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How To Wear A Modern Cheongsam Dress Right for Chinese New Year In Singapore

Here are some tips on choosing a cheongsam dress in Singapore that fits properly and looks great.

Wait – what is a cheongsam, exactly? Read this, then come back – before you invest in a nice cheongsam dress for the CNY festive season in Singapore

(Shopping tip: All of the cheongsam dresses shown here are from these Singaporean stores: Mama & Misse, MazzarioFuschia Lane, Golden Scissor Cheongsam, Qiqing Qipao and Lark & Peony)

How To: Wear A Modern Cheongsam Dress For CNY In SG

1. Choice of Collar


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The collar of a cheongsam is usually 5.5 to 6 cm high. If that feels uncomfortable, or to flatter a shorter neck, go for shallower collars of 2.5 to 3 cm high. Deeper collars, though more formal-looking, make one’s neck seem shorter, while thinner collars help elongate it visually.

2. Sleeves


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Cheongsams typically have cap sleeves, which most women do not find flattering. Designer Josephine Hoof cheongsam label Qiqing Qipao says cap sleeves are more suitable for women with thin arms. Those with fuller arms may opt for sleeveless versions, so the arms will generally look leaner and longer. Ho says halter neck- and racer back-style designs are suitable for women who want to show off their shoulders.

3. Tightness

A cheongsam should not be so tight that one cannot sit properly or eat in it. Designer Junie Yeo of modern cheongsam label Lark & Peony recommends that customers always do a “sit” test to make sure the qipao does not ride up too much when one sits down.

It should not go past the mid-thigh and one should be able to cross one’s legs without difficulty.

4. Type of Skirt

Women with fuller hips can opt for a tighter, pencil or bodycon skirt to accentuate those curves. Alternatively, an A-line skirt’s gentle flare will form a flowy silhouette, creating a younger and playful look.

5. Type of Fabric


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Fabrics are also important, says Vivienne Lin, designer and founder of Fuchsia Lane, an Asian-inspired fashion label with Peranakan influences. She advises choosing a fabric with stretch so that the qipao conforms to the body nicely, instead of opting for an ill-fitting cheongsam, which might have unsightly creases.

By Alyssa Woo, The Straits Times, January 26, 2017 / Additional Reporting: Sara Lyle Bow, January 2018 / Updated by Willaine G. Tan, February 2021. Images: courtesy of the brands’ social media pages + 123RF.com

Like this? Read about more ways to Live Well in SG, and read our digital magazine.

More on The Finder:
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