Chinese Clothing Essays Free

Chinese clothing is an important part of their culture. Although China no longer dresses in their older more traditional styles, the traditional garments are still worn for holidays and ceremonies. There have been many historical changes in Chinese clothing, and the Chinese style choices vary depending on what region is being scrutinized. Hanfu is a term that includes all traditional Chinese dress worn prior to Manchurian and western influences. All Chinese citizens living under the Ming dynasty, and many dynasties prior to it adopted this style of dress.

It was widely worn by all until the beginning of the seventeenth century and the start of the Quing dynasty. Hanfu, which was the widely accepted style in China for over three thousand years, consists of the Shenyi. A one-piece robe, which wraps around the body, the Shenyi is made up of different parts. The Jin, or the upper front of the body, the Jiaoling Youren, which means “crossed collars to the right” in Chinese and is the collar usually seen on the Hanfu of both men and women. The collar is only tied to the left as burial dress.

The Qu and Mei are the cuffs and sleeves, and the Chang is the name of the skirt. The first recorded dynasty in China was the Shang dynasty. Although they did wear Hanfu clothing, most specifically the Shenyi, the garment worn by them was actually made of two separate pieces. The jacket, referred to as the Yi, and the skirt, or the Shang. It did not become a one-piece garment for many years. During the Shang dynasty the colors most often used for the garments were warm colors such as red and yellow.

As time moved forward the Chinese began to decorate the fabrics with red and yellow designs. Different regions of the country had different norms as far as Hanfu dress. During the Zhou dynasty the western people used different styles of the Hanfu Shangyi to differentiate between classes. The differences in classes are shown through the two styles of sleeves, the broad and the narrow, and the decorations that the wearer hung from his or her belt such as pieces of jade.

When the Quing dynasty took over, so did a new style of clothing. The Qipao was the traditional style for women and the Cheongsam was the style commonly worn by men. All Chinese were required to switch from the old Hanfu style of dressing or they would be killed due to the new rulers in place. The Qipao is a one-piece dress that traditionally fits loosely on the body and was designed to hide the woman’s figure. It is also sometimes referred to as the mandarin gown.

In the early nineteen hundred the Qipao was updated into the dress we recognize as traditional Chinese dress today. The close fitting dress with a high neckline is now often worn as a party dress and has been copied and worn by American women as well. The Cheongsam is the men’s version of the Qipao. It is a two-piece outfit made up of a pair of simple pants and a top with a high neckline extremely similar to that of the Qipao. The Cheongsam is traditionally made in the color black, and was the formal dress worn by Chinese men up until the introduction of the western-style suit.

Ancient Chinese Fashion

  • Length: 1128 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - More ↓
Missing Figures
Ancient China had a different style of clothes than the United States. The clothes worn all depended on which the dynasty or year they were in. Chinese people always took in the styles, which they were supposed to wear very quickly, although the dynasties changed. In many ways the items they wore had a connection with demons and/or evil spirits. The Ancient Chinese had a very unique sense of style.
Clothing embroided the harmonious relationship between nature and people. Peasants and regular citizens dressed differently from high-ranked officials. The high-ranked officials dressed in the finest silk for public outings and celebrations, and less expensive clothes at home. The peasants wore a long shirt like garment, made of undyed hemp fiber, which altered little until modern times. While the officials wore silk, the peasants, men specifically, wore baggy pants made of hemp with a loose cotton shirt. Peasant women wore simple wool garments in the winter and cotton in the spring. Peasant children wore children size of their parents¡¦ clothes.
Each dynasty had popular clothing that all the citizens knew about. The Tang Dynasty had the system of the full dress, which was strict. During the Han, women usually wore the ruqun, a two piece ensemble consisting of jackets and a long flowing skirt. The Yuan women aristocracy had their own style; Zhi sun dresses were very popular in the Yuan dynasty. Coats were considered an informal dress in the Qin and Han dynasty. The Tang noblewomen favored the hundred bird dress.
As the times changed, the empire had a new law for all items of clothing. During the Sui, the emperor decided that all poor people could wear blue or black clothes and only rich people could wear colored clothes. Sometime in the years all the clothes were dark, all people wore the same style, most of the clothes were silk (everyone wore silk), and cotton became in style but it never became more popular than silk. All people had to wear thick clothes during the winter. Then clothes were never a casual matter.
Foot Wear
Wealthy families had a variety of shoes that some of the other citizens couldn¡¦t get. People from wealthy families wore shoes that were leather or they wore silk slippers. Poor people wore wooden clogs, straw sandals, flats, or went barefoot. Men, in general, wore tall leather boots. The peasant always had to wear shoes made of straw.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Ancient Chinese Fashion." 14 Mar 2018

LengthColor Rating 
The Significance of Clothing and Fashion in Both Ancient and Modern World - 4.0 Different Aesthetic Concept 4.1 British Simile Culture: Personality and Comfortable of Clothing Unlike the Chinese clothing design worn during the Warring State Period, the Elizabethan period clothing was worn more for fashion than for comfort. This is an interesting observation given that even the under garments worn next to the skin were modified to help improve the appearance of the wearers. Members of the society endowed with great wealth (mostly members of the royal family and upper class) wore shirts as their inner garments, the women version of the shirt referred to as “smock” (La Mar, 1958)....   [tags: Culture ]
:: 14 Works Cited
933 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays[preview]
Does the Use of Fur in Fashion Need to Stop, or Does the Fur Trade Serve a Need? - Does the use of fur in fashion need to stop, or does the fur trade serve a need. Fur is the oldest form of clothing and it has been worn by humans for varies of reasons through out history; its natural appearance, texture, fashion, color and snow does not melt during outdoor activities. So is the usage of fur need to stop. The answer is yes, its unethical and it is cruelty to animals and there is just no reasonable justification. Fur is the oldest form of clothing and it has been worn by humans for varies of reasons through out history....   [tags: PETA, faut fur, fashion industry]
:: 4 Works Cited
972 words
(2.8 pages)
Better Essays[preview]
Women’s friend: The Popularity of Shapewear Essay - From ancient time through now, people always want to be a fashionable person; especially for women, because they want their bodies have a curve and they also want their bodies more fit and more shape. Each person has their view of fashion, and each country also has their types of fashion. In the western country, people think that wearing a corset is very fashionable. Between the middle of the 16th century to 18th century, women always to wear corset between a rigid quasi-cylindrical torso above their waist and heavy full skirts below to let their bodies look more gorgeous....   [tags: Fashion, The Corset]2152 words
(6.1 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
How the Trickle-Down Theory Works in China Essay - ... What is more, the boundary between upper class and general people hinders fashion’s flow. In order to keep the society stable, people were required to obey the rules of their own class strictly in ancient China. Especially in clothing, this was part of the law which has similar content with sumptuary law statute issued by Elizabeth in England (1574). The principle of this law is to ensure that people did not dress ‘above their station’. For example, the Emperor was the only one who could wear embroidery dragon patterns and light yellow....   [tags: fashion, trend, industry, process]2827 words
(8.1 pages)
Research Papers[preview]
Spread of Buddhism in China Essays - Buddhist popularity towards the Chinese grew following the collapse of the Han Dynasty in 220 C.E. It’s influence continued to expand for several centuries. Between 220 C.E. and 570 C.E., China experienced a period of political instability and disunity. During this time, many of the Chinese, specifically scholars, sought for peace in Buddhism and approved of Buddhism. On the other hand, the strict confucianists and the government fought to end Buddhism and make people go against it. Good things will happen if you accept and follow Buddhism....   [tags: Chinese Scholars, Government, Confucianists]
:: 5 Works Cited
922 words
(2.6 pages)
Better Essays[preview]
A Comparative Analysis: British and Chinese Clothing Concepts Essay - A Comparative Analysis: British and Chinese Clothing Concepts 1.0 Introduction 1.1. Background Information The importance of dressing and fashion has been a subject in many societies especially the relation between clothing and the shape of both national and social setups of these societies (Crane, 2000). Many academicians, writers and authors have adopted the use of dressing in their literary works to reveal the differences in physical environments, social structures, racial relations, religious movements and political associations....   [tags: Culture ]
:: 14 Works Cited
1608 words
(4.6 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
People Dressed According to their Wealth and Social Status Essay - McCallion (2010) states that sumptuary laws present during the Chonson dynasty were reflected in the colors, fibers, and ornamentation of the hanbok. These elements were chosen to reflect the cultural beliefs of Koreans and their position in society. (McCallion, 2008, p.223) The most exquisite examples of traditional Korean costume are royal costumes of the Choson dynasty. The queen and the noblemen had the privilege of wearing luxurious fabrics like silk, cotton, hemp, or ramie, all of which were available in abundance from royal gifts, imports, or domestic production....   [tags: korean customes, fashion, choson period]
:: 19 Works Cited
1470 words
(4.2 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
The Impact of Ancient Religion on Homer’s Odyssey Essay - The Impact of Ancient Religion on Homer’s Odyssey   There has long been a fashion among critics and historians, including Sir James Frazier and Graham Hancock, to insist upon taking the account of Odysseus' voyage to Hades in Book XI of the Odyssey at near face-value as a description of people and places familiar to a Greek audience of Homer's day. Both linguistics and comparative history have been employed to discover exactly how accurately this originally oral epic conveys this gritty realism....   [tags: Homer Odyssey Essays]1398 words
(4 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Ancient Chinese Civilization Essay - China has had many changes throughout its history. China unlike many other countries had the opportunity to grow with minimal outside interference. Due to this they created unique Chinese philosophy, writing, and government. There are two other countries that China greatly influenced. These countries are Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. China was one of the few countries in the world that grew with minimal interference from its outside neighbors. The reason for this is due to China’s geography. One of the most important and unique items to come from this isolation is China’s writing system....   [tags: Ancient Chinese History]
:: 1 Works Cited
1142 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Ancient Chinese Culture Essay - While the fertile banks of the Tigris, Euphrates, and Indus rivers were giving rise to thriving civilizations in the Middle East and India, the same was happening along the banks of the Yellow River in China. A civilization arose untouched by the outside world in parallel to those of Mesopotamia, Harappa, and Mohenjo-Daro. The Yellow River civilization not only mirrored the advances made in the other two civilizations but also contributed unique ones of their own. Due to China’s geographical location - high mountains of the Tibetan Plateau to the west and vast deserts of the Gobi to the north - communication with the West and South Asia was difficult....   [tags: Chinese History ]
:: 1 Works Cited
1084 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]

The scholar and his wife had shoes with curled toes. When the wealthy was buried, they wore silk brocade shoes, which have survived in the tombs over the years.
Footbinding was a major profession for women and young girls. When in the process it was very painful and harsh, because although the Chinese believed that tiny, pointy feet were an essential feature of a female beauty, the girls¡¦ feet were bound at young age. The profession was popular in 960 ¡V 1911.Binding was the symbol of the inferior status tradition for the women. The practice of footbinding spread through a Confucian writer and the scholar Zhu Xi. Women thought to be beautiful they needed little feet, only 3 inches long. The strange part is Manchu women didn¡¦t bind their feet.
Jewelry and charms were clearly important to kids and adults. The scholar-gentry class wore jade, gold, silver, and brass jewelry, while everyone else had copper and iron accessories. Earrings, necklaces, and anklets were worn as protection, as were colored threads fastened to clothes. Children wore hats, collars, and shoes with designs of tigers, dogs, and pigs to also scare evil spirits away. A boy might wear a plain metal ring like a dog collar to fool the evil spirits into thinking he was a dog. You could tell at glance a persons¡¦ position in China¡¦s rigid special hierarchy by the jewelry and accessories they were wearing. Jewelry also became an important part of an official costume when everyone started wearing jewelry with all the costumes.
The hair and headgear was especially special to the Chinese. Both men and women wore their hair long. People said that you got your hair from your parents and so it was disrespectful to cut it. Women¡¦s¡¦ long hair was arranged in topknots¡¦, held in place by hairpins and other ornaments. For men, hats were usually shaped like tight fitting tops with turned up brim all around.
Fabrics and make-up wasn¡¦t that important but showed some value. Chinese opera make-up usually consisted of much exaggerated paintings on facial features. Each color on actors face meant a special personally----- if an actors¡¦ face was painted red, the audience knew it was a loyal character. Layers of carefully applied face powder and rouge created ¡§a vision of loveliness.¡¨ The make-up was so beautiful that Tang poems praised women¡¦s elaborate make-up. On the other hand remains of woven silk and hemp articles and ancient ceramics figures further demonstrate the sophistication and refinement of clothing in the Shang Dynasty. Silk was a useful fabric to the Mongols and for the rich.
For different occasion there was a different clothing style, or clothing shown and worn. For weddings the bride wore a traditional red dress, for funerals people wore white, the color of mourning in China. The Nobles were buried in silk. The nobleman¡¦s wife was buried with fake hair and cosmetics to look young. Lastly the prince and his wife were buried in suits made of jade.
Ancient China is proven to be a unique country. From its clothes to the accessories, nothing has ever changed. The fact of the matter is all in its history. All the people who lived in the ancient city had a very cherish life. Overall China is a marvelous country.


ľ Ancient Chinese Clothing. 10-13-06 www.historyfor

ľ Michelson, Carol. Ancient China. Sydney, San Francisco, London: Time life Books, 1996.

ƒæ ¡§My Running Notes.¡¨ Classroom file

ľ Culture Essentials. Oct. 13-06 http:// www.polaris.gseis.ucla. edu/yanglu/ecc_culture_clothing.html

ľ Shearer, Jana. Ancient Chinese Fashion--- Full of meaning. Feb. 19, 2005 http://

ľ Shuter, Jane. The Ancient Chinese. Chicago, IL: Heinemann Library, 1998.

ľ Sze Ka Ho. Foot Binding. October 06. http:// ~eala100/Group3/Foot Binding. html

ľ Teague, Ken. Growing Up In Ancient China. Troll Associates, 1994.

ƒæ ¡§The Pheasant Poor.¡¨ Classroom file.

ľ Williams, Brian. Ancient China. Australia: Penguin Group, 1996.


Figure 1 this lovely make up of a model in ancient china brings out the beauty in this person

Figure 2 this is an example of a ruqun that has the different parts and its names

Figure 3 this is what a girl feet looked like after their foot was binded

Figure 4 this is a shoe for someone with bonded feet

Figure 5 a traditional red wedding gown

Figure 6 white was the color of mourning and this is the color the family had to wear


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *