Choices women make in fashion influenced by where they live
Do women in different Chinese cities have different ways of dressing, and do their fashion choices reflect regional characteristics?
A survey, based on millions of clothing sales made online over the past six months, says yes.
Women in Beijing like to wear long dresses with V necks, for an elegant and graceful look, while in Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, many like to wear ethnic-style long skirts with floral prints.
The survey's findings on the clothing preferences of women in 33 major cities in China were released on May 14. In the survey, conducted by the online trading platform taobao.com, information on more than 36.5 million buyers from 362 cities was collected for analysis.
"Women in Shanghai have personalities typical of the southern part of the country — delicate and moderate. So they prefer chiffon skirts, flowing in the air, making them lovely. And they pay a lot of attention to accessories," the survey found.
Other cities also have their own fashion styles. Women like colorful, tight-fitting and sexy-looking short skirts in Chongqing, a city famous for its spicy food; women in Taipei favor one-shoulder bouffant skirts, which make them look wild and hot; women in Lanzhou, in Northwest China's Gansu province, are drawn to simple but elegant hand-embroidered dresses.
Zhang Yue, manager of a large online shop on Taobao, said: "I've noticed that a type of dress is very popular among buyers from a certain area."
About 800 people from Beijing bought the same style long dress online last summer and 815 women in Shanghai got a particular floral button dress last year.
Zhang added that the difference in style is more distinct between coastal cities and the inland regions.
"It's probably their personalities. Judging by the sales at our shops, girls in eastern cities may be more willing to wear clothes to highlight their figure."
"Girls in Hangzhou (capital of Zhejiang province) go out in miniskirts and tank tops, and they enjoy people appreciating their beauty," said Zhang, whose shop is in Hangzhou.
"In some western areas of China, clothes that expose large parts of the body and elaborate styles are not well received."
Not everyone is convinced by the survey's findings, though.
"I've seen lots of women wearing chiffon dresses since May, but it's not everywhere. Sometimes, friends feel embarrassed to wear similar clothes. As for me, I like loose T-shirts and tights, casual and comfortable," said Zhang Hui, 25, a Shanghai resident who spent lots of money on clothes from online shops.
Zhang Runzhi, a civil servant in Beijing, agrees.
Zhang said she seldom wears long dresses because "it doesn't fit with my personality. I think styles of dressing go with individuals. How could a city of millions of people have one favorite style of clothing? That's not possible".
Dong Junyuan, a consultant for another online women's clothing shop, said he does not see obvious fashion trends in different cities.
"Well-designed clothes that have good quality do well. Fashion trends like long dresses and harem pants are popular in the whole country," he said.
But he points out that his shop's business is mainly concentrated in Shanghai, Guangzhou and other major cities.
In the six months since November, women from Shanghai and Beijing outspent the other cities, shelling out more than 800 yuan ($126) on average to buy more than seven items online.
"Women from these areas always face severe competition at work, so many of them like shopping and change their clothes frequently as a way to relieve the pressure," the survey said.