Chinese Suit (Tangzhuang)

Chinese Tangzhuang
Chinese Suit for Men
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.

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
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.

 

Tips for Choosing

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
Traditional Clothing of the Tang Dynasty
Flowery Tang Dynasty Clothing
Flowery Tang Dynasty Clothing

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