What Colour Hanfu should I wear?

Choosing the right colour of Hanfu depends on several factors, including the event you’re attending, your skin tone, and the season.

Understanding Colour Symbolism in Chinese Culture

In Chinese culture, colours aren’t just visual elements; they’re imbued with deep meanings and cultural symbolism. Different shades can represent various emotions, events, and social statuses. Understanding this symbolism can make the experience of wearing Hanfu even more meaningful.

What Colour Hanfu should I wear

Red: Prosperity and Joy

Red is arguably the most significant colour in Chinese culture, often associated with prosperity, joy, and good fortune. You’ll often see red used extensively during Chinese New Year celebrations and weddings. In the context of Hanfu, wearing red could indicate a sense of celebration or an auspicious occasion. It’s a bold choice that commands attention.

Yellow: Imperial and Sacred

Yellow has long been associated with the imperial family and is considered sacred and exclusive. Historically, commoners were not allowed to wear yellow as it was reserved for the emperor. In modern times, yellow Hanfu can evoke a sense of nobility and high status. This colour is often seen in ceremonies and can make quite an impact.

Green: Growth and Harmony

Green is another popular colour, frequently associated with growth, harmony, and renewal. This makes it an excellent choice for spring events or gatherings focused on new beginnings. Green is also seen as balancing and calming, qualities that can be amplified when wearing Hanfu of this colour.

White: Purity but also Mourning

White is a dual-natured colour in Chinese culture. On one hand, it represents purity and innocence. On the other, it is traditionally worn during mourning periods. In Hanfu, a white garment could be very striking but should be worn with the cultural context in mind. Check the occasion’s appropriateness before opting for white.

Blue: Tranquility and Wisdom

Blue, especially in its darker shades, is associated with tranquility, wisdom, and stability. It is a popular choice for Hanfu meant to be worn in more serene settings or educational events. The colour blue can make the wearer appear wise and calm, a fitting choice for scholarly pursuits or meditative gatherings.


Black: Power and Sophistication

Black is often linked with power, sophistication, and formality. In the world of Hanfu, black can make a statement and often pairs well with brighter colours to create a balanced look. Black Hanfu can be particularly striking at formal events where one wishes to exude an air of authority and elegance.

Seasonal Considerations

The season in which you wear Hanfu can play a pivotal role in the choice of colour. Seasonal considerations aren’t just about matching your outfit with the temperature; it’s also about harmonizing with the emotional and cultural undertones of different times of the year. Let’s delve into how various seasons can affect your choice of Hanfu colour.

Spring: Light and Fresh Colours

Spring is a time of renewal and growth, a season when flowers bloom and the air fills with a sense of new beginnings. In line with this, light and fresh colours like pastel greens, pinks, and blues are popular choices for Hanfu during this time. These shades resonate with the rejuvenating spirit of spring, making them perfect for festivals such as Qingming.

Summer: Bright and Vivid Colours

Summer is all about vibrancy and liveliness. As temperatures rise, so do spirits. Bright and vivid colours like red, orange, and sunny yellow can help encapsulate the energetic vibe of summer. These shades are not only visually striking but also go well with the general atmosphere of outdoor gatherings, picnics, and even Dragon Boat Festival celebrations.

Autumn: Earthy and Warm Colours

When autumn rolls around, the leaves change, and the world takes on a palette of warm, earthy colours. Shades like maroon, ochre, and forest green are exemplary choices for Hanfu in the fall season. These colours not only mirror the natural world but also evoke a sense of comfort and warmth, making them a good fit for gatherings like the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Chinese Traditional Clothing Hanfu Summer Thin Long Skirt with Embroidered Flowers in Elegant Green Color

Winter: Deep and Subdued Colours

Winter calls for more muted, deep colours that reflect the introspective mood of the season. Navy blue, deep purples, and rich blacks can be stunning choices for Hanfu during winter. These colours can exude a sense of sophistication and calm, aligning well with quieter, more contemplative gatherings during the Dongzhi Festival or New Year celebrations.

Event-Specific Colours

Choosing the right colour of Hanfu can often be dictated by the type of event you’re attending. Different occasions call for different colour schemes, and being mindful of this can enhance your overall experience. It can also show your cultural awareness and respect for traditional norms. Let’s explore the colours best suited for various types of events.

Weddings and Celebrations

Red is overwhelmingly the colour of choice for weddings and similar joyful events. Its association with good fortune and happiness makes it an ideal pick for such occasions. In many traditional Chinese weddings, you’ll often find the bride in a stunning red Hanfu, symbolizing a bright and prosperous future. Gold accents are also commonly used to symbolize wealth and prosperity. However, in contemporary settings, other auspicious colours like pink and orange can also be seen. These colours work well for not only weddings but also for other celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries.

Funerals and Mourning Events

In stark contrast to the vibrant colours worn during celebrations, white is traditionally worn during funerals or mourning events. This colour symbolizes purity and serves as a gesture of respect for the departed. In some cases, dark blue or black might also be acceptable, as they signify depth and solemnity. When attending a funeral or a memorial service, understanding this colour etiquette can be crucial.

Festivals and Holidays

Festivals and holidays are opportunities to truly embrace a variety of colours. For example, during the Lantern Festival, you can opt for bright yellows, reds, or even multi-coloured Hanfu to match the myriad of lanterns. Similarly, during the Mid-Autumn Festival, warm autumnal colours like oranges and browns could be more appropriate. The key is to harmonize with the spirit of the festival, so feel free to get creative!

Guyuefang Summer 3 Colors Full Set Weijin Dynasty Folk Dance Blue Princess Hanfu Dress For Women Chinese Traditional Costume

Business and Formal Events

For business and other formal events, subtlety is usually the name of the game. Here, dark, muted colours like navy blue, grey, and black can convey a sense of professionalism and seriousness. While traditional Hanfu may not be the standard attire for corporate events, if the occasion allows for it, choosing a Hanfu in these colours can make a lasting impression.

Matching Hanfu with Skin Tone

One often-overlooked aspect of choosing the right Hanfu is considering how well the colour will complement your skin tone. While traditional cultural norms and meanings associated with various colours are important, aligning these colours with your natural hue can elevate your entire look. It enhances not just the aesthetic but also your confidence when wearing Hanfu. Let’s explore how to match Hanfu colours with different skin tones.

Fair Skin Tones

If you have a fair skin tone, you may find that lighter shades and pastel colours tend to complement your complexion well. Soft pinks, light blues, and lavender are excellent choices that create a harmonious look. However, it’s good to balance these softer shades with deeper colours to avoid looking washed out. You might want to avoid too many bright yellows or whites, as they can make fair skin appear even paler. Here’s a useful resource about skin undertones to help you determine what shades will look best on you.

Medium Skin Tones

For those with medium skin tones, earthy colours like olive green, mustard yellow, and terracotta can be exceptionally flattering. These shades can bring out the warmth in your complexion. Jewel tones like emerald green or ruby red can also look stunning, offering a good balance between vibrancy and subtlety. For more ideas, you can look into colour theory to better understand what complements your skin tone.

Dark Skin Tones

If you have a dark skin tone, you have the luxury of pulling off both bright and deep colours incredibly well. Bright hues like fuchsia, cobalt blue, and crisp white can look incredibly striking. On the flip side, deeper shades like plum, dark green, and charcoal can bring a level of sophistication to your Hanfu look. When it comes to metallics, gold accents usually look radiant on darker skin tones.

What is the most versatile colour for Hanfu?

Red is often considered the most versatile because of its cultural significance and broad appeal. It is suitable for festivals, weddings, and even formal gatherings.

How much does a typical Hanfu cost?

The cost can vary widely based on materials and craftsmanship. Basic styles might start at around $50, while high-quality, custom-made Hanfu can go up to $500 or more.

Is it appropriate to wear bright colours in all seasons?

Generally, bright colours like red and yellow are more appropriate for spring and summer, while subdued colours like navy and dark green are better for autumn and winter.

How long does a well-crafted Hanfu usually last?

A well-crafted Hanfu made of high-quality materials like silk can last for many years, even decades, if well-maintained.

Can I wear white Hanfu to a wedding?

White is traditionally associated with mourning in Chinese culture, so it is generally not recommended to wear white Hanfu to a wedding or other celebratory events.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of silk Hanfu?

Advantages include comfort, breathability, and a luxurious appearance. Disadvantages are the high cost and the need for careful maintenance.

How time-consuming is it to put on Hanfu?

For simpler styles, it might take around 10-15 minutes. For more complex styles with multiple layers and accessories, it can take up to 30 minutes or more.

What sizes are generally available for Hanfu?

Sizes range from XS to XL, and many retailers offer custom sizing. It's essential to check the specific sizing guidelines as they can vary among manufacturers.
Scroll to Top