Everything You Need to Know Hanfu Dress (The Complete Guide)

As China's traditional dress code is going out of fashion, you might be seeing Hanfu dresses with more and more frequency. These are long, graceful garments that originated in ancient China and have been popularized in the last decade. It should be noted that Hanfu comes from ancient Chinese culture.

What is Hanfu?

Hanfu Dress is the traditional dress of ancient China, which was a type of long-sleeved, ankle-length gown with a high collar and full sleeves. It has a cheongsam-like silhouette which is very elegant.

History of Hanfu

Hanfu, also written as Hanfu or Fanfu, originated from the word 'hanyu', which means "national dress". The term "Han" in Han means emperor, and fu is a type of gown with one loose end. Hanfu has the same meaning as mandarin dress, which was worn by ex-emperors of China. It has been commonly used on nearly all social occasions in China since ancient times. Hanfu dresses with long sleeves, full and high necklines, and wide collars have been commonly worn by the emperors, vassals, and ministers of Han China and flourished as formal dresses during dynastic times.
The first Hanfu known in China was a tunic that originated from Korean silk-making techniques. The garment was introduced to China in the third century BC when northeast provinces were conquered by Jin Dynasty. Silk weaving techniques from Korea and southern China were combined to make a Hanfu tunic for Chinese nobility. Hanfu was also worn by women of the court and Chinese scholars during imperial times. It has been widely used in traditional Chinese festivals as a fashion accessory and also in daily life.
Hanfu has become a symbol of Chinese culture, arts and history that can be seen in paintings, statues, decorations and historical novels.
Hanfu dresses were often worn by emperors when they left the palace for travelling to remote places, ceremonies, or giving a speech in front of their subjects.

Features of Hanfu

1. High Collar

Hanfu has a high collar and long sleeves. This kind of collar was made to show respect to the emperor as if it was a symbol of honor. A high collar can cover the neck and mouth, so it is regarded as an important symbol in traditional Chinese culture.

2. Zippers and Buttons

Zippers and buttons are used on the side of Hanfu to fasten the dress in place. This can prevent people from opening their mouths to speak rudely, which demonstrates a sense of modesty in Hanfu culture.

3. Full Sleeves

The full sleeves cover the arms from shoulders to wrists. Most Hanfu dresses have a fairly high collar, which exposes only the neck to show respect to the emperor. The sleeves are long enough to cover the hands and wrists, thus showing respect for Chinese culture in traditional clothes.

4. Sleeves That Extend Below The Elbow

In Hanfu dresses with low or normal jackets, there are no sleeves below the elbow. However, Hanfu with long sleeves extends to the heels. These kinds of Hanfu are usually worn by women in ancient China and have a connotation of elegance.

5. Loose Ends

Traditional Hanfu has a single end that looks like a small skirt.

6. Butterfly sleeves

Butterfly sleeves are an important element in Hanfu, especially in the Qing Dynasty. The sleeves have a decorative edge that is similar to a butterfly with extended wings. This kind of design has various levels of beauty.

7. Wide Armholes

One very important part of Hanfu dresses is the wide armholes that show that the wearer has strength and dignity.

8. High Waist

Hanfu dresses have high waistlines which are shaped with additional fabric to accentuate the wearer's posture. The waist is regarded as an important part of the Hanfu dresses in ancient China.

How Do You Dress Hanfu In The Spring & Summer?

1. Spring

In the spring, Hanfu is usually made of thin and light materials such as silk or cotton. Hanfu can be adorned with delicate embroidery or other embellishments. Spring Hanfu styles tend to be more casual than those worn in other seasons.

Ming Hanfu Floral Round Neck + Skirt

This dress is a perfect choice for floral prints. It has a floral print round neckline and comes with an adorable loose pinafore skirt. The skirt can drape over the knees or be worn above the knee. This dress is ideal as a spring tunic because it doesn't look bulky when worn above the knee and still looks elegant with a flowery top underneath.

Dressing Color Reference:

The colors are also typically light and delicate. Examples of appropriate spring colors include light color, light bottom print, and denim blue.

Matching Tips:

In this dress, we recommend pairing it with a floral printed top and a blue denim jacket.

2. Summer

In the summer, Hanfu is usually made of light and airy materials such as linen or silk. Hanfu styles can range from casual to formal, depending on the occasion.

Song Hanfu: Long Shirt + Pleated Skirt:

This Song Hanfu style is best for casual spring outfits because it comes with a long shirt and pleated skirt. The shirt can be worn with flannel pants or denim skirts for an easy, comfortable look.

Dressing Color Reference:

The colors are typically bright and cheerful. Examples of appropriate summer colors include bright blue, tea green, tea red, ginger, light yellow, black and white, etc.

How to Choose Han Clothing Shoes?

Choosing the right kind of footwear for a Han fashion event or for daily use can be a bit difficult. In the late Ming and end of the Qing Dynasty, the shoes you would wear those days were different from those today's people wear. So here are some ideas to help you choose your Hanfu boots according to your needs and preferences.
It has a long, pointed toe and a strap across the instep. The heel can be high or low. This type of shoe was very popular in China from ancient times until the end of the Qing Dynasty, when it fell out of favor with other types of shoes. Today, it's mostly worn in ceremonies and performances. It's a superb choice to choose Mary Jane Shoes when wearing Han clothing.

2. Bootie

Booties are the classic boots worn by women in the Ming Dynasty and onwards. They have a pointed toe, and a flat heel and often have laces going up the back. An openwork design is often seen around the toe and ankle of this shoe. You can choose a comfort bootie for matching your Han clothing.

3. Lolita Shoes

Lolita Shoes are the shoes of women in Northern China. This shoe is usually made of cloth, lightweight and color for a simple design. It features elastic or rope laces and an open design at the toe and ankle. Moreover, the Lolita shoe can be paired with many different clothes from Hanfu to Chinese dresses.

4. Casual Style Leather Shoes

Casual style leather shoes are fine for everyday use or for wearing with jeans for a casual occasion. Furthermore, it also fits the Han clothing.

5. White Shoes

White shoes are typically worn by men and women in Western countries. It features a closed toe and wide heel. For a formal look, stick to plain white shoes with no embroidery or any other decorations. If you don't know what type of shoes to wear when you wear Hanfu, then white shoes would be your first choice.

How To Wear Hanfu Dress? (7 Easy Steps)

Hanfu dress is usually worn by women because it has a feminine style and aesthetic. But how do you wear a Hanfu dress properly? Here are the steps to learning how to dress Hanfu with the proper etiquette.

1. Put On The Top.

First, put on the top, usually a Hanfu shirt. After putting it on, you have to adjust the collar length and sleeves length. Most Hanfu dress shirts are made of two parts: the top and bottom parts.

2. In the front of her blouse, tie the strings.

When you put on the top part of the Hanfu shirt, you have to tie strings in front, near your chest and wrap it all around. This is to keep the blouse nicely in place and keep it from falling off.

3. Tie the back panel securely over the chest and put on the skirt.

After you tie the strings in front, you can put them on the back panel. This will form a skirt around your waist.

4. To the front panel, loop the ties around your back to your front.

After putting on the back panel, you can bring the front panel to your chest and loop the ties around your back. Then, bring it up to rest at the top of your blouse.

5. Wrap a belt around your chest to cover your breasts.

This step is optional, as it's not necessary for women who don't like to show their breasts. Some women choose to wear only their shirts to cover their chest. But if you want to cover your chest, you have to wrap a belt around your chest. Sometimes, female Hanfu dresses come with a sewn-in belt that goes around the waist and loops through the ties of the blouse.

6. In a more formal setting, add a large-sleeved Hanfu coat.

For formal affairs, you may want to wear a more formal outfit. On such an occasion, you can put on a blouse and skirt but put on a coat over it. This is to protect you from the cold and make it more appropriate for the occasion.

7. For extra ornamental decoration, wrap a scarf around your arms.

If you are wearing a top with an abstract design, you can wrap a scarf or other decorative accessories around your arms. This will match the design and make it more stylish.

Hanfu VS Hanbok

Hanfu and Hanbok are both traditional dresses in China and Korea, respectively. But there are some differences between them. Hanfu clothing consists of a shirt and skirt or pants, while Hanbok clothing is made of a long robe when it is worn.
The Hanbok is steeped in history, dating back to the time of the Ming dynasty when it was known as the puppet nation of China's emperor. As a consequence, much of today's Hanbok is influenced by the Ming Hanfu.
Here are the main differences between the Hanfu and Hanbok:

1. Upper piece position

Hanbok's top outer garment is placed outside to cover the skirt, and the dress's trim is broad and wide, while in Hanfu, the top outer garment is attached to the dress.

2. Skirt design

The Hanbok skirt design is simple, loose and wide as well as covers the entire body with the exception of the arms and legs, both of which are covered with sleeves. The pattern is similar to that of Chinese dresses or double-sided skirts, which are called qipao in China.

3. Collar

In Hanfu collar is usually v-shaped and has a wide bow, while in Hanbok, it is narrow and y-shaped.

4. Top of the dress

In Hanbok, the collar of the top outer garment is attached to the top of the blouse; while in Hanfu, it has a drape effect and is wrapped over.

5. Belt

In Hanfu, the belt is attached to the top of the blouse/top outer garment and skirt, while in Hanbok, it is separate from these garments.

6. Headdress

In Hanfu, the cap is attached to the side of the top outer garment. However, in Hanbok, it usually hangs down behind the shoulders or covers on top of it.

How to Care For Your Hanfu?

When it comes to caring for your Hanfu, there are two main ways: dry cleaning and washing. First, you have to look at the tag on your Hanfu. If it can be hand-washed or machine washed, then follow the instructions. You can hand or machine wash your Hanfu in cold or warm water, but make sure not to soak any part of it in the water for hours. You can use a mild detergent and wash it in your hand with a little cool water. You should be gentle with the fabric. Sometimes, the stitching of the garment can come off and need to be reapplied.

How to Store Hanfu?

When it comes to storing your Hanfu, there are some things you need to consider:
· Place the Hanfu in a garment bag to protect the garment from damage.
· Store it away from humidity, rain and direct sunlight.
· Do not hang them up in extreme temperatures or store them with other clothing; don't put them in a very hot place that could weaken the fabric.
· Do not put it in the dryer, and make sure to hang it on a hanger.


Hanfu is a term that refers to traditional Chinese clothing, and it has been worn for centuries. There are many different regional variations of Hanfu so that the appearance of these garments varies depending on the location. The traditional Hanfu dress is designed to be both functional and beautiful while preserving ancient cultural values. Traditional Hanfu was once a popular choice for ordinary people, scholars and literati who wore it out in public to express their wealth and talent.
Hanfu has been used as inspiration in modern clothing design during fashion shows, events, concerts, and parties.

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