Xizi Costume. It refers to the long gown with a slanting collar that is everyday wear for commoners. There are “colourful xizi” and “plain xizi”, and different types of xizi are designed for men and women. In other words, Xizi is categorized according to sex and color.
The Men’s xizi has a large slanting collar and is slit high to the crotch on both sides. It may be embroidered with patterns of peony, chrysanthemum butterflies and birds. Its slanting collar is embroidered with small frets, flowers and rattans, and either sleeve is embroidered with a flower. The double white-silk sleeves (shuixiu, literally meaning “water-sleeves”) are also attached to xizi. Besides, the “colourful xizi” worn by young men (xiaosheng) uses varied colours, just as the one worn by Pan Bizheng in The Jade Hairpin.
Unlike the colorful xizi, the plain one does not have embroidered patterns. Colors like red, purple, blue, black and olive yellow are always used for plain xizi. The black xizi is mainly worn by poor students. Since it is often worn inside the royal members’ ceremonial robes (mang), officials’ robes (guanyi), and informal clothes (pei), and thus the plain xizi is also called “chen xizi” which means the xizi is worn as underclothes.
Women’s colourful xizi is also known as the “Qingyi xizi”, literally meaning the xizi worn by Qingyi (i.e. decent women roles). This type of xizi is distinguished by its mandarin collar with embroidered floral patterns, and it is used as everyday wear for Qingyi.