Potato sack qua wedding dress

Greetings from Hong Kong!  Today Hot Mama Cocoa, Sister Hot Cocoa, and I went to pick up my qua from Koon Nam Wah.  A qua is the traditional Chinese wedding outfit, which consists of an uber sexy boxy jacket over an uber sexy boxy skirt.  For a while, the qua went out of fashion, as many modern brides preferred to not look like they were wearing a red potato sack on their wedding day.  But in the same way that "vintage" or "retro" wedding aesthetics are increasingly popular in the U.S., the qua is making a come back.  

Although it's definitely not the foxiest outfit I can imagine wearing, I want to wear a qua in honor of my family's Chinese heritage and because it's an amazing work of art -- lavish, three-dimensional embroidery, done entirely by hand by little old Chinese men with no sweat glands. And if these aren't good enough reasons, the happy look on my grandfather's face when I tried on the qua tonight certainly is (particularly when compared with the look of horror he gave when I showed him our purple -- not red -- invitations).
Because of the embroidery, quas are expensive, which means that most brides in Asia rent theirs.  Prices for rentals in Hong Kong range between HK$1000-$7000 (around US$130-900), depending on a) the lavishness of the embroidery and b) whether you are renting a brand new qua or one that has been worn before.  Since rental periods generally range between 3 days to a week, renting was not an option for me.  I decided instead to purchase a qua.  At over HK$10,000 (around US$1250), this hit my wallet hard.  My only solace was that a) I saved some money by getting my "western" wedding gown for cheap at a sample sale, and b) I could always sell the qua after the wedding.  
About ten days ago, we went to Koon Nam Wah, and I selected a piece of embroidered silk (above) and got my measurements taken.  Today, we went to pick up the finished qua.  Easy, right?  Of course not.  I try on the jacket, only to discover that it is totally ill-proportioned for my body.  In the U.S., I'm considered a wee small person. In Hong Kong, I'm freakin' Gulliver amongst the Lilliputians.  My ass, my mom helpfully informs me, is HUGE, which means that the jacket is all funky in the back.  "It's okay," I say optimistically.  "Maybe we won't notice it when I have the skirt on."  Silly, naive Hot Cocoa!  I put on the skirt and realize that it is about two inches too small in the waist.  Oopsies.
I, of course, find this all incredibly funny.  My sister, as you can see from the above photo, was not amused.  Nor was my mom.  Particularly when the elderly clerk with whom we had been working (and who seemed in our previous interactions like he knew what he was doing) tells her that he had a feeling the outfit was going to come out all wrong because the good tailor was on vacation and they had to resort to the bad tailor.  Hahahaha -- it was getting more and more like a bad sitcom by the second, and I was the only one on the laugh track.  Meanwhile, the clerk tsks tsks as he circles me, looking at me skeptically and muttering to himself in Cantonese.  Finally spurred to action by Hot Mama Cocoa's death stare, he orders his minions to take the skirt apart and resew it, and to raise the side vents on the jacket to help the back lay flat against my (apparently) ginormous badonkadonk.

An hour later, the minions emerge with a qua that actually fits.  I mean, it's not a get-up that seductively whispers "let's make sexytime."  But it's lovely in its own way: in it, I feel like a bona fide Chinese bride.  I particularly love how my qua has a modern cut that makes it special -- note the scalloped edging and slightly tapered waist on the jacket.  

And how could Mr. HC resist the hotness that is underneath?
Yes, those are suspenders.  As I said: hotness.

Any of you rocking a special outfit from your culture on your wedding day?  

Jessebel  – (December 30, 2008 at 3:54 PM)  

Big butts, unite!

I seriously considered wearing a traditional Nigerian outfit for my Dad as a surprise but since he's my only Nigerian contact, therefore the only person who would know where to look, I figured the surprise would be lost.

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