New year, new wardrobe

New year, new wardrobe

Bid adieu to humdrum cheongsams as these style specialists offer advice for putting together chic and appropriate ensembles.

Corinne Ng, founder of Asian designer online boutique Shopthemag

Accessories are a great way to incorporate traditional elements into your outfit without looking too dated.

This way, you can keep your dress modern and just let that one necklace or bracelet do the talking.

At Shopthemag, we're launching a series of chinois- meets-rock-chick necklaces and brooches that are perfect for the dresser who wants to keep the traditional-modern balance.

They are from April Issue and we are resurrecting a vintage accessory - the brooch. It can be pinned onto the lapel of a jacket or even on your handbag if you wish to use it as a charm.

As you know, Radiant Orchid was the colour of the year in 2014 and the trend is running into 2015. So purple is a great colour trend to be sporting for Chinese New Year. Firstly, there's a lot of it on the racks this season, so plenty to choose from.

Secondly, it's a great colour choice if you're not into the full-on red/orange/fuchsia colour theme but still want to look bright for the older folks.

I think just make an effort to be groomed.

It doesn't matter what you choose to wear, but respect the occasion and doll up a little bit.

We have an amazing chinois-inspired Jacquard Trench Dress and a very flattering Cinch-waisted Bustier Dress from Malaysian designer Khoon Hooi. And lastly, we have new arrivals from Australian brand Cameo that is perfect for Chinese New Year, with bright colours and floral print-dresses.

Lilian Choo, designer of retro-inspired fashion brand Dayglow Vintage


It's all about balance and mostly to avoid putting together pieces and items which are all traditional.

Unless they really complement one another, you don't have to match traditional-looking accessories with a traditional styled cheongsam, for example. Chinese New Year is a time to look your best.

Some of us might only be seen by our relatives once a year, so putting on your best to last a year's worth of impressions is critical! Therefore, I will avoid following trends blindly.

What ladies can take a cue from are perhaps colours and accessories. Following trends blindly might also cause outfits to clash because other folk might also be into that trend at that moment.

Some trends are classic, like how we see gingham making an appearance on Spring 2015 runways, so that is a very doable and classic style to incorporate into your look.

Avoid wearing outfits that are similar to those your children are wearing. While some ladies find it acceptable, identical outfits can be too dramatic.

Similar pieces made of the same fabrics or colours are quirkier and give the individual wearer his or her own style and character.

As always, our modern styled cheongsams are the bestsellers during this Lunar season.

That is one way of incorporating a traditional element without looking dated.

It's a staple classic and evergreen prints like flowers are always a safe bet.

Priscilla Shunmugam, designer of contemporary womenswear label Ong Shunmugam

It's all about balance. If there were ever a formula for dressing for Chinese New Year, I think you can safely choose to keep at least one element of your outfit current, and the rest old-school.

For example, throwing in an unexpected colour or unlikely accessory immediately wakes up a look.

Decide first on what you'd like to keep traditional - be it the colour red, the mandarin collar or the dress - and then have fun contrasting with that.

We've issued a seasonal collection featuring our bestselling contemporary interpretations of the samfu and cheongsam.

If you haven't acquired a Meena (our classic cheongsam), then you might want to make it happen in time for The Year of the Goat.

After several prototypes and years later, it's quite simply one of the best cheongsams you'll ever own.

Culottes are still coming on strong as a trend.

They can be quite flattering and comfortable, so no harm making them a part of your festivities.

Finally, do remember that red happens to be a colour that isn't for everyone, so one needs to know how to say no.

The womenswear design team for the Zalora label, an in-house brand for the online retailer

We suggest keeping the traditional elements to a minimum, focusing on one or two details such as the mandarin collar or a traditional print while keeping the rest of the outfit modern and simple.

Our design team developed exclusive prints that are great for this occasion while keeping all our looks very versatile and wearable throughout the year.

We have cheongsam-inspired tops that go really well with midi skirts, cropped pants and even "skorts" (skirt-shorts) as a modern update of the traditional style.

Coordinates are also a huge trend this season.

We have a lace mandarin collar top and pencil skirt set that works as an updated cheongsam silhouette when worn together or which can be styled separately with loose tops or pants for an even more modern look.

It is essential to dress appropriately during the Chinese New Year when visiting relatives and friends.

Even though most families are very open towards fashion trends, it is important to avoid wearing inauspicious colours and clothes that show too much skin.

This article was first published on January 24, 2015.
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