Category Archives: fashion

Cepat Dipasang Sedap Dibuka*

These snappy fasteners had already attained a star-studded status way way before Maggi Mee made its debut as a mainstream staple.

In my baby years and teenage era, when my late mum and many other aunties and kakaks were expert seamstresses, Press-Stud buttons were a common sight, found in the needle boxes and drawers of Singer sewing machines.  

They were favoured for their ease of use – just press to close and pull apart (the clothes) to open.  I remember all our pyjamas had these fasteners.   So were a lot of ladies’ blouses.

I think these days, a lot of these buttons have been superseded by zippers (I could be wrong) – as the latter seem to provide a better insurance against “wardrobe malfunctions” (intended or otherwise). Labour-wise, attaching zippers lends itself much more readily to automation.

* Pun on Maggi Mee’s tagline : “Cepat Dimasak Sedap Dimakan”

 

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What’s The Shape Of Your Bottom ?

Does it matter ?  Yes, I mean in the old days, the shape of the bottom of your shirt (called “hem”, right?) determined whether or not your shirt should be tucked in.

If the shirt was a long-sleeved one, it came with a nice rounded hem, which must be tucked into the pants.  For courtesy, modesty or formality, or all three, having an exposed rounded bottom was a frowned-upon “No-No”.   But it was OK, if the shirt, especially a short-sleeve “hawaiian” type which always came with a straight bottom.

But times have changed.  These days, we see our young men strutting smugly around town in shirts with exposed, untucked rounded hem (worse still, with a half-done tie, and shorts) going arm-in-arm with  girlfriends dressed to the nines.  

Tastes have changed too. Ironically, anything goes, just tuck it in.

Stressed By The Ties That Bind

I first encountered neckties in 1963.  Didn’t like those “kiddy” types at all – one which came with an elastic band, and another with a Y-shaped plastic catch (this one made my skin sore).

I wanted to have those which adults wore.

But getting the knot “right” with the correct lengths to be left dangling was quite tricky.  In those days,  the prevailing style seemed to resemble a scalene triangle, which I called the “ketupat”.    I hated that shape because it was asymmetrical.

I spent many hours perfecting the twists and turns to get that ultimate symmetrical “samosa” knot, along the way inadvertently producing some  “bak chang”, and “kuih abok abok” as well.  Quite stressful, just to put a tight noose around our necks !

Do you have a knotty story to tell ?

They Kept Me in Suspense – Y ?

Remember Y-suspenders ?   These accessories for men seemed to be fashionable in most of the Westerns – the menfolk appeared to be wearing these all the time.

When I was a kid, I used to wear these too.  But it was less of being a hipster of the day and more of upholding a down-to-earth need.   I was growing quickly in size, and being relatively poor, we could not afford to buy new clothes frequently.

So my mum found a solution – she bought pants for me that were 2 sizes larger.   When new, those were really loose and thus the Y-suspenders came in handy.  By the second year, I probably did not need those anymore.  (But by the third year,  the pants were rather tight)

To Sew With Love

You may want to call it Stitch – any which way, it was an art that required huge Passion, Patience plus creative Imagination.  Embroidery by hand ; which ladies of the old days – including many of my senior relatives – loved to indulge and excel in.

I remember that sometimes they also used sewing machines to do the stitching.

Haiz, it has been donkey (maybe for 2016 just call it Monkey) years since I last saw any lady, especially a younger one, doing it.    Perhaps it simply does not jive well with the fast pace of modern life.   Also, these days, with computer-aided machines, even extremely complex patterns can be sewn and reproduced by the millions in perfection.

Glitzy Pin-up Trilogy

The Kerongsang Kebaya Peranakan, that is.  (I think some call it Kerongsang Rantai)

The ladies who donned the Kebaya Peranakan would need to garnish the front with a three-piece brooch that was intra-linked with a chain (usually of gold or silver).   The brooches came in a huge variety of  intricate and exquisite designs and were often adorned with precious stones of various colors too.

This fashion accessory-cum-pin fastener was an essential item to complete the Kebaya outfit.  But as these were expensive pieces of jewelry, the ladies in less well-off families could only afford a set in their lifetimes – often the relatives would mutually exchange among themselves for different festive occasions (usually weddings).

Clarity or Vanity ?

Unlike 7-Up, the difference is not so clear

Since young, I had always prided on having perfect eagle-eye vision, that could spot spelling mistakes on a signboard 20 miles down the highway, and see font size #1 used in sneaky Disclaimer Notes on my insurance policies.   And the thought of I having to wear ugly spectacles never crossed my mind.

That pride shattered acrimoniously in 1977, when I found that I had developed myopia and astigmatism. AND, worse, that started my financial ruin, as prices of prescription glasses rocketed over the years and,……

…..the distinction between Clarity and Vanity blurred…..as these days I look a lot better with glasses – at least the lovebags under my eyes won’t be so obvious. Kakaka !