Plaid Chinese Dress: 1920s Mandarin Gown with a Modern Touch

Mandarin gowns (or Cheongsam, Qipao), are iconic Chinese dresses that reached their peak in popularity in the 1920s and the 1930s in Shanghai. About a century later, they are still loved by the ladies in China. This midi plaid Chinese dress is a souvenir from my recent trip to China, and a newly added gem to my closet.

Plaid Chinese Dress Midi Qipao Modern Look with Kate Spade Clutch

A traditional dress that embeds an old eastern culture is difficult to style for modern days in the west. Maybe that’s why I have never owned a Mandarin gown. However, things changed this year when my mom took me dress shopping for my upcoming Chinese style wedding. After trying on many beautifully made Mandarin gowns, I couldn’t help but wanting to incorporate these timeless dresses into my closet.

Plaid Qipao
Plaid Cheongsam Chinese Dress Sitting on a Stool

Besides my wedding day Mandarin gown, I also bought three casual Chinese dresses that are easier to style for daily use for different seasons. The midi Qipao I’m wearing is great for spring.

Midi Chinese Dress in Red Plaid

Traditionally, Chinese dresses are made of silk, cotton and wool. Today they are made in many other materials including synthetic fibers like polyester. A 100% silk Mandarin gown usually costs more than a similar one that’s made of 100% polyester. I have both kinds and you can really tell the difference in person by the way it looks and feels. For special events, I’d suggest choosing one that’s made of silk: it looks more beautiful with a natural shine on the surface; and it is better for the planet since it’s bio-degradable. Another natural choice can be cotton which is like the one I’m wearing.

Red Plaid Detail on Chinese Dress

Shop the Look

Midi Chinese Dress : Bought in China.
Similar midi Qipao in cotton from YesStyle* in multiple color choices, under $45

Leather Block Heels: Franco Sarto (size 5.5M, tts, also worn in this outfit)

Leather Clutch: Kate Spade New York Year of the Pig collection (sold out, similar clutch)

Pig Ottoman: Amazon (I’m using this whimsical ottoman as a bedside table)

*YesStyle is an online store that sells fashion and beauty products from Asia. I have been using it here and there for about 3 years. US shipping is free for orders over $35. A down side is that you need to cover the shipping fee if you decide to return, and the refund is in store credits only. Yet with so much cute stuff there it’s easy to use the store credits.


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