Traditional Chines hanfu in style of Ming dynasty by 溪春堂传统服饰
It’s so sad to see Hanfu not as well known as other traditional costumes, always mistaken as kimono or hanbok or just Chinese opera costume.
I’ve encountered a few times, where even Han Chinese can’t recognise what their ancestors used to wear. This is really sad. This is because Hanfu has been “lost” for 300 plus years.
Eg. 1 – I was at a dinner, some ladies were wearing Hanfu (maybe not the high quality Hanfu but those can be bought from Taobao) but they were introduced by a Chinese host as “ladies from Korea”.
Eg. 2 – I once showed a Hanfu photo to my Chinese friend, and her response was “isn’t this Chinese opera costume?”
All these incidents have saddened me so much.
How much longer will it take for Hanfu to rise to the top, the reach the recognition level on par with other costumes like Cheongsam, Kimono, Hanbok? Are Hanfu only able to exist in ancient paintings/murals/figurines?
I am not against Cheongsam, nor I want Hanfu to take over Cheongsam as the Han Chinese symbol but I believe both can co-exist together. I just hope that more people will know about these beautiful but long lost fashion, worn by our ancestors.
I, myself not a Chinese history/Hanfu expert, I am still trying to learn more about Hanfu from the resources available and perhaps one day, I can wear one. Let’s just hope that in the future, Hanfu is officially recognised/heavily promoted as the one of the Han Chinese traditional costumes.
I hope that Hanfu will be recognised as well. I have a really Chinese face that the only time I will be mislabeled as other ethnicity is when I wear hanfu.
How to Wear Hanfu | Ma Mian Skirt (馬面裙) from the Ming Dynasty
by Ally from
Five Thousand Years
Ally is creating interesting and beautiful videos about hanfu, so please show her some love and support 🙂
Are there any styles of hanfu that are unisex?
Hi, thanks for the question! I think the more pertinent question is, which styles of Hanfu aren’t unisex? One of the great things about Hanfu is that many of its styles are not limited to a specific gender, to the point that couples can go out wearing exactly identical clothes if they wish. Examples below – 1) Ruqun/Yishang, 2) Zhiju:
Common Hanfu styles considered to be unisex include the following (note: see posts here and here for Hanfu definitions): Ruqun (known as Yishang for men), Beizi, Banbi, Bijia, Pifeng, Zhiju, Quju, Yuanlingpao (technically men’s Hanfu, but became popular with women during the Tang dynasty), Shuhe, and Doupeng. These are just some of the most basic styles; there are many more. Examples below – 1) Banbi, 2) Beizi, 3) Yuanlingpao, 4) Shuhe:
Meanwhile, Hanfu styles considered exclusive to women include: Chest-high Ruqun, Daxiushan, Aoqun, Chang Ao, and U-Collar; while styles considered exclusive to men include: Dachang, Daopao, Zhiduo, Lanshan, Tieli, and Yisan/Yesa (again, these lists are by no means exhaustive).
Nowadays, of course, people are free to wear any style of Hanfu they want, regardless of its assigned gender code. As in Western fashion, women are freer to experiment with men’s Hanfu than the other way around. Example below – Couple wearing Song dynasty-style Lanshan, which is a formal style of Hanfu worn by male scholars and students since the Tang dynasty:
Hope this helps!