Proper Attire in China

Aug 10th, 2005, 05:32 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 27
Proper Attire in China

My 83-yr-old mother and I will be visiting Beijing and Hong Kong during the last week of September and first week of October. We'll be spending 9 of the days on a Viking River Cruise. She is alway "properly dressed" (oh what a wonder custom; I wish I had the inclination and energy for that). Anyway, she is concerned about clothing, mixing and matching, and so forth, and wants to know if it is appropriate to "wear white" during that time of year in Beijing, Hong Kong and the stops we'll be making along the Yangze River. There's always such fabulous information about travel on this site. I promised her I'd put a query out to make sure she "dresses appropriately" and doesn't offend those in the culture we'll be visiting or feel uncomfortable in the "wrong clothes."
onthego is offline  
Aug 10th, 2005, 05:53 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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I believe that white is the color of mourning in China, so your mother might want to take that into consideration. Also, although I enjoyed our trips to China very much, I don't think her white clothing would stay clean very long. There is a lot of blowing dust and dirt, bad air pollution, etc. I found it much easier to wear darker colors.
OJudy is offline  
Aug 10th, 2005, 06:54 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 237
White being the colour of mourning - I don't think that matters. My dad wears white all the time in China (and he's Chinese).

But the grubbiness factor is spot on!
bkkmei is offline  
Aug 11th, 2005, 11:59 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
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I did a three week China/Yangtze River trip a few years ago, and was warned by the tour company to dress conservatively(dresses, long pants, long sleeve shirts, etc.) because that's how the locals dress. NOT TRUE. Most of us were wise enough to bring an ample supply of shorts (no short-shorts) and t-shirts, and were very glad we did. The rest suffered. For the most part, it was very hot and dusty (Hong Kong was sweltering) and the Chinese people now dress basically as we do, for comfort. The old stereotypical communist uniforms are history.
CUBANANCY is offline  
Aug 11th, 2005, 02:15 PM
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I'd also be less concerned with the 'mourning' factor than the dirt factor when it comes to wearing white.
Patty is offline  
Aug 11th, 2005, 10:47 PM
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I am not sure if you are referring to the “white shoes after Labor Day” issue if so, that is not a fine point of fashion that has made it to this part of the world, but in any event, I would not worry about that as I definitely would NOT wear white shoes for touring in any city or the countryside in Asia as it is far too dirty and dusty. In terms of fashion, I would bring less white and probably more black, esp for Hong Kong where people tend to wear a lot of it.

There are no dress codes for temples as there are in Thailand and other parts of Asia, so there is no need to worry about offending local people when visiting religious sites. Chinese tend to dress rather casually, other than perhaps in some of the business areas in Hong Kong and tourists everywhere tend to dress very casually as well. You will see a lot of pants and loose blouses on local women rather than skirts or dresses. (I am not talking about young girls and women who dress pretty much the same everywhere from what I can see: the low jeans, thong underwear, etc) All that being said, she should wear what she is comfortable in, as there will be a lot of walking around, some climbing of stairs, piers, etc. Chinese do tend to be a bit modest, but your mother is 83 so I don’t imagine she will be dressing like J Lo. . . . Hong Kong will still be quite warm to hot and will also still be humid at that time of year, but also note that restaurants, hotels, shopping centres and public transport like buses can be freezing with air-conditioning so do bring a sweater along during the day for sudden changes in temperature. Beijing should have more fall-like temps, but you can get a warm to hot spell. Take a look at and for historical average temps and rainfall.

The Yangtze cruises are by no means on luxury ships and you will not find people dressing for dinner so don’t bring special cruise clothes. Do not expect too much out of the cruise, some of the scenery is indeed spectacular, but there is a great deal of pollution and construction because of the dams being built.

Cicerone is offline  

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