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How to Choose an Oriental Cheongsam to Fit You Perfectly

Updated on September 20, 2011

Oriental Cheongsam is the Chinese traditional costume for women and origin from China’s Manchu Nationality. Cheongsam is also known as “Qipao”. It became popular when the modern version which was more slender, fitting body with high cut was first developed at Shanghai. Cheongsam is the high class society women costume during that period. It is the favorite dress for Chinese’s ladies for attending formal or informal function. You may see Cheongsam was chosen to be worn during diplomatic, business and any celebrities’ occasion. This elegant of Chinese costume with unique elements of style such as high-necked, closed-collar with a loose chest, fitting waist and attractive slits which shows perfectly a woman's figure. Nowadays, more and more Western ladies also found interested about this Oriental Cheongsam because of the beauty, variety styles and unique designs. Anyway, here I like to share a few tips to choose the right style of Cheongsam and getting best fit.

There are few unique style elements of Cheongsam such as the collar, the sleeve, the button design, the length and the slit of the dress. The traditional collar of Cheongsam is high and tight fitting which all the way from the chest until the neck. The collar is in the shape of a semicircle, flattering the soft and slender neck of women. Normally, the collar of Cheongsam also match with Chinese knot buttonhole which showing more charming and elegant for the design. Women with longer necks are ideal for wearing high collar which can look stunning in Cheongsam. On the other hand, women which have a little short necks should pick a Cheongsam with lower collar or collarless design and make the V part a little deeper. The length of sleeves is another unique element of Cheongsam which helps a lot for the whole impression. There are 3 types such as short sleeves, three-quarter sleeves and sleeveless. For women have the slim arms and not so long, you may choose the sleeveless design, begin the cut from the shoulder. But if you have a flabby arms and big shoulder, you should choose the Cheongsam with half sleeves or three-quarter sleeve to hide the excess flesh.

Cheongsam is designed with long length but high cut slit to display the slender legs of women, but also for purpose of a convenient movement. Nowadays, you may find different lengths such as above the knee’s length; three-quarter length and heel length are most common. For the slits types, either one slit on the side, both side slits, front side slit or back side middle slit. If you are tall and with slim legs, you may choose for heel length type and high cut slit until your thigh design for your Cheongsam but you need be more careful when you walking. On the other hand, if you are short, avoid long dress to reverse effect and make you look shorter. The cut of slits may also pick the type until half of your thigh level length because too short of slits will also reflect your leg look shorter. Besides that, for women have large bottoms, a straight-cut with a side of slit is more suitable.

Cheongsam usually made by silk, silk brocade, satin, satin brocade, velour and jacquard cotton. The traditional Cheongsam is using silk as the material and this type of material is more suitable for skinny women. This is because the smooth and shining of silk material will reflect more plump body shape of women. Furthermore, the silk material is more expensive and not easy for laundry which needs special hand wash or dry wash. Nowadays, many designers choosing satin, satin brocade and jacquard cotton as the other options of material. These 2 materials are more suitable for overall range size and become more popular. Satin and jacquard cotton are more solid and will not follow your body shape easily. You may choose this type of material for any formal or informal social function where it will not make you look over dress too. During summer, spring and autumn time, the material of silk, satin, velour or jacquard cotton are more suitable because it is soft, light and clear material. On the other hand, when wintertime, brocade is the best material to choose for your Cheongsam. This brocade material is a heavy silk fabric with a raised design on it and sewn on with gold or silver threads.

Red color is the most favourite color for traditional Cheongsam because Chinese belief red color will bring good luck and prosperity. You may see many waitress or bride will also choose red colorCheongsam as their uniform or wedding grown.Anyway, different colors have different characteristic which reflecting the women individual emotional, passionate, mature and the beauty. Therefore, you must choose a right color which really goes with you. For younger women, you may choose rose red for your Cheongsam and dark red is more suitable for older women which showing the steady, knowledge and conservation. Pink is also another favourite color for Cheongsam but don’t choose this color unless you are extremely thin. If you have a big size body, darker color or neutral color such as black, gray, gold and silver are best colors to choose. You may choose combination colors for your Cheongsam too which is new design trend now.

Usually, Cheongsam embroider with many types of pattern design or decoration and you may need to understand each pattern’s symbolic which is related to Chinese culture. Peony is very common and most favoured design of Cheongsam not just because Peony is Chinese National Flower but it symbolizes prosperity and wealthy. Lotus design also is another type to be chose for design of Cheongsam because it symbolizes purity and the beauty. If you like your Cheongsam to be a more cheerful type and longevity, you may choose Chrysanthemum design. Beside floral design, fish, dragon and phoenix also the most common design for Cheongsam. According to Chinese culture, fish will bring prosperity for future because the Chinese pronunciation of fish as “YU” means future prosperity. Dragon is another one of the most favourite symbolic of emperor Supreme Power. Normally nobleman and official diplomatic will like to choose dragon as the design while the imperial concubine, princess, diplomatic wives will choose Phoenix design. For those a little fat, you must take note not to choose big flower pattern but you need to choose for smaller flower pattern.

Today Oriental Cheongsam is no longer the monopoly of the Chinese alone. One can browse into online fashion stores and are spoiled for choice to select the best design to suit one’s personality. Don’t think that Cheongsam only can be wear by perfect model’s figure. But with the guidelines that sharing as above, even you are not perfect like model’s figure, you may still look great in Cheongsam. Always choose the design that show the most beautiful part of your body and hide the ugly.

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    • Robes Rouge profile image

      Robes Rouge 4 years ago from Xiamen, Fujian

      I know a famous online tailor made qipao shop, it's very famous and the tailor with more than 20 year's tailoring experience, you can submit your measurement online and get tailor-made cheongsam within 3 weeks, very impresssive. i bought one, and fit well.