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Wearing White

Simple, but Bright and Beautiful Bai CostumesThe Bai people hold white color in high esteem and most of them prefer to wear white clothes. However, due to different geographical environments, economical conditions and influences of neighboring nationalities, their costume features vary from area to area while having some similarities.

Embroidered Beautiful Handbags.Among the Bai people that inhabit Dali, men generally wear white front-buttoned shirt with black-collar jacket outside, white or blue trousers, white head wrappings and black cloth shoes. However, many Bai people living in mountain areas wear blue or black head wrappings, too. Women's costumes vary with their living places; the unmarried and the married wear different clothes. In terms of hairstyle, an unmarried girl often braids her hair and makes a bun, which is tied together with a white-tasseled,colored kerchief or towel, and a red headband. For the married, their hair is unbraided, and they wear hair clasps and head scarves, which are mostly made of Zharan (a form of beautiful dyeing) cloth, black or blue cloth, or colored towel. For clothing, young girls in Dali City generally wear white or light-blue shirts, or red sleeveless jackets, with fuchsia or black velour coats outside. They like wearing white or blue trousers with wide bottoms. There are usually three or nine silver lines as decoration on the right button. They also wear girdles and blue aprons with embroidered flowing tapes. Girls often have embroidered "Baijie(white) Shoes" or "Fengtou (Phoenix head) Shoes." They wear Niusi (intertwined silver threads) silver bracelets or jade bracelets, rings, gold or jade earrings. The costumes of young girls are very gorgeous and beautiful; however, as age increases, their clothing tend to be simpler and deeper in color, though still refined in style. Their sleeves, apron flowing tapes, and headscarves are often decorated with beautifully dyed patterns, stitched flowers, and embroidery. White color is often the grounding which serves as a foil to deep colors like red, blue and black; sometimes, colors such as blue or black also serve as the grounding, which sets off thin and thick white patterns and gives it a dazzling and gorgeous effect. They think that the snow-white tassels of head wrapping represent the blue mountain covered with snow, and blue aprons represent the rippling blue Erhai Lake.

Women's coats, aprons and trousers in areas like Jianchuan, Eyuan, Lijiang, Yunlong, Heqing, Lanping and Weixi are usually of the light-blue, blue or black color. Unmarried girls in Jianchuan usually wear small hats, or hats with silver balls called "Drum-nail Hat" or "Fishtail Hat." Girls in Eyuan also like wearing "Phoenix Hat", but those in Heqing prefer to braid their hair into a single plait and tie it on the head, and then cover it with a kerchief with embroidered patterns of bees and butterflies. Girls in Lijiang often wear several or even more than ten pieces of folded head cloths tied to the hair with headbands of various colors. And the outside piece of cloth has patterns of different colors. In addition, most women in Jianchuan, Eyuan, Heqing have a piece of pure-white sheepskin over their shoulder, which is seen as a symbol of their industry and chastity. 

In Fushang county of Hunan Province, the Bai people like wearing white clothes and white headscarves, too. And there is a saying among them: "To be beautiful, first to your parents be dutiful (Wearing white is a symbol of filial piety in most cultures of China)." Among the Bai people, men generally wear white front-buttoned shirt and white head wrappings and black cloth shoes; and women wear white side-buttoned shirt, blue jacket, embroidered aprons, blue trousers, white leg wrappings, and white headscarves with white embroidered or dyed patterns. This style of clothing, though seemingly simple, is beautiful and graceful, and shows the good and unique aesthetic taste of the Bai people.

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