Because of the stress on face in Chinese culture, is it more important to be well-dressed in China than in the West?

China is a country of many ironies, I find. They are socially liberal (gays and lesbians are not as accepted as in Taiwan, but more accepted than in Japan/Korea, and women are allowed to be masculine without much consequence), yet they are very conservative when it comes to displaying sexual things (Korea/Japan show more sex in their media than China does by far).

And here’s another irony: it’s not as important to look as good, as its more important as owning something expensive. That’s weird right? Chinese fashion lags far behind Korean/Japanese fashion, yet Chinese people spend way more on their clothing and accessories. “Face” which is one of the strangest cultural customs to me, applies for showing off your wealth and status only, but somehow not as much to appearance. My Chinese friends bought hundreds of dollars worth of Korean makeup back to China – but they never use it. I asked them why and they said it’s more important just to have it and show it off than to use it, which didn’t make sense to me.

Why your appearance does not determine your status in at least some part, I have no idea. Quite strange indeed. On the other hand, Korea/Japan focus a lot on appearance, not so much on showing off your wealth. Some Korean girls I met had done plastic surgery many times and had a supermodel like figure, yet I would find out that she was actually dirt poor. She had put all of her savings into her appearance.