First published in That's Zhejiang on 1 March 2012.
Blending in is a big part of what living in China is about, but putting on the full look might be a bit overwhelming. The aim is really to flaunt one really colourful vintage Chinese piece, and have it mingle along with your understated contemporary clothing, which should be in plain shades like black, white, or beige. Let’s see what traditional bits and pieces we can throw on along with our daily sweats to create an oriental look with a modern touch!
The customary Chinese wedding dress, also known as kwan kwa, consists of a top and skirt combo made of fine red silk with intricate gold and silver dragon-phoenix embroidery. Putting on the entire costume for a laid back weekend look is a tad bit over the top, but pairing the fine embroidered top with a pair of tampered jeans and black satin pumps will definitely make a rather chic look during the summer, with its mid length scallop sleeves. Check out Lucky Embroidery, renowned kwan kwa tailor, who injects the Western appeal into their designs, and focuses upon accentuating your figure.
Embroidered shoes and slippers were once the favourites of upper class Shanghai tai-tais during the early 1900s, with the fine touch of silk and calf leather, finished with detailed embroidery. These babies can be worn as ballerina flats, paired with a loose fitting shirt and a pair of snug knee length pants, which would be good for casual Fridays at work. Sindart 1958 carries both classic designs as well as ones with a refreshing twist. They even provide custom made services for those who know exactly what they want.
Cosmetic jewelry is a great way to jazz up your Chinese look without having to invest a fortune. Chu Yee Shing, a shop so famous its name actually replaced the word for cosmetic jewelry in Cantonese, carries traditional wedding necklaces, earrings, dragon-phoenix bangles, and even iconic double happiness pendants. These glaringly gold pieces will spice up a plain black crewneck dress. Mixing it with black patent leather heels and dark-coloured pashima, it will accentuate your mysterious look for lingering around art galleries and museums with.
Splendid Fashion gathered a group of experienced textile workers, and utilise their skills in fabricating innovative designs with their crafts accumulated from last century. Pair their quaint bags with what you normally wear for weekends to pick up your groceries or even a quick stroll at the city centre.
Sandalwood fan dates back to ancient China, and are wondrously useful when you are hopping in and out of the air conditioning during summer. With elaborate carvings, they make a delicate part of your wardrobe. Pop one from Cheung Shing Sandalwood Fans in your purse, and pull it out when the heat becomes unbearable. Or perhaps even just for sniffing the alluring scent.
Lucky Embroidery: http://www.lucky688.com/
Sindart 1958: http://www.sindart1958.com/
Chu Yee Shing: http://www.lifeworkshop.org.hk/smallshopstreet/noshutcompany.html
Splendid Fashion: http://www.lok-kwan.org.hk/clothing.htm
Cheung Shing Sandalwood Fans: http://www.179.hk/CusSP_CheungShingFan_TC.html