Cheongsam, also known as qipao, first appeared in the 17th century China during the Qing Dynasty. Typically cheongsam was a dress which covered the wearer from neck to foot. Of course, there were some variants. For instance, a two-piece dress set and a pair of trousers with long overdress.
In old times, qipao was a single long wide fitting dress. It was more of a functional piece of clothing. It did protect the modesty of the wearer. It often decorated with beautiful embroidery depending on the social class of the individual. It is typical of 17th Century and 18th Century China. Today, qipao hugs body perfectly.
Over time, qipao became more stylized. In the 1920s, it was modernized to become more fitted to the wearer. More and more people including high-class courtesans and celebrities wear qipao because of its flattering and sexier look, popularizing this style of oriental dress. It stated to become known more as cheongsam as the style of the free evolved.
Many of the popular styles of qipao or cheongsam were banned during the Communist Revolution, but the fashion was brought to Hong Kong by many Shanghainese emigrants and refugees from the Revolution. The cheongsam was embraced and became more popular in Hong Kong. Eventually, it has evolved into the modern body fitting form that you see today.
There is a strong correlation between the cheongsam Chinese dresses and the Far East and oriental community. Although the cheongsam has a lot of styles, all of them are one-piece long dresses that are usually short-sleeved or sleeveless. The cheongsam often feature a side-silt along the leg. Depending upon style of dress, the length varies.
As cheongsam can seem a bit took ‘sexy’ and dressed up, women may not wear it in daily life. However, some companies and businesses such as Chinese restaurants, casinos and airlines do employ them in their workforce.
If you want to stand out from the crowd and wear something a little different, you can wear cheongsam, for it is considered quite sexy and extremely feminine. More often, women wear cheongsam in formal occasions like wedding.
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