As a typical representative of Chinese traditional clothing culture, cheongsam has fascinated people around the world with its outstanding form. Although there are still many disputes over the definition of cheongsam today, it remains one of the most splendid and formal dress cultures in China's long history.
At first, the style of Chinese cheongsam had tight cuffs, narrowed edges, slightly embroidered patterns and slightly longer hemlines. In the late 1920s, influenced by Western skirts, cheongsam underwent more obvious changes, tightening waistline to highlight curves and simplifying decorations. Cheongsam became a fitted curve shape that first reflected women's features such as concave-convex lines and laid a foundation for today's basic characteristics and fashion trends in women's wear.
After the 1930s and 1940s, Chinese cheongsam reached a perfect maturity in design becoming world-renowned classic attire - this was also the peak period for cheongsams. High-collared necklines with waists sucked-in tightly; short sleeves fastened with knots or buttons; slanting fronts often opened high on one side; some dresses were short while others were long; cutting styles followed western skirt designs emphasizing smoother lines which made Chinese Cheongsams fit better to display female beauty figures.
When wearing a Chinese Cheongsam dress woman’s graceful figure is displayed. Reveal an ideal embodiment of classical femininity characterized by gracefulness combined with modesty portrayed through unique charm found within each individual dress.
Some people who want to experience the feeling of wearing a cheongsam may have some misconceptions and barriers due to its cultural background. Below, this article summarizes nine common misunderstandings to help answer any confusion.
Misconception 1: Cheongsam is the clothing of the Manchu people.
Cheongsam does not exclusively refer to the Qing dynasty formal wear of Manchu people. Although many people believe that cheongsam originated from Qing dynasty formal wear, some experts believe that there is almost no direct inheritance relationship between cheongsam and Qing dynasty formal wear. In fact, from the style of modern cheongsams, they are far different from those of Qing dynasty formal wear.
Misconception 2: Cheongsam has a long history.
Cheongsam has been around for about a century so far, and experts confirm that it began to take shape in the mid-1920s and reached its peak in the 1930s. It's not as ancient as many may think.
Misconception 3: Cheongsam originated in Beijing.
It is incorrect to say that cheongsam originated only in Beijing. There are four main theories regarding its origin:
- Firstly, some consider it directly developed from women's dresses during QIng Dynasty.
- Secondly, some believe that cheongasm’s origins can be traced back to narrow tube-shaped clothes made with hemp cloth worn during Western Zhou or Shen Yi worn during Pre-Qin and Han Dynasties.
- Thirdly, others trace its roots back all way through Zhou,Qin,Han,Tang,Song,and Ming dynastic periods.
- Fourthly,some consider it a Chinese traditional costume assimilated by westernization which started becoming popular in Shanghai before spreading throughout China.
Misconception 4: Cheongsams represent an exposed aesthetic.
Sometimes we see high slits on cheogsams making us think they broke away from traditional conservatism at that time. Actually ,cheogsams possess an implicit aesthetic, it appears exposed yet actually reveals nothing; ambiguous nature suits Easterners' reserved aesthetic psychology better.
Misconception 5: Cheongsams must have high slits showing thighs.
Many videos showcase cheongsam with high slits and exposed thighs, but this is a misconception. High slit is just one of the many characteristics of cheongsam, it's not the only or necessary one.
Generally speaking, cheongsam has features such as right lapel large front opening or semi-front opening form, stand-up collar buttoned with loop fastening, side-slit, flat cutting with single-piece fabric and connected sleeves, it can be called a cheongsam.
Misconception 6: Cheongsams are uniforms for service ladies.
Indeed, since the end of last century，many service industry staff including hostesses began to wear cheongsam. However,in upper-class society,during formal occasions women also prefer wearing them; most notably Song Meiling,Lin Huiyin,Ruan Lingyu,Zhang Ailing etc.
Misconception 7: Cheongsams are only suitable for wedding dresses.
With the resurgence of popularity in recent years，more couples (including many celebrities) choose to wear cheogsams at their weddings.However,the development and evolution of modern-day cheongasm means that they are now more versatile than ever before; perfect for everyday wear too.
Misconception 8: Cheongsams are expensive luxury items.
The main value in a chengosm lies in its fabric quality and craftsmanship. Before you get your hands on one,your body will undergo multiple measurements ensuring tailor-made perfection, something mass-produced clothes cannot compete with.
Misconception 9: Only slim figures can wear cheogsans.
There isn't any strict height requirement when donning a chengosm.Nowadays there exists an abundance of styles catered to all sorts of female body types.
In conclusion, the cheongsam is a beautiful and intricate piece of fashion that holds deep cultural significance. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions and stereotypes that obscure its true history and meaning. By dispelling these misunderstandings and exploring the rich heritage and evolution of the cheongsam, we can appreciate it for the true gem that it is. As fashion and culture continue to evolve, let us honor the beauty and complexity of the cheongsam and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.