Chinese Suit (Tangzhuang

The Tangzhuang, a traditional Chinese coat, developed from the Magua of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It combines traditional Chinese elements and western solid cutting methods. Its basic style includes a Mandarin collar, front opening and knotted Chinese buttons. Shoulder pads are inserted for better fit.

Chinese Suit for Men

Literally, Tangzhuang means Chinese clothes in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), but the modern version bears no relationship with the clothes of the Tang Dynasty. The modern one evolves from a kind of Manchu clothing. Because it was worn by leaders from different countries in APEC in 2001, it became famous. From then on, this new kind of clothing has been regarded as Chinese Tangzhuang and has enjoyed a great popularity among Chinese people and overseas. The word “Tangzhuang” itself was originally created by overseas Chinese. Because of the high reputation of the Tang Dynasty, Chinese people are called “Tang People” by foreigners; thus the Chinese community abroad is called “Tang people’s Community” (namely Chinatown) and their costume is called “Tangzhuang”. This word became familiar among Chinese people after 2001. Four characteristics are distinctive for the Tangzhuang. The Mandarin collar with front opening is a traditional Chinese clothes style. The opening is symmetrical and the collar stands straight up. The Chinese knots, being hand-made, are used as buttons as well as decorations. Another characteristic is the fabric, which usually is a traditional cloth such as brocaded silk. Adding the western solid cutting method and shoulder pads made the clothes fit better.

Chinese Suit for Women

Based on these four characteristic, more and more styles are being invented by the designers. Currently, there are three main types: traditional style, national style and fashion style. The traditional style has all the Chinese traditional elements. The colors are usually red, black and sapphire blue. The patterns are usually “Tuanhua”, a kind of Chinese flower pattern. This kind of clothing was usually worn during traditional Chinese festivals or wedding ceremonies and it is popular around the world. The national ones use traditional elements but change the Tuanhua patterns into poems and other traditional auspicious designs. It was usually worn for leisure. The fabric was usually cotton rather than brocade. [b] Tips for Choosing[/b] It is suggested to ask whether the fabric used has been sanforized, because most of the traditional Chinese Tangzhuang are made of natural materials such as silk and brocade and they may shrink. Also, it is suggested that you rub the material lightly to ensure it does not fade.
In picking colors, bright warm-toned colors are recommended, which make people look energetic. This is especially true for seniors. Bright colors will make you looks much younger. The traditional decorations worn with these clothes are scarves, jade articles such as jade bracelets and so on. It is better not to wear too much. One or two items are enough.
Places to Buy and Make In many big cities in China, one can find some good places to have Tangzhuang custom-made. The Silk Market in Beijing and the Muslim Quarter in Xian are the best places to purchase a suit. Many customized Tangzhuang stores can be found along South Maoming Road in Shanghai. If one intends to buy custom-made clothes in these places, it is suggested that you compare the shops with each other and bargain, so that you will get the best price.
Tang Dynasty Clothing Another use of the term “Tangzhuang” refers to a form the traditional “Hanfu” (Han people’s clothing) in the Tang Dynasty. This kind of clothing usually has cross collars and a belt to tie the clothes without buttons. Women always wore dresses, while robes were the main clothing for men. A great variety of styles and gorgeous designs were the main characteristics of traditional clothing in the Tang Dynasty. This kind of clothing influenced the traditional clothing in many Asian countries such as the Kimono in Japan and the Hanbok in Korea.

Traditional Clothing of the Tang Dynasty
Flowery Tang Dynasty Clothing

Traditional Han Chinese Clothing (Hanfu)


Hanfu, a national formal wear, takes its name from the times of the Han Dynasty, and now long out of fashion. A complete set of Hanfu, covers the clothing, clothing accessories, jewelry etc, and reflects the rituals of Chinese culture from that era.

Han Chinese Clothing
Han Chinese Clothing

Characteristics The hallmark of Hanfu is in its cross collar, right lapel, and tying with sash in place of buttons. And flat pattern cutting makes the clothes wide and loose and the wearer both look and feel comfortable.


The fabrics for making the clothes were meticulously chosen. Some nine categories of fabrics were used such as brocade, damask silk, cotton, yarn and so on and dyed by environmental friendly dyestuff from plants extracts.

Patterns adopted from ritualistic Chinese symbols, were also important for the Hanfu. They reflect upon different social standings of the bearers. Usually, objects depicting the sun, moon, elephants, tigers, dragons, to birds were embroidered.

Elements & Styles A whole set of the Han Chinese Garment has three layers: an underwear, an inner garment and an overcoat. The three layers embrace ten elements: collar, hem, sleeve, lapel, belt and so on. And accessories such as socks, shawl and jade belt are used on the Hanfu.

There are three main styles of Hanfu: the jacket and shirt, one piece dress, or jacket and trousers. The basic type is the jacket and skirt. Later robes became the customary costume, but the jacket and skirt were women’s favourites.

History Hanfu in Ancient ChinaFrom the reign of the Yellow Emperor (2696 BC-2598BC) to the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644), Hanfu dominated the Chinese fashion world, a period of well over four thousand years.

The basic Hanfu form took shape during Xia (21th BC – 16th Century BC), Shang (17th – 11th Century BC) and Zhou Dynasties (11th Century BC – 256 BC). It has an upper coat and a dress from the waist down. This basic form did not alter, except for adding some embellishment. Clothing with no buttons and robes became fashionable in the Warring States Period (before 476 BC). Later in Qin (221 – 206 BC) and Han (202 BC – 220AD) Dynasties, the robe’s design cutting changed to having two different hems, curved gem and straight hem. Only women’s clothing changed a little during Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties (220 – 589). The upper portion of clothing for women became tighter, while the dress got to be longer and looser. In the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), men favoured a small black kerchief to cover the hair, while women liked high waist dress. Men wore cross collar or round collar clothing and women wore front opening dresses. After Tang Dynasty, Hanfu adapted some characteristics from the ethnic costumes. On military uniforms, buttons appeared later. During the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911), the Manchu regime banned Traditional Han Chinese Clothing. After the Qing, Chinese people had adopted western style clothes and the traditional Han people’s clothes never returned in force.

In recent years, there has been a revival of traditional Chinese attires. Some young people engaged in promoting Hanfu through the Internet social networking. On traditional Chinese festivals such as Tomb Sweeping Day and Mid-autumn Festival and formal occasions, the younger people put on their Hanfu. Once, on top of Xian City Wall, more than one hundred couples got married in a ceremony according to ancient edicts wearing Han Chinese garb.