Long-legged? Big Busted? Or have large feet? It can be a nightmare trying to find clothes and accessories that fit well in Hong Kong stores. Here are some tips to make shopping a little easier.
Most local retailers say the average shoe size for a woman is between 36 and 37, and many stores do not stock above European size 39, making those with size 40/41 feet in un-catered-to minority.
Those with larger than average feet should visit one of Hong Kong’s many shoemakers, who can whip up a custom-made pair (either designed by yourself or a version of an off-the-rack style) in less than a week. A favorite with fashionstas is LIII LIII by Alan Chan (shop 75, tower 2, Admiralty Centre, 18 Harcourt Rd, Admiralty, tel: 2865 3989), which has styles ranging from everyday flats to bejeweled sandals and exotic skin boots.
While Chan's styles are on the pricey side (from HK$1,000) there are other stores with the same service. Try J.J. Partners (G/F, 173 Wong Nai Chung Rd, tel: 2577 2383) and Noven Shoes & Handbags (G/F, 163 Wong Nai Chung Rd, tel: 2577 8323). Even more reasonable if less trendy is Prestige Shoe (G/F, 66 Percival St, Causeway Bay, tel: 2783 8100) or Vickie's Shoes where prices start at HK$299 (G/F, 6 Li Yuen Street East, tel: 2522 9013; 3 Queen Victoria Street, tel: 2525 6402).
If you don't want to wait, Lane Crawford and On pedder stock various brands up to a European size 41. The recently opened Christian Louboutin boutique (7 On Lan St, Central, tel: 2118 0016) offers all styles in a 41, while Zara, Marks & Spencer and H&M sell shoes in larger sizes.
The key is to choose the right style and brand, advises stylist Diana Ho. "Sergio Rossi and Miu Miu's sizing is bigger than most brands, and Ferragamo also offers different widths."
Lucie McCullough, a stylist and interior designer, also offers another tip: "I wear a size 40/41 and it's always easy for me to stock up on bigger sizes during sale time since there are plenty leftover or they bring out unsold stock."
Larger men are a group that many local retailers overlook, but luckily there are plenty of tailors here.
For men with the designer bug, many brands including Ermenegildo Zegna have a seasonal service where their tailors are flown in from Europe to offer made-to-measure clothing. At Lane Crawford, Canali, Pal Zileri, Brioni and Armani offer the service twice a year, while the store says it stocks ready-to-wear men's suits up to an Italian size 58.
Image consultant Eve Roth Lindsay suggests American brands such as Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren, which tend to have more generous cuts. "The factory outlets in Wan Chai, particularly on Johnston Road, are full of [larger] men's sizes. This is where the fleets shop when they are in town, as well as Stanley Market," she says.
When selecting clothes for bigger men, Lindsay suggests choosing softer fabrics and avoiding close fitting styles.
"The most flattering suits are American cut, known for their relaxed fit. British cut suits will also work, as long as the fabric is soft. Keep jackets loose fitting around the middle and use shoulder pads to create structure.
"Front-pleated trousers are most flattering and should sit as near to the waist as possible. Waistbands with adjustment tabs are helpful. Avoid cuffs or turn-up hems as they will make legs appear shorter and wider," says Lindsay.
Online, men should check out landsend.com, which also allows customers to send their returns to a Hong Kong address. Also worth a look: rochesterclothing.com, territoryahead.com.
While local brands chiefly cater to petite women, there are a few places that stock longer inseams. When it comes to denim, leggy women have more choice.
According to Indigo boutique owner Eizelle Taino (Indigo, 32A Staunton St, Central, tel: 2147 3000), most American denim brands carried in her store have an inseam of 34 inches. This means anyone shorter than 1.75 metres will have to alter the length. If 34 inches isn't enough, she recommends Rock and Republic and Joe's Jeans, which have an inseam of 36 inches and 35 inches respectively.
However, if you don't want to pay a fortune on a new pair of jeans, high-street Japanese brand Uniqlo (Shop 01, Level 1, Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong, tel: 2265 8586) carry denims with an inseam of 33-34 inches depending on the style.
On the flip-side, Joe's Jeans Provocateur line caters to petite women with an inseam of 30 inches.
A number of designer brands offer unhemmed trousers that can then be tailored to fit each customer, among them Chloe, Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana. When it comes to ready-hemmed pieces, most American and European brands tend to have longer inseams. Joanne Law from Marks & Spencer says their trousers come in a choice of three lengths - short, medium or long. Brands such as Club Monaco offer an inseam of 32 inches.
While curvy women can resort to tailors for clothing, lingerie is difficult to have made here. As most lingerie sections or brands do not stock anything larger than a C cup, the internet is the next best place to look.
Websites such as bravissimo.com and figleaves.com specialise in lingerie, swimwear and clothing for busty women in particular. Look for cup sizes ranging from a D all the way to an L in both regular bras and sports bras. Besides bras, Bravissimo stocks clothing that comes in British sizes 8-16 and in three options: curvy, really curvy or super curvy.
For those who are wary of online shopping, Marks & Spencer will place orders individually for customers who require a cup size not carried in Hong Kong. La Nue Lingerie (4/F, Lung Fei Bldg, 36-38 Argyle St, Mong Kok, tel: 2398 3312) carries overstock from European labels such as La Perla and Canelle at discounted prices, with sizes ranging from 30A to 44F.
Jilian (G/F, 31 C-D, Wyndham St, Central, tel: 2826 9295) carries European brands that go up to a 40F while customers can also place orders for bigger sizes. Bonluxe (20 Sharp St, Causeway Bay, tel: 2573 1218) does custom-fitted bras from Japan up to an "I" cup.