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Ancient Chinese Clothing

The major ancient Chinese clothing consist of are robes. The female's are lengthy tunics that reached the ground while the men wore tunics that reached their knees. The sleeves of the garments were wide, and loose, with sashes as ornamentation. Darker shades were preferred than light ones. Lighter coloured clothing was worn more commonly by the common people. The original ancient Chinese clothing was called the Han Chinese clothing, namely, Hanfu. With the substitution of the new regime for the old, Hanfu experienced lots modifications.

Primarily, there were three variations of ancient Chinese garments
1.PIEN-FU: it is a kind of 2-piece ceremonial costume, consisting of a tunic extending to the knees, and worn with ankle-length skirt or trousers.
2.CH'ANG PAO: this is a one-piece ankle-length tunic dress.
3.SHEN YI: A combination of the first two, a shenyi is a 2 piece tunic top and a trouser/skirt outfit that has been sewn together to make a one-piece garment.

As early as in the Shang Dynasty (c.1600 BC-1000 BC), according to the records, fundamentals of the Hanfu have been formed, made up of a knee-length tunic tied with a sash, with narrow cuffs called yi, a narrow, ankle-length skirt, called shang. This was accompanied by a bixi, a fabric at the length of the knees. Since technology was limited, the colours that could be applied were quite simple: red, blue, yellow and green. It was a unisex outfit. The higher of the strata, had more elaborate work and motifs in spite of the restricted colors.

In the following dynasty, the Western Zhou Dynasty managed to show social strata from the clothing, which was displayed by the complexity in their outfits. The higher the rank, more flamboyant and ornate elements can be found in their attire, included the length of a skirt, the wideness of a sleeve and the degree of ornamentation. Furthermore, the Hanfu became looser: the sleeves wider and the yi fastened with a sash adorned by jade. Since left-handedness was looked down upon, the yi was essentially draped in a style known as jiaoling youren, or wrapping the right side over before the left.

The shenyi was prevalent in the Eastern Zhou Dynasty. It is a kind of an incorporation of a tunic and skirt where the upper and lower halves were cut separately and sewn into one piece. Another additional modification was the left end of the dress was reformed into a kind of border could be fastened in front on the chest. This modified dress quickly became fashionable.

Most of the traditional designs in the ancient Chinese clothing were unisex uncomplicatedly cut. However, with the advancement of people's awareness, gender specificity came into the shenyi. Men usually wore pants while women, skirts.