This red qipao (cheongsam) is a fairly traditional 1930s style, ankle length with long sleeves. Mixing it with a modern long bob hair cut creates an effortless look perfect for the spring or autumn.
Some of you might remember a red stretch wool qipao that I shared a few months ago, it was a “revised” qipao, thick and warm, perfect for the winter and my then pregnant belly.
Well it is now spring, and with the new warm weather, I am going to share about another red qipao, one that is almost entirely different from the previous. It is pretty perfect for just about now (or the autumn), and its casual but traditional look makes it my new favourite piece in the wardrobe. Hope you like it as much as I do.
A traditional 1930s red qipao (cheongsam)
This is a traditional qipao in a few different ways. First, the silhouette. The typical 1930s qipao was long, floor sweeping even. I chose for this qipao to be ankle length, my favourite length. I like this length because it has a traditional look, and is very elongating, but at the same time practical to wear.
Second, it is fastened entirely by pankous (traditional Chinese knot buttons). The pankous used on this dress are simple “straight” pankous, running diagonally down the chest and then the right side of the body. “Revised” qipaos that used zippers did not become popular until the 1940s after the war ended. Actually, qipaos with just pankous are not quite as form fitting as those with zippers because of the gaps between them, but I love the idea of a dress held together with just buttons anyway.
Despite the traditional elements, the dress is very wearable as it is made from a thick cotton.
A long bob with my red qipao
And to do things a little bit differently from how I usually do them, I decided to wear my hair down in my natural long bob for these photos. I cut this bob at the end of last year – in fact cutting your hair short is almost a rite-of-passage for most mums and mums-to-be that I know – and I am really enjoying having my hair short again.
I like the idea of a more modern hair cut with a traditional qipao, it’s a nice contrast and just shows how timeless these dresses can be.
My red qipao with flats
I also decided to photograph the dress with two different pairs of shoes. This first pair is my two tone Chanel ballet flats. They are hands down my favourite flats, sophisticated, versatile, comfortable and so elongating. I think qipaos with flats is a really nice look, it is very wearable but loses none of the elegance of the dress.
My red qipao with slingback heels
The second pair is also a pair of Chanels, a pair of black slingbacks. This pair makes the outfit a little more dressed up and little bit more girly. I think if I had to pick a certain type of heel to go with the qipao, it would be slingbacks or T-bars. Unfortunately I don’t have a pair of T-bars that I love at the moment, so slingbacks it is.
For the last photo I accessorised the qipao with my vintage white mesh bag. This is a bit of a sneak peak into next week’s post about this vintage Oroton bag from the 60s. But don’t you love how the block red contrasts with the white mesh? Stay tuned –