China Clothing

Ancient China Clothing

China LifePeople in China generally wore tunics (like long t-shirts). Women wore long tunics down to the ground, with belts, and men wore shorter ones down to their knees. Sometimes they wore jackets over their tunics. In the winter, when it was cold, people wore padded jackets over their tunics, and sometimes pants under them. Shop clothing at Factory Price from DHgate.com

In early China, poor people made their clothes of hemp or ramie. Rich people wore silk. Most people in China, 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. During the Sui Dynasty, in the 500's AD, the emperor decided that all poor people had to wear blue or black clothes, and only rich people could wear colors. Sung Dynasty, about 1100 AD, a fashion started at the emperor's court for women to bind their feet.

 

Women thought that to be beautiful they needed little tiny feet, only about three inches long. They got these tiny feet by wrapping tight bandages around the feet of little girls, about five or six years old. The bandages were so tight they broke the girls’ toes and bent them underneath their feet and then they had to walk on them like that. The girls spent most of their time crying for two or three years and then the feet stopped hurting so much.

 

Women with bound feet couldn’t walk very well at all, and when they had to work in the fields often they would crawl. Some of the earliest versions of the story of Cinderella come from Sung Dynasty China. In these versions, the point of the story is that the Prince loves Cinderella because she has the smallest feet of any girl in the kingdom, so the slipper will only fit her.

Qipao in China

China LifeQipao is a Chinese Pinyin. In English, it means the mandarin gown. Qipao is the Chinese dress for women. Qipao is very popular in North China, especially in Shanghai and Hangzhou and Suzhou. The stylish and often tight-fitting cheongsam or qipao (chipao) that is most often associated with today was created in the 1920s in Shanghai and was made fashionable by socialites and upperclass women.

The English loanword cheongsam comes from chèuhngsàam, the Cantonese pronunciation of the Shanghainese term zǎnze or zansae (長衫, 'long shirt/dress'), by which the original tight-fitting form was first known. The Shanghainese name was somewhat at odds with usage in Mandarin and other Chinese dialects, where chángshān (the Mandarin pronunciation of 長衫) refers to an exclusively male dress (see changshan) and the female version is known as a qipao. In Hong Kong, where many Shanghai tailors fled to after the Communist takeover of the Mainland, the word chèuhngsàam may refer to either male or female garments. The word keipo (qipao) is either a more formal term for the female chèuhngsàam, or is used for the two-piece cheongsam variant that is popular in China. Western countries mostly follow the original Shanghainese usage and apply the name cheongsam to a garment worn by women. 

When the Manchu ruled China during the Qing Dynasty, certain social strata emerged. Among them were the Banners (qí), mostly Manchu, who as a group were called Banner People (旗人 pinyin: qí rén). Manchu women typically wore a one-piece dress that came to be known as the qípáo (旗袍 or banner quilt). The qipao fitted loosely and hung straight down the body. Under the dynastic laws after 1636, all Han Chinese in the banner system were forced to wear a queue and dress in Manchurian qipao instead of traditional Han Chinese clothing (剃发易服), under penalty of death. However after 1644, the Manchu relinquished this edict, allowing the main populace to continue to wear Hanfu, but gradually even they began to wear the qipao and changshan. In fact, only court officials were forbidden from wearing Ming court dress. In the following 300 years, the qipao became the adopted clothing of the Chinese, and was eventually tailored to suit the preferences of the population. Such was its popularity that the garment form survived the political turmoil of the 1911 Xinhai Revolution that toppled the Qing Dynasty.

The original qipao was wide and loose. It covered most of the woman's body, revealing only the head, hands, and the tips of the toes. The baggy nature of the clothing also served to conceal the figure of the wearer regardless of age. With time, though, the qipao were tailored to become more form fitting and revealing. The modern version, which is now recognized popularly in China as the "standard" qipao, was first developed in Shanghai after 1900, after the Qing Dynasty fell. People eagerly sought a more modernized style of dress and transformed the old qipao to suit their tastes. Slender and form fitting with a high cut, it contrasted sharply with the traditional qipao. However, it was high-class courtesans and socialites in the city that would make these redesigned tight fitting qipao popular at that time.

The modernized version is noted for accentuating the figures of women, and as such was popular as a dress for high society. As Western fashions changed, the basic cheongsam design changed too, introducing high-necked sleeveless dresses, bell-like sleeves, and the black lace frothing at the hem of a ball gown. By the 1940s, cheongsam came in a wide variety of fabrics with an equal variety of accessories. The 1949 Communist Revolution ended the cheongsam and other fashions in Shanghai, but the Shanghainese emigrants and refugees brought the fashion to Hong Kong where it has remained popular. Recently there has been a revival of the Shanghainese cheongsam in Shanghai and elsewhere in Mainland China; the Shanghainese style functions now mostly as a stylish party dress. 

Chinee Daily Clothing

China LifeChinese fashion has drastically changed over time. Following the relaxation of communist clothing standards in the late 70s, the way Chinese dressed and the fashion trend of the country were also changing. Contemporary urban clothing seemed to have developed an obsession with brand names.

In major urban centres, especially Shanghai, an increased western look is preferred, and there is an emphasis on formal wear over casual wear for adults on the streets. Teenagers prefer brand names and western clothing.

Children usually wear clothes decorated with cartoon characters. However, there is also effort by some to revive traditional clothing forms such as the hanfu by the hanfu movement. At an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Shanghai in 2001, the host presented silk-embroided tangzhuang jackets as the Chinese traditional national costume. However in rural China, clothing trends to be the same as it was in the 1960s.

This is because life in rural China has not been influenced by western lifestyle. Also, most people residing in rural china cannot afford such new and pricy clothing from new western style companies.

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