Traditional Dress to the Rescue

What on earth to wear to a “formal” dinner, where the macro theme is the medical profession, but the micro reality/true focus of our table will be, Bacchus?


How to look appropriate when your husband introduces you to his childhood mates for the very first time, knowing that you will be the only wife attending?


(This question can be re-phrased as- )What to wear so as to not embarrass your husband before his friends, who have no idea of who you are as a person, and no memory of you in their shared past?


(Or-) What to wear to make your husband look good, because every Asian man secretly/not so secretly likes the idea of a trophy wife?


And how to be suited up when that one pair of glittery heels, and the few dresses that could possibly cross into evening/formal are in the London Closet, a 13.5hr flight away?


Dr Chan’s gentle request- Baby?  Please tone down tonight, ok?


It’s a formal event.  I have to wear my jacket…  It’s dinner for doctors… Doctors are very conservative.  Plain, no need for any fashionista …

But Baby?  I have nothing to wear.  All my…


No need to wear anything special.  In fact what you wore to lunch works.


Doctors, Baby.  Very conservative.  No style necessary.


With all that in mind, I took a page from my grandmother’s closet, and retrieved a sarong kebaya.


Like a well-cut little black dress, the traditional dress of the Straits-born Chinese is a faithful, multi-tasking friend, rising valiantly to any occasion.  Worn with a deliberately messy pony tail, nude-coloured sandals, favourite clutch and enamel bracelets instead of family jewels, I felt completely at ease, and fully myself.


My stance?  True style is unfussy.  Elegance comes only with age; grace is simply being, who you authentically are.

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