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Chinese Women Care More About Underwear Selection

Gone are the days when shopping for underwear was considered an embarrassing chore for Chinese women. Now, with bras and underpants in all cuts and colors saucily displayed in shop windows, buying unmentionables is fashionable.

In Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, more and more exclusive lingerie boutiques are opening, catering to women of all ages and shapes.

Lingerie sections are also taking up increasingly more floor space in department stores, with tables of discount underclothes often strategically positioned near the front entrance.

Such public stamps of approval have given women more confidence, says shop owner Zheng Nan, whose customers "no longer feel shy when trying on bras or drawers here."

With Spring Festival drawing near, lingerie in all shades of red, representing luck and happiness, is in great demand all over the country.

"Chinese women are paying more attention to their underwear, which reflects the change in their ideas from conservatism to open-mindedness," Zheng said.

The emancipation is also seen in women's taste in clothes.

Designs from many world-renowned labels such as Ports and Channel, which were regarded as only showpieces in large malls a few years ago, are finding more buyers -- particularly businesswomen who want to dress more stylishly.

In tandem with their greater attention to underclothes, urban women are showing more concern for health and beauty.

A survey of women in 20 major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, shows that women's spending on cosmetics, fitness and nutrition increased by 12.9 percent annually from 1998 to 2001, higher than that of GNP (Gross National Product) during the same period.

(People's Daily January 9, 2002)

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