In such a modern city where people take pride in the way they dress it is normal to feel under dressed as a foreigner, especially coming from America, where most of us throw on a pair of shorts and a decent shirt to go to class; not here.
The way students and locals dress here is very formal and fashion forward, you will not find people walking with work out gear in the middle of the day, everyone is always looking their best. But do not worry, this is part of the Chinese culture and most of us have learned to understand this concept.
As students we really wear what we have in our closet, once in a while we might buy a few things here or there, but mostly only if it's something we really need. The best things you can bring are clothes that you can mix and match, basic colors, also a nice dress for girls, and boys - a pair of slacks and a nice pair of shoes.
Also an important thing to keep in mind is the season that you are coming in. If you are studying abroad in Shanghai in the summer, bring lots of summer clothes due to the fact that the summer is very hot and humid here. Winters are rainy and cold. Currently we are having beautiful fall weather, and people are starting to layer and wear scarves, sweaters and boots, so just remember pack light, but smart and only bring with you those essential pieces of clothing that can be worn not only formally but also casually.
Another key piece of advice is to have comfort in mind, because you do walk a lot here and comfortable clothes and shoes will be extremely beneficial. Overall, just dress for the season that you will be coming in here, Shanghai's weather is not extreme therefore packing should be a piece of cake!
Katherine Guevara is the Fall 2013 CEA MOJO in Shanghai, China. She is currently a Senior at the University of Houston.
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