Welcome to Outfit Anatomy, a brand new feature series that is all about personal style and comprehensive outfit breakdowns. In it, we ask contributors to tell us the stories behind each item that constitutes their carefully curated ensemble, from the sentimental value and monetary cost to how and why they obtained it.
First up, we have Singapore-based BookTuber Natalie (@anattynook), who describes the outfit she wore to a local museum — a layered look in a neutral palette that can seamlessly fit into any dark academia mood board you find online.
My current closet consists of a pretty good mix of first-hand and thrifted items. I tend to experiment with my style, ranging from colorful and androgynous looks to muted and feminine outfits — like the one you see here. Whatever I choose to wear on any given day, I am always looking for maximum comfort.
Neutral tones feature prominently in my wardrobe; a friend once commented that I am sure to turn up in at least one beige or khaki item. I love neutrals because they can easily meld with various forms of styles. Be it edgy or mainstream; colorful or understated. This outfit was worn on a day that involved shuffling between the air-conditioned indoors and the humid, sweltering outdoors. Hence, the cardigan over a lightly layered base.
The first item is this sheer black scarf with small floral embroidery details that I took from my mom’s closet. She has had it for a while now and I’m not sure how old it actually is. I usually wear it as a headscarf as the material is breezy enough for Singapore’s hot weather. The design is really simple and matches the rest of my closet easily; I like how it adds a feminine touch to basic outfits.
My mom brought [the vest] back from my grandmother’s home one day and asked if I wanted it. Of course I said yes.
The camisole is a basic top I got since my secondary school days. It’s been serving me well over the years. It probably cost $5 as a bundle deal with other tops.
Next is a dark brown vest with beige embroidery that fits a bit loosely on me. My mom brought it back from my grandmother’s home one day and asked if I wanted it. Of course I said yes. This was my first time wearing it out, and I have been enjoying this embroidered texture a lot lately. It still looks pretty chic despite being made several decades ago. I am unsure if I want to make adjustments at the waistline area though.
The tiered skirt was thrifted from a pop-up thrift store at Peninsula Plaza. I only recently gotten into maxi skirts, and it is rare to find one that fits nicely because of my petite size. I would consider this piece to be a rare thrift find for me. It has several tiers and comes in a rich chocolate brown hue that makes for a great mix-and-match moment. I got it for around $25, which is admittedly a little pricey for a second-hand item.
My knee-high socks — which I bunched up for this outfit — and knit cardigan were from CONOMi, a Japanese fashion boutique that specializes in preppy looks. While I was on exchange in Tokyo, I noticed a lot of Japanese streetwear had a baggy and layered style that was elaborate yet subdued and superbly comfy. I found that really interesting and wanted to recreate that with my outfits in Singapore though the weather makes it a challenge to accomplish. These two items probably cost me $60 in total, since clothes in Japan aren’t so cheap.
The knit bag was from a boutique shop in the Hongdae district in Seoul, Korea, which I purchased during the autumn season. Although it does not carry bulky items well, it looks handmade and serves as a great accent piece to cozy up a look. Sometimes I use it as a slouchy crossbody bag by adjusting the straps and wearing them across my body. I don’t recall the exact price but it should run somewhere between $20-$30.
Lastly, a pair of Dr. Martens boots! These were a relatively recent purchase after years of pining. I love how I can pair these boots with a delicate outfit for some contrast, but also with some of my more androgynous looks too. Either way, they are great for stomping around town no matter the occasion. My shoes are the most expensive out of the whole assembly but I consider them a somewhat major investment that would hopefully last a long time; they retailed at $170 when I bought them at a sale last year.
The total cost of this outfit adds up to around $290, with the shoes taking up more than half the cost. A bigger accomplishment, I reckon, is the fact that the majority of the items were thrifted or hand-me-downs. That’s where the fun in fashion lies for me — getting to remix older pieces to find a style of my own.
- Headscarf: From Mom’s closet
- Vest: From Grandma’s closet
- Camisole: Cotton On
- Tiered skirt: Thrifted from Peninsula Plaza, Singapore
- Cardigan + socks: CONOMi, a Japanese fashion boutique
- Bag: From a boutique at Hongdae district in Seoul, Korea
- Boots: Dr Martens
As told to Sherryl Cheong
All photography by Natalie Sutanto; follow her on Instagram @anattynook
Feature collage by Sherryl Cheong