I am not Lao Hiao

I am turning 40 in June this year. It shouldn’t be such a big deal, really. I have led an honest life (somewhat), stuck to my guts when it came to my own life choices (at least, as bravely as one can be with the occasional sway attributed to a “change” of mind), stayed more or less on track on what I set out to do (with some self-permitted detours to “adapt” to unexpected situations) and built up a higher level of confidence (moderated by a few humbling experiences of life’s harsh lessons). All in all, at 40, I am my own truer and wiser self – a sum of my own opinions and experiences.

Yet, why would a little passing comment like “Are you having a midlife crisis?” concern me? The comment came about with the new haircut I got and a change of wardrobe, neither of which are uncharacteristically impulsive decisions.

At 40, I am not about to become everyone else. Conformity, I opine, is a slow march to a mass unmarked grave.

Through the years, I have progressed from one look to another. I admit to a faux pas now and then, but withage comes with the knowledge of what works for me and what does not. I am also confident about how I look, how I dress, how I don’t care what you think. I am, at times, conceited enough to think you secretly like what I wear.

There’s much to say about the fashion scene in Singapore, because, ironically, there is nothing much to say about it. Here, the general men’s fashion equates to tank tops, beach shorts/berms with flip flops (accessorized with dragon boat oar) or the polo top (and the god-forbidden flipped up collar) and jeans/berms with sneakers/sandals. I am not judging. Honestly. There is something good to say about guys in these get-ups, namely the aesthetics of a tanned fit physique. =D Pardon if I stare (and glare, if otherwise).

I can also understand that this uniform is easily applicable to all age groups simply because Singapore has only 3 seasons – hot/wet, hot/humid, hot/aircon. The lack of authentically changing seasons also does not inspire anyone’s imagination. And with herd mentality and the monkey-see-monkey-do attitude that really, those uniforms in school made a virtue of, it is honestly difficult to see trend setting happening here in Singapore except in the hands of the denizens of one little street called Haji Lane.

Still, it is a matter of opinion what fashion is, but let’s paraphrase this as – it is a matter of opinion, what you want your own fashion to be. The difference is we are not going to mock you for it.

“The mind revolts against certain opinions, as the stomach rejects certain foods,” wrote William Hazlitt in ‘Characteristics’.

In that spirit of revolt, allow me to fashion my own fashion definition. I like a little variety and I like a little impracticality. Let me illustrate.

I like jackets – They falsify my physique beautifully and let’s face it, we spend most days within a full-blast air-conditioned space, be it, home, bus/train, malls, restaurants, bars, clubs and offices cold enough to house polar bears and penguins.

I love shoes – They complete me (look). If they look great, but cripple you to stand for long and walk far, they will, thus, be worn purposefully….with pride.

I like off-beat designs – It is ART that you can wear.

I like scarves – There’s nothing girly about them. They are like ties? =)

I like accessories – They perk up the drab (not just the outfit, but the company you keep too, as you always have something pretty to see).

Carving out your own niche-look requires you to know who you are (avoid being a fashion victim) and having a certain level of self-confidence to enjoy what you want to wear. This is a privilege I have rightly earned at 40 as my own person.

For those who dare, I applaud you. For those who dare not, cheer on, suck it up and enjoy the variant colors of life.

“Few have opinions: fewer still have their own opinions,” stated Ivan Panin in ‘Thoughts’.

Even if I am turning 40 in a few months, I will ROCK this look! =P


Over & Out,

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