Cheongsam (Qipao)

Silk Cheongsam

The Cheongsam (also known as Qipao or Chipao), is a traditional Chinese close-fitting dress for women. Originating from a type of Manchurian female garment, it quickly developed, becoming very popular from 1912 to 1949. Its main characteristics are a mandarin collar, fitted waist, Chinese knotted buttons, hemmed slits on two sides, and a tailored form fit. It is usually made from satin brocade, silk, or cotton. Some are even beautifully embroidered.
The original Manchurian garment was loose and wide, covering most of the woman’s body with only the head, hands and toes revealed. With time, the style of the Cheongsam began to change to more closely fit people’s bodies. The 1820s~1830s was the golden time for its development and it was during this time that the Cheongsam occupied an irreplaceable position in ladies fashion. More western elements began to be added to Chinese clothes. The hem became shorter, the collar became smaller and it began to follow the woman’s figure. The short hem and small collar style gradually formed during this time and has changed little since. After 1949, Chinese no longer wore the Cheongsam in daily life and up until the 1980s it was regarded as the dress of the service industry, being seldom worn by ordinary people. In recent years the Cheongsam has begun to be worn by Chinese people as formal wear on important occasions. Not only Chinese women, but also women from foreign countries, such as Paris Hilton, are interested in wearing them. During its development, two different styles came into being, the Shanghai style and the Beijing style. The Shanghai style, absorbing western elements, focuses on diverse styles and reveals the wearer’s figure, while the Beijing style focuses on the traditional pattern with colorful decorations. The Beijing’s focuses on displaying the beauty of the Cheongsam instead of the people wearing it. Of the two kinds, Shanghai leads the fashion trends.
Tips for Wearing The Cheongsam can be worn in both formal situations and daily life. In formal situations, one suit from a good textile, with bright colors, decent designs, comparatively traditional styles and patterns as well as delicate workmanship are necessary. When wearing it, people should do up all the buttons and have certain hair styles and makeup. For instance, for a Chinese wedding, many brides choose to wear red Cheongsams when toasting with the guests. Fashionable patterns but delicate style dresses are chosen by women who intend to attend banquets. For daily wear, there are no specific requirements, so one can choose the one you like best. When wearing the Cheongsam, a few simple accessories are suggested. Too many accessories may detract from the clothes’ beauty. Tips for Choosing The Cheongsam can be bought directly from stores or you could have one custom made at the tailor’s. Here are some tips for you to choose a prefect dress.
BWH needs to be measured correctly to make sure it fits your figure.
The collar, the length of the clothing as well as the sleeves needs to be carefully checked when you try one in the store. Famous Cheongsam Shops

Store Names Address
Ruifuxiang No. 190, Wangfujing Street, Beijing
A Helen No. 309, Block C, Yuanyang Xinganxian, Sanyuan East Bridge, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Lisa Tailor Shop Shop 5011, 3.3 Sanlitun Clothes Market, No. 33, Sanlitun North Street, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Hanyi Store No. 217-221, Changle Road, Luwan District, Shanghai
2002 Haishang No. 201, Changle Road, Luwan District, Shanghai (close to South Maoming Road)
Manloulan No. 243, Changle Road, Luwan District, Shanghai

Chinese Suit (Tangzhuang

The Tangzhuang, a traditional Chinese coat, developed from the Magua of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It combines traditional Chinese elements and western solid cutting methods. Its basic style includes a Mandarin collar, front opening and knotted Chinese buttons. Shoulder pads are inserted for better fit.

Chinese Suit for Men

Literally, Tangzhuang means Chinese clothes in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), but the modern version bears no relationship with the clothes of the Tang Dynasty. The modern one evolves from a kind of Manchu clothing. Because it was worn by leaders from different countries in APEC in 2001, it became famous. From then on, this new kind of clothing has been regarded as Chinese Tangzhuang and has enjoyed a great popularity among Chinese people and overseas. The word “Tangzhuang” itself was originally created by overseas Chinese. Because of the high reputation of the Tang Dynasty, Chinese people are called “Tang People” by foreigners; thus the Chinese community abroad is called “Tang people’s Community” (namely Chinatown) and their costume is called “Tangzhuang”. This word became familiar among Chinese people after 2001. Four characteristics are distinctive for the Tangzhuang. The Mandarin collar with front opening is a traditional Chinese clothes style. The opening is symmetrical and the collar stands straight up. The Chinese knots, being hand-made, are used as buttons as well as decorations. Another characteristic is the fabric, which usually is a traditional cloth such as brocaded silk. Adding the western solid cutting method and shoulder pads made the clothes fit better.

Chinese Suit for Women

Based on these four characteristic, more and more styles are being invented by the designers. Currently, there are three main types: traditional style, national style and fashion style. The traditional style has all the Chinese traditional elements. The colors are usually red, black and sapphire blue. The patterns are usually “Tuanhua”, a kind of Chinese flower pattern. This kind of clothing was usually worn during traditional Chinese festivals or wedding ceremonies and it is popular around the world. The national ones use traditional elements but change the Tuanhua patterns into poems and other traditional auspicious designs. It was usually worn for leisure. The fabric was usually cotton rather than brocade. [b] Tips for Choosing[/b] It is suggested to ask whether the fabric used has been sanforized, because most of the traditional Chinese Tangzhuang are made of natural materials such as silk and brocade and they may shrink. Also, it is suggested that you rub the material lightly to ensure it does not fade.
In picking colors, bright warm-toned colors are recommended, which make people look energetic. This is especially true for seniors. Bright colors will make you looks much younger. The traditional decorations worn with these clothes are scarves, jade articles such as jade bracelets and so on. It is better not to wear too much. One or two items are enough.
Places to Buy and Make In many big cities in China, one can find some good places to have Tangzhuang custom-made. The Silk Market in Beijing and the Muslim Quarter in Xian are the best places to purchase a suit. Many customized Tangzhuang stores can be found along South Maoming Road in Shanghai. If one intends to buy custom-made clothes in these places, it is suggested that you compare the shops with each other and bargain, so that you will get the best price.
Tang Dynasty Clothing Another use of the term “Tangzhuang” refers to a form the traditional “Hanfu” (Han people’s clothing) in the Tang Dynasty. This kind of clothing usually has cross collars and a belt to tie the clothes without buttons. Women always wore dresses, while robes were the main clothing for men. A great variety of styles and gorgeous designs were the main characteristics of traditional clothing in the Tang Dynasty. This kind of clothing influenced the traditional clothing in many Asian countries such as the Kimono in Japan and the Hanbok in Korea.

Traditional Clothing of the Tang Dynasty
Flowery Tang Dynasty Clothing