Beijing Style Part 2

Twelve years ago in Beijing you could still see the occasional older woman with bound feet. Some middle aged to older people still wore the old Communist style jackets and pants with cloth slippers. Younger, upwardly mobile people dressed in Western styles, but not really up to date, or they dressed conservatively and in a very lady-like way in slightly modernized qipao and heeled pumps.

Today in Beijing, it's a very different story. On Wanfujing you can buy Gucci and Versace and Vuitton, of course. If you can afford it. But lots of ordinary people are also having fun with fashion.

I saw:

Skinnies, worn with tunics and cropped jackets quite often
LOTS of mid-calf boots; these are favoured by Beijingers over booties or boots or ballet flats or heels
Lots of wedge heeled pumps with decoration (e.g. sparkly buckles or bright colour)
Lots of wedge sneakers
Plaid pants on guys (not so much on women)
Fur and leather - TONS of it
Pattern mixing

A few photos:

Pics 1/2: Store windows in a working class neighbourhood bordering a fancier district. This is a chain store, not a special boutique. Clothes were not super expensive or high quality but were not terrible quality, either. They were getting into the autumn colours.

Pic 3/4: I got a kick out of this young woman fooling around in the Forbidden City. Her jeans almost have a jodphur look to them, though it is hard to see in the photo.

Pic 5: Some young men walking around the Hukou Lake area. I liked the plaid pants.

Pic 6: This young woman walked an incredibly long, steep staircase to get to the famous Drum Tower in her pink monster wedges. Look at her pattern mixing and bookending! She is a PRO! She gave me permission to take her photo.

Pics 7/8: We spent a terrific day walking in the 798 Art district where we saw two weddings.

Pic 9: Where we had lunch that day. SO good!

Of course, not everybody is dressing this way; you still see lots of people without the means or the interest to play with their manner of dress. But a huge number are experimenting, especially in the younger generation. And from the little I have seen I would say that the city is truly developing its own distinctive look.

I am now in Shanghai where the look is very different. Hope to post pictures of that very soon!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • ramya replied 7 years ago

    I met many Asians(Korea,China and Japan) when I was in Barcelona recently. I have to say they look adorable :)

  • Parsley replied 7 years ago

    Suz, thank you for the fascinating report on Beijing! I'm amazed to hear how much it's changed in twelve years. I love your pictures, and I'm salivating at the thought of your yummy lunch!
    Are the packing choices proving to be on target so far?

  • lyn67 replied 7 years ago

    How exciting! Esp love the first to shop windows(including that orange tote:-)) and the two young ladiess wearing leather and fur in nr. 3 and 4. Young couple in nr 7 also fab! Thanx for sharing with us, Suz!:-)

  • Janet replied 7 years ago

    How interesting that times are changing so quickly -- it must be a fascinating place to visit! Great photos. Thank you for sharing!

  • Joy replied 7 years ago

    What a treat to find your travel report this morning! Did you pack the right things and have you bought anything for your closet?
    Loved seeing Beijing street style and shop windows and am looking forward to Shanghai.

  • MNsara replied 7 years ago

    Great to see pics both window shopping and the locals :-) Fun to see the wedding couples posing around town!

    Your weather looks lovely here - hoping it continues with you to Shanghai.

  • replied 7 years ago

    Thanks for taking me on a mini-vacation, Suz, I loved these photos!

  • Transcona Shannon replied 7 years ago

    Oh my goodness Suz - I'm loving these pictures. Thank you so much for taking the time.

  • Sara L. replied 7 years ago

    So interesting! I love hearing about the street style in other countries!

  • cloud9 replied 7 years ago

    Thank you so much for this wonderful report and pictures! Can't wait for your take on shanghai...

  • shevia replied 7 years ago

    It is fascinating how quickly things can turn around in a culture. Thanks for the wonderful pictures and insights - hope you are having a fantastic time!

  • celia replied 7 years ago

    I love the look on the girl on #3.
    Thank you for sharing with us , it is always interesting to see how people dress in different countries and different areas of the same country.

    Maybe we should do some 'people of Toronto'? ;)

  • cheryl replied 7 years ago

    Fantastic pics. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience.

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    Thank you for this! I LOVE that pic of the gal in the blue furry jacket!!

  • replied 7 years ago

    Thanks for being our roving reporter Suz! The fashion there has certainly evolved, hasn't it? I loved the bride and groom pictures, and that table of steaming food is making me hungry. I'm glad you enjoyed your scrumptious meal! I'm also wondering how your wardrobe selection is serving you on this trip. :)

  • Carole replied 7 years ago

    Now that's progress! Such amazing pictures, Suz. So much fun to see the Chinese having fun with fashion, too. Thanks for sharing.

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    Thank you, Suz!! This is so brillinat! I appreciate your write-up so much!! Such stylish people in those photos! LOVE THE JODHPUR JEANS.

    How is your DD enjoying her trip?

    Have you bought anything yet?

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    I have not bought anything yet. :-( There hasn't been a lot of time for shopping. But I'm hoping I will still get a chance to try for something in Shanghai. I did see some absolutely lovely locally designed things in the 798 Art District in Beijing and at the local school of design there.

    My wardrobe is working very well for me so far. I will do a full report on that when I return, but so far, I seem to have packed very well. There are only a few items not worn, most of which I will wear when I am in Vancouver. I did bring one pair of shorts that probably won't see wear at all, but that was a small thing to put in the suitcase "just in case." I admit, I am beginning to tire of the sameness a bit, but again, Vancouver will offer a shake up in terms of the way I layer things and the items that will get worn most often.

  • Sunita replied 7 years ago

    Ooh...fascinating! I love seeing pics of street life and people in other countries. It's so interesting to me.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.

  • rachylou replied 7 years ago

    Right. OK. I need that convertible sweater/puffer in the first pic!

    I can't wait to see how Shanghai compares with Beijing. I've never been to Beijing, but I've been to Shanghai. Beijing fashion looks less... oriental to me. I really felt, in Shanghai, a distinctive flavor to the way western wear was done. The girls were very ladylike.

    Perhaps that was Shanghai's *little maiden* style legacy or perhaps things continue to change apace (I swear all the English accents around the world are starting to flatten into one accent).

  • Charmian replied 7 years ago

    Suz, you are making me soooooo homesick for Beijing (I lived there for a year). Isn't 798 a hoot? The shopping there is the best in the city, IMO, if you want unique souvenirs. Don't get me started on "Silk Market", ugh.

    East Asian style (HK, mainland, Korea, Japan, Taiwan) has always been too maximal for my own style, but I ADORE seeing on others. Thanks for the trip report, and keep them coming!! (PS: where are the shots of our lovely author's outfits?)

  • Lisa replied 7 years ago

    What a great glimpse, I adore street styles. I like to see the clothes people wear in real life, not just on runways. Thanks for sharing!

  • krishnidoux replied 7 years ago

    Thanks you for this description and those pics! How exciting to be there, even for just a little while, through your eyes.

    Hang in there re:clothes! You did bring a terrific capsule. But I so understand your feeling.

  • Ariadne replied 7 years ago

    Thanks for the report! I love the two bride and groom couples. Their outfits are stunning and so fashion-forward. And I have to echo Charmian--where are the pics of YOU? ;)

  • Caro in Oz replied 7 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing. So glad your wardrobe is working. Have some Cantonese dim sum for me - sigh.

  • lyn* replied 7 years ago

    Hey Suz! Looks like you're having a blast! Glad your wardrobe is working out for you so far; I sat next to a fellow on the plane back from HK who had been to Beijing and who came back with > $1000 in silk goods to declare! LOL - I guess there is a pretty strong affinity for some people who like that stuff (I'm not really into silk myself).

    I hope your daughter is having a lot of fun too!

  • rute replied 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing! I love to see these style reports! So fun!

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