Never having been to China before I moved here four months ago, I couldn’t have imagined the super trendy Shanghainista scene I have found here…from the coolest shoes (including lots of handmade shoe stores) to fur galore to an obsession with lace/plaid hipster outfits, I am loving all the diversity, even if I can’t pull off wearing every trend I see or agree with where it originated.
Let’s start with the touchy subject of fur-yes, it’s real here and no, you can’t tell from
what animal it came from but probably most are outlawed in the U.S. From regular brown tones to the wild and crazy pink, purple and you name it, you can find it because the fur is flying everywhere in Shanghai. Once upon a time, I had a full length fur coat because it was the “thing” to wear in NYC and I spent a whole month’s salary to buy one to look cool. It weighed a ton and smelled nasty when it got wet but I felt like a million bucks wearing it and thankfully never got paint thrown on me by a protestor. I would never wear one now but I can relate to the status of it (very big here in China) and the warmth of it as well. You can even buy fur pelts right on the street—name your price, guess your species. Again, not my cup of tea but it is very common in China to see these street pelt vendors, especially in Beijing.
The scope of fashionable shoes here does surprise me because most people have hefty commutes with lots of walking. Believe me, there is a reason that foot massages are part of every day life here. After you walk a mile in stiletto’s, your tootsies are crying out to be rubbed for an hour or so with hot oil. Looking good here takes precedent over comfort (not for me, of course, but for fashionable people-I keep my heels at the office and wear ugly “pillows of heaven” Uggs for the commute). Besides the high heels, though, Doc Martens are featured everywhere right now in fabulous bright colors and patterns. I’m tempted to buy a pair to make a statement AND still be able to walk miles on the streets of Shanghai, as Thom and I love to do on the weekends. Yes, I’m probably too old to wear them but who cares! I’m imagining some thick soled, neon patterned or polka dot suckers worn with black tights (yes, going to the gym is paramount to this look) and a black skirt with a bright wool jacket…also needing to be purchased. The coats here are adorable but not necessarily warm so I haven’t found the right one yet but I will keep on looking.
Then, there is the whole plaid/lace fashionista thing going on with whole stores devoted to this type of outfit. Let’s face it, you have to be petite and below a size 4 to pull this type of look off and look adorable. Thus, the reason you don’t see these stores in the U.S. where the average size is a 12 not a 4. I find here that I am no longer a size 6/small but have graduated to a size 10/medium if I’m lucky and that’s at a nicer European store like Zara….again, another reason to make you want to go to the gym and stay there for awhile. That being said, I could never pull off the plaid/lace look but I do appreciate all the styling that goes into it with multiple layers, jewelry, boots, tights, hats, etc. It’s not easy to be a fashionista and when I see a great outfit styling, I appreciate all the work that went into completing the image. Who knows—maybe I’ll have to crank up my shopping and styling to keep up with the Shanghainistas but I draw the line at pink fur!