Bole just graduated from the Central Academy of Drama and is now looking for work. Maybe she can model boots? It is rare to people who can pull off stuffing trousers into boots; the hoards who can’t should desist immediately. The hat almost looks like the style worn by the Afghan Mujahadeen, which gets street credibility in my book. And yes, I do live and hang-out near the Central Academy of Drama. It also happens to have the most stylish students and it is the only university within the Second Ring Road of Beijing. Famous graduates include Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi, but I believe all the major directors also attended.
I will never be a member of such a cute couple. You probably won’t either. More interestingly, it’s rare to see leather jackets done so well. They are one of the more easily screwed up items, in my opinion. Moms and former frat boys don bulky leather as a badge of cool, with the practical goal of being warm and tough concurrently. In Beijing, pleather with tassles, flowers, and sequins abound as do over-sized shiny and chunky black numbers.
This couple from Hong Kong wear great leather jackets to look adorable. The V-neck and collared shirt together with the hair and glasses are perfect on him. Chinese men get away with much more fashionable hairstyles than white guys, who look overdone with anything out of the ordinary. We weren’t doing very well communication-wise. She is an undergraduate at Qinghua and he is visiting. With him, I didn’t share any common tongue. Anyway, they are lovely.
Here is a link to my November column for That’s Beijing:
It is on clothing with a story.
The confidence and poise of Mr. Sun convinced me to waylay him and snap this shot. He sports the much-derided collar outside of blazer look from the seventies. I think doing this takes a certain spirit and I also appreciate that he bothered striking an interesting pose. Mr. Sun was eager to exchange numbers and when I have a chance, I will find out more about what he does. Stylites.net showcases people who believe in being stylish just as much as it features style exemplars. If there is some universal definition of the ineffable concept of style, I would be not be the one to determine it.
You may notice that I photograph quite a few men, despite the accurate perception that men are not as concerned about style as women are. Granted, young Chinese men tend to be somewhat more into looking good than their American counterparts, though the interest in style here is nothing like the obsession in Japan. That may come of course.
There are two more basic factors that explain why I photograph a large number of men. First, like men everywhere outside of truly fashionable cities, the average Beijing man is not stylish and is not trying to be. So, just by trying to be stylish, men stick out more. Every single woman is trying to be stylish. Second, women are slightly more likely to refuse to be photographed. It’s embarrassing to admit this, but I am also slightly reticent about approaching women who are with a man, which is silly since men are often flattered to have their girlfriend or wife photographed.
I will try to work to adjust this. An accurate view of the style scene here probably calls for more shots of women than men. Or perhaps 50/50 is good?
My homeward bike journey rarely includes encountering foreigners or cyclists with style. Perhaps it should be no surprise that the first stylish foreign cyclists were a girl from Paris and one from Bordeaux. Hurrying back to Beijing’s Capital Normal University where they study Chinese, the two girls agreed to pose, warning that I must not say anything silly about French girls. Why would I? Is it silly to say I adore them?
They also alluded to a site in French that is similar to mine. There is apparently a universe of French language resources on life in Beijing that I don’t even know. It is so embarrassing.
This gentleman is part of the first group of 24 male students to be admitted at China Women’s University. He studies poster design there. This shade of light gray is in fashion for outerwear this season and I like to see the coordinated hat/glove/scarf/bag ensemble.
Along with thin ties, thin scarves in lighter fabrics like cotton are in, and Subrina, a theater student, has jumped on that trend, even matching her scarf with her specs.
Richard Parris is a man of varied taste with a colorful background. He is now organizing a weekly salon, which I hope to frequently attend. His blog is at www.richardparris.com. The outfit doesn’t seem all that remarkable at first glance, but at second one notices the diagonal direction of the glen check on one of his trouser legs. Suddenly the outfit seems much less subtle.
Apparently none of his colleagues commented on this. Anyway, I noticed right away. They will be one-of-a-kind until I have a pair made.
Hats are appearing more and more, which is nice considering they still were considered granny-like last winter. I expected that she would be a theater student, like young stylish girls on Gulou Avenue. I was surprised to hear that she studies finance at the University of International Business and Economics. It is always nice when appearances are deceptive. Style seems to be spreading to students of the pragmatic arts.
On Beijing’s charming Gulou Avenue, which means “drum tower” avenue, she was on a trip up from Hong Kong. I love the contrasting colors and the subtly Chinese style padded jacket mixed with the Burberry scarf. The outfit seems very appropriate for a young lady from Hong Kong. However, with temperatures rising there in recent years, probably only one or two days in a year call for this outfit. Thus, a trip to Beijing is needed.
What a great break from the legions of synthetic puffy coats – often with fake fur.
Daniel designs for Finnish and Italian sportswear companies, so he gets to visit Helsinki frequently, where he picked up these incredible green leather shoes. I ran into him on Pingan Avenue, which is fast becoming one of the more stylish streets in the city. That’s a good trend since Pingan Avenue goes straight through some of the older parts of the city with the most interesting architecture. Most of the nicest hutongs, including Nanluoguxiang, are all off of Pingan Avenue.
Matching is for the middle class.
And for style experts, but for the average guy, the secret is contrast. It’s quite simple. Light colored shirt, bold tie (red or black/navy/dark) and dark suit for formal occasions and dark jeans and light polo or collared shirt for casual.
Bit busy at the moment, but here are some more shots from the Van Cleef and Arpels party:
Hanry is a fund manager at one of the largest private equity funds in China. More on him later.
Cate Conmy was an editor at That’s Beijing and she must be one of the more stylish American girls in town – unfortunately she is leaving in two weeks.
Interesting role reversal:
In some ways it makes sense. Women should be the curvy ones.
This shot seemed appropriate for Thanksgiving, even though she doesn’t celebrate it. She was getting her clothing altered with Mr. Lu, near Luofusi walking street. No one can read her handwriting, so I can’t tell her name. She operates a billiards hall near Chongwenmen, South East of Tiananmen Square.
Boots worn with shorts came in force over the last two weeks in Beijing. Shorts are more popular with Beijing girls in fall and winter than in summer. I need to do a study into how this look became so popular. It seems to have replaced jeans tucked into boots as the look for mainstream 20-30 women. This is yet another example of how looks which would be somewhat outlandish in the States become the norm in China. Obviously, the physique of Chinese girls is part of the reason, but there must be more…
Halla Mohieddeen, shopping editor of That’s Beijing, Beijing’s premier English language publication, strikes a poise at the Van Cleef & Arpels party. She deserves great credit for having “found” me for That’s Beijing. She asked me to write the column “trouser press” and also suggested that Stylites in Beijing be on the pages of the magazine.
Hesitate before buying a dark colored shirt.
I’m condemning not them, but it takes a certain shirt and a certain guy. Some guys still regard adding a black shirt to khakis or jeans as a quick road to style excellence. Too often, the desk man out for a night will take his regular navy or charcoal suit, add a dark stripey or solid black shirt, undue the two top buttons, and feel he’s ready to be suave and stylish into the early hours. Some suits and some styles of guy can make this work. I certainly would not be able to pull it off. Stick to a contrasting, lighter colored, shirt with your dark suit and for those stylish nights. With no suit, a subtle pattern or texture in a lighter shirt can be the way to go.
On the other hand, perhaps dark colored shirts are the best way to avoid obvious hot pot or red wine stains.
Last Friday was Une Journée à Paris, the Beijing Debut of Van Cleef & Arpels 200th anniversary special collection. Van Cleef & Arpels handcrafts jewelery and time pieces in France.
Paris’ famous Lido girls made a special appearance in Beijing.
Une Journée à Paris had a Hong Kong debut as well, but according to the VC&A PR director, the presentation there did not include the Lido Girls. They were appropriate only for the capital.
I would like to thank Fu Yuanyuan for taking these shots. Sadly, I am nearsighted and did not have my glasses while at this event.
Tuck it in.
Unless you have a inordinately long legs, leaving the shirt tails out will tend to elongate your torso. Of course, some shirts are designed to be worn outside, but make sure that they do not have that elongating effect on your torso. Also, the un-tucked shirt and blazer look is hard to make look good.
Go fun or go staid, but don’t go sporty unless you are an athlete. The safest course is socks that match the trousers. Please note that matching trousers is better than matching shoes, to offer continuity between the legs and ankle. Socks should be long enough to prevent hairs from peeking out.
Colorful and patterned socks are good too. This is now a standard expression of fettered revolt in the corporate gulag, where red is favored. Brand-wise, Paul Smith is king here, not mentioning various obscure brands, but you can get good ones at J. Crew and H&M. If you are in Beijing, check out Hotwind for fake Paul Smith.
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