Big news, everyone – I’m going to China! I’ll be gone for almost 3 weeks! So please don’t think I’ve just forgotten my blog and my lovely readers. I’m going to Beijing, Xi’An, Chengdu, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Macau.

I won’t be bringing any vintage clothes on my trip because I like to travel cheap and dirty – I’m actually having to dig into my very small collection of non-vintage clothes I have but don’t ever wear anymore! But I do have one vintage goal in China – I want to buy a custom-made qipao (cheongsam). These gorgeous silk dresses were popular in the 30s and 40s but are still worn for some formal occasions. The qipao goes back to the 1600s in a baggy form (brought in by the Manchus and forced upon the Han Chinese, actually) but the qipao as we now know it was designed in the 20s as a fashion statement. They faded in popularity in the 50s as a result of the Communist revolution and a need for more practical work clothes. Some airlines and luxury restaurants require qipao as their uniform but mostly they’re worn on rare occasions. Qipao are close-fitting and the way to go is to get one custom-made, with multiple fittings. And then I will wear it all the time, formality be darned.

So in honor of my China trip, here are some photos and paintings of gorgeous vintage Chinese women!

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Vintage Advertisement


In this advertisement from the 30s you can see the typical high collar, short sleeves, and long length of the qipao.




In the Mood for Love features tons of gorgeous 60’s qipaos.



The Flowers of War has really, really gorgeous qipaos and fantastic 40s fashion but I would not watch it just for that reason (it’s a really devastating movie about the rape of Nanking. Important stuff, but terrifying and sad).

I’ll see you in three weeks and hopefully I’ll have a beautiful custom-made vintage-style qipao of my own to show you!




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