There could be such a thing as 'PM Lee fashion'. Here.

Does clothes maketh the man, or the man maketh the clothes?

Khine Zin Htet | May 12, 2024, 02:51 PM



They say clothes maketh the man.

So what makes Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wear what he did during his 20 years of service?

Pink Shirts

Photo from Lee Hsien Loong/Facebook

PM Lee is perhaps most known for his characteristic choice of pink shirts.

He wore pink so frequently that Singaporeans took note over the years.

In 2020, one netizen even provided a commentary on his various pink shirts throughout the years.

A Reddit thread and a Quora question on his choice of colour also exist.

One Redditor speculated that perhaps pink brings a softer image, making the PM more affable.

Screenshot from Lim Zhenghong / Quora

Meanwhile, in 2015, PM Lee mentioned during a Q&A on Facebook that he wears pink because his TV producer suggested it.

He frequently wears pink in parliament:

Image via MCI

In 2020, the year of Covid-19 pandemic, when he addressed Singaporeans more than 10 times, he mostly wore pink (or shades of pink).

Images via PMO

Also, for his last media interview as Prime Minister:

A pink shirt

And a pink-ish shirt

No one asked him during that interview whether being prime minister is a dull job, but what he wears certainly makes him look more vibrant than most politicians.

Non-pink shirts

PM Lee frequently wears non-pink shirts, too.

Photo from Lee Hsien Loong/Facebook

Other than pink, PM Lee is often seen in white and red (for obvious reasons — Singapore's national flag colour).

The next most popular colour in his wardrobe is blue.

One memorable example of him wearing blue was during the National Day Rally in 2016.

Two hours into his lengthy televised speech, PM Lee took ill and had to pause his speech.

Screenshot via PMO

The nation watched anxiously as PM Lee, wavered on his feet, visibly pale.

Despite this setback, PM Lee returned to the stage after a brief hiatus, receiving a standing ovation.

“Thank you for waiting for me. I gave everybody a scare,” said PM Lee.

He reassured everyone that he was fine and would have a full check-up after.

He then continued his speech as if nothing had happened.

Curiously, NDR is one occasion where the rate of PM Lee wearing a pink shirt is relatively low.

Images via PMO

Out of the 19 NDR speeches he delivered over 20 years (he only missed one as NDR 2020 was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic), he only wore pink thrice.

The grey jacket

Some of you may also know that PM Lee has a cool grey bomber jacket to go with his outfits.

Something about the jacket exudes a friendly, approachable vibe from the prime minister.

He is so often seen wearing it that one curious netizen took to Reddit to ask what kind of jacket it was.

Screenshot via Reddit

It seems that no one has ever determined where the jacket comes from, nor has anyone asked him publicly before (or at least posted the answer on the Internet).

Photo from Lee Hsien Loong/Facebook

One momentous occasion when PM Lee's jacket was immortalised was when he wore it as he announced DPM Lawrence Wong as his successor in 2022.

This photo (and similar angles) has since become one of the most widely used photos amongst media for Singapore's 4G leadership succession — one for the annals.

Batik shirts

Other than his office wear, PM Lee also frequently wear batik shirts for events.

Well, it's definitely a good choice for cultural and grassroots events and works even for meetings with foreign dignitaries.

Image via Facebook/CYC Made to Measure

Image via Facebook/Lee Hsien Loong

What does PM Lee wear outside work hours?

But what does PM Lee wear outside work hours?

“I wear shirts with holes all the time, not in Parliament,” PM Lee said nine years ago during a parliamentary debate on May 28, 2014.

He was speaking about how Singapore should be an open and egalitarian society, without rigid hierarchies or class distinctions.

He recounted seeing a blog post by a woman who poked fun at an old man for wearing a shirt with a hole.

“I think that is wrong because an old or torn shirt does not mean he deserves less respect,” PM Lee said, adding that he often wore shirts with holes.

“Your status is not marked by the car you drive or the brand of clothes you wear.”

And he is right. We wouldn't have been talking about pink shirts if not for the man himself.

Top image by Mothership, photos from Lee Hsien Loong's Facebook