What To Wear For Lunar New Year 2020
Commencing 25 January 2020, Lunar New Year is a time when a huge number of people of Asian heritage from around the world come together to celebrate new beginnings. That means travelling to reunite with families, feasting, decorating homes with flowers and calligraphy couplets and dressing up in brand-new outfits. It also means sending New Year’s blessings and, yes, the exchanging of red envelopes of money, so coloured to symbolise good luck.
This time around, we are entering the year of the rat or, if you like, mouse; the first in the cycle of the zodiac animals. This clever and quick-thinking little creature is seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Which, we can only conclude, is good news. The idea of “surplus”, of course, is particularly appropriate for Lunar New Year, given the entire celebration spans 15 days and involves a different activity every day. From the big family dinner on New Year’s Eve, in which people typically visit relatives and friends, to getting family portraits taken, to mastering the art of homemade dumplings, to taking on your mother-in-law at a heated mahjong table (yes, do take notes from Crazy Rich Asians), each different occasion will require you to dress accordingly.
Therefore, unlike Christmas, where gifting is a crucial part of the spirit, Lunar New Year is all about being a little bit more generous to yourself. According to tradition, in fact, buying new clothes and wearing a fresh ensemble symbolises an auspicious new start to the year, and good luck to boot. So, what to wear? For those in any degree of certainty, we at MR PORTER are here to help.
Red is the warmest colour
Lunar New Year is about warmth and the feeling of joy and prosperity. Embrace a light and warm colour palette to look smart and comforting. Red and gold are the go-to choices, but a small touch is more than enough. After all, Lunar New Year is about giving red envelopes, not looking like one. Red scarves, socks and sweaters are great style options that can never go wrong. Accessories such as gold cufflinks, bracelets or watches are all stylish and prosperous additions to your celebration ensemble.
Fung shui dressing
As with style, feng shui is about achieving the perfect balance. The ancient Chinese geomancy uses energy forces to achieve a “Yin-Yang” balance of the five elements (fire, water, earth, metal and wood). According to Ms Thierry Chow, possibly the most stylish and contemporary female feng shui designer in the world, the year of the rat is metal and water heavy. Thus, wearing colours such as purple and pink are great ways to help you channel in the positive vibe and balance the energy flow.
Leave room for food
No matter which gathering you are attending, it will always be filled with endless food and drinks. After eating a quarter of a roast pig, half of a fish, a lamb stew, an eggplant (aubergine) pot and about 20 different kinds of dumplings, you’re definitely going to need some stretch in your trousers and shirts to stay mobile for the mahjong game.
A timeless print
The Chinese zodiac is full of fun and mysteries. As 2020 is the year of the rodent, and it certainly won’t hurt to put on some of our favorite mouse characters in our dressing. This year, Gucci has collaborated with Disney to celebrate this occasion and created a series of Mickey Mouse print ensembles that will last you beyond the new year.
After dressing up yourself, it is also crucial to not forget that how you decorate your home also affects your fortune in the year ahead. Feng shui, a concept that is central to Chinese culture and interior design, uses something called a bagua map to read the energy of a space. According to Ms Chow, adding gold, silver and copper elements at the southern or eastern corners of your home are great ways to protect yourself from negative energy. At the same time, if you’re hoping to send some good vibes the way of your personal finance, health or relationships, try to linger around the west and northwest corners of your home. (You can add to this effect by festooning these areas with pink, red or orange decorations.)
Some extra tips:
- Lunar New Year is not so much about gifting objects. Cash in a red envelope is the most common way of showing gratitude and spreading the joy to your friends and family.
- Red envelope-giving traditions differ greatly in various regions of the Chinese world. In Hong Kong and Cantonese-speaking regions of China, married people are expected to hand red pockets to their single colleagues. In other regions, it is common to give red pockets only to the elderly and kids within the family.
- Avoid wearing too much black or white as both colours are symbols of bad fortune in traditional culture.
- Do not gift items such as clocks, shoes, pears, umbrellas, sharp objects, white flowers, mirrors or anything in the quantity of four to a Chinese person as all of these symbolise separation, death or bad luck. You’ve been warned.