The cheongsam is the traditional Chinese dress for women. Designed to be a form-fitting long dress, it was originally called a qipao and is now known as the cheongsam in English. It was popularized in the 17th century by the Manchurian Conquerors of the Qing Dynasty.
The evolution of the Chines dress is quite interesting. The cheongsam was a long loosely-fitting baggy dress. The women were required to wear it during the Qing dynasty which forbid the use of Hanfu clothing carrying, a more revealing attire. The cheongsam does not reveal much, only the head, hands and tips of the toes. Through the years, it has been tailored to become more fitting and modern evolving into the Chinese dress know today. The original dress was developed in the early 1900’s when the Qing dynasty ended. People sought to upgrade the cheongsam with a sleeker and more fitting design.
The updated version of this Chinese dress was a tight, body-hugging style with high cut and underpants which emphasizes the figure of women. As the eastern world became more westernized, the basic cheongsam design also changed. Sleeveless and high-necked motif became popular as well as bell-sleeves design. Beads satiny and velvety cheongsam were also created for formal wear.
Today, the Chinese dress has been stylized to have a functional look. The classic look with a modern twist is made for a less restrictive look which can be paired off with a jacket, scarf or cape. Also, the cheongsam is worn in everyday life. In today’s modern China, it has been replaced with jeans, t-shirts and other modern clothing. The cheongsam is now predominantly worn during formal gatherings or business meetings.
Whether it’s worn for nostalgia or as a cultural uniform, the Chinese dress known as the cheongsam is a deep and essential part of the Chinese culture and lifestyle.
Check out the Chinese Doll wearing the Chinese dress.
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