The main difference between the two words is their linguistic origin. Cheongsam is the English version of the Cantonese cheuhngsaam (which means long dress). The Cantonese cheuhngsaam is used in the southern part of China while the qipao is used in the northern part of the country. Eventually, the Cantonese cheuhngsaam came to Shanghai and evolved into the English cheongsam. Another English term for this dress is “mandarin gown.”
1.The words “qipao” and “cheongsam” both refer to a Chinese dress for women characterized by a front, right-side opening, mandarin collar, sleeves, and a skirt length of varying lengths with or without slits on the sides of the dress. It can be worn by opening the side opening and fastening it with frog closures and buttons.
2.The main difference between qipao and cheongsam is the origin of the words. “Qipao” is basically a Mandarin Chinese name for the dress while “cheongsam” is an English derivation from the Cantonese name “cheuhngsaam.” The word “cheongsam” originated in the south of China and eventually in Shanghai. The other term, “qipao,” is used in the Northern part of China.
3.The dress originated from Manchurian women and remained until the Chinese Revolution. The original cheongsam or qipao was a loose and wide garment. During the Chinese Revolution, Chinese tailors fled to Shanghai and revived the dress. The tailors gave it a more modern look. The modern cheongsam conforms and accentuates the female body.
4.The dress is considered to be the distinct Chinese dress. The dress can be made from a variety of fabrics and is considered to be a very versatile garment. It can be plain or embroidered. It can be worn with or without accessories. The dress can also include some patterns and designs in the form of floral and symbolic designs. Some designs can feature Western influences in terms of patterns, fabrics, or accessories.
5.The modern cheongsam or qipao is used as formal wear in many Chinese and normal celebrations and festivities. It is also used as a standard uniform in many Chinese and Chinese-themed companies and schools.