Sunday, 2 February 2014

My love affair with Mandarin collar silk jacket


This is a long overdue article as I promised my colleague that I’ll put it in my blog why I like Mandarin collar silk jacket after I seek his help to bring some of my jackets back from Beijing since July last year. He called me a fanatic for my love of things “Chinese” and is very curious why an English educated person like me would love to wear Mandarin jacket and qipao.
My love affair started innocently some 14 years ago when I was still studying in Auckland. I was to attend a cultural night organized by the School of Oriental Studies and the dress code was either qipao or Mandarin collar silk jacket. At that time, my closet consists of everything except silk. With the help of my course mate Susan who hails from Shanghai, I’d managed to have a qipao and silk jacket tailored made and couriered to Auckland in the nick of time for the event.


My favourite motive on my silk jackets is the dragon - my horoscope's secret friend. 
To everyone’s surprise and amazement, I look great in the green silk jacket with black slacks. My Chinese friends commented that not everyone looks good with Mandarin collar jacket and qipao but I look so much better in them than other evening dress. That night, I won the best dress prize.  
There was no turning back since then. I had a few more jackets made and had them couriered to Auckland and started wearing them for dinners and gatherings. Then, I received a suggestion from my best friend, Brother Xiong, whom PR is numero uno, that I should discard my evening dress for qipao and Mandarin collar jacket. I should wear them on every occasion to the extent that when people see qipao and Mandarin jacket, they will associate it with Jadryn Loo. At that time, he cite the example of the late Soong Mei Ling, wife of Chiang Kai Shek whom was always photographed with beautifully made qipao and the late Mrs. Lee Kuan Yew. Image building ! 
I have Brother Xiong to thank because his suggestion works and close friends nicknamed the jackets my social function “uniform”. People were surprised when sometimes I turn up at a function without them.  On many occasions, upon seeing me in the silk jackets, especially those red ones, friends will comment that it reminds them of Chinese New Year – usually a happy occasion that everyone looks forward to.
More than often I was asked if I will feel hot wearing those jackets with the humid weather in this region. Well, there secret lies in the silk. A real silk will keep the body warm during winter and cool during summer.  There are many type of silk available, different grade for different price. Some are not silk but satin, but unscrupulous vendor will sell it as silk to you which fetch a much higher price. However, it is easy to differentiate them – as the saying goes: nothing can beat the smoothness of silk.  Always go for the best because a good silk can last you a lifetime.  Besides, qipao and Mandarin collar jackets are designs that will never get outdated!
I’ve also build a close bond with my two tailors in Beijing and Shanghai that whenever there are new design of silk available, they will email me the sample and the artwork of their designs. When the jackets and qipao are ready, it is either I’ll pick them up during one of my many visits to China annually or pass them to my visiting colleagues. Thus, from an innocent recommendation that started during my Auckland days, my love affair with Mandarin collar jackets and qipao is now a love that will last forever.

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