The Traditional Robe of the Chinese Men
When one talks of the Chinese cheongsam for men, we instantly refer to the Chinese men's knee-length, thigh-length, and ankle-length robe with Mandarin collar, loose sleeves, and simple straight-cut silhouette. They easily conjure images of the Kung Fu coat, such as for Tai Chi and Wing Chun, the traditional Chinese wedding dress for men, the traditional Chinese clothing for men during the Qing Dynasty, and the outfits worn by the musicians and the artists who play traditional Chinese instruments and perform traditional Chinese plays, respectively.
The Chinese men's long gown, known as Cheongsam in Cantonese and Changshan in Mandarin Chinese, is basically tailored like a robe – a characteristic, which is typical among the traditional Asian clothing and ethnic wear for men in Asia. But what easily distinguishes it from all the other robe-like and skirted traditional Asian clothing for men are its Mandarin collar, single line of frog button closures on the right, loose sleeves, and high slits on the left and right sides, all of which are essentially features that they share with the body-hugging one-piece dress of the Chinese women, called the Cheongsam or Qipao. That is why, they are usually coined as the male counterpart of the latter.
Fabric Types, Designs, and Ways to Wear
Silk is the most popular material for the men's Chinese cheongsam and the finest of their kind is tailored in ankle-length and lavished with exquisite adornments, like embroideries of the Chinese Dragon, hand-sewn pearls, handcrafted Chinese buttons, expensive linings, and piping made of the most beautiful fabrics – the addition of all of which will need the expert skills and patience of their tailor due to the naturally delicate quality of silk. There are also satin, rayon, polyester, and cotton cheongsam for men and they are celebrated by the gentlemen these days as kung fu coat, traditional Asian clothing, stylish party wear, Chinese dust coat, and as symbolic Asian gift, among many others.
Men's Chinese cheongsam are also found in various lengths, particularly, they come as ankle-length, knee-length, and thigh-length robes. In the olden days, the ankle-length silk Changshan were worn by the Chinese upper-class while the knee-length and thigh-length Changshan were usually made of hemp cloth and worn by the working class, often with the sleeves folded up for comfort and mobility, except when they kowtowed to their superior or the Emperor. Thus, as to which Changshan length best fits your need, especially when wearing it as Asian costume, you can maybe take this for your guide to ensure that it correctly depicts the class of the Chinese character that you portray.
When it comes to designs, men's Chinese cheongsam prides a wide range of simple to ornate designs. The best-selling and most popular among the gentlemen these days are the Changshan, which come plain or with minimal adornments but which are made of fine fabrics, like silk, rayon, and cotton. These men's Chinese cheongsam styles are very easy to wear on many different occasions. They can be dressed in modern and traditional Asian styles, too, like with Western coat and Fedora hat for a young and updated look or with traditional Chinese hats, which were a staple accessory for the respectable Chinese gentlemen in the olden days when going out in public with the soft Chinese caps regarded for an informal look and the black silk or horsehair hats reserved only for the Emperor and Court Officer of the Qing Dynasty.
There are also the ornately-designed men's Chinese cheongsam, which exquisite silk fabric material and fine ornaments will make every Changshan owner proud. With the progress of technology, many of these ornately-designed men's Chinese cheongsam are perfected with the help of modern machines and equipment. And, if off-the-rack cheongsam is not your style or if the occasion calls for your sophisticated sense of style, custom-made men's Chinese cheongsam are the way-to-go. Due to the intricacy required in making the cheongsam, many of the cheongsam tailors these days, especially in China, Hong Kong, and Singapore, have acquired their training and expertise in making the Changshan from their ancestors. Keep in mind, however, that they get so busy at times, so be ready to book an appointment.
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Wear it Proud as Kung Fu Coat or Asian Clothing
Need your cheongsam as a long Kung Fu coat, such as for Tai Chi and Wing Chun? You will never go wrong with our 100% cotton men's Chinese cheongsam for your Kung Fu training and practice. Lightweight 100% cotton kung fu coats are usually preferred by beginners and by the kung fu masters because they are comfortable for light training, while medium-weight 100% cotton kung fu coats are excellent for most needs, especially for advanced kung fu training. For competition and performance, get your winning Kung Fu coat from our selection of 100% rayon or 100% silk men's Chinese cheongsam. Pair it with the Kung Fu pants and Kung Fu shoes we have in-store and you're set.
For events and family pictorials, pair your Chinese cheongsam with black tailored pants and black leather boots for a formal look. And, don't hesitate to complete your cotton cheongsam with cotton shoes for a casual look, just like how the Chinese men would wear them in the days gone by. If you like, you can also top your ensemble with a Chinese vest or jacket, especially during the cold seasons, like autumn and winter. And, don't forget to finish-off your ensemble with a Chinese hat for that handsome Qing Dynasty-inspired Asian look.
Remember: Wearing the Chinese cheongsam implies your elegance and dignity for the Chinese and Asian cultures. So, wear your Chinese cheongsam proud – whether as kung fu coat or traditional Asian clothing. And, while you do, make sure to lavish in the comfort and dapper look that only this well-loved men's Asian clothing can bring.
History of the Chinese Men's Cheongsam
The Chinese men's cheongsam or changshan were first worn by the Manchus – the nomadic group from the northern part of China. And, in 1636, the latter's rulers ordered it to be the dress code for the men in the attempt to preserve the Manchu culture when they took over China on the same year and established the Qing Dynasty. Originally designed as a straight-cut chang shan, or long robe, with long, loose sleeves, the changshan was also made of cotton for summer and as a fur-lined robe in winter so that the Manchus can better cope up with the humid summer and the very cold winter of north China. So then, the changshan became the dress code of the Chinese men, while the same style of robe, known as the Qipao, became the dress code of the Chinese women, gradually replacing the Han Chinese's traditional style of clothing.
Both the changshan and the qipao were tailored with slits on the sides to ensure their wearer's comfort while riding a horse, which was the primary means of transportation during the time and which the Manchu men and women were known excellent at doing. Sometimes, a short coat, vest, or jacket, called the Magua, was worn over it as horse-riding jacket or for protection from the elements of the weather. Soon after, this Qing Dynasty short coat developed into what is now known as the Tang Suit. During the Qing Dynasty, men also plaited their hair on the left and shaved off the hair around their foreheads. Women, on the other hand, accessorize their cheongsam with pins and earrings.
In 1644, following the victory of the Qing Dynasty's conquest of the Ming Dynasty in the south, the Manchu rulers required that only men in the Chinese court and government wear the changshan, although the commoners were still allowed to wear it as their own dress. Over time, the Chinese men's changshan and the Chinese women's qipao rose to fame and were created from many different fabrics, like silk, and in many different designs to suit their wearers' taste. And, in the 1920s to the 1930s, its wide spread towards the many different parts of Asia, such as Singapore, and its popularity among the Chinese socialites and celebrities, has made China's Shanghai City the fashion capital of Asia.
In the 20th century, the Chinese people's adaptation of the Western-style clothing soon led to the transition of the silk changshan as a formal occasion wear, such as for weddings and traditional family portraits. And, the changshan, which are made of simple fabrics, like cotton, have grown to be loved even up to these days as long Kung Fu coat, Asian costume, and Chinese dust coat, to name a few.