Buying new clothes for the new year is one of the oldest customs in Chinese festivities. This has a similar symbolic meaning to many other festival elements that promote transformation, fresh starts, and letting go of the past.
Having just one or two sets of garments or ensembles for the entire year was not unusual in earlier (and simpler) times, but the Chinese New Year signaled the beginning of the season for wearing brand-new clothes.
In the past, wives or mothers would typically do this since they would sew or knit new garments for the family before the Chinese New Year. While older family members may still do this nowadays, the custom is now replaced by shopping for new clothing.
Shopping in preparation for the Chinese New Year
There are no set requirements for the sort or style of new clothing that should be purchased; anything that is trendy or in-vogue is acceptable, although it is preferable to avoid wearing items that have been intentionally ripped or worn out.
Many individuals used to save traditional Chinese clothing and wear it just for Chinese New Year in the past. Around the holidays, it is still possible to see seniors or those who may be more traditional wearing such attire.
The “Tang suit,” a men’s jacket with an upturned collar that is typical of the Tang Dynasty (618–907), or the “qipao,” a form-fitting garment for ladies from the Qing Dynasty, are two examples of such traditional clothing. Both of these clothing items are often made of silk and have elaborate patterns and vibrant colors emblematic of traditional Chinese apparel.
For senior family members during the festival, the traditional “Zhongshan suit”—named after the first Chinese president Sun Zhongshan, also known as Sun Yat-sen, may also be a popular option.
The color red is one traditional fashion choice that is still largely visible in clothing today. Red is the top Chinese lucky color and denotes power and wealth, as is already very well known.
After the celebration is over, many people can change back into their everyday attire. There is one exception, though— some people who were born in the same year as the Chinese zodiac animal for this year (2023 is the Year of the Rabbit) sometimes wear red on a regular basis for weeks, months, or even the entire year!
Typically, this is accomplished by donning red socks and undergarments, as well as by replacing the inner soles of shoes with red ones. According to legend, this will bring one luck for the entire year.
If red isn’t elegant enough for you, go for gold! Gold is a beautiful hue and is said to represent wealth in addition to being dazzling. Wearing outfits that will make you appear like a million dollars is the best approach to a terrific New Year!