The more accessories, the merrier

Minimalist is not how one would describe Ms Joyce Ong.

The founder and managing director of communications company J Factor Communications has been known to pile on multiple necklaces, bangles and rings all at the same time.

But coming from a creative background - her company specialises in advertising, public relations and brand and design consultancy work - her pieces are often artfully and tastefully coordinated.

"Wearing accessories puts me in a good mood," says the mother of one. "It's for self-expression."

Visit the 61-year-old's home in Serangoon Garden Way and it is clear she loves her accessories. They can be found all over the two-storey semi-detached house - in her bedroom, living room and bathroom.

She laments that her husband, semi-retired architect Patrick Chia, does not want to give her a storeroom as she will just fill it up with her jewellery.


A necklace of zippers and a keychain featuring the animated movie character Woody are part of the varied accessory collection of Ms Joyce Ong (above). ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

"My collection is getting so huge that sometimes I can't find what I want in time to get out of the house for meetings," she says.

Her collection is vast and varied - gold, silver and precious stones sit alongside kiddy felt brooches and pins, which her daughter, 25 and a recent architecture graduate, had bought for her nephews and which Ms Ong decided to keep for herself.

"I collect them wherever I go, from flea markets to shops to online," says Ms Ong, who says she started experimenting with accessories when she was 19.

Her most expensive piece is a gold bangle with diamonds that cost $50,000. But she is quick to add: "It does not matter whether it costs $10 or $1,000."

She also has a set of white rubber bands that were given out for free at a sporting event a few years ago, which she wears in a bunch.

For this interview, she is wearing a black-and-white outfit with matching monochrome accessories and contrasting colourful child-like felt brooches pinned to her shirt haphazardly. A few pendant necklaces hang from her neck.

On how she decides what to wear for the day, she says with a laugh: "It depends on my mood - the more candid I am, the better my accessorising skills."


A necklace of zippers and a keychain featuring the animated movie character Woody (both above) are part of the varied accessory collection of Ms Joyce Ong. ST PHOTOS: LAU FOOK KONG

She adds: "People always say to me, 'Only you can get away with it', but I think it's about how you feel about and carry yourself that is most important."

As such, she is not keen to dispense any style advice. "My basic rule in life is as long as you are not offending anybody, dress however you like."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2015, with the headline 'The more accessories, the merrier'. Print Edition | Subscribe