Arts + Culture

What Not To Wear: Dress Codes Worldwide

by Eimear Lynch

China

At a meeting Twenty years ago, "Chinese fashion" meant dark Mao pantsuit uniforms; in China today, work clothes are still homogenous suits and ties, even on the hottest summer days. Businesswomen go without makeup and jewelry, and everyone shies away from conspicuous consumption to show they're focused on the business at hand.

On the street: Arms, chest, and back should be covered, but "China is not puritanical," says Qin Herzberg, co-author of China Survival Guide: How to Avoid Travel Troubles and Mortifying Mishaps. "Dressing unconventionally won't offend anyone. It's a question of presenting oneself in the best light." Although Chinese women wear conservative cuts, shirts are sometimes transparent, leaving the bra in full view.

At a party: Exaggerated styles and silhouettes by Comme des Garçons, Martin Margiela, and Yohji Yamamoto are currently hot (in a monochromatic palette, of course).

P.S. "Chinese women would be loath to wear any footwear without straps, because it shows too much of the foot," says Herzberg. "The style also reminds them of flip-flops, which are seen as cheap."

Next: What Not To Wear in India ›

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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