Sun Yat-sen Suit
In the early years of the Republic of China (1912-1949), many Chinese youth who went to Japan to study brought back Japanese style campus wear to China. This kind of suit which was made through separately cutting the three-piece body and sleeves, following the way of western-style suit, looked solemn and elegant and full of youthful spirit. It had a narrow and low standing collar so that the wearer needs not to wear a necktie. In the right and left lower parts of the right side of the suit there were two hidden pockets and on the left chest there was a placed pocket. The suit was liked by progressive youth. After improvement, it became the modern Chinese- style typical men’s suit-the Sun Yat-sen Suit.
The special feature of the Sun Yat-sen suites lies in the design of collar and pockets. A moderate stand collar and an upturned collar are like the stiff collar of the shirt matching with a Western-style suit. On the front were placed four outer pockets, and the two below were made into the shape of piano pockets by overlapping pieces so as to hold more items, on which the soft covers were added so as to prevent loss of the items in the pockets. In the front part of the trousers there was a hidden-button seam. Two hidden pockets were put in the left and right sides, a small hidden pocket (watch bag) at the front waist of the trousers, and a hidden pocket with soft cover at the right hip of the trousers. The men’s dress designed by Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China, was considered more practicable than the western-style suit and accorded with Chinese aesthetic judgment and living customs. Although made by adopting western-style cutting, outside materials and color, it showed the symmetrical, solemn characteristics of Chinese style suit. Since it came into being in 1923, the Sun Yan-sen Suit became men’s official dress.
Why it is called the Sun Yat-sen Suit is that it was designed by the head of a western-suit shop according to one that Sun Yat-sen wore. In 1929, the national government officially designated it as the full dress, made improvements and amendments, and, in the process, gave it a political coloring. The turndown collar was changed to the standing collar, showing the idea of examining oneself in three ways and strictly administering the country. The four pockets were said to represent the Four Cardinal Principles cited in the classic Book of Changes and understood by the Chinese ad fundamental principles of conduct: propriety, justice, honesty and a sense of shame. The five center-front buttons were said to represent the five powers of the constitution of the Republic of China: administration, legislation, judicature, examination and procuratorate.