Think layers, ruffles, lace, tulle, pearl buttons, rhinestones, giant faux gemstones, ruching, pleats, bows, solids and patterns–on one outfit, sometimes on one garment! I kid you not. It is hard to know where to look. This is a common look in low end clothing. On the subway the other day, a young woman got on wearing turquoise patent leather shoes with leopard trim on the heels and toes, black striped tights (with lace-effect between stripes) that stopped about 6″passed her knees, and navy short shorts. Her top was a beige sheer print in a pattern of red/pink roses, with a ruffle of tulle extending below the hem. Around the collar was a ring of lace and a line of rhinestones the size of quarters; pearl buttons ran down the front. She carried a green over-sized handbag. Her look was extreme but I have seen a little black dress that had my eyes jumping from detail to detail: black, but who could resist a swath of leopard print across the bodice? Underneath, pleats but just down to the fitted waist. Below that was soft gathers. The sleeves were ruched and a large bow set to one side decorated the collar, where a few ultra large faux gems glittered.
Elsewhere in Shanghai, women walk on stiletto heels, wearing the standard short length skirts and dresses in calm and coordinated hues of off-white, grey or taupe, their hair and make-up impeccable. Their designs tend towards minimalist; even the odd floral print is tiny, subdued and immaculate. Gorgeous…and like everything else in China, illustrative of two extremes.
Meanwhile, I am sourcing out large size (8.5 at home, 41 here) shoes, barely available in China. Today I was so excited to find a pair (yes, one pair with no choice of colour) of ankle high boots. The decision to buy was instant: they fit, the looked great and they were on sale! Picked up a few more sweaters in the Chinese market and am good to go. I will be the height of fashion in Jiaxing!