The Cheongsam - Chinese National Dresses

Traditional costumes are also the national spirit of a country as well as national pride. It shows the cultural origin of a person in society. If a person's life is only a few decades, the traditional costumes are hundreds of years old, even many thousands of years old. So they have a strong vitality and enrich that personality. We already know Vietnam's Ao Dai, Japan's Kimono. Let's learn about Cheongsam - China's national costume in the article below.

  1. What is a cheongsam?
  2. In conclusion

What is a cheongsam? 

If Vietnamese girls are incredibly gentle and elegant in Ao Dai, Chinese girls are charming and impressive in cheongsam outfits.

Cheongsam, also known as Cheongsam, is a kind of traditional Chinese costume. In the past, when Chinese dramas such as "New River Separation" and "Mandarin Season" were top-rated in Vietnam, people couldn't help but admire the beauty of the actresses in costumes. Cheongsam is very characteristic.

The very unique points in the design, the Cheongsam's structure, have given this outfit both elegant and graceful beauty.

  • Collar: There are collar types: high neck, low neck, or no collar.
  • Sleeves: There are different cheongsam sleeves: wide, narrow, or long sleeves, loose, short sleeves, or even sleeveless. 
  • Front bodice: Cheongsam jackets differ mainly in the front bodice. There are many ways to design the shirt's front body, such as a round slit, straight slit, diagonal slit, double slit, Pipa split... arbitrary. 
  • Button row: Designed diagonally to one side and running along one side. 
  • Sleeves: Depending on the type of Cheongsam, how many skirts are split. There are styles of Cheongsam that are sawn high, others are cut low, or there are styles that are not.

No matter how different the designs are, the Cheongsam enhances a woman's figure with a tight, discreet upper body when worn on the body. At the same time, the lower part is split to thigh level to create a graceful and graceful beauty. 

In particular, the front of the Cheongsam is embroidered or printed with traditional Chinese motifs such as patterns, spirals, peacocks, etc., depending on the design. 

History of formation and development of Cheongsam 

Like the traditional costumes of other countries, the Cheongsam has also "witnessed" many "ups and downs" of history to have the appearance it is today.

So let's go back in time to the first stage to see how this outfit was born!

  1. 16th century
  2. 19th century
  3. The 1930s
  4. The 1940s
  5. The 1950s
  6. The 1960s
  7. The 1970s
  8. The 1980s
  9. 20th century

16th century 

The cheongsam outfit you see today was born five centuries ago when the Manchus united with China and established the Qing dynasty. 

At that time, Cheongsam was a costume for the aristocracy and influential people, symbolizing wealth and education. The name of the Cheongsam in this period is "qipao" (giant flag).

The 16th-century Cheongsam has a long A-shape, square cut, often decorated with precious stones, pearls, and the material of the costume is often many layers of silk. 


19th century 

After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, the Xinhai Revolution broke out, and also during this time, the cheongsam costume became the traditional costume of the Chinese people. However, the Cheongsam has been cleverly redesigned to suit different tastes and styles.

The modern cheongsam costume was born in 1900. Unlike the previous Cheongsam, the Cheongsam of this period is sewn with more curves, thinner, and more fitted, hugging the wearer's figure better.

The 19th century was also when the Shanghainese gave the Cheongsam a new name, "zansae." This "Westernized" version of the Cheongsam has sleeves rounded at the elbow and flared up to the wrist like a bell, a high neckline, and a thick hemline.

The 1930s 

The year 1930 marked a significant milestone for the cheongsam outfit. It can be said that the most "prosperous" period of the Cheongsam is this period when the costume is extremely popular with young girls regardless of their class or age. 

However, the influence of the West has brought some changes in the design of the Cheongsam. The Cheongsam is no longer too discreet and especially hugs the wearer's body. In addition, the length of the dress was adjusted by the designers, only reaching the knee-length or slightly more.

The 1940s 

In the 1940s, cheongsam dresses were designed with more materials and designs than in the past.

But it wasn't until 1949 that the Communist Revolution put an end to the "prosperous" period of this traditional costume. However, Shanghai refugees and migrants brought this outfit to the land of Hong Kong, and here, the Cheongsam has once again become a symbol of women's fashion.

In the 1940s, the Cheongsam also had a few changes in the shoulder pads, the zipper, or the whole shirt's hem. The Cheongsam has short sleeves and a bundle in spring and autumn. While the shirt has been stylized as sleeveless in the summer.

The 1950s 

During this period, the cheongsam set had more changes in design. The Cheongsam of this period has a deeper slit and is attached to the buckle. It is these features that make the outfit much easier to wear. In 1956, stylists added a seam under the chest on the cheongsam model, giving the wearer an hourglass figure.

The 1960s 

Mini skirts were a trendy fashion item in 1960. Therefore, mini Cheongsam was also born according to that fashion trend in Hong Kong. 

However, this outfit has received a lot of criticism from the public because it is considered that the mini Cheongsam is not suitable for traditional Chinese culture. The changes in mini Cheongsam that make many people extremely angry are in:

  • The dress still retains its tight fit, but the material used to sew it is thin, making the woman's curves too exposed and not culturally appropriate. 
  • The Cheongsam was cut short to above the knee, making the outfit too revealing.

The 1970s 

The period of the 1970s was when the cheongsam outfit regained its former position.

Cheongsam has now become a more elegant and formal outfit. In particular, it has become the daily wear of Taiwanese people. 

By the end of this period, six types of Cheongsam appeared in Taiwan:

  • Tch is plain Cheongsam. Simple yet elegant outfit.
  • Tlin is a traditional Taiwanese cheongsam.
  • Twu is the short Cheongsam above the knee. It doesn't show off the wearer's curves. 
  • Than is a broad cheongsam but not a traditional cheongsam. 
  • Tlo is a cheongsam with a traditional but still stylized Western look. 
  • Tpo is a cheongsam for older women.

There are also different types of Cheongsam in China, such as Clu, Cgao, and Cwu.


The 1980s 

The 1980s was when the cheongsam shirt needed to be "renovated" to be more convenient and easier to wear. Stylists try to make the person wearing the Cheongsam feel more comfortable in this outfit. The Cheongsam is also redesigned to suit the wearer's age and physique.

While Cheongsam is not very popular in Taiwan anymore, the Chinese want to "revive" the national spirit. Many cheongsam patterns and designs were put on foreign fashion catwalks and became even more famous. In particular, Westerners also loved Cheongsam, and it was the inspiration for Western fashion at that time.

20th century 

Today, Cheongsam is not worn as everyday wear but on important occasions such as traditional New Year, weddings, or international beauty arenas. Despite going through many ups and downs in history, the Cheongsam still exists and has become a symbol of timeless beauty. 

Cheongsam designs 

  1. Cheongsam bra styles
  2. Cheongsam sleeve styles
  3. Cheongsam styles by length

It is not easy to distinguish different cheongsam designs because there are many comparison criteria for sleeves, collars, and buttons. And it is because of the difference in the small details of the outfit, many people do not realize there are many cheongsam designs.

Cheongsam bra styles 

Based on the pattern of the cheongsam bra's sewn bra, you'll be able to tell that there are different types of Cheongsam!

Beveled bra style 1 below the arm 

It can be said that this is the most popular cheongsam bra type. Cheongsam is sewn from the center of the collar diagonally down to the sleeve underarm of the shirt. 

  • With this one-sided beveled bra style, there are 4 different types of flaps: Wide round flap 
  • Straight diagonal flap 
  • Corner flap 
  • Wavy flaps 


The bra style is beveled 1 below the hips 

This cheongsam bra is sewn from the center of the collar to one side of the shirt. This bra style has a longer bust-length.

There are two types of flaps: 

  • Medium length flaps 
  • Flap with Pipa angle 

One side bra style is straight long 

This is a Pipa style of beveled bra. But instead of crossing to one below the hips, the bra is sewn straight down from the center of the collar to the bottom hem.

2 beveled bra style under the arms 

Instead of beveling on one side like the first style, this bra style bevels on both sides of the shirt. Both flaps are pulled from the center of the collar to under the arms on both sides of the shirt. Usually, with this type of bra, the wearer only takes off one side, and the other side is sewn together.

There are 3 types of flaps which are: 

  • Round flap in the shape of a bowl 
  • Flap with bowl-shaped corner 
  • The most rectangular straight flap

Ruyi beveled bra style 

Ruyi's ruched bust is shaped in curvy lines like clouds, lotus flowers, or immortal mushrooms. This is also a typical Chinese decorative motif. 

With this type of bra, motifs are sewn on the shoulders and chest and are often sewn with handmade materials.

No bodice 

Most cheongsam styles require a chamfer so that the shirt can be buttoned and taken off quickly. However, as Cheongsam has become more popular and changed with more details, many shirts are sewn without a chest bevel but instead have a zipper on the back. 

Cheongsam sleeve styles 

Cheongsam comes in different sleeves that vary from period to period and are also worn depending on the occasion. It can be long, loose, bell-shaped, short-sleeved, or even sleeveless.

Cheongsam styles by length 

Previously, like the traditional Cheongsam, the length of this outfit was quite long and quite inconvenient in the wearer's activities.

However, in the 1930s, the Cheongsam was innovated to reach just the knee or close to the ankle. This makes the wearer more convenient and comfortable in daily activities. 

Until later, there were also cheongsams with knee-length mini skirts in the West. But they faced many criticisms and criticisms of many people. 

Today, such a short cheongsam style has been accepted when people's lifestyles and concepts are now much more open. 

How to dress well in Cheongsam? 

  1. Wearing Cheongsam with jeans
  2. Wear Cheongsam with a skirt
  3. Wear Cheongsam as a skirt with sneakers/high heels
  4. Wear Cheongsam with wide-leg pants and sandals
  5. Wear Cheongsam with shorts and sandals
  6. Wearing cheongsam skirt with belt and sneakers
  7. Wear Cheongsam with a peplum skirt and Brogue shoes

Wearing Cheongsam with jeans 

Today, the modern Cheongsam becomes a style of shirt instead of a long skirt as before. The top of the Cheongsam remains the same from the collar, sleeves to the buttonholes, only the length is different from the dress.

With a cheongsam, you can wear a pair of skinny jeans, combining traditional and modern beauty in one outfit!

Wear Cheongsam with a skirt 

Also, from the renovated cheongsam shirt, you can combine it with a skirt of the same color to make the outfit more feminine and gentle. You should choose a soft and light material dress because the cheongsam shirt shape is quite complex and tight.

Wear Cheongsam as a skirt with sneakers/high heels 

The stylists have cleverly innovated so that the traditional cheongsam shirt with seams hugging from the hips to the bottom becomes a cheongsam with a solid footing but spreading like a dress you usually wear.

This Cheongsam has a modern style, is easier to wear, and has a more youthful look. 

You can choose a pair of high heels to wear if you want the outfit to be a little feminine, or you can also mix with a couple of cool sneakers to become an "extreme" active and fishy girl!

Wear Cheongsam with wide-leg pants and sandals 

This is a pretty impressive combination that you should try too! The wide-leg pants reaching to the calves will work very well with the cheongsam shirt above.

However, you should choose plain pants, without patterns or colors that are too colorful so that the cheongsam shirt is outstanding and the overall set is not confusing! 

Another more impressive way to wear it is to combine a crop top cheongsam with culottes and combine it with a pair of sandals. 

Try wearing a single color (monochrome) to set your outfit delicately and not be mistaken when mixing the wrong color!

Wear Cheongsam with shorts and sandals 

A stylized cheongsam sleeveless shirt mixed with sundresses and sandals will bring you a playful look in the summer. You can choose a pair of high heel sandals and choose a small handbag to go with it. You will definitely love this simple yet extraordinarily convenient and comfortable outfit!

Wearing cheongsam skirt with belt and sneakers 

Try to choose to buy yourself a cheongsam with an accent on the belt to make the outfit more eye-catching, and your figure is also enhanced. 

Do not hesitate to choose a pair of sneakers to make you look as good as any fashionista!

Wear Cheongsam with a peplum skirt and Brogue shoes 

This is the streetwear you need to find! Why not try on a sleeveless cheongsam top with a slim-fit peplum skirt and a classic pair of Brogue shoes? 

Your outfit has the standard features of the cheongsam shirt and has the modern touch of items originating from the West! 

Wearing Cheongsam, what hair to wear? 

  1. Braided hair
  2. Hair tufts
  3. Curly hair

After finishing the outfit, many girls want to choose a suitable hairstyle so that their appearance with the cheongsam costume has a more traditional spirit of Chinese culture.

Braided hair 

Sure! With Cheongsam, the braided hairstyle will make you as charming as Chinese girls. 

You can try many different hairstyles, usually plaited pigtails, fishtail braids. Although simple, they are still very suitable and impressive! To make the Tet style not dull, try the lovely and feminine side braid! 

Hair tufts 

If you want to try the style of a chic and glamorous lady, why not try a bun? 

In order not to be "older" than your age, you should try a high bun, a bun to one side, or cleverly use accessories and jewelry in your hair to make it more prominent!

Curly hair 

With a modern curly hairstyle, you still look like a Chinese girl in a cheongsam outfit! Try clipping one side of your hair and tossing your curly hair to one side. Top Ten Reviews is sure you will be very charming and loving in this outfit.

In conclusion

For each country, the traditional costume is one of the essential elements to express the long-term and unique historical and cultural values of the people in that country. 

Through this article, Top Ten Reviews hopes you understand the Cheongsam - a traditional costume of China and know how to choose the fitting shirt for yourself, then learn how to wear them properly beautifully again. 

Moreover, if you want to review the history and design of Vietnamese Ao Dai to see its own characteristics compared to Cheongsam, please read more in the article "Difference between Ao Dai and Cheongsam." 

Post created : 65   
Your comments must be minimum 30 charachter.
You are commenting as a visitor, you canlogin
Continue Reading
Last views