Cute with a dash of sauce, Xiaowei is a marketing specialist, hawking evil with British American Tobacco. Her job consists of drinking with all the major club owners, and making sure they don’t sell fakes. It turns out that since taking this job, she has quit nicotine.
This piece in Chinese recommends some basic sartorial rules for locals to follow during the Olympics this year.
This sound argument ranks projecting tidiness above wearing expensive brand names.
Some highlights (I will offer loose translations, as I am not a professional):
Men are advised to button only the top button when wearing a two button suit coat and the two top buttons or the middle one when wearing a three button coat. I’m glad they put this advice in here because countless Beijing men make the mistake of buttoning all of the buttons on their suit coat. This, however, is not nearly so atrocious or perplexing a violation of sartorial rules as buttoning only the bottom button of a three button jacket, also frequently observed here. One of my colleagues wears a four button black polyester suit and usually buttons only the bottom button. Of course, if you’ve already decided to wear this type of suit, you might as well just spit on any rules or aesthetics, for that matter.
Men should be cautious when wearing sweaters – this means with suits – and carefully select appropriate underwear. Businessmen here adore the sweater with suit look, for which foreigners mock them. To the second recommendation, I might add that Beijingers of both sexes should strive to keep their thermal underwear from being revealed either at the ankle, waist, or cuff. Of course, the Olympics is in summer so this won’t be a risk.
Turning to the women:
Focusing on leather, Women are advised to ensure that their bags and shoes match in color and go well with the color of their garments. Short and shiny black leather dresses are, rightly, repudiated.
Most of this advice is quite solid and these basic guidelines need to be made known. However, in my opinion, mismatching is not the worst sartorial crime being committed in Beijing. To really improve the city’s image, they might add that most women should steer clear of animal prints, too many metallic objects such as chains and buckles attached to clothing and accessories, an abundance of glitter and lace, and nonsensical English. Granted, these violations are slowly becoming less frequent.
On a more conceptual level, Stylites would like to make the following, somewhat naughty, recommendation:
People should do their best to avoid dressing like a trollop, arriviste, or migrant laborer.
A man with attitude, Johnny from Qingdao runs a fashion boutique offering clothing with “gexing” (personality), some of which he designs personally. The waist-length coat with peaked lapels and cravatte were brought to earth by ripped jeans and trainers.
A friendly girl, Li Fang studies accounting but her true passion is fashion and design. She creates and knits her own scarves and dresses and would like to expand her operations in the future.
This Chinese Tibetan model was rushing to a shoot. I only had a chance to take down his ethnicity.
Fashion Trend Digest, based out of Shanghai, did a story on me and Stylites, or I should say that they featured a piece that I wrote about myself. The piece is in Chinese, and my girlfriend, Yuanyuan, was nice enough to heavily edit it for me.
Minzhao, who works at Bank of China, had just visited Beijing’s Lane Crawford with her parents. She said that the heating was turned too high, but she did concede that the designs on offer were very cutting edge. Her father commented that the prices seemed far too high for the Beijing market. As for wearing a blanket? Well, it was kind of shocking to see it immediately after viewing the Stella Mccartney and Alexander Mcqueen Couture in Lane Crawford.
Walking down Nanluoguxiang, neither member of this couple had a terribly revolutionary or eye-catching style. They were very friendly and seem open-minded, which, in a world of much prejudice, often seems like having an attractive style. I was just struck by how well they represent a “type” in Beijing. “Creatives” are a relatively new type here and it is quite refreshing to see more and more of them around. This couple’s taste isn’t particularly chic but compared to mix of gaudiness and tackiness of most couples, it is quite nice. The two also go very well together. He is a freelance graphic designer and she does something similar – I didn’t have my notepad on me.
He shows how to wear those eye-grabbing streetwear pieces. Also a lover of hip-hop music, this fellow must be one of those fans that actually understands the culture behind it, mainly because his pants aren’t too baggy or worn below his thighs. He shops at Bustout, profiled below, the newest and largest streetwear shop in Beijing.
There’s a military vibe here, and the Saudi style head-dress used as a scarf doesn’t take away from that. Wearing these as scarves was very popular in London and elsewhere a while back, but I haven’t seen too many here in China. He was well aware of the associations of the piece and wears it with pride.
Even the Chinese immersed in hip-hop preach its tenets with ferocious dedication. Hip-hop apparel is saturated with its culture, but few local wearers of the style realize this, according to Paco Ou, founder of Bustout, the newest and largest streetwear emporium in Beijing. He seeks to change this with a hand-picked streetwear selection that focuses on authenticity and a mission revolving around education.
With its technicolor print hoodies, genuine special edition sneakers, and one-of-a-kind tee shirts, Bustout will redefine the scene here, remaking the hip-hop man from head to toe, and Paco, 22, has ambitions far greater than just these. He wants the store, among the most airy retail spaces here, to be a platform from which to educate local youth on the origins of hip-hop culture.
Apparently, middle class kids in baggy jeans and over-sized headphones don’t really get the culture. Through events, literature, and his own presence, Paco wants to teach the background of hip-hop and what it means in the Chinese context. Poor kids from the south side of Beijing don’t grow up with drugs and violence, but still must “hustling all day” and have faith in themselves despite the odds, part of what hip hop is about.
To wear the clothes, Chinese kids have to know this story, says Paco. Having worked in apparel since 15, Paco had his share of hustling and he also learned to source the best products, and 80% of which products are exclusive to Bustout. Some standout gear includes Levi’s Jeans (RMB 400-700), particularly raw demin intended for export to Japan, X-Large T-Shirts (RMB 160), Stussy Bandana Print T-shirts (RMB 160). Hoodies are the dominant outerwear with Prohibit (RMB 350), Hollywood Cartel (RMB 460) , 686 (RMB 240), Famous Stars and Stripes RMB 240). His clients will be mainly in the 15 to 25 age range, though a middle-aged policeman who dresses in hip hop style when he gets off work is a regular customers. Paco confesses that the real gangsters in China will never wear hip hop clothing.
Opening Hours: 11am-10pm
Dongsi Longfusi Street, 52-1
Please note that a slightly different version of this piece appeared in the February issue of That’s Beijing.
The maddening crowds of LV carriers thronging Oriental Plaza made me vow not to photograph a single bearer of the brand, but the editor of an IT magazine, Ms. Xu, was eye-grabbing for the genuineness of the bag and the fact that she wasn’t trying to hard to be fashionable.
Academics from France are scarce on Dongsi Dajie, but when they appear, they do not disappoint with their shoe choices nor do they fail to don bright scarves, insignia of Gallic-ness.
Mu Zi, the totally cute nineteen year old boss of Vol De Nuit, the newest elegant little shop on the otherwise trashy stretch of Longfusi, believes fashion should be romantic and expressive. She stocks Korean brands but loves a French aesthetic.
In “creative work” and tourism respectively, Mr. Yu and Ms. Sun refuse to wear Chinese brands before they turn 30, explaining that local desingers have not been able to capture how to design stylish clothes suited for young people. For this, they must rely on foreign brands. They prefer include Adidas, Mango and Vero Moda (I must observe that Vero Moda seems to have localized its designs quite a bit – seeing their products its hard to believe the brand is Western European). She would only wear a Qipao at Chunjie.
It seems not all PR execs are slaves of the Man; Weber Shandwick, an American firm, must be a funky place to convince Ian to work there. He describes his style as a sort of sophisticated “punk” with the requisite real Doc Martins, purchased in Hong and Kong, and plaid.
Harry has the real Paul Smith Mini Satchel, bought in the UK – the plastic version is available on taobao.com. After all the shining black, it’s nice to see brown boots made of supple leather from Herbal Heaven on Dongsi. He works at Juicy Couture as a brand development manager, but never wears that brand and, in general, for his own fashion consumption tends to avoid big names.
In the congested Oriental Plaza, a knit sweater-coat seemed to look relaxing and Scandinavian. She was sort of milling about with no particular direction. I like the patent red shoes too.
The jacket is from Kuhle, a frustrating shop in Oriental Plaza, one of Beijing’s most popular malls. Kuhle is like H&M in that it offers some cool styles at low prices and quality levels. He wears the piece well though.
I wasn’t in China this time, but I’m sure it was an overwhelming experience for all those who were. With its fireworks and blasts, in the past I found that Chinese New Year brought me close to experiencing a warzone. So I hope everyone who was in China enjoyed the carnage.
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