Chinese Lunar New Year 2021: Red Costumes, Tips to Wear For a Lucky Year

Chinese-New-Year. Photo: Chinesenewyear.net

One of the oldest traditions in the Chinese Spring Festival celebrations is acquiring new clothes for the new year. This is symbolically in line with many other aspects of the festival, which emphasize the idea of change, new beginnings, and ridding of the old.

In ancient (and simpler) times, it was not uncommon for people to have just one or two sets of clothes or outfits for the entire year, but the Chinese New Year meant that it's time for fresh new clothes to be worn! Chinahighlights noted.

Chinese New Year's Outfits

Red Clothing

This year, I fell in love with this Sandro tweed blazer and dress set. It caught my eye because it was traditional and classic in silhouette, but had this amazing red and navy striped piping along the hem. I thought this added detail gave it such a fresh and sporty take. And at the same time, it’s the perfect finishing touch for a Chinese New Year look. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with red clothing, especially if it’s your animal year!

Chinese Lunar New Year 2021: Red Costumes, Tips to Wear For a Lucky Year
Photo: Womensweekly.com.sg

Red Accessories

Of course, you’re not obligated to wear all red. A tiny pop of red also suffices for a vibrant ensemble! In fact, you can stick to a complementary or contrasting color palette then add red accessories to make your outfit more festive, according to Notjessfashion.

In the first look, I took a really daring approach, layering a pair of opaque red tights underneath my Sandro tweed set. Immediately, this changed the entire feel of my look to something more energetic and trendy. Next, I wore red leather gloves to add another touch of the lucky color to my outfit.

You can take a much more subdued approach with red earrings, a red bag, and red lipstick!

Wear Something Sentimental

When I asked Leaf what she always wears on Chinese New Year, she replied that it was her grandmother’s diamond ring. While new clothes are preferable to symbolise new beginnings, there's also an emphasis on family for the day, so it makes sense to honor those close to you, according to Whowhatwear.

Chinese-Inspired Dress

Traditionally, Chinese families wear a qipao or a cheongsam (the traditional dress), but many of us today will stick to Western clothing. If you want to stay true to tradition, then you can find several modern-day iterations online now, like this one designed by DVF. I’ve linked a few of my favorites below.

- Tang Suit: A Tang suit (唐装 / táng zhuāng) used to refer to dress from the Tang dynasty. But the “new” Tang suit is a jacket that combines the Man riding jacket (Qing dynasty) and the Western suit. If you’re a fan of Chinese martial arts, you might have seen this type of clothing in movies. Jackie Chan especially seems to like wearing them. The Tang suit was also the “dress code” for the 2001 APEC meeting.

Chinese Lunar New Year 2021: Red Costumes, Tips to Wear For a Lucky Year

Tang-Suit

Photo: Dhgate.com

- Qipao: The qipao (旗袍 / qí páo) entered mainstream Chinese culture during the Qing dynasty. But the modern styles we know today are very different from how it was originally. It began as a conservative dress with straight and loose cuts. Intricate designs were embroidered into the fabric. Through colonization, the qipao became westernized.

Chinese Lunar New Year 2021: Red Costumes, Tips to Wear For a Lucky Year

Qipao-Dress

Photo: Chinesedressshop.com

- Cheongsam: The term “cheongsam” (长衫 / cháng shān) is usually used by Westerners to refer to women’s qipao. However, it literally means “long shirt/dress.” It is loose-fitting and usually worn by men now.

- Hanfu: “Hanfu” (汉服 / hàn fú) translates literally to “clothing of the Han ethnicity.” It encompasses traditional clothing up until the Qing dynasty. This means too many types and variations to count. If you’re looking for something dressier and eye-catching, hanfu is the answer, Chinesenewyear listed.

Chinese New Year (Lunar): Clothe customs, Tips to wear for a lucky year

Hanfu

Photo: AliExpress.com

Tips To Wear For A Lucky Year

1. Wear Only New Clothes!

Chinese New Year (Lunar): Clothe customs, Tips to wear for a lucky year

Why do a lot of Chinese families go clothes shopping before Chinese New Year? Having new clothes to show off to your relatives is one thing. But do you know the actual reason? It is because many Chinese people believe that since this is a new year, they should buy new things as a way to symbolize getting ready for a new start!

2. Wear New Pyjamas The Night Before

Chinese New Year (Lunar): Clothe customs, Tips to wear for a lucky year

Before you sleep, even if you’re staying up all night to make sure your parents live long lives, make sure to wear your new pyjamas to bed. That way, the new you can enter the New Year!

3. You Must Not Wear Black

Chinese New Year (Lunar): Clothe customs, Tips to wear for a lucky year

Everyone loves the colour black because it flatters most body shapes. Unfortunately, it is a colour that you must never wear during the new year because black is typically worn during funerals. The colour has been associated with death, depression and all sorts of inauspicious things! Not a great way to usher in the new year now, eh?

4. No White Clothes Either

Chinese New Year (Lunar): Clothe customs, Tips to wear for a lucky year

Contrary to most other cultures, white is not really seen as an auspicious colour. Similar to black, white is a mourning colour and is typically worn at funerals. So make sure you stay away from white clothes as well!, Shopback expressed.

5. Red Clothes Is A Must

Chinese New Year (Lunar): Clothe customs, Tips to wear for a lucky year
The Chinese love red: that is no secret. During Chinese New Year, you will see clothing stores filled with bright red clothes. That is because red is seen as a colour of luck and prosperity. It is the main reason why many traditional families would go out decked in red on Chinese New Year.

6. Do Wear Gold

Chinese New Year (Lunar): Clothe customs, Tips to wear for a lucky year
Photo: Goop.com

If red is not classy enough for you, then go for gold! Aside from looking bright, gold is a luxurious colour and is said to symbolise wealth. There is no better way to look great for the New Year than wearing clothes that would make you look like a million bucks!

7. Do Not Wash Your Clothes

Chinese New Year (Lunar): Clothe customs, Tips to wear for a lucky year

Or well… at least on the first two days of the Chinese New Year. Those two days are seen as the Water God’s birthday. So washing your clothes on any of those days will offend the god!

8. Damaged Clothes Is A Big No-No

Chinese New Year (Lunar): Clothe customs, Tips to wear for a lucky year

That means no ripped jeans of any sort, even if it is the latest trend. Damaged clothes are said to attract bad luck and you don’t want to attract bad luck for the whole year, do you? If you are a parent with young children, make sure none of them wear ripped clothing this year as children are said to be the most vulnerable ones to any bad luck!

9. Do Not Buy New Shoes

Chinese New Year (Lunar): Clothe customs, Tips to wear for a lucky year

Yes, we said buying new clothes (or things) is seen as a great way to start the New Year according to Chinese traditions. However, when it comes to shoes, it is a totally different story. For the first few days of the Chinese New Year, you should refrain from buying any new shoes. This is because the word “shoes” in Cantonese sounds very similar to the word “rough”. So buying new shoes might usher in a rough, bumpy year for you!

10. Do Not Wear Blue

Another inauspicious colour, blue (especially darker shades) should be avoided at all cost. Some Chinese families believe that the colour is too sad and depressing. You don’t want to start the New Year on a sad note, right?

11. Do Not Give New Shoes To People

We wonder why shoes get such a bad rap during the first few days of Chinese New Year? Some Chinese people believe that giving new shoes to people at the start of the New Year means you are encouraging them to run away from you.

Chinese New Year (Lunar): Clothe customs, Tips to wear for a lucky year
Photo: Businessinsider.com

12. Wear New Underwear The Night Before

When we mention clothes, apparently your underwear is also included! Make sure to invest in several new pairs for the coming year. And if you are not the type that likes wearing red and standing out in the crowd, you can take this moment to invest in a few red pairs of undies to draw luck to you, in a discreet way, Shopback ended.

For more information about Chinese Lunar New Year, please click here!

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