The flat sandal

Even before I landed in Singapore this time around, most girlfriends of mine who were in Singapore often spoke about getting their manicures and pedicures done. Pedicures these days are considered almost a must for the well groomed woman in Singapore and you need not be a tai tai (a Chinese term for women who married well and need not work) these days to have your toes done. At SGD$12 – $17 (ca. 77 SEK) per pedicure session, it isn’t considered by many women to be all that a pocket blowing hobby to indulge in or make oneself happy.

Exactly why pedicures are the talk of town became quite apparent on my first day here. And with several days of walking around the numerous shopping centers, both in the heartlands and in the city center, on the MRTs, buses and wet markets, I observed that it was the flat sandal or downright rubber slipper that stood out as the top footwear in Singapore. Flat sandals are not only worn by university and polytechnic students to school, but working women as well. It is not uncommon to find well dressed women donning pristinely ironed, collared striped blouses, paired with strict pencil skirts wearing flat sandals to work.

Many women in Singapore, whether working or having a casual day out, wear heels. The most common heel height in this case would be in the medium range, between 1 – 3 inches high. So another common sight would be women wearing strappy sandals with ‘kitty’ heels.


Medium heeled sandals by Costume National

For a more formal look for office wear, many women also don mules, so that the front looks like a formal court shoe and the absent back goes mostly unseen under long working pants. Mules would allow the wearer to easily slip them off and slide them back on in a jiffy, at the office desk.


A more formal office look in Singapore: Mules with kitty heels

Due to the preferred types of footwear for women in Singapore, nylon stockings make a rare appearance in this sweltering tropical country, even in office wear. It isn’t that women don’t wear stockings at all but if you spot a woman wearing stockings, there is a high probability that she is a visiting tourist (usually Japanese) or that she has just returned from abroad; as I have experienced just a few days ago with a Singaporean woman who had just returned from England, who wore a thick pair of blue stockings that seemed more winter wear.

A practical tip for those who are planning to visit any tropical country in Southeast-Asia with monsoon seasons – bring along flip flops – for (almost) all occasions.


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