The Story of Cheongsam
The cheongsam is a female dress with distinctive Chinese features and enjoys a growing popularity in the international world of high fashion.
The name "cheongsam", meaning simply "long dress", entered the English vocubulary from the dialect of Chinas Guangdong Province (Cantonese). In other parts of the country including Beijing, however, it is known as "Qipao", which has a long history behind it.
When the early Manchu rulers came to China, they organized certain people, mainly Manchus into "banners" (qi) and called "banner people" (qiren), which then became loosely the name of all Manchus. The Manchu women normally wore a one-piece dress which, likewise, came to be called "qipao" or "banner dress". Although the 1911 Revolution toppled the rule of the Qing (Manchu) Dynasty, the female dress survived the political change and, with later improvements, has become the traditional dress for Chinese women.
Easy to slip on and comfortable to wear, the cheongsam fits well for the female Chinese figure. Its neck is high, collar closed, and its sleeves may be either short, medium or full-length, depending on the season and taste. The dress is buttoned on the right side, with a loose chest, a fitting waist, and slits up from the sides, all of which combine to set off the beauty of the female shape.
Another beauty of the cheongsam is that it is made of different materials and to varying lengths. They can be worn either on casual or formal occasions. In either case, it creates an impression of simple and quiet charm, elegance and neatness. No wonder it is so much liked by women not only of China but of foreign countries as well.