'Easy to get married' style trend to land a husband sparks debate in China

Japanese actress Satomi Ishihara in the 2014 TV drama Heartbroken Chocolatier.
PHOTO: Screengrab from Heartbroken Chocolatier

"A woman only wears makeup for those who appreciate her."

It is ancient saying from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) that has been ingrained in Chinese people's minds for generations.

In ancient China, the styles and colors of women's clothes were often connected with men's taste.

Emperors' personal choices largely decided what would be fashionable. If the clothes, makeup or hairstyle of a concubine got special appreciation from an emperor, her style would be a trend that was followed by both the noble and common women.

Sometimes, the makeup and dress styles of popular prostitutes also influenced the nobles and royals.

Nowadays, clothes are more like a way to show the wearer's taste and character.

To a large number of Chinese women who are "working girls" and "working mothers", dressing up for men has become an old story.

However, not all of them think the same way.

Recently, a fashion trend named "easy to get married" style has sparked a series of debates on the internet since November.

Originally from Japan, the style highlights a woman's femininity and purity through liberal use of ice cream colors, faux fur and bow knots. Here are some key features of the "easy to get married" look:

1. It's important to show the shape of the legs and arms.

2. Breasts should be fully hidden to avoid looking vulgar.

3. One's hair is often dyed dark brown as a softer alternative to dull black.

4. Jewelry and other accessories should be fine and small, and never too big or with weird shapes.

5. A lipstick the colour of red bean paste, rather than bright red, is a better choice to seal the look.

People have suggested that wearers should speak softly and smile often to look cuter in such a style.

Japanese actress Satomi Ishihara in the 2014 TV drama Heartbroken ChocolatierPhoto: Screengrab from Heartbroken Chocolatier

The look of Japanese actress Satomi Ishihara in the 2014 TV drama Heartbroken Chocolatier was rated by netizens as a typical example of what "easy to get married" looks like.

Among Chinese celebrities who have a similar wardrobe, the two most mentioned are Zhang Zetian and actress Guan Xiaotong.

The whole ensemble for the style implies the message, "I am nice, soft and pure, and also easygoing," which aligns with the values of a "good woman" in traditional Asian culture.

But intentionally following the style to win popularity among men was soon attacked by young Chinese people on the internet.

Chen Cangcang, a young fashion blogger, posted a story on Douban titled Following 'Easy to Get Married' Style is the Most Cheesy Thing I Can Imagine.

In the story, Chen said an independent woman would not take marriage as the only thing that mattered in her life. She will not dress up for marriage. Nowadays, only ignorant people would believe that marriage is more important than work to a woman.

Many women also disliked the look and the intention to win men's hearts through one's style of dress.

"I would rather not get married than pick up 'easy to get married' style," a Douban user Jimaojianzi said.

Although most female netizens said they would rather be themselves, some people showed suspicion.

"Don't undervalue the intention to wear clothes according to guys' taste. Both men and women would deck for their beloved ones and to make them happy. Who else they can dress up for? Animals?" said a netizen named Jason in a comment on Douban.