Different Styles of Kung Fu Uniform
Kung Fu Uniform, as the name implies, is the outfit that designed for practicing Kung Fu. There are different styles of Kung Fu, therefore there are different styles of Kung Fu Uniform.
A specific style of Kung Fu Uniform is designed for the convenience of practicing that specific style of Kung Fu. More importantly, the design usually manifest the philosophy of the specific Kung Fu style.
Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Wing Chun, those are some famous styles of Kung Fu. They are different because they have different moves, and most importantly, because they have different philosophy behind the moves. Chinese old saying goes, "High-speed is the only thing couldn't be defeated in Kung Fu", therefore most styles of Kung Fu have quick moves. Conversely, the most distinctive characteristic of Tai Chi is its extremely slow moves.
Shaolin Monk Robe
"Shaolin" is the name of the most famous buddhist temple in China, and also the name of the Kung Fu style Shaolin monks practice.
Shaolin Kung Fu is regarded as the most orthodox Kung Fu style in China. In Chinese Kung Fu fictions, Shaolin Kung Fu was described as the most powerful Kung Fu Style. The most significant characteristic of Shaolin Kung Fu is the fast speed and the big strength. The movie "Shao Lin Si" in 1982, tell a story of a young man(played by Jet Li) learns Chinese martial arts at the Shaolin temple to avenge his father's death.
Shaolin Arhat Robe is the uniform for practicing Shaolin Kung Fu. It may has a history of as old as 1500 years, which is the history of the Shaolin Temple. The upper garment of this uniform is a long jacket that covers the hip, which has the same collar style named "youren" with Hanfu. The lower garment is a pair of loose pants, which need to be strapped with the Shaolin Monk Socks, so the trouser legs don't swing when you are practicing the extremely fast moves of Shaolin Kung Fu.
Actually, Arhat Robe is just one style of the Shaolin Monk Robe, there are other two styles of Shaolin Monk Robe. The other two have the same lower garment with Arhat Robe, while one has a normal length jacket as the upper garment, and another has a floor length robe as the upper garment. Shaolin monk wear those 3 different uniforms in different occasions, but only the Arhat Robe is for practicing Shaolin Kung Fu.
Arhat Robe is generally loose, that should be the very basic requirement for a Kung Fu Uniform. Beyond that, Arhat Robe has its pants strapped by socks and its sleeves strapped by oversleeves. Those socks and oversleeves make the outfit strapped tight to the body when practicing shaolin Kung Fu, especially because shaolin Kung Fu has pretty fast moves and pretty big strength.
Wudang Taoist Robe
In Chinese Kung Fu fictions, Shaolin was described as the 1st Kung Fu sect, and the 2nd sect should be Wudang. Wudang is the name of a mountain range in the northwestern part of Hubei, China.
The most famous Kung Fu Style of Wudang is Tai Chi, consist of the fist position(Tai Ji Quan) and the swordsmanship(Tai Ji Jian). Tai Chi has extremely slow moves because the philosophy of it is "Slowness beats Speediness" which sounds pretty obscure. In Chinese Kung Fu fictions, Tai Chi can even beats Shaolin Kung Fu in a pretty magic way.
Wudang Taoist Robe is the outfit that Wudang taoist priests wear, so it is regarded as the Uniform for practicing Tai Chi. Taoist Robe consist of a knee length robe and a pair of loose pants. The pant legs was wrapped with socks, but doesn't need to be strapped like Shaolin Arhat Robe. Taoist Robe doesn't has oversleeves because Tai Chi is an extremely slow Kung Fu Style.
Tai Chi Suit
In modern times, Tai Chi become very popular in China as a workout method. Elders practicing it together in the community, students practicing it in the P.E. classes.
Tai Chi Suit is the Tai Chi Uniform for people who is not a taoist. It looks similar to the taoist robe, but the upper garment is just a long jacket that covers the hip and it doesn't has the pant legs wrapped by a pair of big socks.
Those are three most representative Kung Fu Uniform, technically. You may find that one tang suit like Kung Fu outfit was not mentioned. Actually, it's not Kung Fu Uniform technically, it is more like a Kung Fu costume. We'll talk about it later.