How do you say I love you, in Chinese? Wear the same thing

The World
Chinese Couples

In China, the latest fashion trend is to wear the same outfit as your significant other. And we're not just talking about coordinating.

This goes well beyond the "I'm with Stupid" shirts. Chinese couples wear custom T-shirts, and even matching dress and suit combinations. The Wall Street Journal's Laurie Burkitt, who reported on the trend in Beijing, says she kept spotting couples dressed in matching outfits:

"In the summer months, you could walk down the street and, in a 15-minute span, you'd see at least three couples wearing similar outfits."

The trend, she says, is a visual display of love. In America, you may wear wedding rings. But in China, you wear matching outfits.

The trend is also catching the eye of clothing manufacturers. Burkitt says companies like Calvin Klein are cashing in on the craze. Think matching undies.

Or, maybe don't. 

Think about endearing T-shirt combos that are cropping up. Burkitt found a cute set on Zhang Yangyang and her boyfriend Zhao Xiaolong. The two wanted shirts that played off one another, saying “I love you so much” when put together. They were able to get one.

This trend extends to entire families, which is a bit reminiscent of the uniform outfits championed by former Chinese leader Chairman Mao Zedong. One couple Burkitt interviewed even joked about their parents wearing matching outfits.

"In general, people don't connect the two outfits [with the Cultural Revolution]," she says. "The generations who are doing it now are so far removed from the cultural generation era."

So what happens if the couples break up?

Well, that's a question that took Burkitt nearly a year to answer. The reason? She needed to find a couple that broke up. She did. And she found that the girlfriend kept the clothes, storing them in the back of a drawer. But it did remain as a keepsake. 

It's certainly easier to pawn a ring than a T-shirt.

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