From the Bronze Age to the 20th century, Chinese clothing has undergone tremendous changes in the history of about 5,000 years, but it also maintained the elements of long-term continuity during the period of time. The story of Chinese garment is a story of clothing wrapped in silk, hemp, or cotton, as well as superb techniques used in weaving, dyeing, embroidery and other textile arts. After the Revolution of 1911, new styles began to replace the clothing tradition that seems to be unadapted in the modern era.


In the history, Chinese people use textiles and clothing, as well as other cultural symbols, such as food and unique Chinese characters, to distinguish them from frontier peoples that they consider uncivilized. Silk, hemp and later cotton were regarded as civilized fabrics; they did not like woolen cloth because it was related to the weaving or felting of woolen clothing by animal herders of the northern grasslands.



The Evolution of Women Garment



The basic element for all adults to wear a coat was a suitable hairstyle - the hair grew very long, with an oblong or top knot, or a queue of braids for the last imperial dynasty in China - and some kind of hat or other headdress. Capping ritual was described in the text of the early rituals as the passage of a boy to adulthood. Decent male adult should appear in public with a certain hood, whether it was a informally soft cloth hat or a rigid black silk with a “wing” attachment for a civil service official. As Confucius said, untied hair and clothes wrapped around the left presented an uncivilized person. Peasants traditionally wore wide conical hats woven from bamboo, palm leaves or other plant material. The shapes and patterns reflected local customs and, in some cases, ethnic minorities.


The dress of elite members was different in cutting and styles from that of ordinary people, and also the fabric. But for all the classes, men and women, the basic clothing were a loose robe with various width of  sleeves, the left front panel lapping on the right side, the whole dress fixed with a sash. The details of the dress changed a lot over time, but the basic idea stood up. Upper class wore a long version of this dress often with a wide, dangling sleeves; the difference between men's and women's clothing were the details of cutting and decorating. Sometimes coats or jackets were wore over the robes themselves. For upper-class women, a variant was a shorter robe with tighter sleeves, wearing over a skirt. The working class wore shorter robe-thigh-length or knee-long-with trousers or leggings or skirts. In cold weather, all classes wore padded and quilted suits suitable for their classes. Silk shreds and fibers wrapped around silk cocoons made a lightweight, warm filler for the winter costumes.



Archeological Evidence of Advanced Textile Technology in Ancient Times



Men's clothes were usually of solid dark color, excepted for clothes worn at court, which were usually decorated with colorful designs woven, dyed or embroidered. Women's clothes were generally more colorful. The famous “dragon robes" of the Chinese emperors and senior officials was a relatively late development, limited to the past few centuries of imperial history. In 1991, with the collapse of the last dynasty, new costume styles were adopted, because people tried to find out a way of Chinese and modern.