The lapel, as an essential component of the cheongsam dress, serves as a critical dividing line in the layout of its style, possessing both functional and ornamental purposes. It complements the collar, buttons, or overlapping pieces in a harmonious manner, thus showcasing the overall beauty of the Qipao.
The lapel (Jin, 襟), also known as the opening of the garment, is the unfastening of the Qipao's garment. Changes in the lapel are one of the primary way in which the Qipao's style evolves. Today, let us appreciate the modern styles of Qipao's lapels and savor the charm of Eastern women.
One of the most concise ways of opening a cheongsam is the "Without lapel, 无襟, Wu Jin" style. This kind of lapel style is directly derived from traditional Chinese clothing, appearing dignified and traditional.
Pleated & Without Lapel
"Pleated without lapel, 褶皱无襟, Zhezhou & Wu Jin" style adds decorative pleats to the front chest, simple yet sophisticated, enhancing the sense of fashion.
"Round lapel, 圆襟, Yuan Jin" is the most common style of modern cheongsam lapel, with smooth lines from the neckline to the armpits. Depending on the size of the arc, it can be further divided into: large, medium, and small round lapels. It conforms to the graceful and calm temperament of women and is suitable for women of all face shapes.
Double Round Lapel
Compared to the round lapel, "double round lapel, 双圆襟, Shuang Yuan Jin" adds a touch of elegance to the stability. The style is playful and suitable for young women full of youthful vitality.
"Square lapel, 方襟, Fang Jin" has an extra turning point compared to the round lapel, with a combination of square and round elements. The overall lines remain smooth, with a gentle yet sharp feel, and elegant without losing charm. It is suitable for women with lean faces and can help to modify facial features.
"Slant lapel, 斜襟, Xie Jin" is a style of lapel that diagonally crosses the chest, giving a classical touch when worn. Previously, slant lapel was usually paired with a large floral button, but now a finer button is used.
"Curved lapel, 曲襟, Qu Jin", with its shape resembling the Chinese character "几", was a favorite style of Soong Mei-ling. It gives a sense of liveliness to the wearer. The combination of embroidery and buttoning in the qipao style creates an exquisite piece of art. The curved lapel like the winding flow of a mountain stream, while the embroidered small flowers represent the blooming summer flowers by the water. The overall effect exudes a romantic and elegant fairy-like atmosphere.
The "double lapel, 双襟, Shuang Jin" is more intricate than the single lapel. It requires opening both sides of lapel and stitching one of the lapel, the sewn lapel serves only as an embellishment. Therefore, a cheongsam with a double lapel looks no different from one with a single lapel when worn. However, visually, the former is more exquisite and refined.
Throughout history, the Chinese have always sought symmetry in aesthetics, and the double lapel perfectly embody this concept. The balance between yin and yang, the harmony between left and right, is just right, creating a sense of propriety and elegance.
Ru Yi Lapel
The Ru Yi pattern on the "Ru Yi lapel, 如意襟, Ru Yi Jin" symbolizes auspiciousness and has strong decorative features, making it suitable for mature women to wear on specific occasions.
The Ru Yi is a Chinese object symbolizing good fortune. It has a Lingzhi or cloud-shaped head and a slightly curved handle, and is used for pointing or admiring. The Ru Yi pattern can be placed on the shoulder or along the lapel, or even inlaid at the slit of the dress. The design of the Ru Yi lapel cheongsam is mostly luxurious, making it more suitable for specific occasions such as weddings, receptions, and large-scale events.
Yi Zi Jin
"Yi Zi Jin, 一字襟" is the traditional Chinese clothing lapel, featuring a horizontal straight line that enhances the overall stability of the outfit.
Zhong Chang Jin
"Zhong Chang Jin, 中长襟" extends from the collar in an arc to the waist, which easily highlights the waist and hip lines.
"Straight lapel, 直襟, Zhi Jin" cheongsams have vertically arranged buttons, and the biggest characteristic of this style is its aesthetic lines. It has a high slimming effect that elongates the female body, giving a feeling of elegance and grace. The row of buttons on the straight lapel cheongsam has strong decorative qualities. This style is suitable for women with a round face and fuller figure.
In conclusion, the cheongsam lapel is a distinctive and essential element of the traditional Chinese garment. Its shape, size, and positioning are key factors that contribute to the overall elegance of the cheongsam. While often overlooked, the lapel holds cultural significance and symbolism, highlighting the intricacies of Chinese history and design.
Today, the cheongsam lapel has evolved and adapted to modern styles, demonstrating its versatility and timelessness. Whether worn for formal occasions, celebrations, or everyday wear, the cheongsam lapel remains a treasured aspect of the enduring beauty and rich culture of China.