“I have nothing to wear!” We’ve been saying this since we were kids. It is about time we’ve found something that suits! The secret to success when it comes to effortless dressing? Stocking your closet with the right pieces. We’ve asked Helen Hughes, the superchic Hong Kong Mom of three and co-founder of the British fashion brand Madderson London, to share with us the wardrobe essentials every stylish Hong Kong Mom should have on hand.
“The heat and humidity of Hong Kong calls for a capsule wardrobe of versatile pieces to keep you both cool and stylish,” she says. “For Hong Kong Moms who juggle parenting, work and often a hectic social life too, this city demands a mix of effortlessly-chic daywear, glam party pieces and a good dose of laid-back resort wear too.”
Whether its a high-street find or a high-end designer splurge, these trusty staples are sure to make day-to-day dressing a snap.
A Crisp, White Tee
Is there anything more versatile than a white T-shirt? It’s a classic. An oldie but goodie, found in multiples in every fashionista’s wardrobe the world over. They can literally be worn with anything and everything, whether you tuck it into a skirt or let it hang free with a pair of denim cutoffs, one thing is for sure: nothing is more essential to your closet.
Meet your new best friend. Denim shorts come in all kinds of fits and color washes so there’s definitely a pair out there to suit your figure. Darker washes tend to be more flattering but the current trend is for more faded, distressed versions worn with a loose fitted shirt. For a more polished look, try a pair of crisp white denim shorts worn with a breton stripe top to give a classy, nautical vibe.
Invest in a navy or off-white silk blouse and your wardrobe will soon feel the difference. Luxurious, breathable and always gorgeously feminine, a silk blouse is a big step-up from a basic white tee but works in the same way. You can literally wear them with any separates — tailored shorts, skirts, jeans — they even to dress up those distressed denim shorts. Easy, breezy, and yes, beautiful. Our go-to when we need to elevate our look.
The Do-It-All Day Dress
Day dresses are the currency of Hong Kong dressing. Feminine and lightweight, these laid-back dresses are the quickest route to looking put-together, whether you’re running errands in town, meeting girls for lunch or attending meetings at school. Shirtdresses are a great choice for a no-nonsense, utilitarian vibe without being too stuffy or formal.
Playsuits are a great day to night option for Hong Kong. Ideal for a smart brunch yet versatile enough to wear to dinner and drinks (just add heels). Often more tailored than shorts and a t-shirt, playsuits are still a playful choice so feel free to jazz things up a bit, choosing a print or a bright colour to add extra interest into your wardrobe.
The eternal search for flattering swimwear is all part of living in a tropical climate. Hanging out at the pool, weekends at the beach or cruisy junk days makes swimwear a wardrobe essential. Use this time to start a collection of decent bikinis or one pieces (a very personal choice, both equally glamorous) that will leave you feeling like you just stepped out of a Slim Aarons photo shoot. It’s worth paying a little bit more for good quality swimwear that will keep its color, ‘hold’ and shape longer than cheaper alternatives.
Just as day follows night, so kaftans follow swimwear. Easy, pull-on beach cover-ups that double up as a dress for informal beachside lunches and impromptu sundowners are the ones to go for. Just add flip flops, sunglasses and a hat.
There are at least two good reasons everyone loves a good pair of flats in Hong Kong: the heat and the hills! Choose a pair of neutral-toned sandals that go with everything and your outfits (and feet!) will thank you for it. Wear them with all of the above.
That Perfect Cocktail Dress
Now we all know Hong Kong loves to party. The excuses for social gatherings here are too numerous to mention — birthday celebrations, cocktails with the girls or just a good old-fashioned date night — and these all call for something a little special. Whether you prefer a figure-hugging silhouette or a simple A-line shift, find a couple of trusty cocktail dresses that you know you can rely on in your hour of need.
Wedges are a girl’s best friend. Fact. They give you skyscraper legs without any of the discomfort of a stiletto. And they’re sturdy enough to help you navigate Hong Kong’s perilous and vertiginous streets after a glass of wine or two. Wedges are a great combination of laid-back style and party wear, and will go with anything. Choose a metallic finish and they’re good enough to pair with that killer cocktail dress.
* All of the items selected here are available in HK, either direct from the brand’s own website or via Net-a-Porter or Shopbop. Delivery charges may apply.
Helen Hughes is co-founder of British contemporary womenswear label, Madderson London. Founded in 2012, the brand designs inspirational but accessible clothing for modern women. This translates into luxury fabrics, beautifully crafted for women who appreciate the transformational power of a statement piece in their wardrobe.
Helen has lived in Hong Kong for the past 4 years, is married to Jonathan, and has three beautiful children, Olivia (8), Holly (4) and Henry (2).