In Shanghai, What Not to Wear
Travel Blog • Julia Ross • 04.08.09 | 3:32 PM ET
In my old stomping grounds in Shanghai’s Pudong area, I was always amazed to see grown women wandering the streets in pajamas emblazoned with teddy bears and Mickey Mouse motifs. The Chinese teachers I worked with were embarrassed by the trend—they told me they wouldn’t be caught dead outside in pajamas—but somehow it’s become as much a part of Shanghai culture as soup dumplings and hairy crabs.
Now, in the lead-up to the 2010 Shanghai Expo, some of the city’s neighborhood committees are campaigning to ban the wearing of pajamas outdoors, on the grounds that it looks “uncivilized.” Seems there’s a push on to project a more sophisticated image to the thousands of foreigners expected to attend the Expo, similar to the pre-Olympics etiquette campaigns in Beijing.
Neighborhood minders face a tough battle, however. The Montreal Gazette reports that 7.5 million of the city’s 19 million residents admit to wearing sleepwear outside at least some of the time. That’s a lot of flannel.
Where’s Tim Gunn when you need him?