via Walking in May
- The Material - The chosen material for a Qipao can reveal clues about the life, style preference and cultural heritage of the wearer, which is why the Qipao can be more than just the seen exterior dress and often thought to reflect the internal beauty of the woman wearing it. From brocade, silk, satin, linen, cotton, velvet, rayon, chiffon to the rarer wool, French lace and South East Asian batik fabric. [To find out more about Batik fabric, please click here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batik] The fabric's pattern, shine, texture and size as well as direction of print can draw attention to certain parts of your body or even make you appear slightly larger or shorter than you really are. For example those with slim boyish frames can use brocade to create dimension through the shine of the fabric and bring about the illusion of curves, or those with a curvier figure can use small vertical facing prints to create longer lines to the body and appear a little slimmer. Though illusions can be useful, it is important to remember that the post-1920s Qipao is really about celebrating the beauty of the female form and admiring her sensuous feminine frame.
- The cut and fit - The slit height and waist line through the waist darts or midsection seams might be something else to consider...also whether you want a full ankle, mid calf, knee or mini length Qipao? As the hemline and slits can draw attention to the respective part of your frame.
- Quality - A well made and high quality Qipao will have tidy demure side slits, that should not fall awkwardly in a gaping and widely forked outwards fashion. Also the mandarin collar should be tidy, symmetrical and without awkward gaps (unless it is meant to be an open collar). It may or may not have embroidery, patterns, frogged knotted buttons, single or double piping depending of the style, material and design of the Qipao, but the details should be done to a good standard.
- The occasion - If you are attending a Chinese wedding as a guest then you would want to avoid a red Qipao as it is traditional for a bride to wear red on her wedding day because of the celebratory nature of the colour. Alternatively, if you want an easy care and versatile Qipao you might want to consider the cotton or linen variety.
- The style details - Other things to consider could be whether you want a high or low mandarin collar, modern V or U shaped collar, side opening or back zip, frogged buttons of simple knots or more sophisticated designs such as chrysanthemum, blossom, phoenix, dragonfly and longevity clasps? There are actually almost 100 different frogged button designs, each with a different symbolic meaning, and more complicated clasp designs can take at least 2 days to make by hand. A higher closed mandarin collar with three simple knotted buttons is a classic that can bring out the slenderness of a silhouette for ladies with a longer neck and is best in a long or ankle length Qipao. Alternatively a higher opened mandarin collar without any frogged buttons can look more modern or youthful with a shorter length Qipao.