My Wardrobe

In the mood for cheongsam

Ms Lin Tong, 25, engaged, Civil Servant
Ms Lin Tong, 25, engaged, Civil ServantST PHOTOS: LAU FOOK KONG
1: A vintage dress from the 1950s. 2: Tailor-made cheongsam with a cat print. 3: Yves Saint Laurent black T-bar heels. 4: Hummingbird enamel brooch. 5: Cat-print cheongsam crop top. 6: Vintage polka-dot pencil skirt dresses. 7: Silk cheongsam. 8: Man
1: A vintage dress from the 1950s. 2: Tailor-made cheongsam with a cat print. 3: Yves Saint Laurent black T-bar heels. 4: Hummingbird enamel brooch. 5: Cat-print cheongsam crop top. 6: Vintage polka-dot pencil skirt dresses. 7: Silk cheongsam. 8: Mansur Gavriel totebags.ST PHOTOS: LAU FOOK KONG

Civil servant Lin Tong loves the outfit for its femininity and elegance

Ms Lin Tong, 25, engaged, civil servant

How would you describe your style?

Inspired by the 1950s and 1960s with lots of tailored dresses and cheongsam, cat eyes and red lips.

When did your interest in fashion start?

As a baby, I wore clothes sewn by my mother and grandmother, so my interest in fashion started from when I was an infant.

I remember walking through department stores with my mother who would turn the hems of garments over and comment that she could do a better job.

Who are your favourite designers or what are your go-to brands?

I wear mostly vintage clothing from the 1940s to 1980s because I find that items made in that era are more carefully constructed. Ready- to-wear clothes sold today cannot hold a candle to them.

I have a soft spot for Hong Kong- based online fashion company Grana for its quality fabric composition.

I also wear a lot of cheongsam from home-grown tailor Golden Scissor Cheongsam.

I feel the cheongsam is feminine and elegant without being overtly sexual and showing a lot of skin.

Who are your style icons?

I adore 1950s American fashion model Dovima (also known as Dorothy Horan) for her poise, as well as working Singaporean women during the same time period - they had a quiet elegance about them and were always immaculately dressed in a Western dress or cheongsam.

What are your favourite pieces in your wardrobe?

A vintage dress from the 1950s which I bought online from Etsy - I like its defined waist; my tailor-made cheongsam - one with a cat print and the other a contemporary knit style - because of how different they look; my Yves Saint Laurent black T-bar heels  - they look like they are from the 1950s; my Hummingbird enamel brooch because it goes with everything; and a cat-print cheongsam crop top I made myself because I like cats.

What are your weaknesses when it comes to shopping?

Vintage polka-dot pencil skirt dresses and silk cheongsam.

I love the cinched- waist silhouette.

What is your favourite splurge piece?

My two totes from American accessories brand Mansur Gavriel - they can hold the weight of my laptop on a daily basis. I also cannot resist the red interior of the bags.

I cannot remember exactly how much I paid, but the brand's online website is charging US$475 (S$650) for the small one and US$535 for the large one.

Is there a purchase you have regretted?

Clothing made from polyester fabric because of Singapore's tropical humidity and heat.

I now have a no-polyester rule because natural fibres feel much better in this climate.

What is your most recent purchase?

I bought pieces of thin, fine cashmere and red cotton jersey from fabric shops at People's Park Complex to make a cheongsam.

I spent $42 on the fabrics.

I'm trying to make cheongsam to wear for the office every day because I find it a formal and respectful-looking outfit.

What is the best shopping or style advice you live by?

Dress to respect the many selves you want to be.

Buy to keep, not throw.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2016, with the headline 'In the mood for cheongsam'. Print Edition | Subscribe