From Breast Binding to Bikinis

March 30, 2012
Editor: Sun Xi
A More Daring Attitude 
An illustration showing a bra model. [baike.baidu.com]

An illustration showing a bra model. [baike.baidu.com]

The social atmosphere in 1930s Shanghai was surprisingly open and progressive.

Mao Dun wrote in his novel Midnight: "A fashionable woman wearing a gauzy waistcoat sits in a rickshaw, one naked leg crossed over the other. Although it is only May, the weather is stiflingly hot. She wears a summer dress of light blue that hugs her full curves tightly, her sleeve cuffs drawn up above the elbow."

Trendy women now sought to enhance their female charms. While traditional Chinese women's style was characterized by complete flatness, women now demanded the privilege of flaunting their curves.

In big cities like Shanghai, women gravitated towards ever more daring fashions.

The government's lift on the ban on revealing dressing meant that more and more Chinese women began to dress in new ways to get attention. In the 1940s, Hollywood films came to the big cities of China and young girls began to imitate the styles they saw on the big screen.

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