The cheongsam is a body-hugging one-piece Chinese dress for women; the male version is the changshan. It is known in Mandarin Chinese as the qípáo, and is also known in English as a mandarin gown.
The original qipao was wide and loose. It covered most of the woman’s body, revealing only the head, hands, and the tips of the toes. The baggy nature of the clothing also served to conceal the figure of the wearer regardless of age. With time, though, the qipao were tailored to become more form fitting and revealing. The Shanghai style of the cheongsam functions now mostly as a stylish party dress. The stylish and often tight-fitting cheongsam or qipao was created in the 1920s in Shanghai and was made fashionable by socialites and upper-class women.