In a slightly less important note this week, although entirely mortifying on my part as this post reminds me, Annie and I took part in the Fashion Competition at camp – and yours truly won the Camp T-Shirt Customising Competition in the Volunteers section for Blue G!
I definitely don’t have the same pizazz as the Blue G Boy Band (who received many paper origami flowers from their female classmates, I didn’t fail to notice), and without Annie twirling me down the make-shift catwalk I certainly wouldn’t have looked quite as graceful. But the early morning rushed sewing (of course, I don’t travel anywhere without a kit) paid off with improvised polystyrene and cardboard flowers with a braided hem going to show you don’t need much to make something cute, if not dubiously weather-proof.
Just don’t look too close at the quality of the stitching.
Personally I like Annie’s decoration better, but as many of the volunteers have noted in our travels around Beijing, Chinese fashion has something against showing the shoulders, let alone the chest area.
I’m not particularly keen on showing skin myself, and part of me (literally) reckons it’s the Asian in me, if not the Asian mother upbringing.
Rather unnervingly, another volunteer commented that Chinese girls wear clothes like… “Charlotte,” pointing at my loose T-shirt and short combo. Sans cleavage (not that there’s much to show), shoulders covered, and typical cute design logo. Sigh…
Unlike my Western volunteer counterparts, I’m too conscious of the hubbub of curious looks and comments to want to make more ripples than a group of 老外 (lǎowài) already do; it’s hard not to feel influenced by my surroundings, especially when I can understand them. The style here for women definitely has an emphasis on femininity displayed as “girly” and delicate, rather than as accentuated sensuality. And the results of the Camp fashion show seems to act as a demonstration of this hypothesis anyway…
On the other hand, there’s no problem with short shorts, although by comparison to the Taiwanese style I’m used to, these barely count as short at all. Certainly high-heels are worn all round. We’ve even seen high-heels, bizarrely, on mountain trails where we foreigners are decked in hiking gear…
Though, I don’t think that’s something I’m about to be influenced by.