The holiday season is a great time to catch up on some fabulous dramas to watch by yourself or with friends and family. Whether you're resting from a festive meal, or taking a break from the usual work, here are ten Chinese dramas that will astound you with their romantic stories and gorgeous costumes.

The dramas listed here include both historical and fantasy romances. What's the difference? Historical dramas try to conform to the actual historical styles, but fantasies can let the creative designers' imagination go wild. Female characters tend to hold the advantage in having beautiful gowns and jewelry encrusted headdresses, but male characters are getting equal attention these days, with highly decorated robes and stylish armor.

1. The Princess Weiyoung

On screen the gripping drama recounts a princess's journey of revenge, but off the screen, this historical romance will go down in drama history for its reel-to-real romance. The leading stars, Tiffany Tang and Luo Jin, couldn't hide their one-screen chemistry and announced their real-life romance after this series was completed. (See more of the royal couple's wedding photos.) All the other characters were dressed in fine costumes too.


The Princess Weiyoung - 锦绣未央

Starring Tiffany Tang and Luo Jin

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2. General and I

The "General" in the drama is an invincible warrior prince who is nicknamed "god of war," but he'll lose his heart to a mysterious young woman, from an opposing state, who captures his love while they battle in wits and war. 

Hong Kong singer-leading man Wallace Chung sings the poignant theme song as a warrior who has to set his romantic heart aside for the battlefield. The story also involves quite a few side romances and lots of gorgeous costumes, despite the inevitable battles that'll determine our lovers' fate. 


General and I - 孤芳不自赏

Starring Angela Yeung (Angelababy) and Wallace Chung

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3. Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms

The High Goddess and White Fox Princess Bai Qian (Yang Mi) has lost her memory of what happened in the past three hundred years. Will the Celestial Crown Prince Ye Hua recognize Bai Qian as the woman he had married and lost? While they fall in love throughout Three Worlds and Three Lives, we fall in love with their eternal romance and fanciful costumes. 

Although Mark Chao, as the prince, is always dressed in celestial black, all other characters have wonderfully colorful costumes.


Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms (aka Eternal Love) - 三生三世十里桃花

Starring Yang Mi and Mark Chao

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4. Lost Love in Times

A beautiful sorceress (Cecilia Liu) falls in love with a royal prince (William Chan). When they defy the ancestral code by marrying, they encounter a deadly rebellion from conspirators in the court. The sorceress regrets her error in falling in love and uses her power to reset the world to a time when she and the prince didn't know each other. 

Are they still fated to meet and fall in love? Will she be able to mend her broken heart if the prince marries someone else? What is not in question is the glamorous costumes worn in this fantasy romance.


Lost Love in Times - 醉玲珑

Starring Cecilia Liu and William Chan

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5. Ice Fantasy,

Feng Shao Feng (Prince of Lan Ling) is the Ice Tribe's crown prince who has to find his true love and re-establish his claim to the ice kingdom. First, he travels to different realms to meet different tribes, each has its uniquely designed costumes. The Mermaid Princess is one of the many characters with spectacular outfits. The royal wedding is also a glamorous sight.


Ice Fantasy - 幻城

Starring Feng Shao Feng and Victoria Song

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6. Love O2O

Two college students fall for each other on campus, but unbeknownst to them, their avatars in an online game world already have married each other. You might be wondering why this modern campus romance is included in the list. The answer lies with the gorgeous costumes that are worn by stars Yang YangZheng Shuang, and their warrior friends when they are role-playing the online game.


Love O2O - 微微一笑很倾城

Starring Yang Yang and Zheng Shuang

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7. Nirvana in Fire

The acclaimed series stars Hu Ge as a disguised avenger who returns to restore the honor of his military clan. He also helps a neglected prince ((Wang Kai) to unexpectedly win the battle for the throne. There is romance in the drama, but it takes a backseat to the overriding theme of intrigue, revenge, and brotherly bond. Hu Ge's iconic character is so popular that there are now at least two different Madame Tussauds wax statues in his image.


Nirvana in Fire - 琅琊榜

Starring Hu Ge and Liu Tao

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8. Nirvana in Fire 2

It's been 50 years since peace was secured in the Liang Dynasty, but new turmoil is brewing. How will the descendants of the original heroes in Nirvana in Fire defend the nation? The production team has maintained the restrained yet streamlined style to be consistent with the original series. Watch carefully and you'll notice that all the costumes, glamorous or modest, are made carefully with fine details.


Nirvana in Fire II - 琅琊榜之风起长林

Starring Huang Xiao Ming and Liu Hao Ran

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9. The King's Woman

A powerful and ruthless king (Zhang Bin Bin) falls irresistibly for a commoner beauty (Dilraba Dilmurat), who is also skilled in martial arts. What would he do to get her into his palace and win her heart? You'll be mesmerized by the compelling story and the gorgeous costumes. The costumes also play a role in showcasing the beautiful concubine when she raises her sword to fight. But the king's own handsome costumes may be the ultimate winner.


The King's Woman - 秦时丽人明月心

Starring Dilraba Dilmurat and Zhang Bin Bin (Vin Zhang)

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10. Tribes and Empires: The Storm of Prophecy

The lonely prince of a crumbling dynasty and the neglected son of a military family are destined to fight for the crown. Meanwhile, a nomadic warrior seeks to regain his kingdom. Which one will defeat a predestined fate and be united with his true love?

The sprawling fantasy epic is so far the most grand and most ambitious in presenting its huge cast of characters, each with unique and stunning costumes. Check out many of the character stills HERE.


Tribes and Empires: The Storm of Prophecy - 九州·海上牧云记

Starring Huang Xuan and Shawn Dou

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Do you have a favorite costume drama? To me, each drama excels in different ways. For instance, I'm particularly fond of Mark Chao's very long hair in Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms.

For this article, I emphasized the costume dramas from recent times. Please check out my previous article on costume dramas for comparison.

~ Find me at NancyZdramaland for more updates!

(Image credit as referenced or tagged)