Like the apparel of many countries, typical Chinese clothing is subject to changing fashion trends. It has become increasingly common to find the nationalist blending of traditional and modern motifs and styles, featuring, for instance, iconic images of lions, dragons and lightning. Casual wear includes jeans and T-shirts, usually tending toward a bright color palette, while older Chinese people are expected to dress more conservatively or at least in accordance with their age.
Historically, dress has been crucial to Chinese culture for over 3,000 years, with each dynasty producing distinct styles of garment. Among the most unique were those of the Tang dynasty, culturally the richest era of ancient Chinese history. Designers placed emphasis on elegance and grace, as well as liberation, with short-sleeved shirts, flowing skirts, shawls and low-cut gowns. Depending on their rank, men would wear adornments of swords and jade, gold or silver belts, whereas ordinary civilians were only permitted to wear a bronze or iron knife in addition to their clothing.
There are traditionally three central colors in Chinese culture, each with its own symbolic associations, including red, which is associated with good fortune and joy; black, which represents bad fortune and suffering; and white, which represents balance, moderation and honesty.
Nonetheless, symbolic associations such as these are widely ignored in modern Chinese clothing choices. Black, in particular, has become popular among young people.