Chinese Traditional Clothing II

Three Types of Traditional Chinese Clothing

Three main types of traditional Chinese clothing are the pienfu, the changpao, and the shenyi.

The pienfu is an ancient two-piece ceremonial costume of a tunic-like top extending to the knees and a skirt or trousers extending to the ankles.


The changpao is a one-piece garment extending from the shoulders all the way to the heels.


The shenyi is a cross between the pienfu and the changpao; it consists of a tunic and a skirt or trousers like the pienfu, but the tunic and the skirt are sewed together and essentially one piece like the changpao. Consequently, the shenyi was the most widely worn of the three types. Three types of clothing were wide and voluminous sleeves and a very loose fit. Tunic and trousers or tunic and skirt, utilized a very minimum number of stitches for the amount of cloth used.

Features of Chinese Clothing

Because of relatively plain design and structure of traditional Chinese clothing, embroidered edgings, decorated bands, draped cloth or silks, patterns on the shoulders, and sashes were often added as ornamentation. These varied designs came to be one of the unique features of traditional Chinese dress.


Darker colors were much more favored than lighter ones in traditional Chinese clothing so the main color of ceremonial clothing tended to be dark while bright, elaborate tapestry designs accented. Lighter colored clothing was worn more frequently by the common people for everyday use.


The Chinese associate certain colors with specific seasons. Green represents spring, red symbolizes summer, white represents autumn, and black symbolizes winter. The Chinese are said to have a fully developed system of matching, coordinating, and contrasting colors and shades of light and dark in apparel.


Red is favorite for most Chinese people since Red symbolizes good luck. Chinese people prefer to wear red when they are celebrating some important festivals or events in their life, such as wedding ceremony.


by Xiao Xiao @

Leave a Reply