China National Dress: A Guide on Qipao

Let’s talk about China National Dress. China is a country with a rich culture and history, and one of the most distinctive elements of its culture is the traditional clothing. The most iconic dress in Chinese culture is the Qipao, also known as Cheongsam. The Qipao has been around for over 300 years and has become a symbol of Chinese heritage and beauty. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about China’s national dress, the Qipao, from its history to its modern-day relevance.

What is the Qipao?

The Qipao is a traditional Chinese dress that originated during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). The dress is made of silk or cotton and features a high collar, tight-fitting bodice, and a skirt that falls straight down to the ankles. The dress is often adorned with intricate embroidery and colorful patterns, and is traditionally worn with high heels.

The History of the China National Dress

The origins of the Qipao can be traced back to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), where it was worn by the Manchurian people as their daily clothing. During the Qing dynasty, the Qipao was adapted and became more popular among the Han Chinese population. It became the official dress code for women in the Chinese court, and was worn by women of all classes.

During the early 20th century, the Qipao underwent a transformation and became more fitted and stylish. It was during this time that the Qipao became a symbol of modernity and beauty, and was worn by fashionable women in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

How to Wear a Qipao

Wearing a Qipao can be a bit tricky, but it is important to get it right to fully appreciate its beauty. The dress should fit snugly but not be too tight, and should be worn with high heels to complete the look. The Qipao should be accessorized with simple jewelry and a clutch purse. Hair should be styled in a classic updo or left long and loose.

The Modern-day Qipao

While the Qipao is steeped in tradition and history, it has also undergone modern adaptations. Today, you can find Qipaos in a variety of colors, patterns, and fabrics, and they are often worn as fashion statements by women all over the world. The dress has also been adapted to fit modern fashion trends, with shorter hemlines and sleeveless designs.

The Cultural Significance of the Qipao

The Qipao is more than just a dress – it is a reflection of Chinese culture and history. The dress embodies the traditional values of elegance, modesty, and grace, and has been worn by Chinese women for centuries. The Qipao has also become a symbol of modernity, as it was adapted and transformed during the early 20th century to reflect changing fashion trends.

Today, the Qipao is still worn on special occasions and celebrations, and is an important part of Chinese culture. The dress is a source of pride and identity for Chinese people, and has become an iconic representation of China’s cultural heritage.

The Global Appeal of the China National Dress

While the Qipao has deep roots in Chinese culture, it has also become a global fashion trend. The dress has been embraced by women all over the world, who appreciate its beauty and elegance. The Qipao has been adapted to fit modern fashion trends, with shorter hemlines, sleeveless designs, and a wider variety of colors and patterns.

Celebrities and fashion icons have also embraced the Qipao, wearing it on red carpets and in photo shoots. The dress has become a symbol of cultural exchange and appreciation, and has helped to promote Chinese culture on a global scale.


The Qipao is an iconic symbol of Chinese culture and heritage. The dress has a rich history and cultural significance, and has become a fashion trend embraced by women all over the world. Whether worn on special occasions or as a fashion statement, the Qipao is a testament to China’s rich cultural heritage and the beauty of its traditional clothing.


  • What is the difference between a Qipao and a Cheongsam?

Qipao and Cheongsam are interchangeable terms for the same dress.

  • What is the difference between a Qipao and a Kimono?

The Qipao is a Chinese dress, while the Kimono is a Japanese dress. The two dresses are distinct in their design and cultural significance.

  • How should I care for my Qipao?

Qipaos should be dry cleaned or hand washed in cold water. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach, and hang to dry in a cool, shaded area.

  • Can I wear a Qipao to a non-traditional event, such as a party or formal dinner?

Yes, the Qipao can be worn to a variety of events, as long as it is done respectfully and appropriately for the occasion.

  • Is the Qipao still popular in modern China?

Yes, the Qipao is still worn on special occasions and celebrations in China, and is also a popular fashion trend embraced by many Chinese women.


  • “The Evolution of the Cheongsam/Qipao: From Qing Dynasty Dress to Modern Fashion Statement.” China Highlights. Accessed April 5, 2023.
  • “The Cheongsam: A Traditional Chinese Dress Goes Modern.” China Daily. Accessed April 5, 2023.
  • “The Story of the Qipao – China’s Iconic Dress.” Discover China. Accessed April 5, 2023.

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