What Is A Chinese Hanfu? (Beautiful Clothes) | Son Of China (2022)

Posted On March 25, 2022/ Written by yelang

Many young people in China have embraced this traditional outfit as a form of cultural expression. The hanfu is a fashion trend gaining popularity in China and surrounding countries.

China is famous for preserving its traditions over the years and is proud of its culture. Reports reveal that more than 20 million people purchase hanfu in a year. If you would like to try out this clothing, you should first understand more regarding it. Here is more!

What is hanfu clothing?

What Is A Chinese Hanfu? (Beautiful Clothes) | Son Of China (1)

Different Chinese groups have their styles of dressing. The Han Chinese have been wearing hanfu since the 17th Century. This is the Chinese ethnic group located in East Asia. It is the largest group in China since it makes up more than 90 percent of the Chinese population.

This clothing is made up of different types of garments. The Chinese wear a jacket as the upper garment of hanfu and a skirt on the lower body. Hanfu is not complete without a robe. The Chinese also wear some accessories with hanfu to boost its appearance. Some of the common accessories that go well with this traditional outfit include footwear, jewelry, and headwear. The ornaments that people use to decorate this garment are referred to as peo.

Due to the popularity of hanfu, neighboring countries such as Korea, Japan, and Vietnam have also embraced it. This type of clothing has evolved. Neighboring cultural clothing also influenced some of the elements of the Hanfu. Nowadays, most people wear this type of clothing during special occasions while others wear it daily. Feel free to wear it while attending a wedding or festival.

(Video) Getting to Know the Chinese Traditional Clothing - Hanfu

Hanfu meaning

We mentioned that hanfu is a type of clothing that the Han Chinese initially wore. This is a crucial type of clothing that reflects China’s traditional aesthetics. Though this form of clothing disappeared for a while, Young Chinese are nowadays putting on hanfu to promote their traditional culture.

This trend is not only popular on the internet, but it has also become one of the major cultural themes in China. There is even a hanfu festival that is held every year and attended by over a hundred thousand people.

Hanfu history

What Is A Chinese Hanfu? (Beautiful Clothes) | Son Of China (2)

The Han Chinese started wearing hanfu over three thousand years ago. The Yellow Emperor, a king of ancient China, was among the first people to wear hanfu. During those times, every dynasty had its own unique style of dressing.

The Han Chinese wrapped the upper hanfu garment over the front during ancient times. The left side covered the right, and this upper garment would extend to a wearer’s waist. This style was referred to as jiaoling youren. Some of the minority groups in the country used Zuoren. This was a style that was used to dress people who passed on. The deceased was dressed in a hanfu so that the right side of the upper garment crossed the left.

Shang Dynasty

What Is A Chinese Hanfu? (Beautiful Clothes) | Son Of China (3)

The hanfu first appeared in the time of this dynasty from 1600 BC to 1000 BC. During this period, the hanfu was made up of a chang which was an ankle-length skirt, a yu which was a tunic.

(Video) Chinese Fashion Through the Dynasties

A sash also formed part of this clothing, and it was used to tie the tunic. In the Shang Dynasty, people used to wear hanfu with a bixi that reached the knees. The Chinese used silk material to make hanfu, and this type of clothing was unisex. The main colors that were used to make hanfu during the Shang Dynasty included green and red.

Zhou Dynasty

What Is A Chinese Hanfu? (Beautiful Clothes) | Son Of China (4)

Hanfu was also common during the Zhou Dynasty, which was between 1045 BC and 771 BC. During this period, the Chinese used hanfu clothing to show the distinction between different classes in society. During this period, highly ranked people such as senior officials and emperors wore hanfu with more decorations than the rest.

The hanfu was also made from different materials and painted in different colors.

Unlike in the Shang Dynasty, hanfu clothing in the Zhou Dynasty featured wider sleeves. The tunic was also designed with jade decorations. Just like in the Shang Dynasty, people used to tie a sash around the waist after putting on hanfu. They also put different ornaments on this clothing. People with higher social stature wore more decorations. While the men used to wear hats with the hanfu, the ladies wore headpieces.

Qing Dynasty

During the start of the Qing Dynasty, hanfu disappeared. This happened because the people who founded the dynasty were not the Han Chinese that used to wear hanfu. A semi-nomadic ethnic group called Manchus founded the Qin Dynasty. Though this group introduced the Manchu dress, it disappeared as soon as the dynasty fell. After this, the western style of dressing was introduced, and most people embraced it.

21st Century

What Is A Chinese Hanfu? (Beautiful Clothes) | Son Of China (5)
(Video) Beautiful traditional Chinese clothes(on my friends)---hanfu (1)

Since China established a Hanfu movement in the 21st century to promote its culture, the hanfu became a fashion trend. In November 2003, Wang Letian put on a shenyi in public, and his story got published in a newspaper. This soon gained public attention, and many people started imitating him. Reports reveal that by 2019, there were more than 1000 hanfu stores on Taobao and Tmall.

Types of hanfu

The hanfu is divided into three main styles. You can either wear a one-piece dress hanfu, jacket with trousers or a jacket with a skirt. Most women prefer the jacket with skirt style.

Traditional hanfu

The traditional hanfu is made up of a yi, a knee-length tunic that features a narrow cuff. A stash is used to tie the yi. This hanfu also consists of chang, which is a skirt that reaches the ankle. The chang is often worn with a bixi which is a fabric that is designed to reach the knees.

  • Hanfu men/male
What Is A Chinese Hanfu? (Beautiful Clothes) | Son Of China (6)

The hanfu is a unisex garment that looks good on women and men. One of the styles of hanfu that is common among men is shenyi. Men can wear this long belted robe that comes with wide sleeves. Men started wearing this style of hanfu from the Zhou dynasty. Other countries such as Vietnam and Japan have even come up with their versions of this style of hanfu.

  • Hanfu shoes male
What Is A Chinese Hanfu? (Beautiful Clothes) | Son Of China (7)

The Han Chinese considered footwear as part of accessories. Shoes were referred to as iu during the Han Dynasty and ju during the Qin Dynasty. The men accompany their hanfu garments with cloth or leather shoes. In the past, Han Chinese males used to wear this clothing with shoes that had thick soles or wooden clogs.

(Video) HanfuClub--Tang Dynasty clothes are the most beautiful clothes in Chinese history, do you agree

  • Hanfu dress
What Is A Chinese Hanfu? (Beautiful Clothes) | Son Of China (8)

The traditional hanfu dress that Han Chinese ladies wore was referred to as Ruqun. It is a form of attire that consists of a longer outer skirt and an upper garment that is often a short jacket. These two pieces of garments were believed to bear the heaven and earth symbolism based on Chinese culture.

Modern hanfu male

After going out of fashion for hundreds of years, the hanfu is back. This type of clothing has evolved in that modern designs are more gender-neutral. Modern hanfu male consist of multiple pieces. Men nowadays wear pants as part of the hanfu instead of the long belted robe that was common in ancient times.

Modern hanfu dress

Nowadays, hanfu dresses come in elegant and stylish designs. This is why many young ladies today enjoy taking photos wearing the modern hanfu dress. Modern hanfu dresses also accentuate the natural curves in women since they are fitting. Ladies nowadays wear the hanfu dress as fashion pieces.

Hanfu vs. Qipao

One can confuse the two since they both originated from China, and are considered traditional types of clothing in this country. They, however, differ in that hanfu is the main style of clothing associated with the Han Chinese while Qipao is the style of clothing for the Manchu.

A group called Manchu introduced a style of dressing called Qipao in China during the Qin dynasty. Though Qipao is popular in contemporary China, it is not similar to Hanfu since it is not derived from the Han culture.

While some find the Qipao more convenient to wear, others prefer hanfu. Many people believe that hanfu better represents the country’s history than Qipao since it existed for many years and even came back in the 21st century.

(Video) LIVE: How a small county thrives on Hanfu, traditional Chinese clothing

Apart from their origins, these two traditional Chinese costumes also differ in style and characteristics. Hanfu is much richer compared to Qipao. Qipao comes with flat and straight lines. The body of this type of clothing is often loose. Hanfu, on the other hand, comes with an upper and lower garment that may be sewn together or are separated.

Conclusion

The hanfu is among the oldest traditional types of clothing in China. This type of clothing is a symbol of Chinese culture. Though wearing hanfu was common in the past, the trend is back, and many people are nowadays wearing this garment in unique styles. You can consider wearing this garment the next time you attend a traditional Chinese festival.

FAQs

What does Hanfu mean in Chinese? ›

Hanfu (simplified Chinese: 汉服; traditional Chinese: 漢服; pinyin: Hànfú) is the traditional styles of clothing worn by the Han Chinese.

What does Hanfu mean in English? ›

Hanfu, literally 'Han clothes', is one of the traditional types of Chinese clothing. It served as the characteristic clothing for the Han ethnic group for more than three millennia and was outlawed at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912).

What is special about Hanfu? ›

Driven by a mix of rising nationalism, savvy local branding, and KOL-propelled hype, the rise of Hanfu is a telling example of what young Chinese consumers want from brands today — an acknowledgment of their cultural heritage and a post-hegemonic attitude to style making.

What is a Hanfu girl? ›

Hanfu, meaning “Han clothing,” is based on the idea of donning costumes worn in bygone eras by China's dominant Han ethnic group. Some of the most popular styles are from the Ming, Song and Tang dynasties.

Why is Chinese clothing important? ›

As a vital part of Chinese civilization, traditional clothing plays an important role in the country's history and culture. Their basic features are cross-collar, wrapping the right lapel over the left, tying with sash and a form of blouse plus skirt or long gown.

What is Chinese clothing called? ›

The Hanfu, Zhongshan suit (Mao suit), Tang suit, and cheongsam (qipao) are the four most distinctive types of traditional Chinese clothing.

Who created the Hanfu? ›

Hanfu appeared in China more than three thousand years ago and is said that it was clothing of the legendary Yellow Emperor, a great sage king of ancient China. The basic of Hanfu was developed in time of Shang Dynasty, from 1600BC to 1000BC.

How do you wear a Hanfu dress? ›

How to Wear Hanfu | Qixiong Ruqun (齊胸襦裙) from the Tang Dynasty

Where can I wear Hanfu? ›

It eventually became the everyday form of dress for women until the Cultural Revolution, when it was abandoned in mainland China as a symbol of the West and the bourgeoisie. Nowadays, it is acceptable in mainland China again and is often worn on important formal occasions such as weddings or the Lunar New Year.

How do you make a Hanfu skirt? ›

DIY hanfu skirt | the CNY glow up you need so your relatives will stop ...

What is Chinese clothes made of? ›

Silk is made from the cocoons of silkworms and is soft, light, and beautiful. The Chinese were the first to make silk and kept how to make it secret for hundreds of years. Silk garments were generally long robes.

What should I wear in China? ›

When planning what to wear in China, opt for neat, tidy, clean and conservative clothing. The Chinese people appreciate it if you dress up and you will rarely find a Chinese woman older than a teenager in jeans. Our advice is to pack casual, lightweight layers that aren't too revealing.

What do people in China eat? ›

Staple Foods
  • Rice is a major staple food in China. ...
  • Noodles are a basic staple food in China. ...
  • Tofu contains little fat and is high in protein, calcium, and iron. ...
  • Chinese people basically eat all animals' meat, such as pork, beef, mutton, chicken, duck, pigeon, as well as many others.
Oct 14, 2021

What is a Chinese shirt called? ›

Changshan

What are female Chinese dresses called? ›

A Qipao, sometimes referred to as a cheongsam or a “Mandarin gown,” is a classic garment traditionally made from embroidered silk, featuring a high collar and delicate cloth buttons on the front. The qipaos you might be familiar with are tight-fitting and associated with the Shanghainese socialites of the '60s.

What are Chinese coats called? ›

Tangzhuang (Chinese: 唐裝; pinyin: Tángzhuāng; lit. 'Chinese suit'), sometimes called Tang suit, is a kind of Chinese jacket with Manchu origins and Han influences, characterized with a mandarin collar closing at the front with frog buttons.

How do you tie Hanfu pants? ›

How to Wear Hanfu | Songku (宋褲) from the Song Dynasty - YouTube

Is it okay to wear Hanfu? ›

If so, do you have the host's permission? If so, then yes, that's fine, as long as the rules of being respectful in your presentation and wearing of it are adhered to. If you're in a school or a company and there are Chinese students or co-workers, then it depends highly on the general culture of the place.

Is Hanfu formal? ›

As you can see, hanfu runs the full gamut of formality, from super-casual summer wear & lounge wear (first two rows) to bridal wear (last two rows). If you were to wear one to a party, any semi-formal to formal style should work.

How do you tie a Hanfu sleeve? ›

How to Wear Hanfu | Quju Shenyi (曲裾深衣) from the Han Dynasty

How do you make a Hanfu pattern? ›

How To MAKE/Create HANFU?! (Sewing & Patterns Hanfus)

How do you wrap a pleated skirt? ›

how to pleated skirt DIY// Burberry inspired wrap skirt - YouTube

Is it okay to wear Hanfu? ›

If so, do you have the host's permission? If so, then yes, that's fine, as long as the rules of being respectful in your presentation and wearing of it are adhered to. If you're in a school or a company and there are Chinese students or co-workers, then it depends highly on the general culture of the place.

Are Hanfu and kimono the same? ›

Other visual clues to differentiate hanfu and kimono include: hanfu sash is typically tied in front while kimono obi is typically tied in back, kimono obi is much wider, thicker, and stiffer than hanfu sash, kimono sleeves are more rectangular while hanfu sleeves are more curved, kimono sleeves are open in the back ...

What is the female Chinese dress called? ›

A Qipao, sometimes referred to as a cheongsam or a “Mandarin gown,” is a classic garment traditionally made from embroidered silk, featuring a high collar and delicate cloth buttons on the front.

Who invented Hanfu? ›

Hanfu appeared in China more than three thousand years ago and is said that it was clothing of the legendary Yellow Emperor, a great sage king of ancient China. The basic of Hanfu was developed in time of Shang Dynasty, from 1600BC to 1000BC.

How do you tie a Hanfu? ›

How to Wear Hanfu | Qixiong Ruqun (齊胸襦裙) from the Tang Dynasty

Where can you wear Hanfu? ›

It eventually became the everyday form of dress for women until the Cultural Revolution, when it was abandoned in mainland China as a symbol of the West and the bourgeoisie. Nowadays, it is acceptable in mainland China again and is often worn on important formal occasions such as weddings or the Lunar New Year.

Do Chinese still wear traditional clothing? ›

Today, wearing Hanfu has become a fashionable thing among many young Chinese, as you can see, there are many Hanfu societies in universities. People get together with their Hanfu collection, taking photos in traditional style and appreciating the beauty of traditional clothing.

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