While springtime in Paris is a delight, springtime in Beijing can be slightly less romantic. With the elements being what they are, practicality needs to be worked into the city gal's outfit when venturing outdoors. Combating the rigors of dust storms and strong winds needn't mean leaving style by the wayside, however. tbj has compiled a list of springtime essentials to help you brave the elements, while simultaneously bringing out your inner Audrey Hepburn. Halla Mohieddeen
The basement of Chaowai Yuexiu Market has a limited number of stalls, but options abound for over-sized sunnies. The advantage of shopping here is that the sales staff don't bargain as hard as the more touristy markets, and bargains are easier to obtain. Another option for unique styles at rock-bottom prices is Wudaokau Clothing Market where designer-style shades can be obtained for as little as RMB 50 per pair. Zhongguancun Mall also has a wide selection of glasses on offer, and Paris Miki in Wangjing Shopping Mall (6473 7827) has a large selection of designer options as well.
Zara has a selection of deliciously delicate chiffon scarves. These feminine scarves look chic tied round the neck and, when the dust storms loom, are practical in that they can be whipped up around your face as a dust filter. Perhaps not as cost-effective as a face mask from your neighborhood market, but infinitely more stylish. Iberian powerhouse Mango also offers a selection of chiffon numbers. Blustery days though, may call for more heavy-duty apparel. A wide selection of pashminas are to be found in abundance at various markets around town, including Hongqiao market, Yaxiu and Alien Street market.
The classic trench coat is ideal for wrapping up against bitter winds, yet light enough to deal with the shift in temperature. Budget options for this style-staple can be found in markets around Beijing. Yaxiu market offers Max Mara-esque numbers..work your haggling skills, and the price can be brought down to around RMB 100. Nali Mall offers more unique styles in its individual boutiques. But for the ultimate trench coat, head for Burberry in Oriental Plaza - it may not be the cheapest outlet in Beijing, but then again, true style is priceless.