Cantonese opera costumes often contain multiple components, which can be mixed and matched depending on the roles being played or the scenes being enacted. Generally, martial and civil roles are often identified by the sleeves of a costume, while the particular character roles within these distinctions would be visible through which pieces were paired with the outfit. For example, a plain versus decorated skirt or pants, the addition or omission of a belt, or wearing a capelet or vest would be visual indicators of the roles being played.
This costume was likely for the role of empress. White pants would be worn underneath the skirt.