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20th century Chinese clothing

Discussion in 'Research' started by the21bluedudes, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. the21bluedudes

    the21bluedudes Acolyte

    I'm currently writing an asia based culture in a steampunk novel. I was wondering what the chinese wore in the 20th century.

    The closest i think i can get is the cheongsam / Chi pao for women and I'm not entirely familiar with the mens fashion in that era I think they wore something called sam fu which literally translates to (don't laugh) shirt and pants (not very exotic is it?)

    I kinda wanna know what else they wore I always feel that for some funny reason western fashion seems more....diverse back then with elaborate skirts and top hats.
  2. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    That's just a cultural misconception. If you go into google images and type in "1950s chinese fashion" you'll find pictures and links which to sites that show the vast array of Chinese fashion. Also what people wore depends on what their job was, and what part of the Chinese world they were from.

    Hong Kong was a British colony so there would be western influences. I'm Chinese and my parents came from Hong Kong in the mid twentieth, and their wedding photos have them a wearing western white wedding dress and a tux respectively.

    Mainland China went through the "Cultural Revolution" in the sixties with the goal to enforce communism in the country by removing capitalist, traditional and cultural elements from Chinese society. This was a fracked up time and fashion was affected by this too.

    Here are some links but there are many many more.

    Chinese Fashion History | chinesepeoplehave[no]style? å–
    1910-1920 | chinesepeoplehave[no]style? å–
    1920-1930 | chinesepeoplehave[no]style? å–
    Fashion Memories: China in the 1950s - China culture
    The Evolution of Chinese Fashion in 60 Years | U China Travel
  3. Kathryn M Hearst

    Kathryn M Hearst Acolyte

    I was in China a few years ago. I know that my observations are more modern than what you are looking for... BUT I was amazed at the lengths that they go to to protect their skin from the sun. There are a bazillion people who ride bikes as a primary form of transportation in Shanghai. They can be wearing a sleeveless top or shorts, but cover their arms, shoulders and legs with light weight fabric that covers only the parts exposed to the sun, i.e. tops of arms and shoulders or tops of thighs. They are held in place with elastic. I asked about it and was told that pale skin is valued because only farmers (the poor) are tan.

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