Nikki’s Inbox: The Sweet Spot Between Casual and Dressy

Hey Nikki! I just came across your page, and I’ve been reading your posts for the last hour. I’m in awe at how great you are at giving fashion inspiration to others! I hope you can give some advice to a newbie teen (at fashion) trying to dress more nicely.

I’ve just entered a new school and I’m starting to get very conscious of my dressing because everyone there either has a nice body or can dress nicely. I’m about 165cm weighing 60kg. I’m quite sporty so I have rather muscular thighs but I have a smaller upper body so I’m slightly disproportionate.

I’m quite a simple person (T-shirt and shorts) but I can dress up too. However, I don’t really have an “in between” between casual and dressy fashion. The only thing I can think of is pants with a long-sleeved blouse with frivels at the end, which is SUPER hot, especially when I’m travelling to classes outdoors in a tropical country. I generally like grey, black and white. Do you have any suggestions? It would be such an honour to receive a reply from you. Thank you so much!


Grace, 17/Singapore

Sunny Singapore! Thank you for the compliments, Grace, but all I can say is that it’s readers like you who are the inspiration behind Ask Nikki. It’s not just my replies to dilemmas about body shapes, wide shoulders or wearing stylish clothes that still conform to one’s religion that count – it’s the questions and problems themselves you guys send. The moment someone else reads your question and realizes “Hey, that’s how I feel too!” already gives them a little hope and optimism. So give yourselves a pat on the back, dearest and most loyal Ask Nikki readers, because we all make a difference together!

What’s Your Priority?

Some people prefer comfort over fashion (like me, for example) while others prefer it the other way round. While it ups your style score if you wear a cute long-sleeved blouse, the risk of heat stroke will seriously cramp your style and body temperature.

Fabric and cut play a key role here since you have humidity and high temperatures to contend with. Look for natural fabrics like cotton and linen, and synthetic-blend fabrics that feel light and airy (chiffon actually sticks to the skin). Relaxed fits are great at keeping you comfortable. I’m forever battling against oversized because all that extra fabric does not help you keep cool no matter how cute you think it looks. Wide necklines like boatnecks and V-necks as well as cutout details help make you feel cooler. Summer’s peasant tops and tunics are also great because they combine gauzy fabrics with chic embroidery and a figure-friendly silhouette.

migunstyle : DANI LOVE : HazyDazy : UPTOWNHOLIC : Envy Look

Get Dressed Up!

Dresses can also be a great in-between choice between casual and dressy. It really depends on the style. Again, my vote goes for A-lines here as they’re really very versatile but you can also try shift-style frocks. A dress doesn’t have to look fancy or be embellished too much. Try your hand at knee-length or just-above-the-knee cuts shift dresses with or without sleeves. You can simply accessorize with a belt for a more defined waistline – perfect for rocking the athleisure trend! On the other hand, a simple A-line dress in the same length or down to mid-calf pulls off daytime elegance and you can still wear it with flats, sandals or even just your favorite pair of Converse sneakers. And don’t worry about your muscular legs. You worked hard for those, you’re fit and healthy so show them off proudly!


Chlo.D.Manon : MASOEUR : Miamasvin

Pants That Go With the Flow

If you still want to wear pants, Grace, that’s perfectly fine. I highly recommend that you wear wide-leg or gaucho pants instead of the usual skinny jeans or slim-fit trousers. It’s really a look that hasn’t gone away and reappears year after year and is perfect for the hot and humid Singapore climate. You can choose to wear a cropped version that hits mid-calf (which would solve your nervousness about your muscular legs) or an ankle-skimming version. These styles have a very fluid silhouette similar to an A-line skirt so you’ll definitely look graceful in it. Again, fabric plays a key role here so feel free to pick from synthetic ones like tulle or chiffon (for that ballerina-skirt look) or in cotton or linen. As to what to wear with these pants? Anything! It can be as simple as a plain T-shirt or tank top or something more feminine like a peasant blouse with puffed sleeves, straight out of a fairytale!


The honor is mine, Grace. Good luck and let me know how it works out for you!

P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a photo (link only please) of yourself or your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!

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