Fashion sense and sensibility

Updated: 2013-06-21 14:58

By Valerie Ng (China Daily)

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HEADLINE: Fashion sense and sensibility

Aurelie, a public relations officer at a French multinational company in Paris, is not into high-end designer brands. Instead, she prefers French brands such as Maje and Paule Ka that offers chic, simple and original look at mid-range prices. A Maje dress costs between $197 and $328.

Aurelie says she spends about $130 a month on average to keep up a stylish wardrobe.

Joseph D'Alessio, a Premier Mortgage Consultant at Hong Kong Shanghai Bank Corporation in New York, also prefers boutiques to international brands because of the tailor-made services.

"I tend to find small clothing stores and designers that offer more individual and specialized service," says D'Alessio, adding that he appreciates quality and is willing to pay $100 for a shirt at a boutique retailer in Manhattan's Flatiron district.

As for casual wear, D'Alessio likes well-cut jeans despite a price tag that will set him back at least $200. He also buys a pair of running sneakers every six months, which costs about $100, for his gym workout.

Although Paris is considered the world's fashion capital, executives living in emerging cities like Beijing and Shanghai are becoming more fashion conscious and willing to spend on quality clothing.

Based on the data, Singapore is the cheapest city to buy a mid-range T-shirt of international brand, such as about $32 for a Lacoste; while Beijing and Shanghai are the most expensive cities with the same brand of T-shirt costing an average of $130 per piece.

Compared to the median salary per city survey conducted by, an online cost of living research site, that means a mid-range T-shirt takes up only 1.02% of the monthly salary of someone in Singapore, 15.20% (Beijing) and 3.91% (Shanghai).

If you are someone who loves to don the casual jeans, it is cheapest to get it in New York. The price of a pair of Levi's jeans in the financial city costs an average of $52.50, compared to Beijing and Shanghai, which will cost an average of $130.

We also found that priorities and lifestyles change with age or marriage.

For example, 30-year-old Wei Dongjian from Beijing used to splurge on clothes and shoes from his favorite brands namely G-Star, Zara, Timberland and Diesel. Now, the business development manager in a Beijing interior design firm, who is preparing for his wedding, says he is saving up money to buy an apartment, and maybe even a car.

The same goes to 32-year-old Chen Shaojie, who only wants the best for his 2-year-old son. Most of the items for his toddler are imported. His latest buy is a $1,142-yuan baby carrier, which is directly imported from the United States.