A cheongsam follow-up

Early last month, I featured and reviewed cheongsams from online boutiques as well as those from Shanghai Tang. It’s been more than a month since, and I thought I would check out their sites again for new designs.

Shanghai Tang doesn’t seem to have any new cheongsam dresses since the launch of the F/W 2013 collection. Perhaps the new designs would only be available in the next season.

Our Bitsy Prints launched their Christmas 2013 collection on 5 December, and within a few days, it’s sold out. There is no change to the designs, the dresses are still the same traditional top with pleated flare bottom. I thought the batik print on this Annie’s Day to Evening batik cheongsam is rather elegant, though having the black top with the white decorative buttons makes the dress looks like it can double up as funeral wear.


OBP collaborated with a local social enterprise, Daughters of Tomorrow, on this dress “Orchid Mosaic In Galore” and sales proceeds from the dress are donated to DOT’s livelihood programs. They help under-privileged women in Asia, with particular focus in Singapore and India, by providing skill trainings and employment opportunities.


As for the other OBP dresses, I find the prints rather pedestrian.

The website announces that the 2014 Chinese New Year collection will be launched in early January. (FYI CNY falls on 31 January.)

As for Sissae, they have a F/W 2013 collection too, which is mostly evening or formal dresses. This “Cosmo Chic” dress has that cool 1960’s vibe to it. It may be in black and white, but the psychedelic print on the skirt won’t make you look like you’re attending a funeral.


However most of the other new designs leave much to be desired. Some of them remind me of prom dresses like these two below: Honey Love (top) and Orchid Swirl (bottom).



Then there is this “Sexy Dahlia” which just looks strange, in fact I don’t find it sexy at all. The hoop design reminds me of a basketball net.


I thought this dress looks pretty wierd. What’s with the arrow pointing down and the tacky floral appliqué?


This dress reminds me of what a milk maid would wear on her day out. Worse of all, it makes the model looks fat.


Now to Lark & Peony; when I checked in a couple of days ago, there was a new brocade cheongsam that was launched recently (the same design as the current available dresses), but it was sold out. When I checked back today, the picture has been taken down and there is nothing new. Anyway the website states that new arrivals will be in store on 1 January.

A week ago, I was contacted by Elaine from The Lady General who would like me to check out her online store selling modern cheongsams as well. TLG offers simple modern dresses that come in a range of designs. There are the pleated flare skirt, the A-line, the tunic, and the fitting cut etc. You can say there are more choices available, which may appeal to more shoppers. The dresses are showcased on a cloth rack instead of a real model, this is not ideal because it doesn’t allow the shopper to see how the dress drapes on the body. Though there are different views of the dresses provided, as well as information of each dresses like the fabric and design description.

To be honest, despite the range of designs available, the dresses are nothing to shout about. A couple of designs are not bad, like this swirly dress with an attached waist tie called “Li”. But I thought the length of 40″ is rather long.


The below dress “Wang” has a fitting cut, and it’s rather similar to one of the dresses worn by Tang Wei in the movie “Lust, Caution”. It’s not the traditional design as it has a hidden back zip.



The same design in polka dots looks rather school-marmish to me, and of course it’s also good for funeral wear.


Both the fitting-cut dresses are 39″ in length, which is still a little too long for Asian women. In fact if you have cheongsams which are knee-length or below the knee, you should make sure that they are figure hugging. As a cue, check out Maggie Cheung in the movie “In the Mood for Love”, her dresses are below the knee length, but they hug her bodice (and some might even say tight-fitting), but that way you look sexy and not auntie. Unfortunately this also means you must have the physique to carry it off.


Otherwise, if you are looking for something more forgiving, TLG offers the A-line cut, such as this pastel pink polka dot dress.


Then there is also the typical flare skirt design like this strange floral patchwork dress.


TLG tries to go for an ultra modern look with this complex design, to which I say “please don’t over complicate the cheongsam”.


Then there is the cheongsam tunic for ladies with small baby bumps or just want to hide their figures. Like I mentioned in the earlier post, a cheongsam without a waist is a design I wouldn’t accept. If you have to hide your physique behind a muumuu, the cheongsam is not for you. Yes I’m aware the cheongsam started as a loose long tunic of the manchurians, but we’re not living in the Qing dynasty.


To be honest, I’m not sure why this tunic is considered a modern cheongsam.


From my observations of the various modem cheongsams, I realize it’s damn difficult to come up with a chic design. A couple of those from Shanghai Tang do capture the essence of the iconic dress in a chic and elegant style. But unfortunately such designs are few and far between. I guess the ST designers have to rack their brains for every collections and can’t afford to produce new designs every couple of weeks.


2 thoughts on “A cheongsam follow-up

  1. Dear Marie,

    Thank you very much for the extensive review, very honored to be mentioned alongside seasoned cheongsam labels! We’ve been learning so much since our launch and sizing (plus length!) is a sweet spot we’re trying to perfect for our next collection. We’ll continue to offer wonderful fabrics and introduce more shilouettes to suit the variety of body types out there 😉 Alas, not many of us have the Maggie Cheung-ish figure.

    We’ve just secured a spot for a pop-up store at raffles place this coming January so you and your readers might like to pop by for a look. Nothing beats a good old touch and feel! More details to follow soon.

    Have a great December!


    • Hi Elaine,

      Thanks for your comment, and let us know when the pop-up store would be available at Raffles place.

      Those fortunate enough to have Maggie Cheung’s physique can go for the fitting cut. And most of us who don’t, can go for the A-line, or flare bottom cheongsam. But if a lady has to go for the muumuu design to hide her body and can’t show the waist, then really the cheongsam is not for her. In fact I would strongly recommend that she go on a healthy and moderate diet and exercise, for the sake of her health.

      Maria Sent from my iPhone


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