You're Wearing What? Chinese, um, Fashion in Shanghai

You're Wearing What? Chinese, um, Fashion in Shanghai
Mar 08, 2010 By Andrea Scarlatelli, www.eCh , eChinacities.com

You can describe Chinese fashion in a lot of different ways. Creative. Funny. Puzzling. Outrageous. Shanghai especially provides a backdrop of unique outfits that would look beyond ridiculous if worn by someone from, say, the United States or Europe (well, maybe the Europeans could pull it off too – they’re also a bit fashion wacky…). The point is, for the average working Joe, Shanghai fashion just won’t work. It takes bravery, pluck, and perhaps a small dose of insanity to pull some of these looks off. Read on for some of my personal favorites.

Fashion in Shanghai
photo: flickr.com

The case of the missing pants
When I first moved here, I found myself repeatedly doing double takes at the girls who walked by – what happened to their pants? There they were, dressed in boots (with ten inch heels, but boots nonetheless), long shirts that barely covered their bits… and no pants. Perhaps they were in a rush and forgot to put them on? Maybe they lost them in a tragic accident that left them only partially clothed? Who knows? All I know is what I see, like the girl I passed the other day wearing a long, baggy sweatshirt that reached to her mid-thigh – and that’s it. In freezing weather. Which brings me to…

Fashion in Shanghai

Tights in winter
Seriously, I don’t mean to be picking on the ladies here (I’ll get to you men next), but what is up with wearing see-through tights in the dead of winter?! If it’s cold enough for you to wear your knockoff Ugg boots, it’s too cold for you to be wearing a mini skirt and tights. Although I have to admit, no one ever seems overly cold when they’re wearing such things. My theory is that, over the years, Chinese women have developed a genetic immunity to cold temperatures on their legs. That would explain a lot. So hats off to you, ladies – the next time you see a white girl ridiculously bundled up in jeans and three layers of sweaters, staring at you in your skimpy tights in disbelief, know that I’m simply looking at you in admiration for your willingness to freeze yourselves for fashion. Seriously.

Fashion in Shanghai

So are those for distance or for reading?
I have to admit, the huge 80’s style plastic-framed glasses are hilarious. Awesomely hilarious. I fully enjoyed looking at them, and even toyed around with the idea of getting some for myself (and yes, I wear glasses) – until I noticed something. And then my inner dialogue went a little something like this: “Why, it looks like there aren’t any lenses in the glasses. But that’s silly, who would wear glasses without at least putting glass in the frames to make it look real? No one would do… OH MY GOD, THEY’RE JUST WEARING PLASTIC FRAMES.” I’ve seen the fake glasses trend – it’s been done plenty of times before. One big difference - all the fake glasses I’ve seen have at least had glass in the frames so it’s not so obvious that you’re just wearing them for fashion purposes. And really, you’re just asking someone to poke you in the eye.

 

 

 

Fashion in Shanghai
photo: daylife.com

Excuse me sir, ma’am – you’ve got a tiger on your head
We’ve all seen them being sold on the street – those adorable yet slightly freaky fuzzy hats that look like animal heads. I honestly didn’t realize this was a gender neutral accessory until I saw a guy and a girl walking hand in hand, both proudly wearing a panda head and a lion head, respectively. Goes to show what I know. I’ve always wondered – does the girlfriend make the guy where the hat? Or does he just feel that confident in his manhood that he can slap a fuzzy panda on his head and call it a day? Can he wear this to work? So many unanswered questions…

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Related links:

A Stitch in Time: How to Navigate Shanghai’s Fabric Market
How to…Find Your Way Around Shanghai’s Fake Market
Threads on the Cheap: Shanghai’s Bargain Clothes Market

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