The traditional Chinese costume for women has undergone centuries of evolution, starting off as loose robes with swinging sleeves that were wrapped across the body and held in place with a belt.
In the beginning, women’s clothing in all regions of China tended to be very loose and were worn in several layers. More interestingly, the more layers you wore, the wealthier and higher your station in life was.
However by the Tang dynasty, it became fashionable for Chinese women to wear dresses that began at their chests and were tied at the under bust. This was the golden age of Chinese fashion when many outside influences were incorporated in the both female costume and cosmetics.
Tang Dynasty Fashions for Women
The modern cheongsam, or better known as qipao, actually originated from the last dynasty to rule China, called the Qing dynasty. When it was first worn, it took a very loose and almost tent-like shape. However, over the more than one century since its appearance, the qipao has become more and more westernized to flatter the female body shape. It eventually also got shorter compared to the floor length versions seen at the start of the 20th century.
Evolution of the modern qipao or cheongsam
If you are lost and still haven’t decided what you want to wear for this year’s Chinese New Year, why not try one of these qipao ideas that will impress your family and friends, as well as make you really stand out:
Modern Red Qipao Flared Dress from ENSOGO
Although this looks nothing like a traditional cheongsam, the bright red colour and embroidered phoenix pattern will surely make your elders happy as they are a sign of good luck and prosperity. Furthermore, the comfortable flared skirt will make it easier for you to move around as you visit the homes of friends and loved ones.
Mother and Daughter Matching Cheongsams from Qoo10
Nothing is more adorable than having a mini version of yourself this Chinese New Year. This matching mother and daughter cheongsam set looks cute and encourages you and your child to bond. The child’s version of the qipao incorporates a flared skirt so that she can still be active and have fun this festive season.
Vintage Silk Cheongsam fro Lazada
For those who prefer a more minimalist look and design, this white silk cheongsam lends an air of sophistication and maturity to any gathering, reminiscent of designs that were popular in the heydays of qipao wearing in Hong Kong and Shanghai in the 1920s to the 1960s. This retro design will go well with a high bun and curled front fringe.
Cheongsam Peplum Top from Zalora
Peplum dresses are a rather modern invention and it was only a matter of time before somebody thought of combining it with a cheongsam collar. With the peplum cheongsam top, you get the best of both worlds, old and new. This fusion of modern and retro will make sure you stay chic and updated, yet bring out your ethnic identity and celebrate centuries of tradition. If you’re not a fan of bold red tops, then go for the sweeter baby blue version for that innocent and pure look.