Hi there! This is my art blog where I put my paintings, sketches and fashion inforgraphics. As you can see, I'm very obsessed with heavily influenced by fashions of the past, 80's &90's Hong Kong cinema, ATLA and folktales.




Historical Fashion
ATLA fanart

Background Illustrations provided by: http://edison.rutgers.edu/
Hi~ I am an artist from the Philippines that is creating a character that hailed from the Qing Dynasty and I am having trouble finding reference on the 'commoner' styles. Most of the costumes and hair styles I find is always about the nobles and the court. Do you recommend any links where I can take a look for reference? :)

Hi mikifubuki.

Commoners tend to just dress simpler with duller colors, less ornaments, etc. I have collected a few Qing dynasty costume photographs and paintings on Pinterest, which covers many classes. You may find these images helpful:








Commoner costume from  5000 Years of Chinese Costume:

Both officials and common men would wear the “small cap” “the commonest kind was the skullcap" (172)

"Men’s dress consisted of robes, gowns, jackets, upper garments and trousers. […] The robe of the Qing Dynasty had slits: two slits for officials and scholars, and four for the imperial family. The robe without slits was called ‘Wrapped Round the Body’, and was to be worn by commoners." (172)

"As the [Qing] dynasty drew to an end, the wearing of trousers became the fashion among commoner women. There were trousers with full crotches and over-trousers, both made of silk embroidered with patterns." (173)

The ma gua was an “outer garment that reached only to the waist.” Also known as riding jacket. It later “became the general wear irrespective of sex or rank and finally came to be a form of ceremonial costume. Lastly, there was the vest worn by either men [or] women.” (173)

"Most middle-aged women liked to wear a zuan, which was shaped like a bowl and usually made of palm-fibre, or hemp and covered in silk embroidered with gold or silver flowers. A woman also wore above her brow a headpiece made of a piece of silk and embroidered with auspicious designs. It was worn in autumn and winter by women of rank as a kind of ornament and by their poorer counterparts to resist the cold." (173)

Chinese Clothing by Hua Mei writes:

"In middle and later years of the Qing Dynasty, there was no big difference between Manchu and Han women’s daily clothes. Their common features were loose-bodied robes covering outside the standard Chinese slim and weak beautiful ladies with slopping shoulders, wasp waist and flat chest. No bizarre dresses were allowed at that time." (84)

"Till the end of the Qing Dynasty, round hair bun at the back of the head prevailed. Unmarried women wore long plaits or double horn buns or double whorl buns." (84)

"Even women from poor families liked to wear several pieces of silver ornaments [earrings, arm bracelets, finger rings, neck rings,etc]." (86)

You can also find some useful costume books with previews via Googlebooks

Fashion of Black Teeth in Old Japan

A Yedo chemist’s recipe for black teeth dye from Tales of Old Japan by A.B. Mitford (1871):

"Take three pints of water, and, having warmed it, add half a teacupful of wine. Put into this mixture a quantity of red-hot iron; allow it to stand for five or six days, when there will be a scum on the top of the mixture, which should then be poured into a small teacup and placed near a fire. When it is warm, powdered gallnuts and iron filings should be added to it, and the whole should be warmed again. The liquid is then painted on to the teeth by means of a soft feather brush, with more powdered gallnuts and iron, and, after several applications, the desired colour will be obtained." (Mitford 203)

A while ago I was asked about the construction of the Vietnamese Ao Dai and Chinese Cheongsam/Qipao. I had a few dresses at my disposal and figured it would be fun to do a compare and contrast. Due to the small collection, I was only able to photograph a few samples (all tailored circa 2000s, except one I’m sure…). This basically just covers the “classic” tailoring styles of Ao Dai and Cheongsam/Qipao. The latest trends may not adhere to it!

NOTE: For simplicity’s sake, I primarily used the word Cheongsam (Cantonese) instead of Qípáo (Mandarin) because its wider use as an English loanword.

This is a hairstyle timeline that is meant to cover the Taishō era (1912-1926). However the dates for many reference photographs were rather vague, so some might actually fall into Shōwa era (1926-1989). Regrettably I couldn’t cover EVERY single hairstyle from this period so please consider this to be a brief overview. There are no Geisha, Maiko, etc featured here; they will be covered in another fashion timeline someday.

Some interesting notes about Meiji-Taisho era from Liza Crihfield Dalby’s Kimono: Fashioning Culture (1993)

·         “Men and women of Meiji had gulped up Western culture with all the indiscriminate enthusiasm of new converts. By Taishō, Japanese sensibilities vis-à-vis the West were much smoother. This was Japan’s political equivalent of the … social scene of the American Roaring Twenties. Japanese born during Taishō would enter adolescence as modern boys and girls. Significantly, women opened their closets to Western clothing during this decade. Kimono has lost space ever since.” (pg. 124)

·         “By 1915 Japan was beginning to feel itself a world-class nation, more confident of its military strength and social development. Ordinary Japanese were inclined to look at their society in light of how life might be bettered by adapting foreign ideas, or made more interesting by acquiring foreign fashions. Borrowing from the West was of course not new, but it had now become a more reciprocal and respectable process.” (pg. 124)


·         In the Meiji era “a few women cropped their hair, but these courageous souls were simply regarded as weird” and indecent (pg. 75)

·         “If cutting the hair short was too radical [in Meiji Japan], as public reaction attests, women’s hair did gain a new option in the sokugami style, a pompadour resembling the chignons worn by Charles Dana Gibson’s popular Gibson girls. The further the front section, or ‘eaves,’ of the hair protruded, the more daring the style. The sokugami style bunched the hair, coiling it in a bun at the crown of the head. Unlike traditional coiffures, sokugami did not require the heavy use of pomade, pins, bars, strings, and false hair to hold its shape. Its appeal was promoted as healthier and more rational – hence, more enlightened- than the old ways.” (pg. 75)