With roots in 17th century China, the Qipao or Cheongsam is an elegant and classic garment for Chinese women. Though straight tailoring from top to bottom, the Qipao can fully display all women's modesty, softness and beauty. A suitable Qipao is like an intimate friend of a woman, from which you can know her temperament, her graceful and refined manner.
It has a high collar and a tightly fitting cut, with slits at either side of the skirt. It can be high-necked or collarless, long or short, some with full, medium, short or even no sleeves at all - to suit different occasions, weather and individual tastes. The traditional one-piece, form-fitting dress either in silk or velvet is the obsession of every Chinese woman.
The Qipao is evolved from a kind of ancient clothing of Manchu ethnic minority. When the early Manchu rulers came to China proper, they moved their capital to Beijing and Qipao began to spread in the Central Plains. At that time, men wore a long gown and a mandarin jacket over the gown, while women wore Qipao.
Although the 1911 Revolution toppled the rule of the Qing Dynasty, the female dress survived the political change and, with succeeding improvements, has become the traditional dress for Chinese women.
After the 1940s, influenced by new fashion home and abroad, women's Qipao became narrow-sleeved and fitted to the waist and had a relatively loose hip part, and its lower hem reached the ankles. Then there emerge various forms of Qipaos we see today that emphasize color decoration and set off the beauty of the female shape.
Why do Han people like to wear the Qipao? The main reason is that it fits well the female Chinese figure, has simple lines and looks elegant. What's more, it is suitable for wearing in all seasons by old and young.
Qipao is a tale of elegant and gentle. It features strong national flavor and embodies beauty of Chinese traditional costume.