China Topics

General Information
Art & Performance
Cities & Provinces
Culture & Tradition
Diplomatic Missions
Education & School
Finance & Banking
Health & Medicine
History & Dynasties
Investment & Stock
IT & Computer
Import & Export
Law & Justice
Map & Atlas
Media & Publication
Military & Army
People & Society
Personal & Hobby
Real Estates
Reference & Library
Science & Tech.
Shopping & Auction
Sports & Recreation
Statistics & Data 
Travel & Tour
Who's Who
Back to HOME



Home Chinese Culture Qipao(Mandarin Dresses)   What are Mandarin Dresses?

Chinese Women Traditional Dress
What are Mandarin Dresses?

qipao shop, mandarin dresses shop

Pictures - Chinese Traditional Qipao : Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 and more |

What are mandarin dresses?

Mandarin dresses used to include all of Chinese woman's attire, which was also called Chinese dresses or Oriental dresses. Nowadays one-piece Mandarin dresses are more popular than two-piece sets, so Mandarin dresses just refers to those in one piece. They are also known as qipao, a phonetic translation from the official Chinese language Mandarin, or cheongsam, a phonetic translation from a Chinese dialect called Cantonese. Since Mandarin dresses are closely fitting, they are often nicely described as “the second skin.”

mandarin dresses, qipao

Mandarin dresses originated as standard garments for women from Manchuria, today's northeastern China. After the establishment of the Republic of China, mainstream Chinese women put on Mandarin dresses as well. Mandarin dresses became more and more modernized through the years. However, they usually still have a stand-up collar, a diagonal placket going to the right, a fitted waistline, and side slits. Their length can be above or below the knees. Their sleeves can be long or short.

To make a Mandarin dress, the most delicate work is trimming. Initially, in the early years of the Qing Dynasty, Mandarin dresses came with thin trims in neutral colors. Later, during the last years of the Qing Dynasty, the trims became wider and wider, with more and more folds of binding, too. They could be triple binding or quintuple binding. Some even came with 18 folds of binding! There could be all kinds of beading on the dresses as well. The trims might have cutouts filled with embroidered patches. Those dresses were too elaborately created for onlookers to tell what fabric they were made of; in the meantime, the women were also wearing four-or-five-inch platforms. The platforms were wider on top and round at the bottom, shaped like a flower pot, so they were called “flowerpot bottoms.” Because they left footprints like horses' hoofs did, they were also called “horses' hoof bottoms.”

chinese mandarin dresses, qipao

Modern Mandarin dresses keep some elements of traditional Mandarin dresses, but adjustments have been made for them to be easier to wear. These dresses are supposed to be made of high-end fabrics, custom tailored, finely trimmed, with ornate buttons. They can flatter the wearer's figure and accentuate her poise. That's why many international fashion designers say Mandarin dresses represent the collective aesthetics of Chinese fashion design and crystallize the wisdom of Chinese culture. When a woman wears an elegant Mandarin dress for a dinner party or other special occasions, she looks particularly attractive. The beauty of the Mandarin dress shows the wearer's respect for the party host as well as her preference for ethnic attire, setting her apart from ordinary women.

traditional chinese women dresses, qipao, mandarin dresses

Mandarin dresses captivate not only Chinese people but the rest of the world. During traditional Chinese holidays, many Chinese women put on Mandarin dresses no matter where they are. They may wear Mandarin dresses for company holiday parties as well. Some foreign-born Chinese and even non-Chinese women like Mandarin dresses, too. They may choose more casual-looking Mandarin dresses for their daily wear.

As the best Mandarin dress on-line store, provides a wide variety of Mandarin dresses. Elegente strives to make Mandarin dresses fashionable for all women with great taste. Our classic designs, custom tailoring, masterful skills, and exquisite fabrics have won countless compliments.


meet your Chinese friends in global village

Useful Information Links:


Related Blogs:
Related Media Reports:


Picture Show - Chinese Traditional Qipao : Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 and more |




Pictures from China



Peking Opera
Style Miss Bikini

Pictures from China
Women Dresses & Accessories of the
56 Ethnic Groups

List of Top China Sites Save Your Search Time




This web site is created by InfoPacific Development Inc. and jointly managed by InfoPacific Development Inc. (Canada) and Kompass (China) Information Service Co. Ltd. This site is frequently updated and permanently "under construction".

  • Contact Please send your email to
  • Advertisement on this website?  Please  CLICK HERE. Customers in China, please call our China Office at:
  All the information provided in this website is for informational purposes only. disclaims all liability or responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of the information provided in this website and the opinions by publications related to this website do not necessarily reflect the views of or any of its affiliates.