Post 101: Chillin’
“Chillin'” is much more than simply relaxing… In China, this categorical trend refers to the mindset of the Chinese, where people treat public space as if it were private space. This mindset is in turn reflected in a number of uniquely Chinese sartorial practices, including street pajamas/underwear, loitering/sitting anywhere, bare bellies, and street dancing.
But no, really, Chinese people do everything in their pajamas, from riding their bikes…
…to buying their groceries.
Some people don’t have anything to do in their pajamas besides pull up a chair and read a book:
But Chinese people will sit just about anywhere, on just about anything. It’s actually very sweet to see them so comfortable in public space… I mean, what better place to read the news than the ledge of a window of your local convenience store?
And this guy was literally chillin’ outside in the dead of winter, but he seemed cool with it:
I saw this other lady right down the block from him, and my only guess is that they were braving the cold temperatures to try and soak up some sunshine.
Chinese people even chill when they are on the move, like this clever bloke:
But when it’s summer time and it’s boiling hot, chillin’ takes a slightly vulgar turn with the bare belly trend… This happens when Chinese men, usually with pot bellies, roll up their shirts to air out their belly sweat. Ya, I know it’s gross to say that, but I actually have to see these plump dudes in makeshift midriffs every day of the sweltering summer on top of dealing with humidity + pollution. Ugh.
I took this picture at the entrance to the Peninsula on Beijing Dong Lu between Rockbund and the Bund itself… I mean, there couldn’t be a less appropriate context for this self-altered outfit, but this guy is just chillin’… He doesn’t care very much, which is reflected in how he presents himself through his clothing.
But I don’t want to gripe more about bare bellies in China, but if you want to see more, here is a bigger dose of the bare belly trend. I can’t decide if this is more or less offensive than street underwear, but it’s China and I’ve decided all I can do is just go with it…
And the chillin’ mindset and clothing style of Chinese people is certainly not all bad or offensive… some of it has proven to be quite endearing, but street dancing is my favorite manifestation of their relaxed and comfortable attitude about clothing and public space.
There is always a great, relaxed vibe where anyone can dance or just loiter and watch…
I don’t have that many great photographs of street dancing, but I’ll definitely keep my eye out for it throughout the summer… It really epitomizes a different but great aspect of Chinese style, although it certainly has it’s bad side to it. Anyway, check back tomorrow for some great “literal” looks!