Taking the shock out of shopping in Singapore

Shopping for clothes in Singapore

Don’t give up, you’ll find clothes in Singapore

There’s no getting away from it, Asian women are beautifully packaged. Alabaster skin, tiny waists, perfectly proportioned legs, all makes for a lovely petite bundle. So it should come as no surprise that the shops here in Singapore are geared up for these dainty lovelies. This can make shopping for your average sized, non-asian, expat lady, a little difficult.

You’ve heard the stories of women who have left stores shamefaced after being told they are ‘too big’ for anything in the store. Maybe you yourself have been turned away from that lovely boutique with a ‘no, cannot!’ echoing in your ears?

What’s too big you may ask? Think anything above a UK size 4!

I’m painting a dark picture I know — it’s not all bad. The staff aren’t necessarily being rude or obnoxious. They tend to be, how do I say this? Honest?  There’s no beating around the bush, they tell it like it is. Not to upset you or be mean, just to save time. I actually find it quite refreshing and prefer it to the fawning “oh that looks gorgeous” from a clearly deranged shop assistant in the UK as you stare at yourself in a banana yellow shapeless shift dress. As long as it’s not that time of the month, or year, I can put up with a bit of frankness

Clothes too small

Sometimes clothes shopping in Singapore can be tough!

I’ve had my moments here for sure. I remember one time whilst shopping for a dress in a department store I’d picked up quite a few that had caught my eye — always a good start. A sales assistant came up to me and asked if I’d like to try them on.  As she showed me to the changing room she deftly removed a number of my choices with a:

“No lah, not for your size.”

“Are you sure?” I asked, “It’s my size on the label.”

“No ma’am. For Asian women yes. Not you.”

She blatantly looked me up and down as she said it. I felt like I’d been scanned. With that she wafted off.

But, I had to get a dress so I had no choice but to soldier on. As I was squeezing my butt in to one of the two dresses I was left with, the assistant arrived with quite a few similar dresses for me to try, explaining that these were all ‘my size.’

It turns out she was spot on. The couple I’d chosen were all wrong — tight across the chest, arms too short, so not my size. But the selection she’d made were much better. I came home with two.

Shoppes at Marina Bay sands

The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands – take your credit card!

So, ladies, don’t be disheartened. Take advice from the sales staff (if you can get past the initial fear of being ‘too large, lah!’)  Get to know the stores that stock your size.  Find the malls that are aimed at the expat – Tanglin Mall and Cluny Court are two of the most popular. There are also quite a few big chains here – H&M, Esprit, Marks & Spencer, Zara – that stock your average expat sizes. Also you have to front it out and ask for larger sizes as often they do but they are not out on display.

If all else fails, order from the cool, air-conditioned, comfort of your own home. Asos, Boohoo, Next, Macy’s, Saks, Zalora, to name but a few, all deliver to Singapore. Some of them even offer free delivery. Just be sure to measure yourself and check sizing first as returns can be a pain.

Happy Shopping!

If you have bosoms, and need a new bra, God help you. Really, that’s a whole other issue…

Esprit clothes shop

Esprit stock a good selection of sizes


Let’s make a list of places that stock a great selection of sizes. I’ll start:

Tangs in Orchard

Esprit all over the island

Most of the clothes shops in Tanglin Mall.


11 thoughts on “Taking the shock out of shopping in Singapore

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  2. sparklefreeze says:

    Probably Marks&Spencer will stock the super big size underwear. I suspect shoes are harder to find than clothes actually. My sister is a EU41 and even Zara doesn’t stock shoes that big. She normally just asks the sales ppl at Takashimaya shoe department to show her the styles with her size and choose from there.

    And honestly, Singaporean girls are already chubbier than other Asian girls.. We’re mostly UK 6/8/10 and shoe size EU 38 and under. The Chinese, Koreans and Japanese are way more petite than we are. I suspect SG girls overindulge in our crazy food scene here.

    Singaporean aunties can actually be really short and stout with big bosoms too. I think you’ll find that departmental stores like Metro/ OG/ Robinsons are where they shop at for their size. I’m pretty sure my aunts are into G cups and I haven’t heard them complain abt not finding bras. Dorothy Perkins is another fav I’ve heard them mention.. Also some plus sized labels over at OG that my aunt is a VIP shopper at.


  3. sparklefreeze says:

    Tbh, I don’t really get the ’embarrassment’ you’re talking abt. It’s probably down to culture, but girls here pretty much trust salespeople and really take their advice when we’re out shopping. I may be UK8 myself, but I don’t get offended when sometimes salespeople suggest I take a Large size or comment that maybe I should consider a different cut because my hips are too wide. They really do know their brand best and are there to help you out. Maybe SG simply isn’t big on fat-shaming; we’re pretty much casual and chillax ppl all round.


    • Yep I agree – as I said, I think it’s just honesty. My experience was that the sales person was right. Maybe those of us that are not from Asia are a little sensitive but it definitely wouldn’t be as blunt in the UK. Which is where the embarrassment comes in I guess. It’s not about ‘fat shaming’ it’s more about tact.


  4. Lorraine says:

    My GoTo shop for an evening gown for that special occasion is Quiz In Robinsons. I’m a UK size 14 and always find something. Dorothy Perkins in Wisma on Orchard. Also good old M&S or H&M.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Karen Machin says:

    I’m a size 14-16 and I go to Promod, white ginger, M&S, firefly at cluny court, sometimes Cotton On stuff fits me. Underwear is from large M&S stores with more selection and Change at cluny court. Singapore is getting better in getting bigger sizes in but as we know nothings cheap. My girls order most things online even though they are small sizes because companies like ASOS and Boohoo are so much cheaper than any teenage shops in Singapore.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ingeborg Hartgerink says:

    Holland Village Shopping Centre, 02-27/28 Double Spring / Just Wear Plus-Size Women’s Fashion House / Women’s Fashion and there used to be a shop with European sized bras and other undergarments on the 3rd level too.


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