Wearing local

A keen supporter of local designers, Ms Paige Parker's wardrobe is filled with pieces with an Asian twist.

Ong Shunmugam dress. Mode-O-Day cheongsam. Rubin Singer leather dress. Elohim By Sabrina Goh jacket. Suecomma Bonnie heels.

Q & A


Describe your style.

Modern classic. Classic is always chic and flattering. Modern, because classic does not have to be old-fashioned. Think a boxy, double-breasted Chanel jacket matched with a fitted A-line leather skirt by Raoul; it is classic, stylish and modern.

My life dictates my style. I adore beautiful clothes and want to look good, but I never want my appearance to define me. Time spent on staying fit and dressing well must be coupled with doing the most important things: being a hands-on mother, volunteering and so on.

I do not blindly follow trends. I would rather go with what makes me feel fabulous. I'm old enough to not have to prove myself to anyone.

Style is much more than how one dresses. It's about how one lives and what one is surrounded by.

Who are your favourite designers?

I value beautiful and quality pieces. It does not matter if they are high street or high fashion.

Some local designers fit into my wardrobe because they are well-made and have an aesthetic that I like. I do not buy Singapore brands just to support Singapore; I buy them because they are relevant and work with my lifestyle.

I like Raoul because it offers well-made and stylish clothes at a good price point. I have quite a few pieces from them, including a versatile A-line blue leather skirt; and a gorgeous Marion tote bag customised in soft alligator leather by the renowned exotic leather tannery in Tuscany, Caravel.

I think Ong Shunmugam is one of Asia's most interesting designers as it curates fabrics and silhouettes that are typically Asian, but gives them a fresh spin.

In Good Company is perfect for daywear; I'm wearing my favourite red dress from the brand today. I love the pleats on the neckline.

I look to tailor shop Mode-O-Day for beautiful Italian lace cheongsams. I had a red lace one made for my 40th birthday and another in pink lace (photo 3) made for the recent Chinese Women's Association's 100th anniversary event.

Chanel is a classic favourite; I love the timeless designs and fine workmanship.

Do you have a style icon whom you admire?

I love the outrageous Daphne Guinness; she is fearless in the way she dresses and lives. She is a muse, mother, fashion icon, designer and couture fiend. She is also flamboyant, yet charitable and generous. I love that she does not give a flip about what anyone thinks.

Which is your favourite splurge piece?

I visited American designer Rubin Singer's atelier in New York last June and saw him working on a beautiful sketch of an eel skin and leather dress (photo 4). I ordered it and it cost about $4,500. Singer is not well known yet, but he makes lovely clothes.

Have you gotten any amazing deals?

When I travel back home to the United States, I invade Target for exercise bras and cool T-shirts that I wear to work out. I love Target.

What was a recent purchase?

I like to mix my local designer pieces with those from elsewhere. I just bought a monochromatic jacket (photo 5) from Elohim By Sabrina Goh's latest collection. I intend to pair it with pin-striped Chanel pants, a pencil skirt or a black dress.

If you could shop in only one store for the rest of your life, what would it be?

The online site Net-A-Porter gets my top vote. Although it does not have a physical retail space yet, I am a fan of its super service, prompt delivery and vast selection. Who has time to go to the shops these days, except on vacations?

If I had to pick a bricks-and-mortar store, it would be Bergdorf Goodman in New York. The Beaux-Arts style architecture of the department store is stunning; the service is excellent; the dining options are terrific; the jewellery is gorgeous; the beauty offerings are blissful; the shoe salon a dream; the home department filled with luxurious items. I was just there briefly in June and did not buy anything except for a cool pair of sunglasses. But it did not matter - it is a pilgrimage I must make when I am in New York.

Is there a purchase you regretted?

A pair of Suecomma Bonnie heels (photo 6). I thought they were cool - they are - but they do not match me. They are uncomfortable too; I will not suffer for shoes. But I have worn them a couple of times and I always get tons of compliments on them. Go figure.

But the truth is, I do not mind making mistakes with fashion; we should have fun with it.

What is the best style advice that you live by?

Do not conform. Do not worry about what others think. If you want to wear stripes with plaid, then do it. Exercise, eat and drink mindfully. Aim to have a good heart for others, because you will feel better. And that will be reflected in your style.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2015, with the headline 'Wearing local'. Print Edition | Subscribe