What to wear for the Lunar New Year

Is your calendar fully booked for the Lunar New Year festivities? Ours is too. The next big question is what to wear? With all the rules and traditions of the occasion, Yan Yan Knits, Yat Pit and Samuel Gui Yang – all modern Chinese designers with a traditional twist – provide their picks for the season. Zaneta Cheng reports

A dragon-embroidered sweater from Yan Yan Knits.

There are many rules when it comes to Chinese New Year dressing. New clothes are a must, of course, to usher in the changing of the year and new beginnings and to get rid of the old. But that was for a time when people wore only one or two outfits throughout the year. These days, the cultural holiday is an excuse to bust out favourite iterations of traditional garb. For men, that might be something reminiscent of the Tang suit – think Tang collars and Mandarin buttons or the Zhongshan suit, a type of modern Chinese tunic with four pockets. Women can look to qipao and Tang jackets for their own nod to traditional Chinese garb.

Yan Yan Knits’ red stripey skirt and cardigan set.

Whatever the garment, be it a Western skirt or the most plush velvet qipao, the colours have to be bright. Red, gold, yellow and orange are all holiday favourites, given their symbolic meanings of wealth and good fortune. If it’s all a little confusing, we’re here to help. The following guides you through the first three days of the year. After that, you’re on your own. Just whatever you do, avoid wearing black, blue and white.

Samuel Gui Yang’s red top and skirt set with jade-coloured slippers.

The first day of Chinese New Year is usually a noisy affair as family visits begin starting with the oldest, most senior member of the family. The idea is to make as much noise as possible to chase away a monster named Nian and firecrackers and lion dances are scheduled to bless everyone with good luck for the year ahead.

Yan Yan Knits’ vibrant yellow Laza jacket.

This is a good chance to dust off those cheongsam you’ve had in your wardrobe from the year before. Samuel Gui Yang’s red top and skirt set, matched with jade- coloured slippers, make for an auspicious start to the year. For those who want something a little warmer, consider the red stripey skirt and cardigan set from YanYan Knits.

Yat Pit’s bamboo qipao set.

On the second day, married daughters bring their husbands and children back to visit their parents. Other celebrations include business people gathering their partners or company together for a festive meal to start the year off prosperously.

Yan Yan Knits’ blanket worn as a shawl.

In the spirit of wealth, we suggest a palette of yellows, golds and oranges. Take the Yan Yan Knits Laza jacket in bright yellow, for example. For those going home to see their parents or their in-laws, comfort is key. Go to Yat Pit for their red cropped sweater so you’re hitting both ease and luck.

Yat Pit’s terracotta knit skirt set.

The third day is traditionally spent at home to avoid getting into arguments. In order to avoid fights, visiting is at a minimum so we suggest Yat Pit’s terracotta knit skirt set for a stylishly relaxed day lounging at home under a blanket. For the more active, perhaps consider Yan Yan Knits’ checked sweat set in shades of pink to brighten up the day.

Also see: Invest in style: 5 fashion work pieces to start off the year

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