The Yao people has always maintained its traditional characteristics in terms of customs, especially in the garments.
The Yao people are skilled in weaving, dyeing, and embroidering, and their clothing is also varied. Women in Fangcheng wear long-sleeved cross-opening dresses and shorts or leggings, head wrapping with red spikes, the top side of which covered by a scarf with embroidered geometric pattern. Women in Dayao Mountain wear a pair of cross-dressing long coats with side-opening plackets, whose collars, hem and sleeves are exquisitely decorated by red embroidery. Blue cloth shorts, brocade leggings, clogs are also preferred by the nation, as well as silver rings and other accessories on the neck. Women in Jinping wear indigo long-sleeved clothes, with red embroidery on collar and a row of silver medals and the embroidered flower trousers. The trousers are precious items of art.
The common Yao men's clothing is divided into opening coats, short-sleeved and gowns, matching with waistbands. Their trousers are also divided in pants and shorts, mainly in blue. What’s special is that the white pants of the men in Nandan are of wide hips and tight legs.
Yao headwear are various and interesting. Men of Baiku Yao comb their long hair on the top of the head,while men of Da Pai Yao make a bun and wrap their heads in red cloth, decorating with pheasant tails; Men of Landing Yao like to wear well-prepared ponytail caps. Women of Chashan Yao wear three pairs of wings and big silver plates.
There is a big difference in the clothing of each branch of the Yao. The men's clothing is basically the type of cross-body jackets in indigo and blue. Some also wear cross-dressing and long-sleeved shirts, matching with different lengths of pants and tie turbans which are simple and unpretentious.
White-Pants Yao and Red Yao
Men of Nandan Yao in Guangxi love wearing a cross-dressing top and a white knee-length shorts which won them the name of White-Pants Yao. The people of Longsheng are called Red Yao because they usually wear red embroidered clothes.
Superb Blue Print
Yao women are skilled in blue silk printing and dyeing, and still remain a complete set of printing and dyeing techniques. After soaking and extracting the bluegrass they planted, they add the white wine, filtering through the plant ash, and dyeing the fabric after fermentation. During the dyeing process, the process repeats several times until the fabric presents dark blue with dark red. In order to obtain durable cloth with deep color, they also put the dyed cloth into stewed cow skin or pig blood solution for steaming.
The beauty of the Yao clothing can be also seen in the composition of the stitching. The patterns and the characteristics of clothing are to some extent a reflection of their religion. The people of Xilin County in Guangxi Province retain a costume embroidered with many gods that has been for centuries, revealing the psychological characteristics of the Yao people.
Yao's headdress is quite distinctive and creative. Some wear bamboo arrows, as well as vertical top plates, point caps, and even the shell of bamboo. The Yao women in Hexian County of Guangxi Province, wear tower-shaped hats which are more than 10 layers and quite spectacular. The Yao women in Hunan paint their hair with beeswax and wrap with flower scarves.