Image: Her World Brides LUXE. Cheongsam: Emanuel B. Couture
#1 IT SHOULD BE FITTING, NOT TIGHT
You’ll be walking and moving throughout the day, and especially if you’re donning it for the tea ceremony, make sure it isn’t so tight you can’t kneel, sit or eat properly. When you’re trying on your cheongsam or having it fitted, try sitting down and make sure it doesn’t ride up too much. You should also be able to cross your legs with ease.
“The precision of the cut and a flattering fit makes for a beautiful cheongsam.” – Goh Lai Chan, owner of LAI CHAN
#2 NOTE THE COLLAR
Deeper collars would suit brides with long necks. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to give up the look if you’ve got a shorter neck. “Those with shorter necks can consider collars that are slightly shallower at the front to visually elongate the neck,” says Elaine of Emanuel B. Couture.
#3 KNOW YOUR BODY SHAPE
Pear-shaped? Try an A-line skirt. Or you can go for a looser fit-and-flare with a slit in front so that it doesn’t cling as much, but you’ll still get a shapely silhouette, recommends Elaine.
“For petite brides, floor length designs with no dividing lines give the illusion of height.”
Image: Her World Brides LUXE. Cheongsam with drop waist and A-line skirt, Emanuel B. Couture
#4 CAPPED SLEEVES OR NO?
Many cheongsams come with capped sleeves, which give a classic and graceful look. But if you have fuller arms, capped sleeves can give the illusion of bulk. Other than covering up with half or three-quarter sleeves, sleeveless designs can help make arms look longer and leaner. Got toned shoulders? Flaunt them in halter or racer-back styles.
(Follow these 5 easy steps for sculpted arms.)
#5 FABRICS MATTER
A fabric with stretch or bias-cut fabrics (which Lai Chan is known for) mould beautifully to the figure and drape better so unsightly creases are lessened. Heavier fabrics like brocades and jacquards hold their shape better, if you’re concerned about soft, stretchy fabrics highlighting lumps and bumps.
#6 MAKE IT MODERN
Designers have reinterpreted the cheongsam in many ways, from sheer panels to experimenting with various shapes. But the key is not to veer too far from the traditional and elegant silhouette.
“While making cheongsams contemporary is important, I don’t think they should be so deconstructed that they become unrecognisable. To me, there should be a certain balance. There is no point in breaking every rule. If you are going to cook nasi lemak with no rice, chilli, or coconut, then it’s not nasi lemak. For cheongsams, you can explore and break certain rules, but at the same time you must stick to some basic discipline,” Lai Chan says (in an interview with Her World).