Leggings and light bulbs.

After a solid 5 weeks of inspiration- courtesy of the finely dressed women in Hangzhou- I finally bought myself a few pairs of new leggings.  I am now strutting around like the star of my own personal ZZ Top video.  Next on the list is a pair of short boots.  I mean, I love repping the Midwest with these, but I’m ready to dress like a grown-up now.
I’m long overdue to share some pictures of Hangzhou winter fashion, especially since we’ll soon be moving into spring clothes, which will no doubt be fabulous in their own right.  (I apologize for the poor quality of these pictures and the fact that they’re nearly all taken from the back.  I’m not quite slick enough to take inconspicuous pictures from the front.)
Boots, leggings, and a cute tailored coat is a pretty common uniform for the Hangzhou woman.  But there are sooo many ways to wear it!
It’s important to have a big bright bag.  I bought a butter-yellow one recently.
These shiny jackets are very popular, but I actually took this woman’s picture because of her great haircut.  Most of the women here have either long, long hair and bangs, or these adorable little bobs.  Probably every third time I walk by a hair salon, I almost go inside and ask for a chop.
Shiny jacket again, and I’m not sure if you can see this, but she’s wearing knee-length shorts on top of leggings.  Very, very popular look.
This girl’s got the long hair and her shorts are a little bit shorter.  I seriously love this outfit.  As soon as I find a pair of shorts that I like, I’m going to rock this look.
Shorts again.  Metallics are also very in.  Most women have some sort of metallic detail on their shoes or coats or bags.

I love my tall boots, but short boots like these (fur trim is optional) are everywhere, and I really want a pair.
So many women wear tall, tall heels here!  It impresses me because people in Hangzhou do lots of walking.  Their calves must be super toned.
Fur on anything is really popular: shoes, bags, vests, and especially coats.

Everyone owns leggings and tights with fun patterns on them.
I love this woman’s outfit.  I don’t think I want my short boots to be high-heeled since my chiropractor back home explicitly told me not to wear heels if I ever want my PF to go away, but I can still admire them.
Probably my favorite women’s fashion statement is this: 
Super common.  Women link arms to cross the street or to stick together on a busy sidewalk or just because it’s nice.  When Liz and I went shopping, she often took my arm and several times saved my life by yanking me away from a turning bus or speeding bike.
Men, I’m not purposely neglecting you.  I haven’t taken any pictures of men’s fashion, but I can give you some tips for dressing well in Hangzhou:
1) BUY A MAN PURSE.  Every self-respecting, well-dressed man here carries one and loves it.  You will too.
2) Choose a designer print that you like, and then wear it on your shoes, shirts, and man purse.
3) Rock the Uggs.  Lots of men here wear them, including Bao.
4) Skinny jeans only.  No one sags their baggy pants here.
5) Grow your bangs out so you can sweep them to one side, and then learn how to tease up the back part of your hair.  Dying it funky colors like pink and blue is optional.
6) I’m serious about that man purse.  You’ll be so organized, and you’ll never have to sit lopsidedly on your wallet again.  It will change your life.
To end, I’m going to share something with you that’s completely unrelated to clothing.  (Well, I shouldn’t say completely: I did hear about this while wearing my new leggings.  So there you go.)  Today, I learned my first Chinese idiom.  In the States, we call that awkward tag-a-long who’s sharing your date a “third wheel;” in China, they call that person a “light bulb.”  Not that third wheel makes a ton of sense, but I had to demand an explanation for this from my students.  They said that because that person’s presence is so glaringly obvious and out of place, you can’t ignore it.  Just like a light bulb in between you and your date.  Duh, Nelson!
My advice to you this Monday: pull on your argyle leggings and grab your man purse, then ditch the light bulb and head out to have some fun. 😉


  1. I work with your mom. My real name is not Ava. I just wish my mom would have named me Ava. Nevertheless, I am chris hummel and I LOVE your blog. You are so funny – just like your mom.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s