How To Get Away With Wearing Any Colour You Want (Including Black!) During Chinese New Year
The sensorial assault of fiery hues donned by kinsfolk and dancing dragons is fast approaching. This Chinese New Year, choose to break the mould in more sophisticatedly-coloured outfits from our favourite fashion labels.
Red, orange and gold are the choice colours for Chinese New Year. Never will our nation look more like a Red Dot than during the season as folks celebrate the turn of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. From red lanterns and red angpows to fizzy mandarin cordials, you can't help but see red.
But if you’re not keen on looking like a fire hydrant or hate the colour as it means a deficit in your bank balance, dress or accessorise in alternative colours this Chinese New Year. And for those who are worried about the aunties accomplished in giving side-eye (Oxford Dictionaries gives us the perfect definition for it here), we’ve even included tips on how to ward off comments from relatives who may turn pale the instant they see you in that dark suit or dress. We're looking at you, auntie 'Nancy'. Here's how you can combat snide remarks from the auntie Nancys in your life.
Angels are usually envisioned wearing full white attire. So why are so many people against wearing the colour of purity during Chinese New Year? Because the colour of holiness and purity is predominantly associated with death and funerals in Chinese culture. On the flip-side, it also corresponds with the colour-symbol of metal from the Taoists’ Five Elements Theory, resonating strength and confidence.
What to tell auntie Nancy, before slowly walking away: “I’m in white to mourn the lack of support I receive when choosing to exercise my freewill. Plus, don’t you think I look like an angel?”
When a traditional Chinese theatrical mask is painted blue, it can symbolise stubbornness and fierceness. We’re all for looking fierce in 2017, but a true-blue reason to wear the colour of the sky is that it deeply denotes tranquility, trust and loyalty (based on a report of colour associations across 20 different cultures). It's probably why our favourite social medium's brand colour is blue. Also, of all colours, blue is apparently the strongest appetite suppressant.
What to tell auntie Nancy about your blue get up: “Did you know blue suppresses appetite? See, I’m helping you to stop eating too much bak kwa and mandarin oranges.”
Another less popular colour to wear during the Spring Festival is green. It’s rather odd considering green is the colour of spring in all its vitality, growth and fertility. However, most people in China are afraid to wear green, specifically a green hat, as the Chinese expression of ‘wearing a green hat’ seemingly sounds like the word for ‘cuckold’, thus suggesting infidelity. But with rapid globalisation, China receives a greater extent of influence from the West and green, as opposed to red, now means safety, health and freshness.
Confuse auntie Nancy with: “As Leonardo DiCaprio said during his Oscar speech: ‘Climate change is real — it is happening right now’ so go green, think green, act green, wear green.”
You’re definitely not going to get the red-carpet treatment if you choose to wear black on Chinese New Year. Considered taboo among most Chinese clans, wearing black is seen as inauspicious, gloomy and even downright disrespectful. But the dark shade has increasingly been associated with power, elegance and equality in modern times. Look around the office and people, including the Chinese, tend to wear black on a daily basis so why not during New Year’s? Across cultures, black is also consistently linked to expensive goods and luxury.
What to tell auntie Nancy when she starts complaining as one does when you're a stereotypical 'auntie': Nothing. Do what we do: don't speak to auntie Nancy.