Which Chinese dynasty had the best fashion

Fashion timeline of Chinese women clothing

Qin and Han dynasties (221 BC to 220 AD)

In the Qin and Han dynasties, as in ancient times, the one-piece remained the formal garment for women - although it had changed a little since the Warring States' era, when the front was even more curvy and hemmed with wide stripes . It was also cut tightly around the waist and always tied with a silk waistband.

Wei and Jin Dynasties (220 to 420 AD)

By and large, the clothing of the Wei and Jin dynasties still followed the styles of the Qin and Han.

From the representations to the Dunhuang Murals and pottery unearthed in Luoyang suggest that women's clothes were generally loose and loose at the time of the Wei and Jin. The outerwear was open to the front and tied at the waist. The sleeves were lined widely at the wrist in different colors. The skirt had a pattern of colored vertical stripes and was tied at the hip with a silk ribbon. There was also an apron between the upper body clothing and the skirt that closes around the waist. In addition to the colorful skirt with vertical stripes, women also wore other types of back, for example one covered with purple gauze, a double skirt striped with red and blue gauze or a barrel-shaped skirt with red gauze. Many of these styles have been recorded historically.

Southern and Northern Dynasties (AD 420 to 581)

During the Wei, Jin, and Southern and Northern Dynasties, men stopped wearing the one-piece suit, but some women continued the tradition. However, the style was significantly different from that of the Han Dynasty. The clothing was typically decorated with xian and shao. The latter refers to pieces of silk that are sewn into the lower hem of the dress and form triangles that taper downwards and then overlap in a row. Xian refers to longer bands that pour down from the short skirt. When the wearer moved with these ribbons, long ribbons made the sharp contour and the lower hem puff, which resembled a flying swallow and from which the Chinese saying "beautiful ribbons and flying swallowtail" resulted.

During the Southern and Northern Dynasties, the style of clothing went through further changes. The flying ribbons went out of fashion while the swallowtail-like edges were cut even larger, ultimately the ribbons and edges were combined into one.

Sui Dynasty (581 to 618 AD)

During the Sui and early Tang dynasties, a short jacket with tight sleeves was worn in conjunction with a tight, long skirt that went just below the armpits, where it was tied with a silk ribbon. In the following century, the style remained practically the same, with only minor changes, such as the omission of the jackets or their sleeves.

Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD)

The Tang Dynasty was one of the high points of Chinese feudal society. Chang’an (now Xi’an, Shaanxi Province) the capital, which is the political, economic and cultural center of the empire. Chang’an residents included ethnicities such as Huihe (Uyghurs), Tubo (Tibetan), Nanzhao (Yi), and even Japanese, Xinluo (Koreans), Persians, and Arabs. In the meantime, people traveled back and forth between countries like Vietnam, India, the Eastern Romance Empire and Chang’an, bringing the culture into flow and exchange.

All the ethnicities and foreign envoys who walked the streets of Chang’an contributed a little bit of their own culture to the Tang. As a result, the Tang culture absorbed some of the foreign skills and styles in painting, carving, music, and dance, among others. The Tang government's policy was to adopt exotic fashions, whether hats or dresses. Thus the clothes became increasingly picturesque and took on new notions of beauty.

Tang dynasty women paid special attention to the appearance of the face and the use of powder or even blush was widespread. The forehead of some women was painted black and yellow and dai (a kind of dark blue pigment) was used to paint women's eyebrows in various shapes that one can call one dai mei (painted eyebrows) called.

In the Tianbao era of Tang Xuanzong's rule, many women wore men's clothing. Not only was this a popular fad, but it was also introduced at the imperial court for some time and became a custom for women of high birth.

Song Dynasty (960 to 1279 AD)

The hair style of the women of the Song Dynasty still followed the style of the later Tang Dynasty, with the pinned bun being preferred. Often such a bun was more than 30 cm high.

The women's outer clothing consisted mainly of a coat, blouse, wide-sleeved dress, outer dress, short-sleeved jacket and waistcoat. The clothing for the lower body was mostly a skirt.

Women in the Song Dynasty rarely wore boots because of the fashion for tying the feet. Historians do not know exactly how and why this tradition of Lotus feet began, but at first she was mainly associated with dancers and professional entertainers in the capital. During the Song Dynasty, the practice spread from the palace and entertainment facilities to the homes of the elite. 'From the 13th century there are finds that clearly prove that the feet tying was practiced among the wives and daughters of civil servants,' said Patricia Buckley Ebrey, '[…] over the course of the next few centuries the lotus foot became an increasingly common practice among noble families and eventually permeated the bulk of the Chinese population.

Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368 AD)

Han women continued to wear jackets and skirts, but the choice of darker tones and buttons on the left showed the influence of the Mongol dynasty.

After the Mongols had settled in the central plains, their customs also found their way into the Han population. While jackets and skirts remained the custom for women, they had strongly differed from the style of the Tang and Song era. Tight-fitting items of clothing were replaced by loose and wide ones, and collars, sleeves and skirts were given a straight cut. In addition, lighter, vivid colors gained preference.

Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644 AD)

The clothing of women in the Ming Dynasty consisted mainly of elegant dresses, cloaks, rosy capes and overcoats with or without sleeves. These styles were imitations of Tang and Song clothing, although the openings, following the Han Dynasty, were on the right side.

The citizens' formal clothing was only allowed to be made of coarse purple fabrics and gold embroidery was forbidden. The clothes could only be in light colors such as purple, green and pink and under no circumstances could they be purple, reddish blue or yellow. These orders were monitored for over a decade, and it wasn't until Emperor Hong Wu's 14th year that minor changes were made to these regulations.

Qing Dynasty (AD 1644 to 1911)

After the Chinese throne fell into the hands of the Manchurians, Chinese men were forced to follow Manchurian customs. As a sign of submission, the new government decreed that Chinese men either had to shave their heads and wear the Manchurian braid or else lose their heads. Many opted for the latter.

Manchurian clothing and fashion, on the other hand, were not imposed on women. “In general, women wore skirts on the lower body, with red skirts signifying high status. At the beginning there was the “phoenix tail” skirt, the “moonlight” skirt and others from the Ming tradition. However, styles evolved over time: some skirts were adorned with ribbons that floated in the air when you walked; small bells were attached to some; on others the hem has been embroidered in wave patterns. Towards the end of the dynasty, the custom of wearing trousers spread among bourgeois women. These were overpants and pants with a wide crotch, both made of silk and embroidered with patterns.

The Manchurians tried many times to end the lotus foot tradition, but largely failed. Manchurian women admired the gait of women with tied feet, but they themselves were forbidden to tie their feet. So the so-called "flower pot shoe" was spread, which enabled the wearer to walk unsteadily with the lotus feet without having to tie their feet.

Republic of China (A.D. 1912 to 1949)

The straight cut of the style of women's clothing had not changed since the Tang Dynasty: flat and straight shapes on the chest, shoulder and hips with only a few visible curves. It wasn't until the 1920s that Chinese women began to admire the ranks Beauty of curves and more attention was paid to the cut of the figure rather than keeping the traditional style.

The most popular item of clothing in every woman's wardrobe was the cheongsam (Pinyin: Qipao). Originally the Manchurian dress, it was adopted by Han women in the 1920s. The dress was then further modified and improved upon so that it became the epitome of the best in fashion for some time.

Two reasons are mainly responsible for the popularity of the cheongsam among women: First, it was an economical and comfortable choice: women traditionally tied their breasts with tight vests in the Ming and Qing dynasties and continued this into the early 20th century. The vests were xiaomajia ›Little vests‹ or xiaoshan Called a ›small shirt‹ and worn on the upper body as underwear. Doudu is a kind of apron for the upper body. Everyone wore this in the past Douduwhether young or old, male or female. Younger people wore red, middle-aged people wore white or green-gray, older people wore black. A little pouch at the top of the Doudu was used by adults to store money and by children for sweets. When a girl got engaged, she would demonstrate her embroidery skills by making an intricately crafted one Doudu sent to her fiancé, along with auspicious items and pomegranates as a prophecy of many sons.

A ban on tying the breasts began in 1927 when the government was campaigning for natural breasts started. Regardless of this, the breasts were largely tied until the 1930s. The government also banned earrings as they came under criticism for deforming the natural body. In the 1930s, the French bra came to Shanghai too.

The small vest was designed to hold the breasts and streamline the body. Such clothing was necessary in order to look correct in etiquette around 1908, when (as J. Dyer Ball observed): ›Fashion dictated that jackets should fit tightly without giving in to the curves of the body […] because such a display of the body would be considered indecent. ‹It became necessary again in the mid-20s, when the jacket-blouse - a piece of clothing that is cut according to rounded shapes - was replaced by the cheongsam. At that time no darts were used in the design of the bodice and that didn't change until the 1950s. All you could do to adapt the material of the bodice even better to the shape of the breasts was to stretch it in the right places by ironing. In such conditions, tying the breasts made the tailor's job easier.

Successful termination of the foot-tying did not come until 1949, when the People's Republic of China came to power.

Republican Era and the 21st Century


In the People's Republic of China, very few women from mainland China still wore the cheongsam and kept it for ceremonial occasions. Clothing has been de-sexualized on the mainland.

The opposite occurred in Hong Kong, where the cheongsam continued to be worn in everyday life until the late 1960s. In the 50s and 60s the cheongsam became even tighter to accentuate the feminine curves. By the late 1960s, western clothing became the standard, with the cheongsam still being used for waitresses, brides, and beauty contestants, and - in a casual, two-gender version - as student uniforms.

21st century

Designers today are creating new forms of cheongsam. The Fish fin seems to be a current trend.

from Xiao Xiao [email protected];
translated by Joshua [email protected]

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