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How To Dress For Chinese New Year & Not Alienate People

You're cold one minute and hot in another, you have to keep things PG, you need red for extra luck and you STILL have to look fly. It's basically rocket science.

For people who celebrate Chinese New Year – or Lunar New Year – like myself, the whole thing is a very big deal. Think of it as Thanksgiving Day on crack, multiplied by fifteen days, because that is how long Chinese New Year is supposed to last.

The Chinese have a belief that because it is a new year, you have to mark it with new clothes – or at least new-looking clothes – as a sign of a fresh slate. There are also informal rules. For one, you have to be comfortable, because you’re going from one house to another. You’re also going to be eating like no tomorrow, so easy on the waist line. Silhouettes have to be kept reasonably PG, because relatives. And kids. Red isn’t compulsory but recommended, both for yourself and for your host for extra luck, if you believe in that sort of thing. Black, the easiest colour when all else fails, is an absolute no-no. You’ll get ticked off by older relatives in a minute. Finally, you want to look, you know, not basic. Add all that together, it is not rocket science, but close.

The celebrations start tomorrow, so if you don’t have your wardrobe planned for at least the next three days, you probably are in a state of panic. If so, breathe. Go to your happy place of pineapple tarts, steamboat dinners and red packets.

Are you there? Good. Now, peruse our list of tips and tricks to help your survive the next two weeks in the aesthetic department, including stuff you can add to your cart and have it at your door in the next two or three days.


#1: Top-To-Ankle Red Dresses

One red dress, problem solved. You may feel an itch to go for florals given the occasion, but a full red makes much more of a statement. Your host will also be very glad for the good joojoo you’re bringing into his or her house. For the sake of comfort, forget structured dresses and think about lightweight materials and silhouettes that billow in the wind, like chiffon or silk. Keep things loose and your food baby will thank you later. To break the red and still keep things casual, go for things like sneakers or backless loafers.


#2: Colour Combos

If full red is a little too much, think about colour combos. Red and pink is one runway-approved one guaranteed to work. Red and pastel blue or red and pastel yellow, if you want to level up. Or, think about red alternatives, like pink or burgundy.


#3: Forget Layers, Try Accessories

Unless you’re somewhere where it is guaranteed to be cold, ditch the outerwear. Instead, keep the pizzazz with accessories, say a red beret, red boots, a red scarf, a red bag or red earrings.


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