Polythene Pants Pondered

It must have been sometime around Christmas when I noticed the latest mysterious women’s fashion fad. If you find yourself standing behind someone wearing what look like PVC tights on one occasion, you let it pass. But when you see another the following day, then two or three the day after, and then they’re everywhere, you know something has happened. The product has been silently pre-positioned at suitable distribution points, the word has discreetly gone out that until further notice these are the things to be seen in, purchasing commands have been obeyed, and before you know it a sizeable proportion of the urban, 20-something female demographic is walking around wearing clingy leggings made of the same dull-glossy plastic they use for body bags. Black or grey only – mostly the former – to be sported beneath the sort of quasi-skirt some young women also like to wrap pointlessly over their jeans.

Are these items separate like stockings, or in one piece? If, as I suspect, the latter, are the waists elasticated, or fastened with a drawstring or buttons? Or are they held up by the adhesive action of their own clammy sweatiness? Do they have a name? How much do they cost? Which movie starlet or Cantopop star began the craze? Was it the same one who started the limp-wrist-hanging-hand habit affected by every other youngish lady in Hong Kong over the last few years? Or the one who made it cool to walk around with a Chihuahua in a shoulder bag? How much did the polythene pants conspiracy-cabal pay her? (If I recall, crooner Nicholas Tse was paid HK$1 million a year to carry a Coke can in his hand whenever in public, including traffic court appearances.) How do you wash them? Will the spray you clean PC monitors with do the trick? Do you iron them (or would they melt)? What will happen to them all when the trend fades? Are they biodegradable?

In Pakistan, ladies achieve elegance and comfort courtesy of the salwar kameez. In Vietnam, maidens enhance their graceful charm with the ao dai. And here in the Blissful Bay of Gateway and Hub, it’s the cadaver pouch-lustre of black polythene hose.

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28 Responses to Polythene Pants Pondered

  1. Maugrim says:

    Ahhh HK women’s fashions. I’ve seen things this winter that I have burst out laughing at. One girl around 18 wearing knee length white boots in chewbacca type fur, also sporting a one piece consisting of brief shorts and some sort of top, all made out of white fake ‘bunny fur’. her new year outfit perhaps.

    HK home of the: rampant use of fake fur on top of sneakers and/or boots/anything, stockings and shorts in winter, open toed roman sandals/boxing boots , skirts over jeans etc. Im not sure who to blame, Japan? Cantopop Kung Juh? Mongkok? All I know is that people wear some of the cheapest, tattiest shit, worn with an air of entirely missplaced sophistocation.

  2. Sir Crispin says:

    I have noticed and pondered this same odd fashion. Have you also noted the new bizarre fashion of local women wearing big, furry, winter boats? Or the girls that wear purple tops, orange pants, red boots, blue scarf…looking like a box of crayons blew up on them? It just reinforces my opinion that HK women have zero fashion sense and shouldn’t be allowed to dress themselves.

  3. Sir Crispin says:

    Ah Maugrim, great minds think alike.

  4. Maugrim says:

    Sir Crispin, seriously, the fur thing is getting out of hand, almost yeti-wear. Best of all are those dressed entirely in black, open toed sandals, lots of PVC, a bondage style belt with some fake fur conspicuously applied. Mongkok has a lot to answer for lol.

  5. Sir Crispin says:

    Perhaps this is a subtle ploy by these women to get men to get them out of these horrible outfits.

  6. Tickets, please? says:

    Concerning Mr Hemlock’s Q “Are these items separate like stockings, or in one piece?”

    A few years ago one of the Chinese-language rags published a list of places in various shopping malls where you could peer up at someone’s gusset as they were riding a glass-panelled escalator. If my memory serves me right, Pacific Place was highly rated. If you dig out the article, you could perhaps identify the best spots from which to address the issue. Indeed, I suspect that there might be enough material to turn your casual investigation into an MPhil thesis study.

    Good luck.

  7. Bunny Chan says:

    Oh, you fashion reactionaries !

    I bet you have forgotten your own fashion sins of the seventies: guys with long hair that looked really stupid, t-shirts and dangles, psychedelic pants, roman sandals, the over-enthusiastic use of bright orange and purple, beads, ‘army bags’ (for guys !), wire-rimmed glasses etc etc.

  8. Stephen says:

    Noticed the recent warmer weather has brought back the perennial favourite, denim shorts. Saw two examples of the MTR this morning. Like the heat killed the SARS virus in 2003 lets hope it will kill off the fur virus.

  9. HoneyChile says:

    Look white boy, some is into rubber and some is into PVC.

    You lives and you lets live.

    When I was in the cat house, all the kinky dudes were crackers and honkies.

    Some people says you has a permanent stick up your ass. Theys probably right.

  10. Saikungbob says:

    Poodles! Has anyone noticed the resemblance between some young woman and this obscenely clipped show poodles. Next time you see a girl sporting those PVC tights on skinny legs, with big furry boots, a puffy skirt and a short furry jacket, think poodle!

    I’m still looking for the full package, though. That is, all of the above plus a furry hat.

  11. oddsox says:

    Alll true. But when I return to western shores as I sometimes do, I see equally horrid fashion obsessions just with peculiar local cultural tweaks. At least obesity isn’t rampant here as it is in the US, UK, Canada, Aust etc so you have to put up with zeppelins like waddlers who look like sausages about to burst out of their culturally specific ridiculous clothes.

  12. Sir Crispin says:

    Oddsox has a point. I would rather see local girls looking like poodles, than some fat slob with her gut hanging out of her cut-off shirt and thinking she’s sexy.

  13. Big Al says:

    To echo Oddsox’s view, I’d rather be looking at slim young Chinese bimos clad in black PVC than the obese pissed-up slappers in shell suits that you find in the UK or other western countries. Uurrgghh!

  14. Maugrim says:

    ahh yes, the West, home of the ‘muffin top’ and a tramp stamp/arse antlers for extra effect.

  15. Gerald Simmonds says:

    Whenever we arrive at LHR (always seemingly just before break of dawn) we drive into London and all you can see is middle aged folks dressed in boringly sensible M&S clothes taking dogs for walks – and even the dogs manage to look middle-aged. Give me Mongkok eye candy anyday!

  16. Saikungbob says:

    Actually, I support all stupid and weird fashions for young people. It is important that they too cringe when, in 25 or 30 years, someone pulls out photos of the old days.

    Some old chum of mine has a particularly horrible picture of me circa 1968. She persists in sending me another copy every year or two at birthday time. Yeah, I was young and fit, but the hair, the beard, the sandals, the tie-dyed tee-shirt! The cruelty.

    So, I enjoy these fashions knowing that one days they too will try to hide photos from their kids.

  17. Cnut says:

    The PVC should be good for as long as the cold of winter lasts. But not with the coming of summer heat!

  18. Ann says:

    Well at least the Hong Kong girls seem to have developed a “style” [cough] of their own … HK boys can’t seem to get past the black American hip-hop look. But what really bugs me is the penchant for wearing what I believe are termed truckers’ caps perched right on top of the head (and this goes for either sex). Oh, and those sun visors sported by the middle-aged Mrs Chans and Mrs Wongs et al.

  19. Sir Crispin says:

    I think we need to call upon the gay men in the HK community to start speaking out: “girlfriend, that look doesn’t suit you, uh uh, no way sugar; here let me help you.”

  20. Bunny Chan says:

    Why not take the lead, Crispin ?

  21. Sir Crispin says:

    Because women wouldn’t listen to me, but they might to a gay guy

  22. Peter in Hong Kong says:

    Pretty certain anyone named Sir Crispin is gay.

  23. Sir Crispin says:

    Shush, or I’ll hit you wif my purf. My wife would beg to disagree.

  24. HoneyChile says:

    Honey, deys heaps of married gays. Ders one at the FCC and dey says he owly has a wife for to iron his cravats. Come roun and see lil ol HC. I guarantees one holy shock redemption on your ass!

  25. Sir Crispin says:

    Yeah, I’m sure I’m not gay. And Sir Crispin is obviously an alias, deliberately chosen for its air of snotty elitism. I’m not even British.

  26. FB3 says:

    PVC leggings reminds me of the fashion for leather shorts back in the 90’s when I first arrived in Hong Kong.

    Fun times indeed but difficult to shake the memories to my first encounter with Fanny Pong.

  27. Angloz says:

    All this talk of PVC winter fashion yesterday had me slightly intrigued.
    Until I arrived at my local suburban train station today here in Melbourne Australia.
    There it was, a young asian woman in black pvc pants with black boots.
    Today’s summer temperature forecast is for 30 degrees centigrade and high humidity.
    I wondered what would melt first!

  28. Curly says:

    Because of the sentence spacing, I initially thought the last entry was one of those poems that don’t rhyme.

    Having read it a few times, I now realize that it isn’t

    I suspect that Angloz is a recently retired SCMP letters editor with a penchant for one-sentence paras.

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