Preserving the same design, a solemn ritual costume has been developed out of the simple forms of everyday clothing (it was made for solemn occasions and ceremonies related to the Chinese philosophy of nature) and was notable for different details, complexity of headgear, jewelry and color.
Color, ornaments, form of ritual costumes are full of deep symbolism. Emperor’s shirt, symbolizing black and red sky, was ornamented with images of the sun, moon, stars and mountains.
Plaht is a symbol of the yellow-red Earth, ornamented with corns. Headdress symbolizes the form (merging the circle of heaven and the square of the Earth) and colors (black and red). Strings of jade beads flow down like the rain. The costume consisted of an ornate apron, attached to the waist in front, and a grid of colored cords interwoven with jade rings.
In the medieval period the jacket and plaht were replaced by a long robe as an everyday men's suit, and were frequently used with side slits.
The robe gradually replaced jacket and plaht from formal wear, for this reason colour, decorations, ornamentation became more important reflecting socio-hierarchical nature of the costume. Government decrees clearly regulated shape, color, fabric of emperor’s costume, his courtiers and officials, divided into 9 grades.
Peculiarities of medieval formal robe were high-necked collar with a round neckline and variety of broad sleeves. Due to unchanging design, jackets and robes could be single or double-breasted, with a closed or asymmetrical fastener or with wrapped over and crossed laps on the chest.
In the Middle Ages women's jacket and plaht, and in VIII - IX centuries skirts as well, remained as the main types of clothing. Female costumes differed from male costumes due to their luxurious and many-coloured decor.
In the XVII century China was conquered by Manchurians, and the Qing dynasty was founded. During this period a number of reforms forcibly changed the features of the Chinese national costume.
Men's gown became narrower, especially the sleeves of formal clothing took on hoof-shaped cuffs. A short and single-breasted blouse was worn over the male gown with short wide sleeves of blue, purple or black silk. Buffans - square patches or embroideries with symbolic ornamentation were sewn on the chest and back denoting the rank of the carrier.
Women's dress preserved Chinese national character: it was a short, double-breasted jacket with wide sleeves; a plaht was with decorated smooth rectangles at front and back, and with pleated barrels. The luxurious capes completed both male and female ceremonial dresses of Qing time.