another thing to love about her job is that she finds every day different, and the fast-paced environment means that each day goes by rather quickly. “I love seeing the creative process of a certain job,” she says. “But the thing I love most about my job is that the people are absolutely fantastic, and it makes work so much more enjoyable.” Rasyiqah is a recent graduate, and although she admits that there are times that she doesn’t feel 100% certain about her future, she’s consoled by the knowledge that nothing in the world is certain. “It's okay to not know what you're doing, or whether a certain career is the right path for you. What's important is that you try and give it your best; life has a funny way of working out in the end.” If all else fails, Rasyiqah might just pursue a quirky dream of hers: “I have this ambition — that when I'm in my thirties or forties, I would like to own a farm which would double as a theme park. There'd be cows and sheep and apple-picking and a roller-coaster right smack in the middle of it all.” Rasyiqah is all about experiences and moments; there was the time she attended a concert, all by herself. “It was one of the most liberating experiences in my life, and I felt great about myself when I left,” she says. “My favourite quotes are probably not in any self-help books, but I’d say, you should never be afraid to look foolish, and learn how to laugh at yourself.”

26 January 2015

Show & Tell

Hazel, Banking, Skirt from Australia, Clutch from Burberry, Watch from Tag Heuer.

We like how Hazel’s outfit both follows and bends the rules at the same time — to be sure, it’s a simple button-up blouse and pencil-skirt combination, but she makes it feel young and fresh by picking a shirt in a shade of military green that matches her skin tone to a tee, and by opting for a skirt in leather — not the usual, but she manages to look professional all the same. Working in corporate banking, Hazel says she loves how dynamic her job is. “A vital aspect of corporate banking is helping businesses grow, which in turn spurs job creation and changes communities. That's at the heart of anything truly inspiring,” she says. “My job challenges me in all aspects and I learn something new everyday.” Even though Hazel says that her workload can sometimes be overwhelming, it helps that she’s found good mentors to guide her through. “I have been blessed to have worked under great bosses who have supported me all the way.” It also helps that she creates routines to allow her to maintain some sense of balance in her life. “Set days to have family meals or drinks with friends,” she says. “Take the initiative. If you miss someone, don't just tell them — call or text to meet up.” When she does get time, Hazel spends her weekends reading at Dempsey, trying new cafés, restaurants, or bars, and spending time with her boyfriend, whom she considers her role model in life. “He is highly disciplined, intelligent and responsible. Most importantly, he is humble despite his successes in life,” she says. “I think it's very important to have a good heart and be humble about great accomplishments.” It seems that when it comes to life, Hazel values actions more than intentions, and she strives to live by her own words. Her personal motto in life: “Show me, don’t tell me.”

25 January 2015

SHENTONISTA Trend of the Week — A Casual Affair

Featuring: Jennifer, Marco, Hanie, and Barbara

It might be casual Friday, but there's no excuse for sloppy dressing. You can leave the blazer and pencil skirt at home, but there are still ways to look fashionably presentable even if you're going for a more relaxed look. Accessories like chunky statement necklaces can jazz up a simple outfit. Pay attention to materials — there's a world of difference between a worn-out, shapeless tee-shirt and one with a bit more structure, and in a more luxurious fabric. The same goes for shoes; they might not be shiny, patent leather brogues, but a good pair of sneakers, sandals, or flats can help to inject a bit of fun into any outfit without tipping over into the unprofessional category. Of course, this all largely depends on the industry you're in, but we say there's no harm trying something new. 

24 January 2015

Flip Side

Barbara, Events, Top from Dream Factory, Sunglasses from The Wyld Shop, Necklace from Zara.

Barbara’s look today is a far cry from her alter-ego at night. “I’m hardly wearing any make up!” she protests, at first, when we stop her on the street. But we still think there’s a laidback charm in her outfit, which, although is basically a t-shirt-and-shorts combination, is hardly sloppy. The trick is in the material — her sheer top has a subtle gold shimmer to it, while her shorts are made of leather for a little rock-chick edge, topped off with a spiky, chained necklace. Describing her style as “elegant and feminine, with a bit of a cool edge”, she’s actually dressed to go to the office today. "You should always wear what you feel confident in, but give it your own twist. It's not fun just to blend in with the rest of the world." Barbara works in an events company, and is heavily involved in the nightlife scene, so her nights are often filled with glitzy parties and glamorous outfits. “I’m usually in dresses and high heels, with my hair all done up, all the time, so whenever I can dress kind of normally for the office, it makes me really happy.” Her work gives her the opportunity to bring cool ideas to life, and that's one of the reasons why she loves what she does. "The sky is the limit. It's my own company, and I am so happy with what we are doing. We are running quite a few exciting events in town and I have an amazing team," she says. "I would not change it for anything else. I am exactly where I want to be." Although working in nightlife might sound like one endless party, Barbara says that she's actually quite a homebody. "Since we run an events company, we are out all the time, mingling and meeting new friends. Most of the people that know me just know that side of me. But I am actually a very homely person, to whom family is very important, and I fly back almost every three months to see mum, dad and my family." It's definitely inspiring to see Barbara living a life that she has carved out for herself, and she says, "Life is what you make out of it. Anything is possible and you should always reach for the stars. Even if you get knocked down once in a while, it was just something you needed to learn to reach your ultimate goals. Always stay positive and surround yourself with people that bring the best out in you." 

23 January 2015

Sweet Symphony

Hanie, Programmer, Shoes from Charles & Keith.

Hanie’s job isn’t something we come across every day — she works as a programmer for the Esplanade theatres, which means she plays a part in planning and organizing a range of performances and activities. It sounds like an exciting job, and Hanie confirms it. “I get the opportunity to meet creative people — musicians, singers, dancers, choreographers, actors, set designers, visual artists, etc, and to get to know them and their body of work is really exciting,” she says. “And when the audience truly enjoys the works of these artistes that you have programmed for them, that truly is the icing on the cake.” She loves her job, and if there’s one thing she’s learnt about making work life even better, it’s the importance of communication. “Good communication helps in avoiding a breakdown, which is the source of a lot of issues,” she says. “Get to know your colleagues and understand the support system you have at the office. It will come in handy.” Even outside of work, Hanie still finds herself involved in the performing arts. “I am one of the co-founders of a Brazilian percussion social group, called Bloco Singapura, and have been running the group since 2008. I don't play any of the instruments, unfortunately — I tried to learn but failed miserably,” she says. “The group has over 300 members. We do performances for various national and music events, play at festivals overseas, organize percussion and music festivals locally, conduct education outreach to schools, and even do volunteer work through our music. It is always an amazing feeling when you listen to the music and watch people dance and enjoy themselves.” It might sound like Hanie’s life is packed, but she tries to always squeeze in time for her family and for some yoga, cycling, netball, or some simple “me time” by going for a massage or staying in bed for a TV marathon. “I was always rushing around and always wanting to do a lot of things at one time,” she says. “But I have learnt to slow down, which was something that was not easy for me to do initially. My current philosophy is to take time to do what makes your soul happy.” 

22 January 2015

Like Water

Marco, IT, Shirt from Zara, Shoes from Nike.

Marco is probably one of the few people we’ve met who have no issues with their work-life balance at all. “I have a very active social life. Regardless if it’s a weekday or the weekend, I always find the time to meet up with the people that matter to me the most. My best tip, I would say, is to work hard, but play harder,” he says. “There is nothing that you can’t do, but make sure one does not get in the way of the other.” It’s also great that Marco’s job allows him to make friends within his industry, and he’s maintained contact with almost everyone he’s worked with. “Aside from the fact that my line of work allows me to be up-to-date with technology and business trades, it also gives me the opportunity to meet and be friends with different kinds of people within the IT and investment industry.”
Marco says his general rule, when it comes to work, is to be patient. “It’s the one thing that I always say to people,” he says. “Also, you should grasp what you can from the kind of work that you do, and be good at it, but don’t let colleagues or anyone step on your toes. It’s never wrong to reason with people, so long as you have the right tone at the right moment.” Beyond work, Marco has a love for Chinese martial arts. “I’d definitely watch any movie that’s about kung fu masters, even if it’s without subtitles and even though I don’t understand and speak Mandarin. I remember collecting DVDs of any movie which had Wong Fei Hong in it.”