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Feature: Cheap Chic on Singapore’s Bugis Street

Bugis Street, Shopping Haven

Bugis Street, Shopping Haven



“Bugis” is an Austronesian ethnic group. But in Singapore, Bugis means an entirely different thing altogether.


By: Audrey Kang



There won’t be anyone one the tiny country island that isn’t familiar with the term Bugis. Originally named after the Buginese who sailed to pre-colony Singapore, Bugis is now the biggest street shopping destination in the whole country. It gained notoriety in the 1950s when transvestite women began gathering in the area, and Western tourist flocked to the area for cheap food, shopping and entertainment.


These days, however, Bugis Street is a haven for all bargain hunting fashion lovers. Cheap isn’t what most people want to describe their clothes as, but there’s no other way of saying it — they are dirt cheap.


Lanes and alleys of shops crammed together, night market style, boasts of all types of clothing imaginable. The 3-storey high complex isn’t fully air-conditioned, but that’s hardly what really matters to shoppers. You’ll find all sorts of styles of clothing, of all price ranges, from the more expensive “specialty” shops that cater to specific styles, to the shops where you can easily buy an entire outfit for less than US$50.


Like the famed Ion Orchard Shopping Mall, the prices differ as you ascend levels. Looking for a cheap but still incredibly fashion forward outfit? Head right to the first floor, where almost everything is priced at around S$10 (that means it’s about US$7!). Cheap doesn’t always mean tacky, and you’ll find that this rings especially true at Bugis Street.


Alleys of shops, street market style.

Alleys of shops, street market style.


Then you get to the second floor — where you’ll find shops selling slightly more expensive (but still incredibly affordable!) clothes. On this floor you’ll find more renowned local brands like Bag Lady. Prices range at about S$10 to S$30, and items like vintage bustiers, jeans and all sorts of dresses can be found. In some ways, the second floor is a more mature shopping environment, the shops are neater, the pieces classier and the price slightly higher.


The third floor is the newest addition to this famed complex, having just opened to public only in late 2011.


A day would be barely enough to comb the entire complex for treasures. Fortunately, Bugis Street not only caters to shoppers’ material needs. The complex has also recently incorporated something most shoppers would be grateful for — cell phone running low on battery? Just pop over to one of the mobile phone charging station and continue shopping!


After a long day of bargain-hunting, tired shoppers can seat themselves at one of the many cafes the place has, or perhaps pamper themselves even more and the countless hair and nail salon. Fret not, though, because even these shops are ridiculously affordable. Shopping, food and “me” time? Talk about best of both worlds!


It does sound almost too good to be true, doesn’t it? But it is true, alright. Look at what I managed to snag with a budget of S$50:



On left – Grey/Pink Cut Out Blouse (2 for S$10), Dual Belt S$5, Light Green Culotte Shorts S$12, Topshop-inspired Union Flag Heart Clutch $12.

On left – Grey/Pink Cut Out Blouse (2 for S$10), Dual Belt S$5, Light Green Culotte Shorts S$12, Topshop-inspired Union Flag Heart Clutch $12. On right – Turquoise Shoulder Studded Dress $10.


Total amount I spent for two outfits? S$49! Whoever said that cheap can’t be chic?



Photography by gvpedia.com, gferrofotoworks.blogspot.com and Audrey Kang




*Singapore born and bred Audrey is a full time Media student and unabashed literature nerd. Also has an unhealthy love for shoes (unhealthy for her wallet, anyway!) and an inclination to wandering around observing people.

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