My name is Eugene. I’m an Image Consultant in Taipei.
I’d like to know what are the challenges that expats face here in Taiwan when shopping for clothes? Please list up to five different challenges that you face when search for clothes in Taiwan. I’d like to help our expat community, but first I need to know what are the challenges.
As the image consultant, I’m mostly focusing on helping men, but women’s opinion is also very valuable. You could provide some challenges that you personally face or what your partner faces.
Size, obviously. Especially shoes. My feet aren’t particularly big, but I’m always at the upper limit of what’s available.
Say I want a specific piece of sports clothing (shorts, running shoes), there’s about eight nike shops in 西門, which one do I go to? Actually, it doesn’t matter, because they all end up being “lifestyle” clothing shops anyway.
There’s no good standard place to get reliable and reasonably priced clothes that are fairly plain. I’m thinking Marks and Spencer or John Lewis in the UK (although I’m sure America has similar), where I know I’ll get a shirt that fits, a quality t-shirt and a nice selection of ties.
Related to 3. Everyone seems to know where to go for “young” or “fashionable” clothes, but where do I go for quality, functional clothes. What seems to end up happening is people in my age bracket wearing clothes intended for people much younger, which they seem OK with, but I find embarrassing.
Size–no brainer here. I’m a guy, and for the most part I wear a medium in the US. In Taiwan? Almost everything I buy is extra large. I can’t even go into a store to try something on without my wife, because I may not be able to get my arms out of a jacket, for instance, after trying it on.
Accurate materials labeling: I hate synthetics, polyester, etc. I want natural fibers. But finding those, and accurately labeled, is really damn hard. I’ve found many things labeled cotton, and I can tell you just from the feel and the price, there is no way that was made from cotton. This applies to women’s and kids’ clothes too.
And to build on that, more natural fibers, as someone mentioned above. Way too much fossil fuel crap here. This is an island country. Quit selling so much shit that pollutes the ocean.
Selection, not a lot of variety to choose from. Especially the loose flowing comfortable in heat clothes that women have access to in abundance here
Materials, as said. Natural fibres are generally better for the heat but hard to find. I prefer for environmental reasons as well. I am willing to pay for high tech synthetic materials made for hot and wet weather, but even a lot of the sportswear here is cheap garbage polyester
I think most of us just want to be comfortable, with clothes that fit and don’t retain the heat and sweat
There was M&S in Taiwan many years ago, was a failure. Anyways I now like Uniglo. Some clothing that does not fit can be fixed via many Tailors. The biggest problem is I do not like the underwear in Taiwan which can not be taken to the Tailor.
Availability of certain brands and difficulty with shipping to Taiwan.
I do not share others love of natural fibers except maybe merino or viscose because in heat you want something that will wick moisture and dry quickly. Cotton absorbs sweat like a sponge and linen wrinkles. Even t-shirts feel better if a poly/cotton blend.
I’m a fan of pants from Prana - recycled nylon/spandex, or recycled poly/spandex. But again difficult to find here.
Quality, clothing in Taiwan seems to be either cheap (but not really that cheap) but very low quality, or branded but very expensive. For example Levi jeans here costs more than 4000 a pair because they’re intended for young crowds. There are no “house brand” clothing that have decent quality but reasonably priced. In the US you could go to TJ Max and buy cheap but decent quality clothing that has become off season, this doesn’t exist in Taiwan. Besides there’s also Goodwill that have decent used clothes. I’ve actually begun buying clothing off of Taobao (basically T shirts) and jeans from Ebay because it’s hard to find anything that’s any good and fits. T shirts are too thin, jeans are too thin. Thin jeans and T shirts feel uncomfortable (because it sticks too much).
Because of size and quality limitation it’s very hard to find variety of clothing to wear. In Taiwan clothing are either branded or night market trash but in the US there are huge varieties of clothing worn by various people. Ever seen a “Warm kitty” T shirt in Taiwan? Seen it a bunch in the states.
Weather makes clothing options VERY limited. Ideally I should be completely naked due to the heat. Furthermore I can’t wear some of the nicer clothing I possess simply because it’s too hot.