Head-to-toe florals and other fun, funky and festive looks for Chinese New Year

Look to recent fashion shows for ideas on what to wear for Chinese New Year, from pastel shades to contrasting textures to cheery floral prints

Bright, auspicious colours are expected during Chinese New Year, but just because you want to give and receive red packets does not mean you have to dress like one.

A little subtlety and creativity in your colour scheme and silhouette can go a long way in starting the Year of the Dog on a sartorial high.

A good way is to look to the runway for ideas. The 2018 Spring/Summer fashion shows were filled with Chinese New Year-friendly trends that one can adapt.

Ditch boring red and choose fresh and candy-like pastel hues, as seen on the runways of Victoria Beckham, Sies Marjan and Tom Ford.

The key is to contrast dreamy colours with bold shapes. Combine lilac, petal pink, lemon and creamy green with sharper silhouettes, such as double-breasted jackets with wide lapels, straight-cut trousers and pencil skirts.

Those who prefer a more demure style are also in luck. True to the springtime theme, there is also a revival of vintage floral patterns.

Labels, including Dolce & Gabbana, Erdem and Richard Quinn, feature brightly coloured floral prints on off-shoulder dresses, flowing skirts and short rompers paired with printed leggings.

Floral prints were featured at the Erdem Spring/Summer 2018 fashion show in London.
Floral prints were featured at the Erdem Spring/Summer 2018 fashion show in London. PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES, JAEGER-LECOULTRE

For those who prefer something less floaty and more dramatic, choose textured outfits that make use of tassels, pleats and manipulated fabric.

Those elements were big on Celine's ready-to-wear Spring/Summer 2018 runway, which featured skirts with wide pleats and dresses with long full tassels. Jacquemus' collection featured folded fabric and tasselled skirts.

Fashion stylist Karin Tan, 28, says there is no fixed rule about what to wear for Chinese New Year. Being comfortable and practical are the most important factors since the festive period usually involves travelling to different homes.

"Choose easy-to-wear shoes that are comfortable and stylish, like slip-on shoes or sneakers, as you will be visiting friends' or relatives' homes and you don't want to be the last one that everyone needs to wait for when entering or leaving the house."

Mr Tan also suggests wearing red as an accent rather than making it the focus of your outfit. Go easy on the bling, he says, "unless you want to channel your inner rapper".

Chinese New Year is a time of reunions and gettogethers and can be an opportunity to show off some new threads.

Avid shopper Rhea Tan, 25, says the Chinese New Year season is a great opportunity to dress up.

"It's a time to meet family and friends and since we are celebrating together, I also want to look good."

The research assistant says she wore a pleated light pink cotton top matched with a green pencil skirt last year.

"The colours were not so typical, but still looked bright and happy. I haven't chosen what to wear this year, but I would prefer something different from the usual cheongsam or red outfit."

Financial adviser Hia Jing, 27, who always dresses up for Chinese New Year, says he has already chosen his outfits for the first two days.

They are a cream pleated tee from Issey Miyake paired with grey pants and a pair of black leather shoes from Grenson for day one. On day two, he is planning to wear a white Topman T-shirt, a pair of black jeans and red sneakers from the Louis Vuitton x Supreme collection.

He remembers his most elaborate outfit consisting of a formal suit with a bright red Comme des Garcons jacket. "I thought it looked really festive, but I was later told by my relatives that I looked like a valet. I've since toned down my outfits."

Go textured

The extreme end of the textured outfit trend was seen on the runways, with big ruffled skirts and dresses with layers of tassels.

In real life, opt for more subtle alternatives by keeping the tassels, embroidery and textured fabrics to one or two key items. This is a great way to add dimension and embellishment to the outfit without going over the top.

For men incorporating textured fabrics into the outfit, choosing accessories made with different materials and getting some iron-on patches can be a good way of sporting the trend.

FOR HER (left)

1. Jacquard top with long fringe, $25.90, from Zara

2. Fitted skirt with diamond pattern, $14.90, from Mango

3. Garland resin necklace, $159, from In Good Company

4. Mbeads beaded bag with fringe, $560, from Maje

5. Embellished pom pom sandals, $46.90, from Charles & Keith

FOR HIM (right)

1. Batik camp collar shirt, $209.30, from Future Classics x Fabrick Lab at Kapok

2. Olive green pants, $89.90, from Zara

3. Straw hat, $19.95, from H&M

4. Knitted casual portfolio, $79.90, from Pedro

5. Black leather woven bracelet with axe detail, $39, from Rugby & Co

6. Firecracker patch, $6.90, from Pew Pew Patches at Naiise; Good Days Ahead patch, $7.40, from The Paper Bunny at Naiise; Hot Dawg patch, $8.90, from Mokuyobi Threads at Naiise

7. Denim slip-ons, $119, from Rivieras at Kapok

Go floral

Two myths to get out of the way: 1. Vintage floral prints are tacky or old-fashioned. 2. Men cannot wear such prints.

Firstly, florals can be edgy and modern. To avoid the thrift-store granny look, women should swop the trailing skirts and long dresses for fitted pants, rompers or jumpsuits.

To achieve a bolder style, clash the prints. Pick a head wrap, a bag and a pair of shoes with different but complementary floral patterns to make a statement. The trick is to make sure each piece has at least one key colour in common with the rest of the ensemble.

Secondly, men can go floral too - but not head to toe. A shirt with a structured floral design paired with plain pants is a good balance. Accessories with a similar pattern can also be a subtle way to incorporate the trend.

FOR HER (left)

1. Daisy print wrap jumpsuit, $119, from Topshop

2. Floral sling-back sandals, $39.95, from Bata

3. Ortensia rectangle sunglasses, $299, from Dolce & Gabbana

4. Graceful Bloom cuff, $299, from Atelier Swarovski

5. Beaded clutch, $159, from Clutch Me by Q at Tangs

6. Tropical Party cotton silk scarf, $150, from Binary Style

FOR HIM (right)

1. Floral checked shirt, $69.90, from Topman 2. Bermuda shorts, $22.90, from Mango

3. Black leather sandals, $165, from Massimo Dutti

4. Minimalist round frames with lenses with 100 per cent UV protection, $329, from Gentle Monster

5. Floral leather navy watch, $155.16, from Olivia Burton at Asos.com

6. Travel pouch, $28.90, from Reisenthel at Robinsons

Go pastel

Pastel shades do not always need to be on flowing dresses and soft chiffon. Pairing gentle colours with sharper, almost boxy, silhouettes can create a contrasting yet stylish ensemble.

For women, straight-cut pants can be paired with a fitted top for a sharp yet feminine look. Matching accessories in similar colours can also help to tie the whole look together.

For men, try a boxy T-shirt paired with fitted jeans for a casual and trendy look. A structured jacket with an interesting print can also help to jazz up the outfit.

FOR HER (left)

1. Off-shoulder crop top, $34, from Pomelo fashion.com 2. Basic mum jeans, $45.90, from Pull & Bear

3. Light pink pointed flats, $79, from Pazzion

4. White denim jacket, $99.90, from Urban Revivo

5. Holographic box clutch, $39.90, from Love Bonito

6. Heritage centre ring in emerald and rhodolite garnet, $388, from Carrie K

7. Round matte lilac frame with hexagonal browline and round purple scale lenses, $465, from Bulgari

FOR HIM (right)

1. Asymmetrical pink T-shirt, $39, from The Authority

2. Stretch skinny-fit colour jeans in olive, $49.90, from Uniqlo

3. Pale green sneakers, $140, from Adidas at Robinsons

4. Sunglasses with gold frames and pink reflective lenses, $49.90, from NO. Sunglasses at Megafash

5. Beige bomber jacket, $99.90, from Urban Revivo

6. Pink pouch, $38, from The Paper Bunny


Correction note: This story has been edited for accuracy.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 09, 2018, with the headline Head-to-toe florals and other fun, funky and festive looks for Chinese New Year. Subscribe