You are currently viewing Wear a Beautiful Cheongsam for Chinese New Year

This post answers the question what to wear for Chinese New Year and shows photos for inspiration from such events  in Fairbanks. February 1, 2022 starts the Chinese zodiac year of the tiger. Your zodiac year is the year you were born in. In honor of the New Lunar Year, this post presents the cheongsams (also called qipao), and other traditional outfits modeled in a  fashion show at a Chinese New Year celebration as well.

  1. What to Wear for Chinese New Year?
  2. Which Shoes and Hair Dos Go with a Cheongsam?
  3. Where to Find a Cheongsam, Hanfu or Tang Suit?
  4. Chinese New Year Festivities Organized by UAF Students had a Tradition
  5. The Typical Program
  6. Great Cheongsam Dresses in the Traditional Ethnic Clothing Fashion Show
  7. The Food
  8. The Special Guests
  9. A Culturally Diverse Audience
  10. What the Audience Wore at the Chinese New Year Party: Red Clothes Are Key
  11. Top of the World Style linkup No 194


Updated: 1/22/2022
Disclosure: The post contains affiliate links.


What to Wear for Chinese New Year?

Go for the traditional red, if possible. This color is the best for the occasion because it is associated with luck, happiness, passion, and scaring away spirits of bad fortune in the Chinese culture. In your zodiac year, red is an especially lucky color for you. On the contrary, black and white stand for unlucky and negative, for which you should avoid these colors. But there is no need to wear red. Today many Chinese also go for bright colors.

Traditionally, people wear a new qipao or Tang suit (aka as tangzhuang). Note that the new tangzhuang combines the riding jacket from the Qing dynasty and the Western suit. Why new clothing? Because new clothes symbolize new beginnings. However, for a party outside of China, western clothing in red, festive garments or re-wearing last year’s cheongsam are fine too, especially, for guests of other Nationality. See the outfit inspirations at the end of the post.

Accessorize with something old, read family heirlooms because the Chinese New Year typically is a sort of family reunion. It symbolizes honoring those close to you and your ancestors.

Avoid wearing clothing of your own Nationality because many Chinese outside of China feel uncomfortable with it, or at least ask the host whether they would feel offended.



Which Shoes and Hair Dos Go with a Cheongsam?

Black, red or nude shoes look nice with the cheongsam. However, you can also try a color of the embroidery or print.


Shoes make or break an outfit. - unknown #fashionquote #shoelove Click To Tweet


Picking up a color of the cheongsam with patent leather pumps is also a chic option like in the left outfit below. Another option a nude patent leather pumps or gold.


models showing what to wear at a Chinese New Year party
Red and black Chinese dresses shown on the catwalk

To show off the Mandarin collar, go with a ballerina-inspired up do when you have long hair. See the outfit inspiration below for how to style floral print clothing.

Important: Never use chop sticks for a hair do!


model on the catwalk showing off the long slit of a cheongsam
Velvet cheongsam with bolero side view to show the up do.



Where to Find a Cheongsam, Hanfu or Tang Suit?

When you want to go for new clothes here are some suggestions from where to start shopping for them.



Chinese New Year Festivities Organized by UAF Students

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Chinese Student Association and their adviser Rosalind Khan have organized a Chinese New Year party every year prior to COVID-19. They always have invited the Fairbanks community to the party. Many Chinese business owners in the Fairbanks metropolitan area (sounds big, but it is just Fairbanks population 32324, North Pole 2214 and Fox 417) supported the celebration by donating door prices, candies, beverages, and the food.


little red dress
Talk master announcing the next performance after the fashion show. She wanted to sell her cute red dress to get one of the traditional dresses. I like her look of flat booties with black tights and this short dress. If the dress were mine I would wear it with skinnies or black leather pants


woman in pink long formal attire with black lace
MC of the party announcing the special guests in a pink long attire with black lace



The Program

The program started out with the buffet dinner. Afterwards the kids performed two dances, and wished the adults a Happy New Year. In return, they got little red envelops with money and a fruit.

On the program, there have been Chinese martial arts performances, traditional dances performed by students taking Chinese as a foreign language joined by other women enjoying to dance, Chinese songs and music, little sketches presented in either Chinese or English, a fashion show presenting Chinese traditional clothing, educational pieces about the Chinese culture. The tickets for the event were $16 in the past couple of years or so. They used to be $15 since 2002.


Alaska students performing in self-made costumes
Students and Fairbanks women performing a Jasmine Dance


Next was a Jasmine Flower dance performed by the students of Chinese 102 and 202 in self-made costumes. They had cut the long sleeves of  white Tees to 3/4 and sewed lace on the sleeves and bottom of the Tees as finish. The greenery maxi skirts had a flare cut. The hand pieces were self-made paper flowers.


kung fu demonstration in Alaska
Chinese and American champion in kung fu posing after his demonstration


The beautiful dance was followed by an extra-ordinary kung fu demonstration by the Chinese and American kung fu champion. His movements were so fast that the camera couldn’t catch them except at the end when he took the applause.


over 40 years old woman in red and black sheath dress
Fairbanks woman singing a Chinese opera song in a back and red sheath dress and black patent leather pumps


The woman in her beautiful red and black sheath dress sang a Chinese opera song as well as a contemporary Chinese hit. She also performed in some of the dances. There was also a man’s vocal solo and a choir singing a gospel.

The UAF students of Chinese 102 and 202 performed Little Apple – a hip hop from China. Between the various performances there was drawing of door prizes.


Chinese dance costumes
Chinese veil dance in traditional costumes at the Chinese New Year celebration in Fairbanks, AK


Chinese traditional dance clothes for a van dance
Van dance in Chinese traditional costumes



Great Cheongsam Dresses in the Traditional Ethnic Clothing Fashion Show

fashion at any age Fairbanksans modeling authentic outfits
Group photo of all models in Chinese ethnic clothing



style blogger modeling a cheongsam on the runway
Front view of qipao to show the high side slit


Nicole in dress wearing the jacket over the shoulder and open-toe pumps
Cheongsam with the cropped jacket taken off


Side view of model in cheongsam with bolero over the shoulder in open-toe pumps
Side view to show armholes and collar


fashion blogger in New Year outfit and high plateau heels
Cheongsam with cropped jacket (borrowed) styled with own Judith Leiber charm belt, pantyhose, jade bangle, L.K. Bennett plateau snake print heels (all own), best girlfriends bracelet c/o Chico’s, and designer clutch c/o Bellorita


The clothing pageant presented various traditional Chinese clothes. Here are some close-ups of my favorite outfits.

ageless style white dress with print White dress with a beauty printed on
fashion blogger over 50 donning an embroidered LBD LBD with rose embroidery, multiple strands of pearls, van, and L.K. Bennett open toe pumpstraditional style ethnic outfit Fairbanks high school student modeling a pink silk suit

Alaska woman in floral print top and leggings Floral print top with black leggings and tall bootsethnic fashion embroidered pleated skirt and top Traditional look of one of the many minorities with pleated decorated and embroidered skirt and top

advanced fashion woman in jacquard jacket with butterfly pattern Purple jacquard jacket with butterfly motives


Chinese traditional outfits for girls
These two young women present outfits that were traditionally worn by little girls. The left outfit is from cotton, the right one is from silk with embroidery on the front and at the bottom of the legs


what to wear for Chinese New Year when donning Chinese traditional clothes
Various Chinese outfits presented in the fashion show of the 2015 Chinese New Year’s celebration in Fairbanks, Alaska


outfit inspiration what to wear for Chinese New year
Silk brocade Chinese red traditional wedding dress


Modeling a Chinese dress
Royal blue Chinese traditional dress with turquois Salvatore Ferragamo pumps modeled by me in the fashion show


Chinese traditional dress in royal blue
Front view of Chinese dress with Salvatore Ferragamo pumps


midlife woman in embroidered traditional dress for Chinese New Year's party
Traditional Chinese embroidered silk dress from someone else’s closet with own pearl necklace, velvet jacket, and yellow square toe Christian Louboutain pumps


group photo of models wearing Chinese clothes
Group photo of models on the catwalk featuring traditional Chinese clothing from Fairbanks’ closets


I love this red and black dress with little cropped jacket in the photo below. It’s sort a variation of my sheath with cropped boxy jacket or with cardigan style. Furthermore, it comes very close to the traditional dress for the occasion, which is a red cheongsam. What do you think about this beauty? Black is my favorite color closely followed by red. Red means happiness, passion and luck. Especially, when it’s your zodiac year.

While traditionally black and white are No-Nos, the young generation wear what they want. I’m not an Old Lady and I always wear what I want. According to my friend, it’s also a thing to wear something sentimental. Thus, the jade bangle which is a gift from a girl-friend who moved to the DC area seemed a good fit as an accessory. Jade is also the Alaska state gem. Why now wearing Alaska jewelry when you live there, right? You want the right accessories for great style.

Well there are also some cool looks from Fairbanks women wearing what is Fairbanks Formal. See the link for a definitions and further examples. Enjoy the fashion show of traditional looks.

plus size woman in a teal ethnic blouse
Woman in teal ethnic blouse with dress pants


over 60 years old woman in trendy purple silk coat with bird pattern
Trendy purple silk coat with bird pattern


High school students in classic tops
High school students in classic red tops


teenager in pink traditional silk suit and man in silk jacket
Traditional men’s suit and teenager suit


models ethnic clothes with male model wearing a hanfu
Models at the New Year’s traditional clothes fashion show with male model wearing a hanfu


mature woman wearing flat shoes with a white floral embroidered maxi dress
What not to wear for Chinese New Year


young mother with floral top and daughters in tulle skirt dresses
Little kids and their Mom showing what to wear for Chinese New Year


Group photo of all models in the fashion show
Group photo of all models in the fashion show


All items on the catwalk stem from Fairbanks’ closets. People provide their items for the models to show off. Thus, the beautiful dress I am wearing in the photos below is not mine. 🙁


fashion model over 40 in sleek dress On the catwalk showing off the high slit of the chic sleek dress.
midlife fashion model back view
Back view of the Chinese dress I presented at the fashion show. I love this tea length dress. But unfortunately a black dress is on the list of NoNos with respect of what to wear for Chinese New Year.


The Food

As aforementioned, the event started with a delicious Chinese buffet prepared by AK Buffet Restaurant, a local restaurant in East Fairbanks in a mall on Third Street. There was Asian style cooked fish, various dishes with beef, pork or chicken, chicken kebab, vegetables delight, a variety of filled dumplings, flour dumplings, white rice, fried rice and fried noodles. There was American style strawberry and chocolate cream cake as a dessert.


fashion blogger over 40 traditional Chinese clothes
My friend Rosalind Khan wearing a raw silk Chinese style jacket over a white Tee and me. Rosalind coached the dancers and helped with the organization of this traditional Fairbanks community event. She also moderated the clothing pageant


In former years, there was the original New Year’s rice cake with raisins as dessert. To be honest, I prefer the rice cake over the cream cake, but I guess they tried something different as there were always large leftovers of rice cake. Looking at this event’s leftover desserts reveals that people were just full from the delicious dishes and hence skipped dessert.

I decided to forego taking a picture of my plate. Because of the long queue, the servers had put the various dishes onto the plate aiming at being fast. In other words, the arrangement of the food on the plate was not Instagram worthy. 😉 However, it smelled and tasted delicious. 🙂



The Special Guests

An employee from the Chinese embassy in San Francisco, the Chancellor and his wife, and the Chinese and American Kung Fu champion were among the special guests. I am not good at estimating how many people were there. According to the numbers on the tickets, there must have been over 400 people assuming the ticket numbers started with 1 and no number was left out.


A Culturally Diverse Audience

Since there was no dress code on the tickets or event fliers, Fairbanksans did showed up in what ever they wanted. At the long tables with red table clothes, you could see the dressed-up woman in a cocktail dress sitting side-by-side with someone who was dressed as if they had mushed with their dog team to the event. Many women and little kids wore traditional outfits. Only few men did so.

The audience is culturally quite diverse. There were many immigrants from all over the world. Of course, people born in China or Taiwan, but also people born in Russia, the Philippines, Australia, India, Kenia, Cuba, and Germany, just to mention a few. There were many people who were former Peace Corps Volunteers, university officials, and long-term Fairbanksans including those born in Fairbanks. Faibanksans celebrate cultural diversity and they are interested in, respect for and curiosity about each other’s traditions and culture is a big thing for many Alaskans.


Audience to show what to wear for Chinese New Year
View into the audience after the delicious traditional Chinese New Year’s dinner to illustrate the diverse audience


The photos in this posts are snap shots from the event illustrating the diversity and capturing some high lights of the show. You can find other posts on Fairbanks’ cultural diversity at the post at the  link: Star Trek artificial intelligence – whom do you talk to.

The Fairbanksans wore Fairbanks formal dress code. In this post, I want to show you my favorite looks from the party as well as some looks from the fashion show. Thus, expect a great mix of ethnic clothes, and cool street chic.

Do you know what is Fairbanks Formal? Find out here. #trivia Click To Tweet


What the Audience Wore at the Chinese New Year Party

Keeping with the Chinese tradition of red for New Year, this woman wears a little red dress. However, she goes modern and trendy by choosing her LRD in lace in a fit-and-flare style. She goes classic by adding black ballet flats.
Happy Chinese New Year. #ChineseNewYear Click To Tweet


woman wearing a red lace fit-and-flare dress for Chinese New Year
Fairbanks woman in a chic red fit-and-flare lace dress filling her plate at the buffet at the Chinese New Year party


The Fairbanks woman in the photo below went for a modern version of the traditional cut. The slits are not up to the lower hip bone (see photos of me modeling a traditional cut), the length is just above the knee and the piece has a modern abstract print with lots of traditional red. This modern version asks for flats and not for heels like the tea-length traditional cut.


ethnic style abstract print dress in cheongsam cut with embellished flats
Young woman in modern cheongsam dress with abstract print and embellished flats showing what to wear Chinese New Year


The woman in the photo dons great personal style. I love her eclectic mix of punk, and romantic. She dyed her hair in various shades of purple and is wearing a romantic  style inspired LBD with Victorian Era inspired embroidered and embellished pumps. Her look fits the Fairbanks Formal dress code. She is wearing a cocktail dress and clean shoes.


#hairover50 mature woman with purple hair
Mature Fairbanks woman with unique personal style donning purple hair, LBD, and embroidered pumps at the party


When there is a celebration or festive event, many Fairbanksans dress up or at least go with the vibe, while trying to protect themselves from the cold. This compromise and/or balancing act between dressing up and staying warm makes for a unique streetstyle as is documented in the following photos.

two Fairbanks women in Alaska street style Examples of Fairbanks street style. Left: Many fashionistas like this young lady wear summer outfits year-round except for the footwear. Her legs are naked. Lady on the right: Wearing a thermal sweater with a denim skirt, woolen tights and heavy boots. Her bag adds pops of color.
young woman in Alaska street style
Fairbanks street style interpretation of the black and white trend. The young Fairbanks fashionista paired black tights with white pumps


Uggs with bare legs means this fashionista dressed up and will probably throw some down pants over when going home. It is a custom to check your down or thermal pants and coats, and even boots at the coat clerks’.


posh midlife woman in Alaska street style outfits at the Chinese New Year's party
Two women in Fairbanks street style going with the theme of the event with their tops, but staying warm on the bottom with wool clothing


The woman below solved the problem of what to wear at a Chinese New Year party by wearing a red item. Otherwise, she held on to all warm, comfortable clothes. This look is a typical example of going with the vibe, without compromising for thermal comfort.

mature women in Alaska street style outfit
Fairbanks street style example of thermal clothes, but going with the red vibe of Chinese New Year


This young fashionista in the photo below just dressed up, but used Fairbanks layering techniques in all black and white.


Fairbanks street style: mixing pattern and prints when layering
Fairbanks street style example for layering using a posh classic color combination of black and white with gray


Learn more about how to have iconic street style.



Top of the World Style Linkup No. 194

Welcome to the Top of the World Style linkup party.

Top of the World OOTD Readers’ Fav outfit from Melody Jacobs' post
Melody Jacobs at Melody Jacob post became the Top of the World OOTD Readers’ Fav. Photo from her post


Top of the World OOTD My Fav Martina Berg of Lady 50 plus in Texas tux
Martina Berg at Lady 50 Plus became Top of the World OOTD My Fav. Photo from her post


Top of the World Style Winner Shellie from The Fab Journey in maxi dress
Shellie from The Fab Journey became Top of the World Style Winner. Photo from her post



Congrats Ladies! Grab your award buttons.


Link to the Linkup party page


See these awesome looks at the Top of the World Style #linkup party. #timelessstyle Click To Tweet


Photos of the models and me: G. Kramm

© 2013-2022 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. thestylesplash

    You look absolutely stunning Nicole! I love your dress!

    Emma xxx

  2. Hilda Smith

    You look absolutely gorgeous in that dress and what fabulous legs too.

  3. Martina Berg

    My dear Nicole,
    you made my day! Thank you so must for posting me on your wonderful blog! I am really proud to be part of your Link up Partys.
    XO Martina

  4. lazy Daisy Jones

    what a super idea for a fashion show and you have perfect legs for a dress like that too!

  5. Cheryl Shops

    Nicole, that dress you’re wearing is absolutely gorgeous! Happy Chinese New Year!
    Cheryl Shops

  6. Wow, just a stunning gown and I love the long slit that shows your beautiful legs!


  7. Shellie Bowdoin

    Thanks for featuring my post from last Week!


  8. shelbeeontheedge1

    Nicole, I have always loved Chinese and other Asian inspired fashions. Your dress is gorgeous. That slit up the side is magnificent, showcasing your dancer legs! Just beautiful, my friend! And those shoes are spot on as well!


Comments are closed.