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How should I dress?

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December 29, 2014

What kind of clothing is considered acceptable in China? What is the climate like in different regions? What kind of packing tips should I follow when picking clothes to go abroad?

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Though China’s fashion scene is rapidly developing and a myriad of styles are seeping into society, people still dress conservatively. I would advice you not to wear shorts that are too short or shirts that show too much skin. Tank tops are fine, as long as it isn’t too revealing. Just be respectful with your choices.

Beijing, and the region around the capital has seasons; summer ( roughly June-August) is not only hot, but also humid, while winter (December-February) is quite bitter and windy. If you are planning to pack for the summer, I would pack a fair number of shorts and t-shirts as well as light sweaters for air conditioned places (classrooms, offices, public transport) since sometimes the temperature is too cold inside. Wintertime warrants long-johns and a never-too-excessive amount of layers, thick-soled boots or shoes and a parka or ski coat. A hat, gloves, and scarf are an absolute must! (If winter clothing is too heavy for you to take from  home, or you don’t have enough room in your luggage, there are numerous malls you can buy your winter gear from, all at a very reasonable price.)

In terms of regions, it is difficult to generalize as the terrain matters, for example the mountains will be much cooler and windier during the winter months, and less hot in the summer.

Northern regions: Summer- Cool, not too humid. Winter- All-out winter gear, especially the further north you go. If you’re planning to see the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, layer as much as you can, as temperatures can easily drop below -30!

Southern regions: Summer- Significantly more humid than the north, would recommend wearing dry-fit and lighter colored clothing, rather than thick cotton clothing. Winter- Can get quite cold in this region and depending whether you are at a river delta or in the mountains, the change in temperature can be quite drastic.