by Joy la Joie
Although Spring Festival is just around the corner, Winter is far from being over, global warming aside. Long dismal days linger ahead in Beijing for at least the next two months, laid with icy ground, and biting sub-zero wind chill factors. For the fashion conscious urbanites in the city, this poses a moral dilemma. How does one pull off a chic and sexy outfit while sporting thermal long underwear at the same time?
The answer is you don't. I know, I know, you were probably expecting advice otherwise. But I'm going to level with you; fashion in Beijing is just as harsh and messy as the winter weather. Your hairstyle will interchange between static electricity and hat head, your runny nose will drip and stain your sweater, and your dry lips will crack like a crack-whore.
In Beijing, style goes into a hibernation-moda. People do what they have to do when it comes to adorning themselves. The other day when it snowed, I passed a woman on the street who was using a plastic shopping bag as a hat, the handles conveniently tied around her ears. Once I recovered from my initial shock and horror, I honestly had to allot her points for ingenuity and guts. After all, aren't these the fundamental principles of fashion?
For the ladies, the classic look in the city is the black, double-down, ankle-length, shapeless parka, with a fur-lined hood (usually worn up and tied tightly around the face, otherwise known as the "Eskimo effect"). However, this season has offered a variety of colors in the parka, although the design remains the same. Same puffy, fat-suit shape, but now available in orange, purple, and cobalt blue.
Of course no parka would be complete without a pair of ridiculous earmuffs. Most earmuffs curiously appear to be made for children, yet are large enough to fit the cranium of an adult. Many stores carry your basic tacky zebra and leopard prints, although you may find the decapitated heads of stuffed animals and Hello Kitty at specialty shoppes. These pieces are vital in keeping your ears warm, while allowing you to stay in step with Beijing style this winter. The best part is they are not gender specific. Men can wear purple Teletubbies earmuffs too.
Last but not least, we can thank the Australians for the final wretched piece of the Beijing Winter ensemble. Ugg boots (which is no doubt short for Uggly) have been copied throughout the Chinese market place and are proliferating through the city streets. These boots effectively make feet appear oversized and allow ankles to look lumpy. The proper way to wear your Ugg boots, by the way, is to tuck your pants inside.
Put it all together, and what do you get? Fashion death. Sad but true, style has become a lost cause; it's as dead as a doornail, dead like wilting grass beneath the snow, dead like grandma. And there's simply nothing to do right now but mourn its loss.