Can foreigners wear Qipao(Cheongsam), Hanfu, Kimono, Yukata, Hanbok?
The brief answer is YES, Absolutely!
In this post, I am going to tell you the reasons why foreigners can absolutely wear these Asian traditional costumes.
They are my personal and honest opinion, and I can say that confidently because I have experience living in Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. I have native friends from each country and understand their cultures.
Alright, let’s begin!
What Are Qipao(Cheongsam), Hanfu, Kimono, Yukata, Hanbok?
You may know Qipao(Cheongsam), Hanfu, Kimono, Yukata, Hanbok, or at least one of them. But let me briefly introduce what are these costumes to the readers who don’t know them precisely so that they can understand them better when they read the following content.
Qipao (also known as Cheongsam) is a traditional Chinese dress. It features Chinese collars, tight-fit, slits, and pankou knots. Because of its design, generally, when a woman wears Qipao, she will look slim, sophisticated, and sexy.
Hanfu is also a traditional Chinese costume but it has way more history than Qipao. Hanfu slightly differs from dynasty to dynasty. Most of the women’s Hanfu we see today are flowy and fairylike.
Kimono is a traditional Japanese costume. To put it simply, it is a type of wrap dress that has many layers. (The “Kimono” robe we often see in clothing stores is another type of clothing that is inspired by the traditional Kimono. Please don’t get confused about those two because they are different.) A traditional Kimono is usually worn at formal and important events.
Yukata is very similar to Kimono but more casual. People will wear Yukata at casual events like fireworks festivals or summer festivals.
Hanbok is a traditional Korean costume. Typically, it is a two-piece or three-piece dress whose waistline is very high. Korean usually wear traditional Hanbok at formal events. But there are also many modern Hanbok that people can wear daily.
Can Foreigners Wear Qipao(Cheongsam), Hanfu, Kimono, Yukata, Hanbok?
After learning what these costumes are, now let me explain why foreigners can wear these costumes.
1. Asians Want Foreigners To Wear Their Traditional Costumes
In this part, I want to talk about why Asians want foreigners to wear their traditional costumes from three different perspectives. One is from the general Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Another is from the Qipao, Hanfu, Kimono, Yukata, Hanbok clothing stores and rental shops. The last one is from the governments of each country.
- To general Chinese, Japanese, and Korean:
They want foreigners to wear their traditional costumes because they will be glad when foreigners try to understand their culture. Think about it, if a foreigner is trying hard to learn your language, wouldn’t you feel great and happy?
Their traditional costumes are what they are proud of and there is no reason not to spread their culture. Honestly, if a Chinese, Japanese, or Korean forbids foreigners to wear their traditional costumes, I would say the person is very conservative, selfish, and narrow-minded.
- To traditional costume clothing stores and rental shops:
The seller will be happy to see the people smile when they wear their traditional costumes regardless of where the people come from. I believe that’s their goal, accomplishment, and the reason why they chose to make a living by this. In fact, a lot of portion of their revenue is from the tourists(foreigners), they must be thankful for those foreigners who wear their traditional costumes.
- To the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean governments:
The governments are trying very hard to spread their unique and proud cultures. Not only because it can improve the country’s image which follows a lot of potential advantages but also because it benefits the country economically.
2. Asians Wear Western Clothes Too
Interestingly, what Asians wear today is not originated from Asia. We can know that from the words they use. Let’s take a closer look…
- In Japanese, 洋服(youfuku) means (western) clothes. When a Japanese says 洋服(youfuku), he or she means the general clothes that everybody wears. The opposite of 洋服(youfuku) is 和服(wafuku) which particularly means Japanese clothes like Kimono.
- In Chinese, 洋裝(yáng zhuāng) also means western clothes and it is often used to say womenswear or dresses.
- In Korean, 양복(yangbok) means western clothes too but when a Korean says 양복(yangbok), he or she means the formal suits for men.
Actually, all these vocabularies are pretty much the same thing. (Since these countries are very close geographically, they share the same culture.) The only difference is the language and the way they use the word in their own country.
In their daily life, most Asians wear the same types of clothes as people from western countries wear because they are heavily influenced by western culture. And they only wear their traditional costumes at special and important events such as graduation, wedding, funeral, national holidays, festivals, and so on.
What I want to say is… Since Asians can wear western clothes which is not from their own countries daily, why can’t foreigners wear Asian traditional costumes like Qipao(Cheongsam), Hanfu, Kimono, Yukata, and Hanbok occasionally, or even daily?
3. We Have The Rights To Wear What We Want To Wear (With Respect)
Compared to some countries, we are living in countries that are relatively free. We can speak out our thoughts, we can make our own decisions including what we are going to wear. For example, we can wear either modest or sexy clothes regardless of what other people think.
If we remove the cultural meaning of Qipao(Cheongsam), Hanfu, Kimono, Yukata, and Hanbok, they are just some types of clothes that we can wear. But since those traditional costumes are very meaningful to the locals, we have to be respectful when we wear them.
Imagine that there is a foreigner who traveled to your country and did something very inappropriate, won’t you be mad? It’s simple and basic. If we want other people to respect us, we need to respect them as well.
If someone doesn’t respect their culture, then that person is not qualified for wearing those clothes. Because his or her mind is not as beautiful as those clothes.
Again, as long as foreigners wear those traditional costumes with respectful minds, it’s alright.
Those are the main reasons I think foreigners can absolutely wear Qipao(Cheongsam), Hanfu, Kimono, Yukata, and Hanbok.
You can always let me know your thought by leaving a comment.
Hope this post is helpful for you and if you want to know more about fashion, feel free to see other posts on my blog!