Just like the mixture of various syllables in the Chinese dialects, Chinese fashion has its own set of rules when it comes to accents and embellishments. Such a wide array of textures, patterns, and style combined in one look illustrates what Americans may consider a Hodge Podge, a clash of elements, or uncoordinated. Regardless of what may be acceptable to Americans, Chinese fashion continues to fascinate me. Perhaps the following set of unspoken guidelines is what makes Chinese style continually intriguing:
1) Use an eclectic mix of prints (mostly polka dots), textures (lace, knitted pieces, cottons), and color (neon or bright required) together in one outfit. One passerby scores extra points for a pair of Hello Kitty sunglasses paired with a neon yellow jacket and a floral tiered dress.
2) Peter Pan collars and sheer layers widely accepted here.
3) If you don’t have a large chunky heels with a unique print, Crocs are an approved substitute.
4) Rhinestones or anything with glitter are a must. If you can’t find jewelry, a purse, or other small accessory, find a way to put it on your feet.
5) Hats are more than sun or cold weather protection, they are a very prevalent and fashionable accessory.
6) Hello Kitty!
7) The old adage of: You want what you can’t have, holds true here too. Chinese women want to look like just Western women; they even go to Korea to have plastic surgery to make their noses bigger. Groups of people stopped us for photos of blonde women in our tour group. We find such notions amusing since we can’t seem to stop cooing over the adorable Chinese babies and toddlers.
8) In America, you wouldn’t be caught revealing your true size, but apparently advertising your pants size isn’t an issue in Chinese fashion.
9) In America we also tend to look for inspiring quotes and t-shirt prints, but I think Chinese fashion proves we aren’t quite creative, simplistic, or amusing as we think.
10) Perhaps this is what sums up the uniqueness of Chinese fashion, and what continues to fascinate me by it.
11) With as much time as Chinese women must spend combining various colors, textures, and details, I find it amusing that Chinese men stick to the basic cargo pants and t-shirt look. The final appearance would not be finalized without rolling their shirts up to expose their chest and bellies. A very stark contrast to their female counterparts and to historical clothing that was once known for great embroidered silk robes, gowns, shoes, and headdresses. Incredible how things change…