Insta-Styling Hong Kong’s Housing Estates (Part One)

Hong Kong has obviously got its fair share of glitzy high-rises, but if you venture outside of the city’s business district, you’ll find old housing estates with plenty of character. These colorful façades are plastered all over Instagram by in-the-know travelers and have even become a popular backdrop choice for music videos and movies alike. Here’s the DL on where to go and what to wear, so you can capture that perfect Insta-shot!


Let’s start things off with the housing estate that’s gained the most international coverage: Monster Building. Located in Quarry Bay, it consists of five interconnected residential buildings: Montane Mansion, Yik Cheong Building, Yik Fat Building, Oceanic Mansion, and Fook Cheong Building, which form an E-shaped complex. This spot rose to fame after it was featured in Transformers: Age of Extinction and Ghost in the Shell, and has also appeared in K-pop music videos like GOT7’s You Are and Seventeen’s Check In.

A visual representation of the density and diversity of the city, Monster Building doesn’t possess the modern, polished look of the city’s famous skyscrapers. Instead it boasts an industrial, time-worn façade with random pops of faded color and residents’ clothes hung out to dry.


Tourists and photographers usually gather in the buildings’ courtyards, the only open space you’ll find here. To snap your pic, you’ll need a helping hand to prop yourself up on the raised podium. There are several per courtyard, but be prepared to queue. You can make the most of your waiting time by observing how those in front of you pose for their shots! When your turn comes, remind your Insta buddy to shoot from down below. This will emphasize the magnitude of the buildings and create the illusion that they’re closing in on you.


Stills from GOT7’s “You Are” music video

To complement the industrial vibes of this backdrop, take a page from GOT7’s “You Are” music video by channeling urban street style with casual pieces. For a fun, vibrant look that won’t overpower the busy background, avoid pattern-mixing and opt for color-blocking instead. It’s also a great way to echo the random pops of color that appear on the buildings. The boys’ outfits make use of layering to play with different textures, and also incorporate plenty of stripe and plaid prints – the bread and butter of streetwear. Their color palette is pretty subdued, dabbling mostly in blues, blacks and whites, with the occasional pop of bright red or green. Jackson is the only member depicted at Monster Building in the music video, so I’ve paid particular interest to his outfit. As seen above, he’s dressed in an oversized elbow-sleeve blue shirt, a long-sleeved plain white tee and jeans.

With A Long-Short Combo

To form the basis of your outfit, layer a basic short-sleeved tee over a colorful, patterned long-sleeved shirt for a 90s throwback. For that effortless “I rolled out of bed and threw this together” appeal, opt for this mock two-piece sweatshirt that exudes sporty, preppy vibes with its lettering and stripes. If you want to go full retro, why not try out this purple set consisting of a long-sleeved mesh top and a short-sleeved black tee with matching purple graphic? Top layer is oversized enough to be worn as a shirtdress and passed off as your dad’s old band tee, while the purple mesh keeps things playful and relevant. For a more form-fitting and feminine option, this blue combo experiments with color and textural juxtaposition by layering a short-sleeved mesh top over a long-sleeved ruched top. The mesh top stands out with its watercolor-style yellow panels and contrast black piping that pop against the sheer fabric.

With Color-Blocked Jeans

Wide-leg jeans with two-tone palettes continue the color-blocking trend while creating a relaxed, boxy silhouette. For maximum effect, nab these high-waist flared jeans with one dark-wash leg and one light-wash leg. With a double waistband and pocket detailing, this quirky piece is designed to look like you’re wearing one pair of jeans on top of another. Looking for more subtle options? These straight-fit jeans with color-block panels down the sides resemble hip-hop-style track pants, while these baggy distressed jeans feature irregular color-block patchwork for an easygoing, tomboyish charm.

With K-Pop Inspired Accessories

Tie the look together with some K-pop inspired accessories! Since the rest of the pieces are more laid-back, silver-tone chain pieces will inject a grunge touch to the outfit. Start off with a black faux-leather grommet belt that sports a metallic lobster clasp chain – choose between a more minimal one with corrugated cylinders, or go extra with cross and leaf charms.

For jewelry, tap into the safety pin accessories craze! I love how this everyday tool is re-purposed into sleek and edgy accessories that add unique pizzazz to any look. Go matchy-matchy with this safety pin necklace and ear cuff chain earrings with dangling safety pins.

If you prefer a more minimalist look, hoop-centric pieces will be right up your alley. This chain choker and lariat combo boasts a hoop centerpiece and adorns your décolletage while drawing attention to your top, pairing perfectly with these asymmetrical hoop-and-chain dangle earrings. The earrings’ mismatched geometric composition strikes the perfect balance between striking and sophisticated.

Finally, no K-pop inspired street-style outfit is complete without a bucket hat. Keep things grounded with a black-and-white option that comes with a simple smiley applique to let the rest of your outfit shine. For something a little more vibrant, this funky reversible bucket hat declares “girls can do anything” in artsy embroidery. If you fold the hat up a little, you can even show off the contrasting inner side for a nod to your color-blocked look!

Where should we drop a pin next? Let us know in the comments below!

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