I recently bid farewell to several of my favourite summer qipaos, and as the temperature suddenly plummeted over the last two days, I thought it then very appropriate to say a big hello and welcome to a warm winter qipao (cheongsam) this week.
Most people think of qipao as a warm-weather type of clothing. After all, most qipaos that we see nowadays are silk or cotton and short sleeved. This was also my impression up until quite recently. But come one winter several years ago, I thought to myself: there must be some cold-weather alternatives, otherwise what did women wear in the qipao era? So off I went to the local fabric market to see what I could find.
Another green qipao (cheongsam)
I trudged to the same stall that made my red and white silk qipao, and enquired with the stall lady (who by this time knew I was an easy sell target) on what winter materials they had available. Sure enough and to my delight, she quickly produced a book of material samples that contained a good selection of wools and cashmeres suitable for a warm winter qipao.
For those of you who read about my wedding qipao, you will know that my favourite colour is green. So for this first winter qipao, it was a no-brainer to also opt for a green, but for winter, a dark forest green, brightened up by crisp apple green piping and matching pankous (traditional knotted buttons).
For styling, I opted for the usual silhouette that I prefer: a high 2.5 inch collar, fitted body, length just below the knee, and enclosed by only pankous (no zippers). The only variation is to the sleeve length. For winter I chose three-quarter fitted sleeves. I usually prefer three quarter sleeves for any winter wool or cashmere dresses because I am quite small (and unfortunately do not have long limbs), and this helps to elongate the arms a bit and prevent the thick material from looking too bulky.
The qipao turned out great, and the dark colour makes it easy enough to wear to a range of occasions. The high collar actually works really well in the winter as it keeps the chill out of the neck, and I often pair it with some of my vintage fur scarves. I picked out just two for this post, a small black collar, and a long warm brown stole, but there are many other combinations you could go for with a winter qipao like this.
Oh, and I am also wearing some drop earrings that I brought back from Turkey a few years back. Familiar colour combination? Yes, magenta and green is also the colour of my wedding qipao. I love how the brightness of the magenta picks up the calmness of the green and provides a subtle pop.
For other winter qipao ideas, you can also check the post on qipao with vintage fur jacket and hat or red knitted stretch wool qipao and vintage Dior coat.
Enjoy, and stay warm!