Hong Kong: What to Pack

Susan has lived a bit of a jet-set life. She grew up in Taiwan, moved to Manhattan, then moved to Shanghai, and now lives in Hong Kong. She has worked in the fashion industry for over 15 years and, currently, Susan works in merchandising for Loewe. She is a super chic woman who I spoke with on the phone about Hong Kong street style and what to pack….

*Top photo credit: Flo from https://www.yogawinetravel.com  Instagram: @yogawinetravel

Me:  How would you describe Hong Kong street style?

Susan:  Hong Kong is a place where people are quite free to express themselves.  I would say when it comes to self expressions, it’s quite bold and they’re quite daring and sometimes quite androgynous as well.  Of all the places I’ve lived in Asia so far I would say Hong Kong is the most progressive in terms of their street style.

Me:  Is there a distinctive style that you could associate withHong Kong or is it just kind of a hodgepodge?

Susan:  It’s a little bit of that.  I was going to say that it’s quite a mixed representation at the moment because the community here in Hong Kong is quite international.  So you have anything from people who are dressing quite conservative to the locals who are quite daring.

But then you also have the Chinese that are either now living in Hong Kong or coming here to travel.  They are more ‘on.’ When they dress up they’re really all out dressing up.  Meaning they’re more elegant, they’re more feminine.

I would say for the Hong Kong locals, their styles are really much more casual and more street wear.

Me:  And do you see a lot of traditional Chinese dress in Hong Kong?

“Of all the places I’ve lived in Asia so far I would say Hong Kong is the most progressive in terms of their street style.”

Susan:  Not at all actually, because they are around and you can still buy them but then it’s more for like special occasions where if you’re really dressing up for a specific occasion but then it’s the thing that they wear on a daily basis anymore.  Even if they do, they wear it more like a fashion statement than anything.

Me:  You have such an interesting background coming from Taiwan and then living in New York and then Shanghai and now Hong Kong so you must have a real international sense of style.  How would you describe your own personal style?

Susan:  I would say quite eclectic because my wardrobe is like an explosion.  It’s really not like all black or all blue or all denim or anything.  It’s just pieces from like Issey Miyake to Gucci to Louis Vuitton, it’s really everything.  I think the way that I dress everyday is really how I feel for the day, if there’s some important meetings or whatnot that I want to look a certain way.  And I try to be creative and I try to make a new look out of a very simple piece so that it’s not… so that it causes you to get inspired a little bit.  So it’s not that straightforward.

Me:  What are some of the key pieces that you wear often?

Susan:  I have obviously a staple pair of jeans.  I like my leggings as well.  Recently, I like more oversized tops but then also try to wear a waistline so that it doesn’t look too boxy.  But then I don’t think I really have a staple.  It actually really changes from season to season, from year to year.  But then it doesn’t mean that I throw them out they just don’t get as much love from my closet but then I always rediscover them in a couple of years.

Me:  I do the same thing.  What is a go-to outfit for you right now?

“There’s a lot of nightlife here in Hong Kong and you do want to look pretty, you want to feel dressed up.”

Susan:  Right now, because I really think it has a lot to do with what I just said about Hong Kong style because in Shanghai when I was living there, I think I tended to dress up more.  But in Hong Kong the style is so casual so I actually try to dress more casual, but I don’t look too different from the rest of my colleagues in the office.

So I have a short jacket from Louis Vuitton from back in the days that I keep on going back to but then I wear it with culottes or really wide bottoms.  Or if I’m wearing like a skinny bottom then I’m wearing probably like an oversized sweatshirt from Marc Jacobs with some bling and stuff like that.  So have some kind of a statement around but then trying to accentuate the different shapes.

Me: What are some of the favorite pieces or outfits that you see women wearing around Hong Kong right now?  Are there like some distinct or some definite trends?

Susan:  Yeah. Definite trends that I’ve picked up on. One I’ve noticed the past few years that I’ve lived here is definitely the Stan Smith sneakers.  I feel like everyone from boys to girls have it here.  They match it with everything from their more dressed up wear to their more casual wear to evening, actually everywhere.

Me:  Oh, I wear those.  I love those.

“I would definitely recommend layering… and you know, it’s a casual city.  Just a lot of walking so a pair of sneakers doesn’t hurt.”

Susan:  Yeah.  But I see a lot of the green.  That’s one of the most popular colors that I see on the street right now.

Me:  What do you think would be some essential items to pack for touring or visiting Hong Kong?

Susan:  Hong Kong really doesn’t have a winter, in the winter months I would definitely layer up.  So you’re probably indoor and it’s not as cold as when you’re walking outside.  And sometimes the humidity in Hong Kong is high so even though it’s not as cold it can be quite chilly.  So make sure that you actually have layers that you wear out.

Then if you’re coming here during the summer, very, very lightweight casual breathable fabric and material so that basically you avoid getting a heat stroke walking around the street.  But then definitely I would still recommend layering because the AC is really strong here in Hong Kong even in the taxi cab.  Even though it’s like super hot outside actually you need to wear a shawl or a jacket indoor just so that you don’t get sick.  Still, for those seasons I would definitely recommend layering.

And you know, it’s a casual city.  Just a lot of walking so a pair of sneakers doesn’t hurt.

Me:  I was just going to say what are the shoes?  Like other than sneakers, are people generally wearing flats, are they wearing sandals, are they wearing booties?

Susan:  So a lot of sandals during the summer because it’s really hot.  But then I would just pack up like your going-out shoe whether it’s a pair of heels or a pair of gladiator sandals or whatnot.  Because there’s a lot of nightlife here in Hong Kong and you do want to look pretty, you want to feel dressed up.  So you do definitely actually turn that day-to-evening look quite well for you.

I would say three different pairs, if you want.  If you wanted one pair of sandals just to kick around, a pair of sneakers that are probably good for walking or even if you want to go hiking because there’s a lot of hiking in Hong Kong, and a pair of evening shoes.

Me:  So in the evenings, is the vibe a little more dressy versus the casual feeling of the day in Hong Kong?

Susan:  I think so, especially during the weekends.  If you hang around in Central, in the SoHo area where people are usually going out for drinks or to bars and to meet friends, especially more dressed.  Friday nights I feel like it’s more the happy hour crowd, but then Saturday it’s definitely more dressier like I’m going out for a party and I want to look the part kind of feeling.

To really feel like you are on point in Hong Kong – here are the 9 key items to pack to hit the modern-casual and daring at night vibe of HK:

HK Style.001
From top Left (L – R): Paige Hoxton Ankle JeansHanes x Karla tee, Norma Kamali swing dress, Talulah dress (on sale!), Veda leather jacket, LNA sweater, K. Jacques sandals, Adidas Sam Smith Sneakers, Sam Edelman heels

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