The most populous city in China is booming, and brimming with exciting quarters to explore like the historic Bund, charming Former French Concession, and futuristic Pudong, with its vertiginous hotels and skyscrapers. Once you're ready to set off to Shanghai, in style, here's what to pack.
French Concession Cruising
With bustling thoroughfares and nonstop traffic, be prepared to keep up with the pace while taking in the European-style architecture, courtesy of these flat black boots with striking gold rivets ($325).
Like any modern metropolis, city-wear tends toward the polished side. But with its expat and hip local residents, the Former French Concession is particularly design-oriented. Choose pieces that lend some structure, but still offer comfort, like this high-collar boxy white top ($99.90).
Pair the architectural top with a more feminine piece, such as a swingy navy brocade skirt ($99.90). For colder months, layer over opaque ribbed tights for an extra dose of texture.
Choose a cross-body bag, a convenient option for traversing the city, or try a novel shape like this black leather backpack with tassel, which will keep your hands free ($350).
Travel attire shouldn't sacrifice range of motion for style. This stretchy knit navy dress with trendy pleats checks off both categories ($228).
With boutique hotels and world-class restaurants lining the way, the Bund, Shanghai's most famous stroll, is ripe with both history and glamour. Pull your nighttime look together in one piece with this simple sheath in red and black stretch lace ($158).
Depending on your final destination, these mesh and leather pumps dial up your after-dark appeal ($350).
You can also accomplish a cool (slightly rock 'n' roll) aesthetic with a silk or embellished blouse over these skinny velvet jeans ($69.95).
Bundle up without bulking up in this gray wool military-style coat with neat red trim ($248).
Pick up on the rouge theme, with a brocade fold-over clutch in lipstick red ($210).
Up for a day trip? Just outside the city, but still within the district of Shanghai, are several picturesque river towns (think Venice à la Chinese dynasty). Keep warm—there's usually a damp chill on the waterways—in this camel melton duffle coat by British heritage brand Gloverall ($533.94).
Layering is a smart solution for variable temperatures, such as throwing on this breathable wool patterned sweater with elbow patches, over a cotton tee ($138).
Classic five-pocket jeans are always a savvy vacation choice, and work well for both day and night ($220).
Mix in a bit of retro flair such as these vintage-style New Balances in brown and orange ($189.99).
A cashmere hat in army green will be a lifesaver on blustery winter days ($36).
Or, if the weather calls for it, go for colorful cashmere instead, such as this color-block sweater in cherry and purple ($89.90).
Inject a bit of strut to your stride with these sleek black Chelsea boots ($185).
Finally, a lightweight cashmere scarf with a whimsical star print rounds out the city look ($125).
Photo Credits: French Concession Cruising: Courtesy of ZARA; Neiman Marcus; www.dillards.com; ZARA; Zappos.com or its affiliates. Bund Nights: Courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue; Nordstrom, Inc.; www.vincecamuto.com; Gap Inc.; Donna Morgan. River Towns: Courtesy of Stag; New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.; asos.com Ltd; www.marcjacobs.com; Stag. Xintiandi Evenings: Courtesy of www.johnvarvatos.com; Nordstrom, Inc.; J.CREW; Lord & Taylor; UNIQLO CO., LTD.