Qipao Love: Part 20 ~ Vintage in the East....how to create a vintage look with the Cheongsam!

Happy New Year 2015 darlings! As I welcomed the new year peacefully with a cup of herbal tea, family and fireworks on the telly....my thoughts started moving forth towards the upcoming Chinese New Year. So will you be donning a Qipao (Cheongsam) this coming festive period? I most certainly will do! A personal annual ritual I take immense joy in, as a Qipao is more than a mere garment to me, so a post on 'How-To' simply style your Qipao Vintage seems apt. The traditional Chinese dress known as Qipao or Cheongsam is probably one of the few pieces of distinctive clothing around the world that consists of a handmade element even today. As they are yet to invent machinery that can coil the intricate patterns of a Chinese knotted button, each piece remains a detail of artistry in today's mass produced factory modernity. Clothing being the best evidence of culture at different periods in history, the Qipao is even more special in being able to tell a story personal to the wearer as it was often tailor made for a particular purpose and personal style preferences or details were added. For its heyday of 1930s glamour, the Qipao was even made a national female garment, and every fashionable lady from rich socialites or film stars to the average housewife would have at least one or two treasured pieces in their wardrobe. Take a look at this CCTV4 Qipao documentary (English subtitles) on how the Qipao (Cheongsam) was an evidence of historical culture and vintage in the East:

Taking inspiration from decades gone by...here's some ideas on how to add simple touches to create a vintage look with your Qipao:

Style/Look: 1950s Daily Hong Kong (or 1940s in longer length)
Shop: Elegente.com
Link: www.elegente.com/linen-cheongsam-green-check-retro
Reviewed shop previously? Yes (Elegente Review)  
Rock up to a simple 'In the Mood for Love' 1950s Hong Kong look with this lovely green linen polka-dot Cheongsam...practical enough to wear more often than silk and stunning enough to put a spring in your daily life. With the plain pattern that lacks embroidery and only simple knotted buttons, it reflects the 1940s onwards popular style, so a longer length past the knees could make it fit the era. Make it 1950s with some pearl or floral earrings, cute box bag (especially bamboo, rattan, basket or wooden varieties), short simple white gloves, faux fur wrap and a sophisticated bouffant up do!

Style/Look: 1930s Shanghai Night
Shop: ModernQipao.com
Link: modernqipao.com/dark-blue-silk-velvet-qipao
Reviewed shop previously? No
Never tried the ModernQipao.com before.....but if made to high quality, this sultry velvet  number is likely to sway in a 1930s Shanghai night look that will have all eyes on it! Just add a lovely capelet (especially chiffon) with pearl necklace and small diamante Art Deco or silvertone earrings....not to forget a simple black velvet pouch and black velvet heels. Of course an up-do of finger waves and simple bun will polish off a gorgeous and sophisticated look!

Style/Look: 1950s to 1960s Pop-Art Kitsch
Shop: The Happy Cheongsam
Link: thehappycheongsam.com/katwalk
Reviewed shop previously? Yes (The Happy Cheongsam Review) 
Keep the length short to a 1960s fun pop-art look....or fluff up in length with a single cooured petticoat for 1950s kitsch....in this Happy Cheongsam number. As cat-mad as I am (and surprised how I seem to be drawn to the black pieces designed by The Happy Cheongsam!)....add a full or half beehive do with soft pink lipstick, chunky mary-janes or flatter pilgrim pumps, some plastic fantastic bangles or purse and simple shaped earrings. Probably one of the easiest vintage styles to wear...and you're ready to groove!

Style/Look: 1940s Daily Shanghai 
Shop: DayGlow Vintage
Link: dayglowvintage.com/see-u-at-the-Bund-cheongsam
Reviewed shop previously? No

DayGlow Vintage is another new vintage inspired outlet I am yet to try....but if this Cheongsam is fitted and in good quality the sturdy chequered print brings an every day feel of 1940s Shanghai. Match this classic cut with a simple bun or a side victory roll topped with a hat, red lipstick, some wooden bangles and a fitted hip length big-buttoned jacket...you will be ready to whip whatever austerity brings in the boardroom!

[For old post on: the Qipao History or full Qipao Love Series ]

New Year's day 2014 in 1940s inspired style.....how quickly one year flew past!
Good conditioned and fitting true vintage Qipao dresses are often hard to track down, but spending some time on Ebay, Etsy and searches online can bring a few surprises from time to time. I have recently come across this website selling vintage that seems to have a section especially for Cheongsam dresses, though I have never used or tried this website, it might be worth a look if you are searching for a simple vintage Qipao:
Shop: The Rusty Zipper
Link: www.rustyzipper.com/vintagedresses/cheongsam/
Style/Look: True Vintage Cheongsam
Reviewed shop previously? No

As promised previously to announce....the winner of 'GiveAway 1' (One Pass for a block of 6 Zen Yoga Open Classes in London by The Cat Pose) is......Wendy from The Butterfly Balcony! Thank you so much to those who entered and apologies if you have entered by signing up to a Newsletter but did not receive it on New Years day. I discovered a few days before 'GiveAway 1' was due to close that The Cat Pose newsletter link was not working, so some entries might not have come through, but fear not....to make up for it you can still sign-up for a special '1st Open Class of 2015 for £5' offer here: The Cat Pose Newsletter  Also there's still time to enter the cute cat inspired "GIVEAWAY 2" before 18th January 2015, so do hurry! Here's wishing all you fabulous darlings a good start to the year, with resolutions or hopes becoming healthy habits and happy circumstances beneficial to your wellbeing.....

Until the next time,
May xx
PS: This is not a sponsored post commissioned by any of the shops named above. The dresses featured were selected personally by me as styles I liked and would certainly style in a vintage way.

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  1. I definitely look up to you when it comes to cheongsam. Do you often have to alter your cheongsams? My hips wouldn't let me find a nice cheongsam and I feel like I need to get one altered when I find it!

    1. Awww....thank you my dear! Yes it is hard to find a perfectly fitting Cheongsam, so I usually alter it by myself taking it in at the waist through the four dart lines. A fitting vintage Qipao is even more difficult to find as waist lines tend to be below 21 inches...so altering it is a possibility. But I am sure you will look stunning in a Cheongsam!
      May x

  2. Oh goodness, I so want a cheongsam, they are so lovely and elegant. One of the gals in my department wore one of hers to our annual fashion show at school last year, and I've been drooling over one ever since.
    Though, if I were to get one from a shop or however, I would probably have to alter a lot for my hips and big butt, haha!

  3. The Pop art one is my favourite, I would love that one so much :) These are so beautiful and I love the tradition of them. You always look amazing wearing them. Happy New Year my dear...I hope its the very best for you :) Xxxx


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With Loving Kindness,
♥ May xx
E: walkingdivinelyinmay[at]gmail[dot]com