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Oriental Qipao Dresses

lotus qipao dress

A qipao is a traditional Chinese dress. A qipao is a one-piece Chinese dress that has been worn since the Manchu ruled China in the 17th century. Also referred to as a cheongsam in Southern China, the qipao dresses gives the appearance of long, flowing shirt-dresses. Having evolved in design over the centuries, it was once a simple dress that is now a highly stylized ornamental gown worn for dress occasions or as a costume.

Ornamental Qipao Dresses

Known for its simple and quiet charm, the qipao is a dress with a high neck and closed collar. The dress fits loosely around the chest and tightly around the waist. It is buttoned on the right and has slits rising from the bottom of the dress up to mid-thigh on both sides. The length of the dress may be knee-length or floor-length. Most qipaos are made from silk and decorated with floral designs and embroidery.

Several different types of qipao dresses exist to flatter women of all shapes and sizes. Qipao dresses with shorter collars are designed to elongate shorter necks, and qipaos with three-quarter sleeves are designed to hide flesh in the upper arms. Qipao separates are also available for women who prefer two-piece garments. Qipaos are typically crafted to fit specific body measurements, but with the increased availability of ready-to-wear clothing throughout the 20th century, off-the-rack qipaos have become more widespread.

Qipao dresses are worn not only by the average Chinese person but also by influential people on special occasions: Young girls wear qipaos to celebrate the New Year; brides wear them to their weddings; and movie stars and wives of diplomats have been seen sporting qipaos at social functions.  Just as in the past, the qipao is never intended to be accessorized; as such, a belt or scarf should not be worn with it. It is meant to be an elegant dress, accessorized in an understated fashion. Most often, the only accessories worn with it are earrings or a bracelet.

Today, the Qipao is sometimes worn over a fitted pair of silk or satin pants. While the Qipao has evolved over the centuries in its design, its distinct element of simple elegance, however, has never changed. In addition, qipaos have become a source of inspiration for renowned fashion designers. Versace and Ralph Lauren have both cited elements of the qipao in their designs.

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One response to “Oriental Qipao Dresses”

  1. […] oriental cheongsam is a traditional dress worn by Chinese women. It is a long dress that in fitting form […]

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