The cheongsam invented in Shanghai is a modernized version of the traditional qipao, a garment worn by Chinese women since the 17th century. While the original qipao was wide and loose, the version invented in the 1920s was form-fitting, and cut high on the sides. The dress was first worn by socialites and courtesans, and soon became immensely popular. By the 1950s, cheongsams were also made in materials like wool and twill for women to wear in the workplace. The dress also became briefly popular in the West during the 1960s.

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