How to Dress for Chinese New Year if You Have No Idea How

There are things that you need to be aware of. Make sure you follow them closely so don’t look like a mess when the time comes.
Last Updated
May 7, 2023
Editorial Staff
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Chinese New Year — the Spring Festival of the Chinese calendar, is one of the most important occasions for the whole Chinese family. It is also the beginning of the farming season and a period of preparation for the farming year to come. When it comes to learning how to dress for the CNY, there are many things that you need to be aware of. This event is very different from the traditional New Year celebrated by most Americans. It is a more joyous occasion with a lot of fancy dresses and colorful traditions.

The first thing you need to do before choosing your outfit is to decide what color clothing you are going to wear. The traditional colors for Chinese New Year are red, blue, green, black, and gold. You can pick out a bright red or blue dress if you want to. It all depends on your mood and what you like in the new year. You will soon know that most people choose red for the festivities, but gold is traditionally worn as well. Remember that it is important to choose something that makes you comfortable and not feel forced to wear something you don't want to wear.

Most people consider red to be an excellent choice for the celebration. Red is often thought to bring prosperity and luck to individuals wearing it, so it only fits that it will be part of your ensemble. Red is also believed to bring love and happiness to the lucky person who wears it, which is why many will actually wear red in public to show their good luck to someone they love.

The next decision you have to make is whether to get your hair tied up or not. During the Chinese New Year, it is very common for people to tie their hair up. If you do not want to tie your hair up — then you will definitely need to find a way to keep it down. A simple solution would be to wear a scarf around your neck. This is probably the easiest way to dress for the Chinese new year that you can find.

1. Fabric options


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A post shared by Golden Scissor Cheongsam (@goldenscissorcheongsam)

Fabrics are important to take into consideration. Some of our close Chinese friends recommend picking a fabric with stretch so that the cheongsam adapts to the body nicely. It's better, rather than going with an uncomfortable cheongsam, which will likely have unattractive creases.

The popular choices of fabrics are:

  • silk
  • brocade
  • jacquard
  • lace
  • cotton
  • tulle
  • velvet

2. What type of skirt suits you?


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A post shared by Golden Scissor Cheongsam (@goldenscissorcheongsam)

If you have fuller hips, go with a tighter pencil or bodycon skirt to accentuate those curves. Conversely, you can opt for an A-line skirt to give you a flowy silhouette. It will certainly make you look more youthful and transmits a playful appearance and ambiance to the eyes that see it.

3. How tight?


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A post shared by Golden Scissor Cheongsam (@goldenscissorcheongsam)

A regular cheongsam shouldn't be so tight that it makes

If you wonder how you want to sit successfully or enjoy eating in it, you should choose a cheongsam that isn't tight. You can do a 'sit' test to certify that the cheongsam dress doesn't ride up too much when you take a seat.

4. Choosing the right collar for your cheongsam


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A post shared by Qipology (@qipology)

The choices of collars for the cheongsam have remained the same for many years. They are either flat-slitted or a bit higher at the front. The flat-slitted ones give more of an evening look and are appropriate for evening parties. At the same time, the higher at-the-front kind gives a smart but casual appearance and is suitable for any type of dress code or occasion.

Usually, it is 5.5 to 6cm high for a regular collar of a cheongsam. If you feel uncomfortable with that length, or maybe you want to make it flatter (if you have a shorter neck) = go for deeper collars of 2.5 to 3 cm high. FYI, the shallower collars can make your neck look shorter. In comparison, thinner collars are effective in elongating it visually (even though it seems more formal for shallower collars).

5. What type of Sleeve?


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A post shared by Qipology (@qipology)

Most cheongsam has cap sleeves. Many women do not find this as flattering to their eyes, but the designer from Qipology said that cap sleeves work for women with thin arms. If you have fuller arms, you can go for a sleeveless type, so the arms will look leaner and longer. But, If you want to show off your shoulders, whether you have thin or fuller arms, opt for the halter neck- and racer back-style designs.

6. Jewelry

jewelries while wearing cheongsam
Envato Elements

One of the biggest mistakes people make when learning how to dress for the Chinese new year is not picking out appropriate jewelry for the occasion. You should always pick out jewelry that matches your clothing.

It would be best if you also were sure that you have the right cosmetics. Some people like to use crystals, charms, and other items to help carry off their looks. The most popular colors for these items are black and gold.

These colors match anything that you wear in traditional Chinese clothing and anything else you have on.

7. The etiquette

wearing cheongsam appropriately

You should be wearing it appropriately, and it is not out of the norm for the Chinese New Year. The Chinese culture also strongly disapproves of bad fashion. So, make sure that the clothing does not fall into this category.

Again, you should always wear it appropriately to the celebration, since you'll be celebrating CNY with people of all ages.

For the preparation (before the CNY), when you celebrate New Year's Eve with some Chinese friends, you should talk to them about what they would like to wear on the Chinese New Year soon and what colors they think would go well with your attire.

Make sure that you will be well-prepared and do not look like a mess when the time comes. Chinese New Year is a time when people celebrate the renewal of life and the blessings that come from it.

Therefore, it is important that you know and understands how to dress for the Chinese New Year in the best way possible to fully enjoy and honor this tradition. We hope you will be excited to celebrate the Chinese New Year and appreciate what a great tradition this is!




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