Goodbye for another year, my long floral qipaos
It was a long, hot summer in Shanghai this year. But the nasty humidity of July and August eased into a pleasant, warm Autumn, one where you could still wear a summer dress in early October (without the stickiness of actual summer) and enjoy a stroll and ice-cream cone in the tree lined streets of Former French Concession.
It all came crashing down two weeks ago though, when the skies opened and the rain started…… and still has not stopped. When I had to dig out my down jackets over the weekend, I finally came to accept that summer had come to an end. But to bid an official goodbye, and to brighten up the dreary two weeks we’ve had, I’m going to share two of my favourite summer dresses – my long floral qipaos (or in Cantonese, Cheongsams).
These two qipaos belong to a category of qipaos called “revised” qipaos in Chinese (改良旗袍, in fact the direct Chinese translation is “revised and improved”). These began to appear in the 1940s, and make up the vast majority of qipaos sold today. They are “improved” in the sense that they are fastened with zippers and therefore easier to wear. These two qipaos’ zippers are on the side, but many are also zipped up from the back.
The reason why I like these is because well, they are floral, and I’m a floral person (!) But you do have to admit, the all-out florals combined with the long length makes for quite a pretty picture. They also have these narrow and cute slightly-shorter-than-half-sleeves, sitting right above the elbow, which somehow just makes the upper body silhouette very feminine. The cotton material and zippers make them easy to look after, and even though I am a big fan of the 1930s high collar, the low collar on these is more casual and easy to wear.
The bright magenta and crisp green of the first one is quite girly, and I like this dress for the spring-just-coming-into-summer time, or as a strong end of summer statement. The mellow red and olive of the second one is more womanly, and quite perfect for Autumn, or alternatively, for cooling down a hot summer’s day.
My belly only seems to be growing exponentially these days so again I’m sorry I can’t show these in person at full length. But I have some shots of the top and neckline with my new short haircut, which I think works quite nicely. The rest are on mannequin, enjoy –
This blog post was submitted to What I Wore Wednesday here