A Small-Town Hebei Style Guide

In honour of the Fall and Winter 2012 collections being shown at Fashion Weeks in New York, London, Paris and Milan this time of year, I present to you my guide for all the big trends among young Chinese women in small-town Hebei (because I know that’s totally the look you’re itching to try!).  From clothing to accessories to the trendiest hair colour, I’ve got you covered.  Read on!

Oversized shirts:   Embellishment is key – Chinglish sayings, cartoon characters, beads, sequins, feathers, buttons, and lace are all popular, preferably all of the above on a single shirt.  Don’t think of these as statement pieces; think of them as basics or neutrals.  The old adage, “The more the merrier” applies here too – the more embellished the shirt, the more versatile it will be as a piece in your closet, because some part of it will match any outfit you put together!

Just a few examples of shirts that are on trend right now.

Don't Fret My Pet - Steve Urkel makes gains in China

"More Kick Than Licking" Fat Birds Armpit

Skinny jeans, patterned tights and harem (MC Hammer) pants:  All show no signs of slowing in popularity.  Avoid solids at all costs – patterns and whiskering on denim are not just encouraged, but necessary .  And whatever you do, do not coordinate the colours or patterns with the other items in your outfit.  This is a major fashion ‘don’t.’

A fantastic example of pattern mis-matching: a tiger jacket over a floral lace top, with another floral pattern in the leggings, zebra shoes, and a patterened bag. Someone call Vogue!

Uggs:  More specifically, imitation Uggs.  These not only keep your feet warm during hours spent in unheated buildings in the winter, but also help to make your legs appear slimmer by increasing the size of your feet.  But, if Uggs aren’t your style, then the only acceptable option is…

Heels:  whether they be boots with heels, sneakers with heels, bling-y sandals with heels, flip flops with heels…it doesn’t matter, as long as they have heels.  Want to be a true member of the fashion elite?  A pair of Uggs with heels will solidify your fashionista status.

Embellishment on your heels is a fashion 'do'.

Nylons:  But not just any old pair of pantyhose will do.  Nude-colour, ankle-high nylons with the bands showing should be a staple in your wardrobe.  Everyone from young trendsetters to veteran style stars is rocking these this (and every) season, with any and every outfit imaginable – dresses, shorts, and pants can all be taken to the next level of fashion with these peeking out.

Designer handbags:  To be truly on point, a big bag is a must – roughly half your body size is best.  The designer label is also key, but knock-offs are obviously just as acceptable – the point is for it to appear as though you have a designer bag, not for you to actually have one.  The devil is in the details; your bag should always appear to be nearly empty (to imply that you paid so much for your designer bag that you can’t afford anything else), so be sure to carry very little in it – fashion over function, of course!  Tip:  If you have items that you absolutely must carry with you, it is best to re-use a shopping bag for this purpose.

A Spoony bag is SO last season! Your new bag needs to be designer label and much bigger.

Plastic glasses with no lenses:  Wear them large to best flatter your face by making it appear tiny.  These will frame the eyes and give the impression of intelligence.  Best if a knock-off of famous brands like LV, Gucci, or Chanel.  Affordable, so stock up in a pair in every colour.

Hair:  Simple updos , such as ponytails or buns, are the best crowns for your new and improved look.   Colours trending these days obviously skew towards black or shades of brown, but preferably with the ends coloured a rich shade of burnt orange, having grown out after a failed attempt at going blonde.  This is known as ombre hair, with Chinese characteristics.  Slide in multiple rhinestone hair clips to draw attention.

And finally, the pièce de résistance, the accessory that will truly complete your “young, small-town Chinese woman” look and cement your place as fashion royalty…an iPhone with a rabbit ear cover.

Now, log into QQ messenger on your phone, turn the message alert volume up as high as possible, grab your friends’ hands, and head out on the town!

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17 Responses to A Small-Town Hebei Style Guide

  1. avangundy says:

    Yes! I especially love the rabbit-ears phone case. I’m in southern China and that’s huge. Do you have the skin-tight shorts over blacks nylons/tights thing in Hebei? And the gigantic long sweatshirts, preferably with little cat or bear ears on top?

    • kjsandor says:

      Haha, yep! We’ve got all that. And in the fall, the shorts MUST be so short as to expose the line at the top of the leg on the pantyhose (if you’re not showing it, you’re not on trend).

      As to it all, they like it and they think they look good, so whatever floats their boat. I happen to think that a good deal of this is not that flattering to their figure, but hey, what do I know?! ;)

  2. unbravegirl says:

    I am ashamed to admit that I bought a pair of imitation Uggs this year…. and wore them… on multiple occasions… in public. I was not proud… but at least my feet didn’t freeze off like they almost did last year.

    • kjsandor says:

      I have some too – I also think my personal style would take a bit of a hit if I was missing a foot to frostbite, so… However, mine are just the plain and simple black ones – no sequins or puffy fun fur trim or anything like that. I do also own some skinny jeans, a couple of pairs of heels, some tunic tops, etc., but I don’t quite put together the outfits I see other girls wearing. I’m not brave enough for that. ;)

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  4. I’d also mention fancy flip flops decorated with a bunch of plastic grapes and creepy contact lenses which make the iris eye unnaturally big ;)

    • kjsandor says:

      Ah! I have seen those flip flops for sale here, and seen them on the odd girl out and about, but given that folks here are still SO uptight about flip flops being “slippers” and only to be worn in the house, it hasn’t caught on as a trend…yet. I know they sell the weird contacts here, but have never paid a ton of attention to see if lots of girls are wearing them or not. Maybe next season?! ;)

  5. Ha ha!
    Fat Birds Armpit! LOVE it. :)

  6. Vogue should have taken you in as their roving fashion reporter. Observant and hilarious! But fashion for the young and herd-minded is more of the same incongruity. But who are we to say they are urg! One woman’s meat or rather clothing is another’s poison or rather sartorial no-no. Let the young be. After all, it is such a fleeting thing – youth. Better to have wings and rabbit ears.

    • kjsandor says:

      Well, thanks – maybe a career move is in my future (I doubt it though!)?

      And you are right, what I deem as too many patterns or “too much” is just what they love; fashion is subjective. I may not like some of what they are wearing, but thankfully I also have the right to choose what I myself wear – just wish it was easier to find some simpler tops without so many cartoon characters!! :)

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  9. miravakily says:

    The oversized, empty bag then has to be carried by Boyfriend.

  10. Rin says:

    Everyone wears those creepy contacts here. :/ And fur trim on everything!! :/

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