See what happens when tradition meets an unbelievable dress code
Me wearing a Chinese embroidered LBD with jade earrings, jade bangle, three string pearl necklace (all own), and best girl friends bracelet c/o Chicos, and Akoya pearl necklace c/o The Pearl Source Inc.

Chinese New Year and Fairbanks street style

The University of Alaska Chinese student association had invited the Fairbanks community to celebrate the New Year of the dog with them. Of course, great Chinese food and entertainment were part of the party. The entertainment included Peking opera songs, modern Chinese songs, music, dances and a fashion show with traditional Chinese clothes as well as contemporary cool Chinese street chic. Even Chinese high school and university uniforms.

The Fairbanksans wore Fairbanks formal dress code. In this post, I want to show you my favorite looks from the party as well as some looks from the fashion show. Thus, expect a great mix of ethnic clothes, and cool street chic.

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Great personal style

The woman in the photo dons great personal style. I love her eclectic mix of punk, and romantic. She dyed her hair in various shades of purple and is wearing a romantic inspired LBD with Victorian inspired embroidered and embellished pumps. Her look fits the Fairbanks Formal dress code. She is wearing a cocktail dress and clean shoes.

#hairover50 mature woman with purple hair
Mature Fairbanks woman with unique personal style donning purple hair, LBD, and embroidered pumps at the party

Red clothes and decoration are key for Chinese New Year

Keeping with the Chinese tradition of red for New Year, this woman wears a little red dress. However, she goes modern and trendy by choosing her LRD in lace in a fit-and-flare style. She goes classic by adding black ballet flats.

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woman wearing a red lace fit-and-flare dress for Chinese New Year
Fairbanks woman in a chic red fit-and-flare lace dress filling her plate at the buffet at the Chinese New Year party

The Fairbanks woman in the photo below went for a modern version of the traditional cut. The slits are not up to the lower hip bone (see photos of me modeling a traditional cut), the length is just above the knee and the piece has a modern abstract print with lots of traditional red. This modern version asks for flats and not for heels like the tea-length traditional cut.

ethnic style abstract print dress in cheongsam cut with embellished flats
Young woman in modern cheongsam dress with abstract print and embellished flats

What I wore at the party

Of course, I could have worn one of my Chinese dresses. However, I had been asked whether they could be used for the fashion show. I also modeled in the fashion show, however, I was wearing someone else’s dress. Since my dresses were foreseen for the show, I wore my purple Sympli drama dress. It is easy to pull it on and off and it doesn’t wrinkle. See the link for a review. Non-wrinkle fabric is very important when there is not dressing room and you have to change in the restroom area. Typically, I wear the dress when going out for dancing.

mature fashion blogger in trendy purple dramatic dress with hand painted scarf
Hanes tight, jade bangle, Salvatore Ferragamo snake pumps, three strings pearl necklace, jade earrings (all own), trendy purple drama dress c/o Sympli, hand painted silk scarf c/o Uno Alla Volta, Akoya pearl necklace c/o The Pearl Source Inc., and best girl friends bracelet c/o Chicos

Why I didn’t wear the dress to model right away

You are of course right that I could have worn the dress that I was assigned to model at the fashion show. The reason I didn’t is the following. A couple of years ago, I had to model my pink traditional suit (see photos from the fashion show below). I had worn it during the dinner part of the New Year celebration. Prior to the fashion show I wanted to enhance my makeup so it would show also from far. Therefore I wanted to go to the restrooms and went out. At that moment, a kid with dirty greasy fingers ran in and against my pants. To not fall the kid garbed my pants. I was fast enough to hold my pants up. They have a rubber waist band. Thus, I was lucky not standing there in underwear. However, my pants had these greasy dirty hand prints. I was about to cry.

#fashionover50 midlife woman looking posh chic in a dramatic dress
Side view of outfit with drama dress c/o Sympli, silk scarf c/o Uno Alla Volta with own Salvatore Ferragamo pumps, jade bangle, and Alaska jade earrings

Modeling in greasy pants

Guess what? It was too late to go home to switch into another Chinese dress and nobody had a spare that would fit me. Thus, I wore the pants back to front and made sure, I wouldn’t turn around when modeling.

style blogger in purple dress with light green pumps
Showing the tail of the drama dress c/o Sympli worn with oblong scarf c/o Uno Alla Volta, and own Hanes tight, jade bangle, Salvatore Ferragamo snake pumps, and Alaska jade earrings

Dressing lesson learned

From that event, I learned not to wear the piece to be presented ahead of time. Furthermore, this time, I was to present an item that wasn’t even mine. It’s better to be careful than sorry. Therefore, I wore an easy to wash dress.

Let’s see the fashion show

The photo below shows the President of the UAF Chinese student association making an announcement prior to the start of the clothing pageant. She wore a silk jacquard dress in a modern cut with cup sleeves. She wore this dress also for her music performance.

#timelessstyle woman in a modern version of a traditional Chinese silk jacquard dress
Chinese woman announcing the traditional fashion show in a modern version of a traditional Chinese silk jacquard dress with cap sleeves and black pumps

The dress I modeled

I was assigned this embroidered black silk dress. When you are a long-term reader, you may remember that I modeled this dress already before in another Chinese clothing pageant show.

over 50 yers old woman in Chinese dress with floral embroidery
Me after changing for the fashion show. I am wearing a Chinese traditional silk satin dress with floral embroidery. I styled the dress with jade earrings, jade bangle, three string pearl necklace (all own), and best girl friends bracelet c/o Chicos, and Akoya pearl necklace c/o The Pearl Source Inc.

My girl friend in the white dress always gets to model that dress. When getting dressed we were discussing just to swap the assignments. However, we decided not to do so. While we wear the same dress size, we had brought the accessories for the dress we were supposed to model. She can’t wear my green brown pumps, and I can’t walk in her flats.

over 50 year old model in a black dress
Me modeling the black dress with own Salvatore Ferragamo snake pumps, jade earrings and jade bangle, and best girl friends bracelet c/o Chicos

Another reason not to swap was that I was wearing dark underwear and she was wearing white underwear. Wearing white under black can show the white in photos with flash light. Not a stylish look.Wearing black under white makes the white to look gray. That’s not chic either. However, we had fun back stage to play this idea of swapping.

people modeling in a Chinese fashion show
Young woman and three kids modeling temporary Chinese outfits in blue and floral print as well as traditional outfits in red silk jacquard. In the back ground other models stand in their Chinese outfits

The little kids did a great job presenting the traditional red jacquard clothing and the blue and white modern version with tutu. So cute.

model presenting a Chinese contemporary pants and vest outfit
Model presenting my black pants and vest with her own silver white strappy sandals

What the singers and musicians wore

Remember that all people who took part in the performances are Fairbanksans. Looking at the musicians and singers you get a good feeling about the locals’ attitude on what to wear at festivities and a good glimpse at Fairbanks formal or their understanding of dressing up.

The singer in the photo below went full on wearing an evening gown.

#eveningstyle mature singer in sequin dress with golden shoes
Fairbanks woman in a black dress embellished with golden sequin pattern styled with a gold white stole and golden pumps singing a Chinese song translated into English

You already saw the dress that the President wore. She also gave a great music presentation. The lady and man who presented Peking operas played the Fairbanks formal dress code safe. They went with an all black pants and black sweater outfit with black shoes (therefore not shown). The young couple in the photo below wears the lower end of the Fairbanks formal dress code. This means wearing just casual, but clean outfits with clean, polished shoes. The woman accessorized her look with a modern pearl necklace that picks up the colors of her outfit.

couple in Fairbanks street style
Fairbanks couple singing Chinese love songs. They are wearing typical Interior Alaska street style

What do you think about Fairbanks’ street style? Did my examples give you a glimpse at what is the Fairbanks Formal dress code? What do you think about the dressing attitude at the Last Frontier? Do you like the modern version of traditional Chinese clothes? What would you wear when you had been invited to this New Year party? Let me know, I am curious.

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Photos: G. Kramm

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