We’ve all seen copywriting bloopers. They can be hilarious. They are even funnier and nuanced when a second language is involved. I speak from experience because I can hardly speak Mandarin let alone write Mandarin and forget about grasping any colloquialisms. Taiwan, if you think I poke fun at you, just follow Copywronged on Instagram to witness English ineptitude – in the USA! Uff-da.
Things that make ya go Mmmm?
Moving on from fashion to beauty. I think we’re all aware that the perception of beauty varies from place to place, from country to country, from culture to culture and on and on. I’m going to share a couple that stand out to me in Taiwan:
#1. Angular Noses
This device stopped me in my tracks. I’ll confess, I admire and even coveted an aquiline (or angular/straight) nose when I was in high school. It’s always what we don’t have, that we want so badly, right? Don’t worry, I love my non-angular nose or as Scott affectionately calls it the champagne grape. I promise not to attach this thing to it.
#2. White Skin
I get the health benefits of staying out of the sun, but intentional bleaching and whitening with chemicals? Many products have whiteners added to them and since we can’t read Mandarin ingredients, we tend to buy most of our beauty products in the USA. I try to think of things that would make Taiwanese go Mmmmm in the USA and I think it would be tanning salons.
#3. Double-lidded Eyes
This blew me away. Apparently a double eyelid is sought after and considered beautiful in Asia. Some humans are naturally born with a single or monolid (approximately 50% of people in Asia). Never fear, there’s a product to “correct” this. Simply adhere eyelid tape to your eyelid and viola, a double eyelid. If you want to make a permanent statement there’s blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), which is popular.
The last item that may surprise you is curls and perms. Remember those? Most hair texture here is beautifully smooth and silky, pretty much the hair I always coveted and still do and will never have. Perms are popular for young and old including men! They usually trend towards the kinky curly and why not? People with curls have more fun and we all know it! The other curl-related news I can report on is women wearing one big fat curler in their bangs…. out in public.
Let’s bring it back around to fashion again… the doggie fashionistas!
The Practical Side
My Questionable Style
The sun in INTENSE from about April through September. It’s common to wear gloves while biking and scootering to avoid sunburned hands. I own two pairs: the white Mickey Mouses (below) and a modest nude pair. After 3+ years in year-round tropical weather my adventure spots have really popped on the hands. Can we please stop calling them age spots. That’s baloney. Let us celebrate that fact that these spots come out when you GO OUTSIDE and PLAY!
The options for sun visors is mind boggling. People generally opt to physically block the sun with clothing versus smearing sunscreen on all day. I’ve adopted this strategy as well because sunscreen feels gross when it’s 105 degrees with 95% humidity. Pickles thinks I took Taiwanese fashion too far with this visor. He’s wrong. Yes, those ARE sliding, adjustable side visors because the sun attacks from all sides.
A P&P health tip
The only wrinkle and burn preventer out there is good old-fashioned sun block. It’s easy to remember why: The UVAs will Age ya and UVBs will Burn ya. Stay safe sun lovers!
It’s common to see employees across all industries wearing a uniform. I personally love it because for the most part people just look sharp and professional. All kids wear uniforms to school too. In this culture group harmony prevails! My favorite uniforms are the women and men who operate the elevators at the fancier malls. They are from another era… white gloves and all. Similarly uniformed employees swing open the front doors each morning, flanking the entrance like it’s a formal grand opening, spreading their arms wide with white gloves saying, “huānyíng” (welcome) to the mall. Malls are popular here and nothing like the ones in the USA that in my opinion are typically run-down with sub-par food courts.
If you fly through Taipei’s airport (TPE) you’ll likely notice the helpful information desk is staffed with sharply dressed women. Wish I had a better shot. Their hats are quite stylish. Oh and there are complimentary mints at this desk which are quite delicious. Please help yourself when passing through.
Please no cat ears. We’ve told you before. We won’t tell you again. And don’t even think about cat ears with your wedding attire. Feel free to take all the photos you want though.
Shopping sure is entertaining around here and I’ve only highlighted the quirky and unusual! On the flip side, there are beautifully designed clothes – many influenced by Korea and Japan. Taiwan also has the same fast-fashion chains you see in the USA like H&M and Gap. Our go-to for those types of basics is Uniqlo (a Japanese brand). My most favorite place to shop for clothes is at the day markets. They’re frenetic and dizzying places, but if you linger long enough and poke around long enough you come across some gems.
Whether you’re fashion forward or backward or sideways, our only fashion tip is: Remember to put pants on (unless it’s the weekend).
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