+ Shanghai Style

Before I arrived in Shanghai, it struck me that there would probably be a slight difference between Western fashion trends and those in China. These days it is hard to pinpoint geographical distinctions in trends… what people wear in London for example is just as varied as what people wear here in Shanghai. The main difference I have noticed is that people make so much more effort with their appearance here; from their eyebrows to their nails, no expense is spared when it comes to looking good! Here’s a rundown of some of my observations while out and about on the streets of Shanghai.

Personal Grooming

+ Manicures are mandatory here – there’s a nail salon on every corner of my area with a glittering array of choices. Glitter spangles? Snoopy? 3D ceramic flowers? They will cater for the craziest ideas here, and you it’s entirely possible to have enough scope to change your nails every day for the rest of your life! I got some acrylic nails painted a mean black shade this week, for just 80 kuai, but was tempted by the idea of those 3D ceramic flowers just because they are so different! Thankfully my nail artist got preoccupied with her friends’ wig (she left me alone for half an hour!) so i cut short our session and made a swift exit!

+ Tattooed Make-Up. I have only just started to notice how so many Chinese women I see every day have shaved their eyebrows off and have tattoos instead. Eyebrow shape plays a surprisingly large role in the harmony of your face, so once you’ve found the most flattering shape it makes sense to have it permanently!

Clothes

+ Luxury Brands. There seems to be a massive obsession with brands here in Shanghai. Whether the majority of bags hanging off young women’s shoulders here are fake or real remains to be seen though! While it is obviously a clear status symbol, the motto ‘money can’t buy you taste’ holds true from time to time… I have seen so many beautiful outfits ruined by one of those disgusting fake Lousi Vuitton multi-coloured logo bags that Vanessa Feltz used to sport circa-2000!

+ Wearing evening wear during the day. I love how a lot of Shanghainese Fashionistas wear expensive looking silky evening dresses to work, but dress them down with a plain polo-neck jumper and work a layered look with cardigans and gilets. Not only does this increase the potential of your wardrobe, it’s an idea that can save you from the boredom of the blouse and black trousers look!

+ Co-ordinating your outfit with your boyfriend’s. Another quirky phenomenon I’ve noticed as I go about my daily business involves couples wearing the same t-shirt to profess their relationship status and bond with each other. This one makes me laugh because it must be pretty funny phoning up your partner to discuss what t-shirt to wear!

Shoes

+ High-heels, high-heels and more high-heels. Get the picture? Even when I went to Suzhou’s Humble Administrator’s Garden the other weekend, the majority of Chinese women there sported sky-high heels and still undertook the task of navigating the cobbles and rocky paths. While I tend to shy away from wearing heels during the day because I am lazy, (and because it means leaving for work earlier due to my inability to walk in them!), the Chinese philosophy seems to dictate high-heels are required uniform.