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A quick guide to China’s traditional dress style
By Wu Qian and He Liyao

Qipao has undergone constant changes amid shifts in fashion across different ages. There is a wide range of qipao styles, with differences based mainly on sleeves, collar, openings and the length of the clothes.


Tips for choosing a perfect qipao

Different colors are for different occasions. Red qipao, a common one, is a typical and traditional Chinese wedding dress. Yellow indicates wealth and power. The pure black qipao is used on special occasions such as funerals. However, if it includes a decorative pattern with other colors, it can be used for other occasions, as it is then considered less serious. In general, simple but elegant colors usually are used in daily life, while gorgeous colors are used for parties.

Choices for different body shapes

Apple-shaped women can choose qipao with materials such as well-structured fabrics like linen, Thai silk or brocade, as they conceal the tummy and create a rigid shape that creates balance with the slim legs. Qipao made of soft fabrics such as silk and velvet for softer looks are the best choice for inverted triangle-shaped and pear-shaped women. A-line is a great style to extend the body line. Rectangle-shaped women can choose straight-cut qipao to show their beautifully angled body and surrender the waist.

Different collars, sleeve and slit for the dress

Ladies with shorter necks may want to have a lower collar or collarless design and make the V part a little deeper. Ladies with flabby arms and broad shoulders look better with the half sleeves or three-quarter sleeve design. Shorter ladies should avoid a long dress, as it will display a revere effect by making you look shorter.

Tips for wearing qipao

Always consider your whole ensemble when wearing a qipao Chinese dress. Hairstyle, jewelry, shoes, and accessories should all be selected to compliment the colors and styles of your dress.

If you are still confused or have no idea about how to choose a suitable qipao, don’t worry! When you arrive at a qipao tailor-made shop, the shop assistant may help you pick the right style, material, pattern, etc. 

Visit HERE for qipao shops recommendations in Shanghai.

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