Here are some tips on choosing a cheongsam that fits properly and looks great.
Wait – what is a cheongsam, exactly? Read this, then come back – before you invest in a nice cheongsam for the festive season, that traditional Chinese event or just ’cause!
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The collar of a cheongsam is usually 5.5 to 6 cm high. If that feels uncomfortable, or to flatter a shorter neck, go for shallower collars of 2.5 to 3 cm high.
NEXT: More Collar Choices →
Deeper collars, though more formal-looking, make one’s neck seem shorter, while thinner collars help elongate it visually.
NEXT: Sleeves →
Cheongsam typically have cap sleeves, which most women do not find flattering. Designer Josephine Hoof cheongsam label Qiqing Qipao says cap sleeves are more suitable for women with thin arms.
NEXT: More Sleeve Choices →
Those with fuller arms may opt for sleeveless versions, so the arms will generally look leaner and longer. Ho says halter neck- and racer back-style designs are suitable for women who want to show off their shoulders.
NEXT: Tightness →
A cheongsam should not be so tight that one cannot sit properly or eat in it. Designer Junie Yeo of modern cheongsam label Lark & Peony recommends that customers always do a “sit” test to make sure the qipao does not ride up too much when one sits down.
It should not go past the mid-thigh and one should be able to cross one’s legs without difficulty.
NEXT: Type of Skirt →
Women with heavy bottoms should opt for an A-line skirt design. The gentle flare of this silhouette will divert attention from the lower half of the body.
NEXT: Type of Fabric →
Fabrics are also important, says Vivienne Lin, designer and founder of Fuchsia Lane, an Asian-inspired fashion label with Peranakan influences.
She advises choosing a fabric with stretch so that the qipao conforms to the body nicely, instead of opting for an ill-fitting cheongsam, which might have unsightly creases.
NEXT: Choice of Collar →
By Alyssa Woo, The Straits Times, January 26, 2017 / Additional Reporting: Sara Lyle Bow, January 2018
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