Let’s adorn a Cheongsam

The word may sound strange but this fashion style is popular throughout the world. Even in Pakistan, this particular style of Cheongsam is adopted and incorporated in traditional wedding dresses.

Cheongsam is a Chinese garment that has a high, standing collar, short sleeves, a diagonal front closing with buttons, a body-hugging fit, and a side slit. Originating in the 1930s, this garment was an attempt to merge Western and Chinese styles.


The cheongsam, also known as a qipao, is a close-fitting dress that originated in 1920s Shanghai. It quickly became a fashion phenomenon that was adopted by movie stars. The history of this iconic garment reflects the rise of the modern Chinese woman in the twentieth century.Shanghai, an active and vibrant port city with a large population of foreigners, was at the cutting edge of this fashion shift at that time, hence this particular popular then.


The cheongsam of the early 1920s had a looser cut than the cheongsam of today, with long, wide sleeves. It quickly became the regular outfit of urban women in metropolitan cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. As the garment evolved, traditional silks were replaced with cheaper, contemporary textiles. In terms of design, the traditional embroidered florals remained widespread, but geometric and art deco patterns also gained popularity.


Through the 1930s and 1940s, the cheongsam continued to change, accentuating the femininity. The dress became more fitted and body-hugging, with some daring designs featuring side slits. It became customary to pair the dress with high heels. Women experimented with different fastenings, pipings, and collars, as well as short-capped sleeves, long sleeves with fur-lined cuffs, and sleeveless cheongsams.Western designers had offered their own versions of the cheongsam, and women in Hong Kong had worn the dress to celebrate their cultural identity.

In Pakistani fashion, Cheongsams are widely popular especially as traditional wedding attire that features contemporary styles in velvet and shanghai material trimmed with laces and dapka. The cotton floral ones are equally popular in blue and white, yellow and monochrome. Paired with straight pants, Cheongsams are worth investing in as this fashion has remained in vogue for years. Resembling the likes of an angarkha, this is one Chinese cultural dress that can easily be adopted as a traditional Pakistani dress.