Tang Suit, Traditional Chinese Suit since Qing Dynasty

Tang suit is a type of traditional Chinese suit. It's written as "唐裝" in traditional Chinese characters, "唐装" in simplified Chinese characters, and pronounced as "tangzhuang" in Chinese.

Literally, Tang suit means the clothes worn by people in Tang Dynasty(618-907 A.D.). But actually it developed from "Magua" in Qing Dynasty(1636-1912 A.D.), which is almost 1000 years later than the former. This Chinese suit was named by overseas Chinese. Because foreigners call Chinese people "Tang people", so their representative clothing should be called "Tang suit".

Chinese traditional Tang suit

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History of Tang suit

As we said before, Tang suit developed from "Magua" in Qing Dynasty. Magua, literally means "horse jacket", is a type of traditional Chinese jacket. Manchu people wear it because it's convenient for horse-ridding with its short length to the belly button and short sleeves to the elbow.

Manchu is an ethnic minority lived in the northeast of China, they established the Qing regime, overthrew Ming and ruled the whole China gradually. After that, Manchu's costume style made a big impact on Han people, and Han officials were forced to wear "Magua" then.

As Mao suit got popular after Xinhai Revolution in 1911 and the Establishment of the People’s Republic Of China in 1949, Tang suit went down gradually. Even so, after the Opening Up Policy launched in the 1980s, it got a revival in China.

Further more, a "Tangzhuang Craze" began after APEC China 2001 held in Shanghai. On that international conference, Chinese side presented this Chinese suit as the most representative traditional Chinese clothing, and every member state leaders all wore it in the last day of the conference.

Although Tang suit is less popular than Hanfu in modern times, this Chinese suit is still the clothing that can best represent Chinese traditional culture. Chinese people especially overseas Chinese wear it in Spring Festival to celebrate this grandest Chinese festival.

characteristics of tang suit

Features of Tang suit

As for features of Tang suit, it usually has:

  • a standing collar
    Standing collar, also called mandarin collar, band collar or choker collar. It's a style of collar which is standing up on the upper garment rather than folded.
  • a row of Chinese button knots
    Compared with standing collar, Chinese button knot undoubtedly represents traditional Chinese style more. It consists of the knot and the loop. The knot is a ball-shaped button, and the loop is a button hole whose size need to fit for the knot
  • embroidered words or patterns that signify good wishes
    Tangzhuang could be embroidered with words and patterns, such as "福" means good fortune, dragon for men or phoenix for women means wish to be successful, etc.
  • western tailoring method
    With the cultural exchange all over the world, Tangzhuang began to use western 3D-cutting skills, extended the length of sleeves, and became what they are now.

As time goes on, Tang suit improved to meet young generation's fashion. There are changes in colors, appearances, materials and details, but not in the form of collar and buttons. While traditional Tangzhuang could be black, navy blue, brown and red, now there are brighter colors such as blue, green, pink, purple... Traditional Tangzhuang's material is silk, nowadays we use cotton for cost-effective and plush for warmth. With all of this changes, improved Tangzhuang would be in line with modern aesthetics and retain traditional style at the same time.

Modern style Tang suit



Q: What is Tang suit?

A: Tang suit is a type of traditional Chinese suit, originating from Qing dynasty. It transformed from Magua(traditional Chinese jacket), and its features are standing collar and Chinese button knots. In the Spring Festival, Chinese at home and abroad will put on Tang suit to celebrate this grandest festival.

Q: What's the origin of the name of Tang suit?

A: Tang suit got its name from overseas Chinese. First of all, most Chinese diaspora especially Cantonese called themselves "Tang Chinese" or "People of Tang". Besides that, Tang dynasty, one of the most splendid prosperous and glorious period in ancient China, was famous in the whole world and the foreigners accepted the way to name Chinese people. Therefore, the type of clothing Tang Chinese wore was called "Tang suit".

Q: What's the meaning of Tangzhuang?

A: Tangzhuang is the Chinese pronunciation and English transliteration of "唐裝"(Tang suit in Chinese).

Q: Does Tang suit originate from the Tang dynasty?

A: No, as we said before, Tang suit developed from magua of Qing Dynasty(1644-1911 A.D.) and has nothing to do with the Tang dynasty.


Q: Is Tangzhuang Han Chinese's clothing?

A: No, Tangzhuang evolved from Magua of Manchu(one of 56 ethnic groups in China, who overthrew the Ming dynasty and established the Qing dynasty), so Tangzhuang is actually Manchu's clothing.

Q: What is Magua?

A: Magua is a upper garment wore outside the Changshan(Cheongsam). It literally means horse jacket, and is convenient for horse-ridding with its short length to the belly button and short wide sleeves to the elbow.

Q: How did Tangzhuang become the representative of Chinese traditional clothing?

A: In APEC China 2001, Chinese side offered every member state leaders Tangzhuang as the most representative traditional Chinese clothing. After that, Tangzhuang got the new identity and set off the "Tangzhuang Craze".


Q: What's the features of Tangzhuang?

A: The most obviously features of Tangzhuang are its standing collar and Chinese button knots.

Q: What is Chinese button knot?

A: Chinese button knot whose material is thread-like cloth consists of two parts. One is the knot as a ball-shaped button, and the other is the loop as a button hole whose size need to fit for the button.

Q: How much does a Tang Suit cost?

A: Short answer is it cost $20 to hundreds of dollars, depends on the material, quality, and most importantly, the way how it is made. Check Tang Suit's Price Ranges and corresponding condition.

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