Random Thoughts on Hong Kong Style ... UPDATED!

Dear YLF Ladies,

Hello from sunny (and sweaty) Hong Kong! :) I have been here for about two weeks (hence my lack of YLF-ing until I could find an internet friendly computer) and I have made a few observations. I carefully read up on HK street style before I went and thought that I could get by with the things I normally wear; you know, a bit funky and a bit classic all mixed together with adjustments made for the heat.

Things that are really in:
- Booties and boots (even in +30 C weather!)
- Lace on EVERYTHING (including cell phone cases)
- An 'it' bag (LV seems to be a popular choice)
- A 'gear' bag (in the same outfit; Le SportSac is popular)
- Patterned tights (often with boots)
- Short skirts (on everyone; including ladies > 50 y.o.)
- Sweaters, cardigans, windbreakers (in +30!)

Things that are out:
- Bare shoulders. No sleeveless ANYTHING. Or else you look weird.

I don't think I took into account the parts of HK I would be going to. My family is from a diverse background; so there are days where I have to go to the wealthier parts of the city (where tourists usually go) and there are times where I go to the poorer districts. There is a huge contrast. I don't think I am appropriately dressing (no matter what I wear) for either of these places.

In the rich areas: people are commenting that my purse isn't really an "it" brand (I am carrying my cross-body Fossil; and they don't recognize Fossil as a brand around here); and people lament my short nails (still haven't grown out from work!) - also, the gel pads in my pumps have melted from the heat, so my feet are killing me - I don't fit the shoes here, so I am quite grumpy with sore feet :)

In the poorer areas: people clearly can tell I am not from their area because of the same things that separate me from the wealthy areas - no one carries a leather purse, or has a nice watch. It makes me feel a little weird; but I do speak the language, so no one has really tried to rip me off (yet) - also, my iPhone sticks out like a sore thumb. People around here use Android phones most commonly.

I miss the fall and my leather boots - although if I had brought them, my feet would be dying from sweat although I'd be super trendy! Also, young women love sticking their cellular phones and a thin wallet into their boots so they don't have to carry a purse/clutch. I find this bizzare.

Much love,

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.


  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Lyn, thanks for the report! fascinating to learn about customs in different places. I cannot imagine wearing boots in that kind of heat! Wow. And coming from Winnipeg you must feel the same.

    When do you head to the mainland? I am going on October 15 and we will be in Beijing until the 22nd or so, then Shanghai.

  • ramya replied 6 years ago

    Lyn I missed you :)... I was wondering where you vanished:)
    So forgot about your HK trip:)

    Thanks for the report :)
    That's so Japan style too :) And yes we Asians love our Androids :D
    But sticking them into boots is hilarious :)

  • replied 6 years ago

    Lyn, thanks so much for making the effort to get this post out to us. You are in such a street style hot spot! I'm shedding a tear for your poor, poor feet. You need a really good comfort sandals right about now (but then you'd only stand out more)! That's crazy about the boots and all of the jackets. I'm assuming it's very humid there too? My feet would sweat to beat the band and then I'd be sloshing around with wet feet.

    That's a funny tidbit about the girls using their boots to carry cell phone and wallet. I saw a young woman in the airport yesterday who had pockets on the outside of her boots. So do you think showing the shoulders is "out" purely from a style perspective? I'm guessing it doesn't have anything to do with modesty since you said women of all ages are wearing short skirts. I wonder if this trend is headed our way?

    It sounds like you are "neither fish nor fowl" when if comes to visiting the various parts of the city. Maybe your relatives will cut you some slack since you're coming from Canada. Funny how you can have you're look so figured out in one place and then travelling to another makes you feel like you really stand out (in an uncomfortable way). I hope you have a wonderful time anyway, figure out some comfortable footwear, and if you come home with one of those LV bags, I won't judge! *wink* :)

  • DonnaF replied 6 years ago

    My old boss would (and probably still does) always wear cowboy boots to boost his height, (and no, he wasn't from Texas), and yes, he would stow his wallet in his boots. There were no cell phones in those days.

  • sarah replied 6 years ago

    Wow, that is fascinating! Thanks for sharing your impressions. How funny about the "it" bag - I can't imagine anyone ever making such comments. I'm sorry about your poor feet : (

  • shiny replied 6 years ago

    I was in HK in 2009, same time of year. This all sounds familiar. My biggest gripe was my feet. It was so hot and humid, my feet swelled, and none of my shoes seemed to work. Thongs/flip flops would have, but I can't really walk in them, and nobody was wearing those (kind of gross in a city -- you want covered feet).

    Otherwise, I could not figure out how women could manage to look so fresh and stylish in such heat and humidity, with covered shoulders and legs and boots. I suppose if you live there long enough, your body acclimates.

    Despite grumpy memories of my feet and the heat, I'd love to go back again some day, because I found HK culture and history quite fascinating.

  • rachylou replied 6 years ago

    Excellent report! Perhaps sleeveless is too informal. It's that showing your shoulders to god thing. In that climate, though, I can't imagine wearing boots and sleeves!

    Most surprising to me is that LV is still in. Or is it that LV's making a comeback, like Tommy Hilfiger?

  • rae replied 6 years ago

    Hmmmm.... wallet in boots... very interesting! Might have to try this, though I'd have to pare down a bit.

    Sorry your feet are hurting you, but thank you so much for the style report!

  • Aida replied 6 years ago

    Ooh how fun! Thanks for sharing this report with us Lyn, hope you're enjoying seeing family:} Sorry your poor feet are hurting, hopefully you can find an interim solution soon. Wallets and phones in boots sounds.. interesting.

  • lyn* replied 6 years ago

    Still am overseas, but I ventured futher into the Asian fashion weirdness to find out a few more things...

    - Shoulders are considered more sensual; so you'll see younger women with one-shouldered slouchy sweat shirts, and that's sort of like us showing a bit of clevage here. I guess most people here are pretty flat, so cleavage isn't too interesting!

    - Short frilly skirts are apparently always in, and wearing more than one pattern is okay, depending on what part of the city you are in: I like to wear more than one pattern, and people think it is very "daring" and "style forward"

    - Sandals are kind of out, and considered very very casual. Especially flip flops (NO NO NO). Pumps are appropriate to go shopping and out with friends. Also, hose. Bare legs are kind of out, except if you have very wealthy friends (from my observation).

    - If you can't afford an "it" bag, the next best is the top quality leather you can afford. Also, everyone carries their own totes/shopping bags, because there is a levy on plastic bags. The problem isn't paying for the levy, but it is 50 cents! It is hard to find a 50 cent piece (1 HKD = 8 Canadian $ or so).

    - Pickpockets really like tote bags because there isn't a zipper closure, so most people keep their change purses in a zipper-topped bag

    - Some foreign tourists are very rude and think you can bargain all over the place, and if you cannot, they become loud and verbally abusive. Sometimes I become very embaressed to be standing anywhere near them. Makes me sad inside :(

    - Brands that are really in: Club Monaco, Coach and Zara (for us working class slaves) and higher class brands like Burberry, LV and Chanel. There are a lot of Hermes scarves and some Alexander McQueen as well. Many ladies sport Louboutins (or at least, the red sole), as well as Tory Burch flats. I have not seen Tommy H as a big brand around here, but Ralph Lauren is an "okay" brand. H&M is a favorite for fast fashion!

    - Things that are SO out: sunglasses (I've been wearing mine!), kitten heels (platform pumps are prefered instead), Converse runners (they wear a similar brand with a platform built in), long hair (short, croppy cuts are all over the place), coloured contacts (they prefer large-pupil ones instead), iPhones (Android world over here), boyfriend watches (small faced styles are in again) and too much bling (most people pick one or two pieces of HUGE bling, like an engagement ring).

  • jayne replied 6 years ago

    fascinating..thanks for sharing. I love this stuff...and it is probably the same heading our way in a year or two!

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