The Bai people is a minority in the southwestern border of China and is mainly distributed in the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province. The Bai people have always maintained their distinctive traditional features in terms of living customs and clothing. The color of white has always been advocated by the nation. Men in the Dali area like to wrap the head with white or blue cloth, wearing white blouses in black-collar coat and loose trousers with tassel belts, some carrying embroidered bags.
In some regions, men prefer to wear skullcaps and jackets in which they look handsome and generous. The garments of the Bai women, who have long enjoyed the reputation of “golden flowers”, are even more bright and colorful. In Dali, women wear white blouses, red waistcoats, or light blue blouses with velvet black vests. Silver festoons are hung on the right side of the knots. Ribbons, embroidered with butterflies and bees on black cords, are attached to the waist. Under the blue wide pants, they wear embroidered white shoes. Most of them wear silver bracelets and rings on their hands. Married women comb their hair, while unmarried girls make hang-down plaits or knots on the top. Some wear red headbands under the hairpins to reveal the snow-white tassels fluttering on the sides, revealing a unique charm of the nation. Young women in Jianchuan also like to wear a cap or fishtail hat. The Bai women in the West Mountain and Baoshan areas of Wuyuan County often bun their hair on the top with silver tubes as hairpins, and then wrap their heads with black cloth. They like to wear long-sleeved turtleneck clothes with embroidered waistbands, presenting a well-balanced and fresh look.
In short, although there are some regional differences among the costumes of the Bai people in various parts, the bright colors, the harmonious coordination, the exquisite embroidery, and the quaint decency are the common characteristics. The bold colors is contrastive, looking bright and coordinated; the beautifully embroideries are sophisticated but not cluttered.
Regardless of men's and women's clothing, the beautiful and bright Bai garments can be produced in accordance with different acquirements. At the first glance it gives people a feeling of prominent lines and vigor. It is rich in local ethnic sense which is pleasing and impressive.
Elder women often use black and blue fabrics, and a few prefer colorful silks, which are long and wide. Young women like to wear in white and blue, and generally use short and narrow fabrics. The clothes are all decorated with embroidered flowers in mainly white lines and less red lines.
When the Bai girls get married, they must make a set of jewelry, among which the jade bracelet and the silver jewelry chain are the most expensive. Wearing these two objects is a symbol of being married.
The beanies are usually embroidered with colored plum, chrysanthemum and so on. Caps are adorned with round silver on each end and decorations, such as amber frogs, agate statues or silver jewelry, right above the front. Some have spring hydrangea on the top and silver bells on the rare.
Cross-stitched patterns in the white thread on the blue cloth, looking colorful and vigorous, are the most distinctive feature of Bai people,. These square headscarves are regular decoration of Bai women and the patterns simplify with the growth of the wearer’s age.
Boat-shaped embroidered shoes are common seen among the people. The tips are high-winged with a tail buckle at the end of the shoe, and the body is all embroidered which are bright and colorful.
Another regular shoes are round-opening embroidered shoes. There is only one set of patterns embroidered symmetrically on the toe, such as flowers.
Embroidered sandals are worn by both young men and women. The snow-white cloth is adhered to the cloth shell and cut into various shapes. After embroidered with a geometric pattern on both sides, stitch leather soles and finally a small silk ball on the toe. These shoes are usually worn only in grand festivals or important dates.