New Year's resolutions in fashion and style

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 January, 2015, 6:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 January, 2015, 6:01am

There are plenty of New Year's resolutions we secretly know we're going to break very early on in 2015. But the start of the year is a great time to clean up your sartorial act, and that's one resolution you should try to keep.

My first resolution is about making fewer boredom purchases and investing more in well-made key wardrobe staples. Boredom purchases, a particular speciality of mine, usually happen while I'm "browsing" Zara while waiting for a friend or movie at IFC. Too often I emerge HK$3,000 poorer with a handful of items that I'll wear once or twice - such as the kitsch Navajo tunic worthy of Pocahontas or the long-fringed thread skirt that catches on everything, especially on chairs in fancy restaurants.

By wardrobe staples, I don't just mean items such as a white T-shirt or jeans (although these are important). I mean things you personally go to consistently as anchors of your style. A decent black leather jacket, for example, is well worth spending a little more on, as is a warm coat in a luxurious fabric that is cut impeccably for your frame, or leather flat sandals and a colourful soft summer dress that you can throw on and feel like you're on holiday. Laid-back, quality jewellery and a couple of bags that will last through seasonal trends are key, too.

There was a lot of coverage of local designers and retailers last year. Greedy landlords and developers are making it difficult for independent stores to survive these days. Those that have deserve some attention. Take time to navigate the backstreets and lanes around Star Street, for example, which abound with little independent stores.

With all the hoo-ha this year about sportswear being the new black, there is actually a sartorial push towards fitter, leaner, more athletic bodies in 2015 - with stylish clothing to match. From H&M's new line of fresh fitness wear and Hong Kong's own Pure Fitness launching its apparel label to big sales kicking off at and there are plenty of fashionable incentives to accompany your new fitness and health regime.

I'm not promoting the kind of body fascism you see in parts of New York, but in Hong Kong a move towards more athletic figures rather than just celebrating the skinny is no bad thing. And when you buy a cool, streamlined and functional fitness outfit, you can also be more aware of changes in your physique.

I'd also advise people to buy comfortable, stylish sleepwear. I know it's hot most of the year in the city, but if you don't sleep in the buff, quality fabrics, stretch and fit make for a much more comfortable time in bed or on the sofa watching serial reruns. There's no good reason to be uncomfortable or scratchy while doing either of these activities. And all the better if you look chic.

The fashion industry has started to engage more in sustainability; even wasteful Hong Kong is catching up. So for 2015, we could challenge ourselves to get more educated on the social and environmental impact of fashion, and, accordingly, consume smarter and more conscientiously. Local brand Grana, for example, is very transparent about where its raw fibres come from, as well as offering pieces that don't go out of fashion easily.

Finally, we all need to stop idolising fashion editors, bloggers, or Kim Kardashian celebrity types. Being inspired by someone's style is normal and healthy, but style celebrity idolatry is rather juvenile. Have a little imagination, take note of what others are doing but rely more on your own creative skills.