Q&A: What to Wear in Beijing

August 7th, 2007

Q:  I am studying abroad in Beijing where people dress up to go to college more so than in my college in Massachusetts what are some essentials that are easy to pack and will help me to blend in in both places without looking sloppy?

Maggy London Crepe Jersey ShirtdressA: 
Fashion in Beijing tends to be not only more formal than East Coast American fashion–but also more conservative.  To blend in both Beijing and Massachusetts, build a foundation wardrobe that can be dressed up and dressed down.  And choose pieces that aren’t overly revealing.  Though China is not as conservative as it once was, halter tops and shorts aren’t going to fly here.

Here’s five foundation pieces to jumpstart your wardrobe:

(1) Sleeved Button Down Shirt: Cotton short sleeved shirts work well for summer, and you can sport a tailored shirt with a long sleeve during the fall and winter.
(2) Sweater: Lightweight, short sleeved sweaters with a crew or boat neckline work well for spring and summmer.  During the winter, you can wear heavier styles in wool.
(3) Shirtdress: Choose a style that extends at least almost down to your knee.
(4) Trousers: We’d recommend tailored styles and those with a medium to high rise. 
(5) Skirt: Again, choose a knee length skirt or longer.

Though these styles are true basics, you don’t have to be boring.  Style is all about the details, so choose pieces with special detailing–things like oversized buttons, pleating, shirring can turn a simple style into something fabulous.

Have a great tip about what to wear in Beijing?  Share it with us in the comments!

Maggy London Crepe Jersey Shirtdress | $128 at Nordstrom.

Style question?  We’ve got answers.  E-mail us at tips at omiru dot com, or leave us a comment with your question.

Entry Filed under: Q&A,Women's

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sasha  |  August 8th, 2007 at 2:06 am

    Fashion in Beijing is actually not very conservative as the Chinese are taking a card from the Japanese in terms of style. Think bright colors, funky cuts and interesting proportions.

  • 2. Trisha  |  August 8th, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    Thanks for the update, Sasha!

  • 3. Lisa  |  August 8th, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Adding on to what Sasha said, look for pieces that are both conservative and fun. A knee-length skirt in bright colorblock patterns, for instance. Think conservative cuts–nothing too revealing–in not-so-conservative colors and details.

  • 4. Trisha  |  August 9th, 2007 at 2:09 am

    Nice tip, Lisa. Conservative cuts with not-so-conservative colors and details is a great way to balance your personal style with the culture of the country.

  • 5. Kylie  |  August 9th, 2007 at 3:30 am

    Fashion in China is just like everywhere else – short is fine, shorts halternecks all ok. Bright colours very common. The only difference I have found between dress styles in the west and in China is that people’s clothing is much tidier here, whereas in the west scruffy, dishevelled clothing is much more common than here. I would suggest wearing whatever you like, just look tidy and presentable and you will fit in just fine!

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