The Ming Dynasty was the last dynasty ruled by the Han nationality in China’s feudal history, and the evolution of its costumes showed irregular volatility. The costume of Ming Dynasty can be divided into four periods：
1) Early Ming Dynasty (1368-1435)
2) Mid Ming Dynasty (1436-1505)
3) Late Ming Dynasty (1506-1620)
4) The end of the Ming Dynasty (1620-1644)
In the early Ming Dynasty, the evolution of Ming Dynasty clothing was a process from top to bottom, from formal dress to casual dress, from the retention of the Yuan Dynasty to removing the traces of the Yuan Dynasty.
Part 1.1: Early Ming Dynasty – Women’s Clothing Style
The clothing style of this period is still in the formative period, and there is still the dress style of Han women in the late Yuan Dynasty – long sleeve short shirt with half sleeve short shirt and skirt on the lower body. At this time, women did not appear in long clothes over the knee. Therefore, it can be concluded that women’s clothing in the early Ming Dynasty was mainly short shirts with a solid color skirt.
The style of women’s headdress in this period still has the style of Han women in the late Yuan Dynasty. In this period, women’s headwear was mainly composed of single buns with single crowns, occasionally with Autumn Bun.
Part 1.2: Early Ming Dynasty – Men’s Clothing Style
The style of men’s clothing in this period is the same as that of women’s clothing, it is still in the formative period. There are still keep some styles of clothing at the end of the Yuan Dynasty, such as long sleeves, inward pleated long shirt, jacket, half sleeve tops, and trousers.
Part 2.1: Mid Ming Dynasty – Women’s Clothing Style
With the gradual stabilization of society, productivity has made great progress and development. The clothing style of this period has gradually got rid of the style of the early Yuan Dynasty, showing a diversified situation. For example, the Duijin Bijia was the popular style at that time.
Part 2.2: Mid Ming Dynasty – Men’s Clothing Style
In this period, the clothing style was in the transitional and mature period. In addition, the Ming government began to increase the removal of Yuan Dynasty clothing decoration and reform the style and fabric of clothing. So at this time, men’s robes had gradually changed from the early narrow sleeve to the wide sleeve, and the inward pleating turned to the outward swing.
Part3.1: Late Ming Dynasty – Women’s Clothing Style
In this period, the clothing style was in the period of change and precipitation, and there were many different styles of clothing. For example, the choice of top collar type is more and more abundant, not only the existence of Jiaoling collar but also the Liling collar and Round collar. And women’s clothing in this period is also growing longer and longer, the matching dress is also more and more luxurious and exquisite, and can not see some traces of the early Ming Dynasty.
Part3.2: Late Ming Dynasty – Men’s Clothing Style
In the late Ming Dynasty, the evolution of men’s clothing is consistent with the evolution of women’s clothing. The color of clothing is more and more bright and exquisite, the width of the sleeves is becoming wider and wider, and the number of lace-ups on both sides of the garment is gradually reduced. The style and shape of men’s robes are fixed and established in this period.
Part4.1: The end of Ming Dynasty – Women’s Clothing Style
We know that the dress style of the late Ming Dynasty still retains the certain continuity and regularity of the early and mid-term. But at the end of the Ming Dynasty, some clothing styles suddenly became quite different. For example, the sleeve width of some women’s clothes became extremely exaggerated, and the matching accessories were more luxurious and exquisite. This had a certain impact on the clothing of the late Qing Dynasty.
Part4.2: The end of Ming Dynasty – Men’s Clothing Style
Like the women’s clothing in this period, the style of men’s clothing at the end of the Ming Dynasty also changed greatly, and gradually separated from the original clothing system.