Saturday, March 19, 2022

Chinatown Pretty: Fashion and Wisdom from Chinatown's Most Stylish Seniors by Andria Lo


Chronicle had a whole bunch of their books on sale so I decided to indulge myself. CHINATOWN PRETTY is a book written by a pair of bloggers who manage an Instagram account by the same name, showcasing the fashions of elderly Chinese people living in various Chinatowns in the U.S. and Canada. In this book, they feature the Chinatowns of San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Vancouver, replete with photographs and brief interviews that give you a little taste about how these people came to the U.S. and what inspired their looks.

I think this is a really cute and wholesome book. Some of the women in here were SO stylish that they honestly made me feel like I needed to up my game. I also like that both authors featured their own grandmothers (or stepgrandmother in one case) in this book as well. Even the stranger and quirkier looks were really fun, especially because of the stories.

I do wish that we got to know more about each individual person. Every city opens with a brief history about how Chinatowns were formed, and some of the people they talked to mentioned things like fleeing the cultural revolution in China or working odd jobs to make a living (like the lady who worked for an engineer who made her wear a Chinese blouse while she cleaned his house, wth). There were some people who seemed reticent or reluctant to speak about their pasts, but for those who were willing, I would have liked to have known more. Polka Dot, especially, really stole the show, because she got so many pages.

If you're lucky enough to have a Chinatown near you, I recommend you visit. I've been to the SF Chinatown a lot and it's really beautiful and so amazing to walk through and explore. Some of the best Taiwanese style boba places I've been to are in this area (including a corgi-themed cafe called "The Boba Butt Cafe"). And yes, you see a ton of really great and fun outfits while walking these streets.

3.5 to 4 out of 5 stars

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