Chinese New Year is just around the corner!

Aside from all the red packets and yummy food you will be having, you are looking forward to one other aspect of Chinese New Year: shopping for some new clothes to usher in the New Year!

You head over to the shops with a spring in your step. Just as you reach out for that lovely black blouse, you recall the days when your parents told you that you must never wear black during Chinese New Year.

You have never understood the reason why behind this peculiar custom because they never explained it to you, no matter how hard you asked.

Now, before you buy that lovely blouse (or any other clothes for that matter), here are some Chinese New Year clothing customs that you should be aware of!


  1. Wear Only New Clothes!

Shop Shopping Bags CNY Clothes Jeans Blouse
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Why do a lot of Chinese families go clothes shopping before Chinese New Year? Having new clothes to show off to your relatives is one thing. But do you know the actual reason? It is because many Chinese people believe that since this is a new year, they should buy new things as way to symbolise getting ready for a new start!

  1. Wear New Pyjamas The Night Before

Sleep New Pyjamas Sleepwear
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Before you sleep, even if you’re staying up all night to make sure your parents live long lives, make sure to wear your new pyjamas to bed. That way, the new you can enter the New Year!

  1. You Must Not Wear Black

Black Clothes Shoes Bag
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Everyone loves the colour black because it flatters most body shapes. Unfortunately, it is a colour that you must never wear during the new year because black is typically worn during funerals. The colour has been associated with death, depression and all sorts of inauspicious things! Not a great way to usher in the new year now, eh?

  1. No White Clothes Either

White Shirt Clothes Man
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Contrary to most other cultures, white is not really seen as an auspicious colour. Similar to black, white is a mourning colour and is typically worn at funerals. So make sure you stay away from white clothes as well!

  1. Red Clothes Is A Must

Cheongsam Red Clothes Traditional
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The Chinese love red: that is no secret. During Chinese New Year, you will see clothing stores filled with bright red clothes. That is because red is seen as a colour of luck and prosperity. It is the main reason why many traditional families would go out decked in red on Chinese New Year.

  1. Do Wear Gold

Gold Luxurious Silk Shirt Men Classy
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If red is not classy enough for you, then go for gold! Aside from looking bright, gold is a luxurious colour and is said to symbolise wealth. There is no better way to look great for the New Year than wearing clothes that would make you look like a million bucks!

  1. Do Not Wash Your Clothes

Washing Machine Clothes
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Or well… at least on the first two days of the Chinese New Year. Those two days are seen as the Water God’s birthday. So washing your clothes on any of those days will offend the god!

  1. Damaged Clothes Is A Big No-No

Ripped Jeans Damaged Clothes
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That means no ripped jeans of any sort, even if it is the latest trend. Damaged clothes are said to attract bad luck and you don’t want to attract bad luck for the whole year, do you? If you are a parent with young children, make sure none of them wear ripped clothing this year as children are said to be the most vulnerable ones to any bad luck!

  1. Do Not Buy New Shoes

New Shoes Buy Shop
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Yes, we said buying new clothes (or things) is seen as a great way to start the New Year according to Chinese traditions. However, when it comes to shoes, it is a totally different story. For the first few days of the Chinese New Year, you should refrain from buying any new shoes. This is because the word “shoes” in Cantonese sounds very similar to the word “rough”. So buying new shoes might usher in a rough, bumpy year for you!

  1. Do Not Wear Blue

Blue Blouse Sad Woman
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Another inauspicious colour, blue (especially darker shades) should be avoided at all cost. Some Chinese families believe that the colour is too sad and depressing. You don’t want to start the New Year on a sad note, right?

  1. Do Not Give New Shoes To People

New Shoes Gift Box Orange Sneakers
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We wonder why shoes get such a bad rap during the first few days of Chinese New Year? Some Chinese people believe that giving new shoes to people at the start of the New Year means you are encouraging them to run away from you.

  1. Wear New Underwear The Night Before

Red Underwear Innerwear Luck Prosperity
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When we mention clothes, apparently your underwear is also included! Make sure to invest in several new pairs for the coming year. And if you are not the type that likes wearing red and standing out in the crowd, you can take this moment to invest in a few red pairs of undies to draw luck to you, in a discreet way.


These are the clothes customs that we are aware of. If you know of anymore, leave a comment for us below!

About to go out and start your Chinese New Year clothes shopping? Rather than be caught in the crowd, have a look at the trendiest clothes that Zalora has to offer at reasonable prices and earn up to 2% cashback when you snap up the latest Zalora coupon codes!

*Featured Image Credit: Athena Lam | Stock Snap