Posts Tagged ‘fashion’

As I browsed the market last week in search of the best market shirts as gifts for friends of mine in America, something fascinating happened.

A woman came up to me and asked me to read the shirt she wanted to buy. Specifically, she explained, she liked it and wanted to buy it for her teenage daughter, but she didn’t want it to say anything bad in English.

The shirt was covered entirely in text taken from something about architecture and design at the University of Nottingham. After I skimmed it, I explained it as best I could. Seemed good enough for her. We chatted about how one can find some really good deals on clothes at the market so long as one looks carefully. After she asked me to read a second shirt, we talked a little more about her daughter. I left to go explore another vendor’s offerings before I became the market English consultant or got caught taking photos of only the weirdest clothes.

Like these:





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Blogger Lao Ren Cha 老人茶 already has an excellent post on getting clothes custom made and fitted by tailors at Yongle Fabric market in downtown Taipei. You can read it yourself here and gawk at her gorgeous wedding dress.

Though I’ve been to the Yongle market a few times this year (to buy fabric for the couch cushion covers, the bedroom curtains, and the living room hanging dividers), it’s too far to go to for the kind of tailoring I want – resizing all my too-big clothes.

So what was I to do?

You can’t walk a block in our neighborhood without coming across a sign for a tailor who fixes and alters clothing. Most of these places are tiny and look perfect for hemming your pants shorter or fixing that broken strap on a dress, but not for more complex alterations.

Finally, on one of my walks, I spotted a tailor with an actual store. Better yet, it was occupied by about four older women in their late 60s or 70s, chatting with the tailor while she worked. Perfect. I’ve really come to appreciate my neighborhood aunties this year, whether I’m dancing with them at exercise class every Tuesday, buying vegetables with them at the market, or observing them gossip like a gaggle of geese in the park nearby. If this tailor shop came with aunties, it had to be good!

I took two dresses, two dress shirts and a skirt in for alteration. The dress needed the most work because it was already a little big when Gene’s mom bought it for me in 2011. Add to that my becoming even smaller this year in Taiwan and by March, the dress looked like this:

Now, thanks to her work, it fits perfectly!

The total for altering five items came to 1100NT, or ~$37US. I have a few more blouses to take in before we go, and I think Gene might try to get some of his boxier dress shirts cut down to fit him better.

The tailor speaks both Mandarin and Taiwanese, but be careful – as soon as it became clear I could speak Taiwanese, one of the aunties decided I wasn’t allowed to use Mandarin anymore for the sake of practicing. It was marvelous! As was this exchange:
“Is it your father or your mother who’s Taiwanese?”
“Neither, they’re both American.”
“Then why are you so short?”

I love Taiwanese aunties.

Neihu District, Donghu Rd. Lane 33, #24


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I’ve promised (threatened?) some of my friends back in the US with 100nt (~$3.30US) market t-shirts or dresses as gifts upon my return.

Haven’t bought any yet, but I’m enjoying adding the clothing stands to my market shopping routine.

It’s worth nothing, there are plenty of clothes at these stands that I’d consider wearing. They’re either simple enough or quirky in such a way that is interesting, rather than bizarre. My friends won’t be getting anything like that. I hope to find even better clothes than the ones in the photos below.




Oooh, looks like this one’s a knockoff!



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Many of you have had the privilege of meeting our cat Bonkers.


He is immensely tolerant of me trying the baby hats I make as gifts on him before I send them off to their human owners.

Gene and I miss him and his sister, Gossamer, terribly while we’re away this year.

Now, thanks to a night market find, I feel like he’s part of my life again, silly hat, dismayed look and all!


I’m cutting myself off from buying cat related things for a while. Last week, a childhood best friend and I went shopping and I ended up with the above shirt, cat shoes:

and a cat scarf:

All I need is a cat skirt or cat pants and I’ll have a complete crazy cat person outfit. Taiwan is facilitating my madness!

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Beauty Diary

Found at one of my favorite stationery stores:

There are a few major issues with the text on the jacket, of course.

It reads:

Four big charts: Help you control caloric intake, calorie burning exercises, body self examination, self maintenance record: can record 60 times
Six common sense items about beauty appreciation: food nutrition chart, calorie chart, exercise calorie consumption chart, how to calculate BMI, golden ratio good body shape, how to become a small boned beauty
Sixty passages of knockout beauty tips: protecting your skin’s whiteness, exfoliating, fixing wrinkles, color and makeup tips… etc.

Includes one 88cm waterproof measuring tape. Keep track of your perfect figure ~ say bye bye to your beloved flesh!


  • Golden ratio body shape? Small boned beauty?
  • 88cm = 34.6inches. My hips are bigger than that. I’m on the small end of normal. What does that say to this book’s target audience? What would you do if your beauty diary, promising to teach you to become a small boned beauty, gave you a measuring tape that couldn’t fully measure your proportions?
  • Bye bye beloved flesh?


I was willing to revise my wholly negative impression after looking at one of the diary pages – at least an afternoon snack seems to be encouraged – until I noticed the text above the food diary.

“嘴饞吃不完” Gluttony never finishes eating.


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I forgot to add, you can also find ugly clothes for 100NT ($3.30) a piece:
(give me long enough here and I’ll start buying these clothes)

And intensely sparkly hair ornaments:


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