The type of Tai Chi clothing a person wears can be just as important as mastering the Tai Chi form itself. According to Tai Chi teachings, the clothing has a direct correlation with the state of mind and spiritual energy to the chi flowing through the body’s meridians. Clothing such as jeans and jackets, and even tightness of fabric will restrict chi flow in the body as it moves during the martial art. In Tai Chi, it generally is recommended that a person wear clothing that is soft, light, and supple, such as clothing made of loose linen, cotton, or silk. A key characteristic among linen, cotton, and silk clothing for Tai Chi is that they do not impede the martial art movements.
One of the marked differences from the linen type of Tai Chi clothing versus the cotton or silk kind is its ability to regulate body temperature. Linen is also good for its durability and strength, since it usually is able to resist any wears or tears that might happen during Tai Chi exercises. These attributes are what make linen Tai Chi clothing generally suitable for an experienced practitioner of the martial art.
Cotton and silk, on the other hand, typically is better worn on warmer days, such as during the summer. Historically, silk was abundant in China and this generated plenty of silk-style uniforms. Many Tai Chi masters still traditionally will wear silk-type uniforms. Silk and cotton share similar qualities, such as comfort, but silk is costly to manufacture and cotton is not.
The standard Tai Chi clothing comes in black or white, thereby offering fewer distractions to other people practicing the martial art form. Color restriction, however, is not definitive. Some martial arts schools may prefer other colors to be worn for Tai Chi uniforms. More modernized variations of Tai Chi wear can come in the form of printed T-shirts. Usually, these types of clothing will have the various Tai Chi symbols or perhaps the school’s logo printed on the fabric.
While Tai Chi recommends proper clothing, it is not necessarily enforced. Proper Tai Chi clothing typically serves as an aid to keep a practitioner away from distractions. This generally helps practitioners focus more on the balance of chi flow in the mind and body rather than outside distractions.