OPINION: How Hong Kong Style Influenced My Relationship with Fashion

Story and photos by Grace Bolthouse

From the city skyline to fishing villages, beaches to mountain tops, I gallivanted all over Hong Kong. What I brought back with me on my study abroad trip was more than a souvenir. It was self awareness, acceptance, and a relationship with fashion I never expected.

  1. Be comfortable. I mean it. Hong Kong taught me how to rock sneakers with any look, how much value layers truly carry and what a hat will help on the hottest days.

2. Follow trends you love, not just any of them. Wacky or not, Hong Kong is an international hub for expats, business people and students from all over the world. If you find anything there besides great food, it’s an insane sense for trends, brands, and merchandising. 

3. Dress to impress, and your confidence will shine through. I found myself always worried about the thoughts of others as they stared at me and my strawberry blonde hair from across the street. What I soon realized was how to value others behaviors and myself at the same time. I look different than Hong Kong locals. However, I used this to my absolute advantage by wearing whatever made me happiest in a culture that is completely unlike my home country.

For the love of Thailand.

4. Sometimes, less is more with makeup. I really love makeup. However, traveling light it often the only way. And, that means your face too. I went to Thailand for a week and never once wore makeup. My skin was so happy, and so was I. I felt more like myself with simple clothing and a bare face. My style transformed to a natural and bare look, in a place that truly reflected that. Use the freedoms of fashion to your advantage. 

5.Your fashion is your only representation until you open your mouth. Respect yourself. Know your audience. And as always, wear your best game face. If I learned anything about fashion in Hong Kong, it was that it includes so much more than the clothes, shoes, accessories and makeup you choose each day. It is how you hold yourself. It’s your presence. It’s your wit.

After 128 days abroad in a country so unknown, I felt at home. I embedded myself into the culture, meditated on the values and understandings of others, and found a calling to be even more true to myself than ever before. Amongst the madness, traveling day to day with people from all over the world, I found myself happier and more motivated to dress, appear, and hold myself to a higher standard. Allow your experiences to enhance the person you are, each and every day.

For the love of Thailand.
See link at end of article.
From a video shoot for GC Mag at my University in Hong Kong.
Running through the Subway station.
Casual day in the city.
Video at the end of article.
Video shoot for GC Mag in Mongkok, Hong Kong.
On one of 250+ islands in Hong Kong.
Adventures on bamboo boats in Guilin, China.


Blog of my travels here.  |  Video footage found here.