Few dresses embody the term “timeless elegance” as the cheongsam. A traditional female dress worn by Chinese women, the cheongsam’s defining trait is its high collar, with its long length and button – or frog closures – near the shoulder lending it a unique design.
This fitted dress is often made of shimmering silk, embroidered satin or other soft fabrics. The cheongsam is an acceptable alternative to the little black dress for special occasions.
The word cheongsam simply meaning ‘long dress’, which comes from a dialect of China’s Guangdong Province. In other parts of the country including Beijing, it is known as ‘Qipao’. Derived from the garment of bannermen in the Qing Dynasty, cheongsam was the garment for the Manchus in Northeast China. It was modified in the early 20th century to be more suitable and comfortable, yet it retained the craftwork of traditional ones.
The cheongsam has changed remarkably over the years. While it has inherited the details of the traditional cheongsam, the new-style garment is associated with new features and many modern design elements that are mainly embodied in the change of the bottom as well as in the diversified materials.
Easy to slip on and comfortable to wear, the cheongsam fits the female Chinese figure well. Its neck is high, collar closed, and its sleeves may be short, medium or full length, depending on season and taste. The dress is buttoned on the right side, with a loose chest, a fitting waist, and slits up from the sides, all of which combine to accentuate the beauty of a woman.
Though its origins can be traced back several centuries, the tradition of wearing Cheongsams is very much alive and it is often worn during festive occasions like the Lunar New Year and weddings. A timeless dress in the literal sense.
Find your nearest Asian Store