Crystal Tao and Her Qipao

Qipao No. 1

In the previous article about qipao I tried to follow the trends in popularity of this famous Chinese dress. Just like any style of fashion it knew good and  bad days, and nowadays – after years of neglecting in China itself – it is becoming popular again.  Qipao does not fit everyone and not everyone likes it, but I am certainly the fan of this style!

However, just few years ago I and my friends regarded qipao as an extravagant dress with extremely bright colors not suitable for usual outfit.  None of us had it in our wardrobes and while passing by the special qipao stores we never stopped to have a second look. In our minds it was just a traditional dress worn on special occasions (for example, during the weddings or some official ceremonies as a national symbol). It hardly could be imagined as a daily costume. 

Qipao No. 2About two and a half years ago a client – young and very stylish American woman – came to our company. At that time I worked in Chongqing travel company as a sales manager. After discussing the tour details, she asked me to show her the nearby qipao stores (there were many stores selling tailor-made qipao in a street near the office building).

And it was my first time to have a closer look at qipao. My curiosity was aroused by the fact that a foreign lady who definitely had a good taste in fashion found those costumes attractive. I quickly got the answer why she liked them.

Qipao No. 3Seeing those beautiful colorful dresses made my eyes shining like a child’s who came to a BIG candy store… Before leaving the shop both of us ordered qipao from the album.

After a week I was a proud owner of my first tailor-made qipao. I liked it so much! And beyond expectations I got a lot of compliments from other people: cousins, friends and colleagues – all asked me where I had bought it, how much was the cost, what was the name of the store and so on.

Qipao No. 4

Soon, I went to buy the second qipao and  then the third one… Am I a little bit crazy, huh? Now there are FIVE (!!!) qipao in my wardrobe and I love all of them :-)

Here is the short description of the dresses (you can also see them in the pictures).

First qipao: blue with big yellow flowers. I asked the tailor to make a “v”-neckline (since it better fits my round face) and slits on both sides. The dress is sleeveless and has a bottom line just above knees.

Qipao No. 5

Second qipao: bright-yellow with many colorful flowers, bigger “V” collar and traditional qipao buttons. This one can serve as a good example of classical oriental style.

Third qipao: I think that this pink-colored dress fits my yellow skin. More modern style with deep cut partly covered with transparent pink yarn. Hints of sleeves. No buttons. This light dress is especially good for Chongqing hot summer.

Fourth qipao: also pink. Simple, but fashionable. Has no collar. Glass accessories are sewed into the dress around the neckline. The dress is ornamented with big flowers. This is my favorite one!

Fifth qipao: light blue, with fancy yellow inset. The collar can be elevated to a stand-up form. The pattern is made of small flowers some of which have the shape of phoenix. It’s suitable for everyday.

I bought it last year – before going abroad: it was a little gift to myself – since I knew how much I would miss those special stores offering tailor-made qipao.

And now the winter is over, warm days will come soon and I can not help daydreaming…

Dreaming about the sixth qipao, Crystal Tao

34 comments to Crystal Tao and Her Qipao

  • Hi, found you from chinalyst, nice blog! and nice girl!

  • ziccawei

    I absolutely love your qipao dresses. I wish more Chinese girls would wear these.

  • Thank you.
    I think that qipao would fit also some Western girls.

  • Cage

    For a moment, I thought you were going to write about the fashion sense of chinese girls.


  • Haha… sorry to disappoint you.
    The fashion sense of Chinese girls could be a good topic for one of my future posts.
    Thanks for idea. ;-)

  • John

    I too am a great fan of qipao, but only for slim Chinese girls. Nothing worse in my eyes than using one to wrap bulging flesh.

    You’re right, they can be an everyday dress item, mostly depends on what you do – fine for office or school. And in my opinion, pink is not terribly suitable for Chinese skin tones. I think blue complements better, dark blue or light blue.

    I find qipao both elegant and exciting. Perpetual problem though is how to sit down. Major problem in conjunction with simple solution to VPL problem!

  • Hi John,

    Thanks for comment.
    You correctly described the problems with some qipao: like sitting down or VPL (I had to “google” to understand that it stands for “visible panty line”).

    But it depends on the style of qipao, material and its length.
    Since all of my qipao are tailor-made and not very short – I don’t have a problem to sit down, and also with an exception of the first qipao :oops: – there is no VPL.

  • Arnold

    I myself love to see my Wife in those ( in my Mind gorgeous ) Dresses , if only going out for Dinner or Shopping . She does have two that she had brought with her from Shanghai . It makes a beautiful Chinese Woman , look like a “Hot” beautiful Chinese Woman .

  • Nice article. I showed it to my qin ai de and asked her if she would wear one of these lovely dresses.
    She said , sure!, if I bought one for her!
    In some things girls worldwide are not so different :smile:

  • Dear Muireadach,
    When you choose the dress, please remember that the keyword for qipao is TAILOR-MADE! Especially because it is a body-hugging dress…

  • Eyamori

    I really like Qipao dresses but I am terribly frightened of looking completely wrong in them, and not knowing enough about them to avoid VPL. As well as looking like a Caucasian trying to be an Asian. It’s true that the style only looks good on a few Caucasian/Western girls and it’s frighting to think that if you went and bought one and wore it somewhere, that you would look terrible. :sad: :oops:

  • ahkiwi

    hmm … they all look really nice … the second and third qipao I think are my favorites

    None of them would suit me though :cry:

  • keius

    Would be nice if they were more accepted on an everyday basis but styles, fashion, clothing…they are more geared towards western styles nowadays. An example would be Mainland China’s ‘in’ crowd emulating whats fashionable in Hong Kong trends. My wife used to get disposable ensembles every season and only wore each piece once or twice….

    Anyway, she’s got 3 qipaos. All tailor made for when we got hitched. Never wore them since….not that she’d even fit in them anymore :roll: The nice ones can get pretty expensive though. They do look nice but for those who have fluctuating weight issues, i really don’t recommend them lol ;-)

  • Teacher in China

    Have you deleted my comment…??? Wow, you were right, Chinese girls don’t take compliments well :grin:
    Well, I’m not giving up – no one has complimented you on how lovely you look in your various qipao, so let me the first (the second now, I guess, competing with myself…) – you look lovely! :cool:

  • Great pictures, you should post more often. I agree with most of the above (interestingly all men!) that Qipaos look great on slim Chinese girls. It’s a pity they are hardly worn now. I was in Vietnam a few years ago and noticed many more of the girls their still where the Vietnamese version which has a long slit in the legs BUT they wear trousers underneath and of course the pointed hats. I love that look as well so much so I bought some Vietnamese paintings depicting girls in these traditional costumes.

  • Nick

    You look absolutely lovely in a qipao, Crystal.

    I remember the first time I saw Ivy in a qipao – it was the morning of my birthday. We were traveling together and I went to her room to meet her to go for breakfast in GZ and she opened the door and she was wearing a qipao. I honestly was speechless! She was a goddess. I had never seen such a beautiful sight in my entire life. (And then she stood up on her toes and kissed me gently – I thought I had died and gone to heaven!)

    The high collar and the modest but feminine cut of the dress just emphasized her stunning beauty, and the colour was perfect for her. I keep a photo of her in that qipao, and it still takes my breath away.

    Now she wears one whenever she meets me at the airport because she knows I find it so lovely on her.

    My heart still flutters when I remember the way she looks in a qipao.

    Nick – an incurable romantic who is completely and utterly in love.

  • China Shark Mike

    Dresses are amazing. Old girlfriend used to wear them just for me. Last one she bought was stunning. Had a v neck modern pattern over a tradition style and color {paisely}. Took my breath away seeing her the first time in it. 9 out of 10 girls I find it to look suitable on them. There are always women trying to be something thier not. If a bulging better safe leaving it in the closet.

  • China Shark Mike

    BTW just reread and actually looked at your picture the second time. Outstanding Crystal simply stunning, {dress you’re wearing was actually the same color scheme as the one I described above}.

  • hey crystal, i recently stumbled upon your website. I’m really interested in buying one of those qipao’s as a souvenir, what’s the average price of those qipao’s and what’s the price difference between tailor made and the ones off the rack?

  • scarlet

    You look so beautiful in these pictures.

    I bought my girlfriend two qipaos a few months ago and she also looks mindblowingly beautiful in them, even more so because she is mine. They were her first, which is amazing because they fit her figure so perfectly. Her body is very slender and she feared that she did not have the feminine curves to pull it off. But sure enough, the qipao found the beautiful shape that was already there and made it perfect.

    I can barely imagine a Chinese woman looking bad in a properly fitted qipao, even Fengjie would be worth more than a few second’s glance if she was wearing one that suited her. They always seem to contour to the right parts of the body and the generous slits down the skirt prevent the bodice from ruffling and bunching in a sitting position. I have no idea why women in China do not always wear them when going out. Even if they are not made from gilded floral brocade, there is no reason a modest woman cannot have a qipao made from matte cotton, that would not draw eyes, but would still present her as a beautiful flower to those eyes that are lucky enough to notice her.

  • meelee

    QiPao is my favourite, i have about 10 QiPao(s), i’m so crazy about QiPao Button, everytime i’m in China i will surely ask some QiPao master to make me some beautiful QiPao buttons to bring home (just to keep for fun). In fact, i’m totally mad with QiPao

  • Dear Crystal,

    I will ask my daughter to help me to take the photos & put it to the website. Sorry, I’m still not so good at advance technology.

    Can you please give her sometime to do because she needs to study.

    In fact, i was thinking to go to Shanghai/Beijing to make one hand embroidery QiPao. Any recommendation besides RuiFuXiang in Beijing?

  • Meng

    Nice post, Crystal. I have to say, I like the third qipao you bought best. The color and shape really highlight your natural beauty. That’s one of the things I like about qipao. Many modern fashion choices really aren’t made for showing off a slim girl’s natural beauty, but qipao truly are great in this sense.

    For a long time my girlfriend refused to wear any of her qipao, she left them all at her hometown. She’d been bought a couple by her parents for special occasions, but she wouldn’t wear them because, in her words, she was “too sexy” in them, and modesty was trump. I finally convinced her last year to let me buy a custom-made one for her and she looks drop-dead gorgeous in it. It is black with little flowers and a low v-neck. When she puts it on, it looks like she has been poured into it. Not one inch wasted, not a stitch too small nor too big. Usually I don’t like collars on dresses, I prefer to see her entire stunning neckline, but the qipao ends up showing off her natural beauty in ways quite different from that of western clothing. Hurrah for the qipao.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>