This article focuses on the changes in the popularity of traditional Chinese women’s clothing from the Ming and Qing dynasties to the early Republic of China.
The early Ming dress continues the style of the Yuan dynasty Duanyi (短衣, short clothes), inherited the style of dressing with Duijin (对襟, symmetrical lapels) worn as Jiaojin (交襟, cross lapels) in Song and Yuan Dynasty At this time, also called Dui Jiao Chuan (对交穿). There is also a Jiaoling Youren (交领右衽, wrapping the right side before the left) style.
In the mid-Ming period, the sleeve type and skirt door gradually widened, and there was a Tao sleeve (裪袖, sleeve edge protruding from the cuff) structure. According to cultural relics, the stand collar Duijin Shan appeared in the palace system during this period, and was fixed with metal sub-buttons.
The style of Dui Jiao Chuan (对交穿) was also excavated in this period, and the more special one is the Mamian skirt with narrow sleeves and thin pleats.
Regarding the style of the Mamian skirt, according to the research of excavated cultural relics, the structure of [trapezoidal pleat] and [wide sleeve door] was popular in the mid-Ming period, so there are often drawings showing the outline of the puffy skirt with a narrow top and bottom section.
After the late Ming period, the skirt door is gradually narrowed, mostly with [parallel pleats] Mamian skirt. It can be observed that women’s clothing styles are diverse and rich, and the round-necked Shan (圆领衫) is also one of the popular styles in the period.
In the early to mid Wanli period of the Ming Dynasty, there was a wave of narrow sleeves to straight sleeves in literature and cultural relics (paired with long clothes), but later returned to large sleeves as the mainstream.
The straight collar Dajin Shan also gradually fell out of fashion at this time, replaced by stand collar Dajin, and the length of the upper garment gradually increased.
The change in length of the late Ming upper garment from knee-length to ankle, skirt is no longer the wide skirt door trapezoidal Mamian skirt in the early part of the period, more narrow skirt door parallel pleats. Due to the shortage of cultural relics in this period, some styles can only be known from drawings.
The Duijin Shan (对襟衫) began to appear in the folk system, and its appearance was similar to that of the Dajin Chang Shan, and the collar type of straight collar (or cross collar) was gradually replaced by stand collar.
The early Qing dynasty was influenced by politics, women’s clothing still remained in the style of the Ming dynasty, common stand collar Dajin Shan or Duijin Shan, but the sleeve type gradually became narrower from wide, and no longer close the cuffs, and the length of the garment was gradually shortened. The Mamian skirt still maintained a narrow skirt door and parallel pleats.
Mid-Qing women’s clothing development and mainstream Manchurian dress gradually intermingled, Manchurian dress lapel type and decoration began to be popular to Han Chinese women’s clothing. Part of the sleeve type, gradually reduced to narrow sleeves, and often have rolled sleeves of the way of wearing. The structure of the Mamian skirt at this stage was also gradually changing, and the pattern of decoration on the skirt became richer.
In the late Qing Dynasty, the sleeve length was short and wide, and the upper garment length was shortened a lot.
The end of Guangxu to the early years of the Republic of China, clothes and turn to narrow and thin shape, the collar also has a higher trend.
Women’s clothing in the early Republic of China was often influenced by Western culture and changed rapidly in terms of dressing, decoration, and hairstyles.
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