Not sure how to dress in Singapore for your upcoming trip? You’ve booked your Singapore holiday and want to create a packing list. But what is Singapore weather like, and how do you dress well in Singapore but also feel comfortable?
Don’t worry, we have all the packing tips you need to know what to wear in Singapore and be able to pack with ease. This post contains answers to the following questions:
- What do people wear in Singapore?
- Which is the best material to wear in Singapore?
- What is the Singapore attire for females?
- Can you wear jeans and flipflops in Singapore?
- Is there a monsoon season in Singapore?
- Plus practical tips on Singapore fashion, weather, and putting together a capsule wardrobe!
HOW TO DRESS IN SINGAPORE AND WHAT TO PACK
Singapore residents traditionally dress for the weather conditions in the city. Humidity can be brutal especially for tourists from colder climates.
So that makes packing easy then. Not necessarily. Whilst there is no best month to visit Singapore, there are some rules when dressing for Singapore weather. By the time you’ve read this post, you’ll be putting your Singapore packing list together like a pro and looking fantastic!
SINGAPOREAN FASHION STYLE
Traditional clothing in Singapore is generally relaxed, casual, modern and classic. The Cosmopolitan city is clean and tidy, and this is reflected in how locals dress.
Women choose clothing that suits their body shape, keeps them cool and makes them look good. While the older generation dress conservatively, the younger generation are more relaxed and casual in their attire.
However, you will rarely see high cut shorts and low-cut tops among locals. There is an unwritten etiquette in Singapore, so if you wear something too revealing, you will attract attention.
While there isn’t a Singapore dress code as such, clean, tidy, casual, fun, classic and when required, conservative is the way to dress as a tourist.
Singapore, an island in Southeast Asia is one of the world’s least polluted countries. With average daily temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius, the climate in Singapore makes it a year-round destination.
Located near to the equator, Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate. No matter the time of year, count on the weather being hot, humid and rainy. In general, your packing choices will be the same whichever month you visit.
With almost no seasonal variations, the hot and sunny weather is only interrupted during the two monsoon seasons, and two intermediate pre-monsoon periods.
The Northeast Monsoon season lasts between December and March. While the temperature in Singapore in January, February and March tends to be the same, there are two distinct phases during this time.
During December and January, known as the wet phase, expect continual rain in the afternoon and early evening. This can be moderate to heavy.
During February and March, the dry phase has little rain and the temperature feels comfortable and cooler.
The Southwest Monsoon season lasts between June and September. While the climate tends to be drier, winds can be strong and expect rain and thunderstorms up to midday.
During March, April and May, the pre-southwest monsoon season features heavy showers in the early evening.
BEST MATERIAL TO WEAR IN SINGAPORE
The rule of thumb is to keep clothing light, cool and comfortable. Natural fabrics are the best as they are breathable and will keep you cooler amidst the high humidity.
Choose cotton, linen, cotton blends and silk fabrics, which absorb perspiration and are breathable and comfortable.
SINGAPORE PACKING LIST
WHAT TO WEAR ON A FLIGHT TO SINGAPORE
You want to choose loose comfortable clothing for sitting on a long-haul flight. Be mindful that you could be wearing the same clothes for 13+ hours. so it’s a good idea to wear dark colours that hide any stains and creases.
A good tip is to pack a clean sleeveless top in your carry-on which you can get changed into after clearing customs on arrival. That way, you will be prepared for the 80% humidity!
CLOTHING FOR SINGAPORE
DRESSES AND SKIRTS FOR SINGAPORE
The key in how to dress in Singapore, is to wear the right outfit made from breathable material. You want to feel comfortable whether outside in the heat, or inside in the very cool air-conditioning.
- Lightweight casual dresses such as maxi dresses which are loose and airy are perfect to keep you cool. Choose floral and pattern prints in breathable cotton or linen so they don’t show sweat marks.
- Knee length linen dresses will take you from daytime to early evening if you have no time to change. Pair them with a fancy pair of flat sandals or neutral pumps.
- Midi skirts and skirts in patterned prints can be teamed with a plain coloured t-shirt or blouse making them extremely versatile. They can be dressed up with a piece of statement jewelry for the evening.
TOPS FOR SINGAPORE
Sleeveless or short-sleeved tops in natural fabrics such as cotton are best. Do not pack anything in polyester as it will retain the heat and make you sweaty and uncomfortable.
Choose versatile colours that can mix and match with your skirts, shorts and trousers.
PANTS AND TROUSERS FOR SINGAPORE
Most women tend to wear loose skirts and dresses to keep cool, however shorts and a t-shirt are common sights. Choose plain coloured shorts to easily mix with tops.
Thin breathable leggings will be warmer in air-conditioned places and a pair of Palazzo pants look stylish in the evening.
SWIMWEAR FOR SINGAPORE
Most hotels come with amazing pools, some of them rooftop infinity pools. Sentosa Island also boasts three stunning sandy beaches. If you are planning on taking a dip or simply sitting by the pool, be sure to pack a few choices of swimwear.
Also include a pretty cover-up or sarong to pop over your swimwear.
OUTERWEAR FOR SINGAPORE
Even during monsoon season showers don’t tend to last long. The humidity is still high, so unless you really don’t want to take the chance of getting caught out in a rain shower, an umbrella will surfice.
If you do bring a jacket, choose a thin waterproof style that can be easily rolled and stored in your day bag.
A couple of thin cardigans are ideal for air-conditioned spaces.
FOOTWEAR FOR SINGAPORE
Singapore is a great city to explore on foot, so comfortable and practical footwear is essential. Also bare in mind that your feet will sweat in the humidity and get wet if caught in a rain shower.
For everyday wear, flipflops, flat sandals and canvas pumps are ideal. Save your fancy footwear and heels for evenings when you are sitting in a restaurant.
TIP | Avoid light colours and soft fabrics as these will not fare well in rain showers.
FOOTWEAR FOR DAY
- FLIPFLOPS | Ideal for walking around the shopping malls in Orchard Road, exploring Marina Bay, Chinatown and Kampong Glam, or walking on the beach. They are flat, comfy, your feet can breathe and be dried easily if it rains.
- CANVAS PUMPS | wear with a sock liner to protect your feet sweating when hiking.
- SANDALS | Flat and breathable, these offer practicality yet look stylish with dresses and skirts.
- CROCS | Look good with any outfit and are waterproof so can be wiped clean.
FOOTWEAR FOR NIGHT
- BALLET PUMP | will look dressy if you are dining in a classy restaurant.
- MEDIUM HEEL SANDAL | If you really want to dress up, but you will be more comfortable in flats.
ACCESSORIES FOR SINGAPORE
There are a few vital accessories that you will want to include in your packing list:
- UMBRELLA | A small collapsible umbrella carried in your day bag is perfect for rain showers and protection from the sun. If you don’t want to pack one, most top hotels will have complimentary umbrellas you can use for the duration of your stay. However, these are large and clumsy to carry.
- FACE MASK | Compulsory in public spaces.
- SUNGLASSES | Necessary to shield your eyes from the bright sunlight.
- SUN HAT & SUNSCREEN | A sun hat can protect your hair from the sun and the rain. Sunscreen is required when you are visiting places like Singapore Botanic Gardens and have little shade.
- PASHMINA, SCARF & CARDIGAN | Shopping malls, MRT, and public places are air-conditioned which can feel quite cool. Take a thin scarf or pashmina with you to wrap around your shoulders or wear a thin cardigan. They can easily be stored in your handbag.
- PACKET OF TISSUES | Follow the locals and reserve your spot in a hawker centre by placing a pack of tissues on the table.
- WATER BOTTLE | The water in Singapore is perfectly safe to drink. Ensure you stay hydrated when walking around the island, by filling up for free at water fountains.
- ANTIPERSPIRANT | Pop a roll-on in your bag to freshen up in the ladies.
- WET WIPES | These come in handy to wipe your hands, face & neck.
SINGAPORE CLOTHING BRANDS
If you are looking for local fashion labels made in Singapore, you won’t be disappointed. Check out some of these local designers:
- BINARY STYLE | Beautifully created and colourful cotton and silk scarves.
- BIRO | Stylish urban menswear.
- LING WU | Luxury clutches and hobo bags.
- OUR SECOND NATURE | Casual silhouettes and lightweight fabrics for everyday comfort.
- LILY & LOU | Clothing made form eco-friendly fabrics.
ADDITIONAL CLOTHING TIPS FOR WOMEN
- Pack a little black dress as part of your capsule wardrobe, which you can dress up with jewelry and shoes for fancier bars and restaurants.
- Women dress fashionably but their outfits are not skimpy, so leave your teeny weeny shorts and extremely low cut tops at home.
- Choose well coordinated accessories that lift a plain toned top or blouse.
- Use a scarf or sarong to cover your shoulders and knees when visiting temples and mosques.
- Carry a coin purse and wallet in a front zippered pocket of your day back for easy access, especially on the MRT.
- You may be changing clothes up to three times a day for personal freshness, so choose thin fabrics that can be rinsed and dried quickly.
- Consider what you want to carry with you during daily sightseeing. Trust me, the last thing you want is a large heavy bag packed with non-essential items that you have to carry around with you. Choose a small crossover bag with zippered pockets, as you will probably have your camera out taking photos. For the evening all you need is a small neutral-coloured tote bag.
- Make it easier to pack by putting together a capsule wardrobe. Stick to around 4 colours and choose basic items such as a pair of black or navy trousers and then match them with 4-6 tops.
- Wear a pretty scarf or hat to cover humid frizzy hair. Trust me, your fringe will go in every direction but the one its meant to go in 🙂
ADDITIONAL CLOTHING TIPS FOR MEN
- Bring extra plain coloured t-shirts as you will sweat a lot unless you live in a humid environment.
- Wear longer length cargo shorts with buttoned pockets, to carry your wallet and loose change.
- Bring a dressier pair of trousers, closed toe shoes and collared shirt for dining in classy bars and restaurants.
- Jackets are not expected to be worn, even in the workplace, due to the humidity.
- Wear flipflops in the day, cool sandals for walking in parks and save trainers for shopping malls or the gym.
- Choose looser cotton patterned short sleeved shirts over clingy polo shirts during the day. If carrying a backpack, wear a darker colour so it doesn’t show the sweat as much.
- If wearing canvas pumps or trainers, wear a thin cotton sock liner to keep your feet and shoes smelling fresh.
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT TO WEAR IN SINGAPORE
CAN YOU WEAR TIGHT JEANS?
Yes it is perfectly acceptable to wear jeans, however you will probably be too warm and your legs will sweat. They are also difficult to dry if you get caught in a shower.
CAN YOU WEAR SHORT CROPPED SHORTS?
You can certainly wear pretty shorts in the day and they will keep you cool. Singapore women are very fashion conscious, but they do dress elegantly and wear clothes suitable for their body shape.
DO LOCALS WEAR FLIPFLOPS AND TRAINERS?
You will see flipflops worn everywhere by both locals and tourists, whether in malls, on the MRT, viewing attractions or strolling through gardens. They are practical, cool and comfy, the most important factors to brave the humidity.
Trainers are worn by men and are comfy when spending the day going from one shopping mall to another. They are also useful for exercising and hiking.
DO YOU NEED A RAIN JACKET?
Humidity is high all year-round, so you do not need any heavy jackets. Even when it rains, the temperature doesn’t drop, so even a thin jacket feels too warm. An umbrella will be your best friend, and when it rains there is usually somewhere to run into for cover.
WHAT SHOULD I PACK IF VISITING DURING MONSOON SEASON?
As the humidity will still be high, focus more on waterproof footwear, bags and stay away from white pumps!
WHAT IS THE DRESS CODE FOR RAFFLES HOTEL?
Singapore is famous for the legendary Singapore Sling. You can dress casually in shorts, T-Shirt and flipflops to enjoy this drink in the Long Bar.
For afternoon tea, a Raffles institution, the dress code is smart casual. Men should wear a collared shirt, long trousers and closed-toe shoes. No flipflops, shorts or t-shirts, otherwise you won’t be admitted.
If you intend to enjoy dinner in one of the restaurants, you must dress accordingly in long trousers, closed-toe shoes, collared shirt, dress, skirt or pants. It is nice to get dressed up for a memorable dining experience here, so pack a pretty dress.
IS THERE A DRESS CODE IN BARS, RESTAURANTS & THE THEATRE?
There is usually a smart casual dress code in trendy upscale bars and restaurants, but you would want to dress appropriately anyway. Theatre goers do not dress up too much, so casual smart dress is fine, but get dressed up if you would like to.
DO YOU NEED WINTER WEAR IN SINGAPORE?
Absolutely not, as the temperature is the same year-round.
WHAT SHOULD YOU WEAR TO GO HIKING?
Athletic wear that is breathable and moisture absorbing is ideal if you are planning more than a slow stroll around gardens.
If hiking in the Southern Ridges, MacRitchie Reservoir or Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a thin pair of leggings and a moisture absorbing crop top will keep you feeling fresh.
You don’t need heavy walking boots. Just have a waterproof pair of sturdy trainers if it’s raining.
SINGAPORE PACKING & TRAVEL TIPS
- If visiting a cultural place such as a temple, wear leggings, short sleeved top or longer length skirt. i.e. cover your knees and shoulders.
- You will need an adapter unless you are travelling from the UK.
- A wide angle lens will help you capture great photos.
- Put a rain cover for cameras on your packing list, especially during monsoon season.
- Pack clothes and footwear in packing cubes to keep them separate and easy to find.
HOW TO DRESS IN SINGAPORE CONCLUSION
By now you should have a good idea what to wear in Singapore to cope with the weather. Keep it simple, don’t fret and there are so many places to shop, you will always be able to buy anything you’ve forgotten.
Before you go, make sure to check out our other posts for Singapore
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