Frocking Friday the Third – In the Mood for Cheongsams (and Longer Legs)

We have a new dress code at work. Nothing transparent. No dresses above mid-thigh. Absolutely NO fishnets with short skirts.

The new dress code causes me quite a bit of stress as it requires me to exercise aesthetic and spatial judgements first thing in the morning. Not since the days of being at school have I been so careful to check and double check my back, front and side views.

To take some of the stress off, I have been trying to wear longer dresses. Of course, longer dresses, little legs and Sydney summer humidity are not a happy match for each other so last week I fell back on the old long-dress-with-side-splits-to-catch-the-wind-and-yet-still-give-enough-coverage-to-avoid-the-need-for-hosiery look.

Actually, let’s not obfuscate around the bush here – I was in fact indulging myself in my cheongsam obsession. Pure and simple.

Cheongsam from thrift store. Date Worn: Friday 21 January 2011

My love of cheongsams dates back to early Bond movies (Miss Taro anyone?) but my  lust for them grew in earnest after watching Kar Wai Wong’s film “In the Mood for Love” (2000).

In that film, Maggie Cheung appears in a succession of over 30 different designer cheongsams each more elegant than the last.

Try as I might, I am not a patch on Maggie (particularly as I have never once seen her with an escapee bra strap)

Cheongsams are not easy to put on. There are lots of poppers and brocade buttons to contend with. Once on cheongsams are quite hard to pull off,  particularly for short caucasian persons with curvy bottoms like me. The poppers and brocade buttons have a tendency to unpop and unbutton you see.

The trick is, of course, to have them tailored exactly to fit your shape.  This can cost up to $5,000.00 which seems like a lot of money until you see what happens to celebrities who have cheongsam side splits gaping in awkward places.

Until such times as I can have one custom made, I have been collecting cheongsams from thrift stores and eBay. I don’t wear them often and without Frocking Fridays, I probably wouldn’t have worn this one outside the house. Looking at the photos I am disappointed to note that the length of the cheongsam makes me look shorter and dumpier than I think I am. The low heeled shoes don’t help of course.

Without looking at the photos though and listening to the swish of the split skirt and satin chrysanthemums, for a moment I can (just) imagine that I am Maggie undulating in silk and sighs down dark alleyways.

18 thoughts on “Frocking Friday the Third – In the Mood for Cheongsams (and Longer Legs)

  1. I think you rock the long cheongsam smashingly.

    I am however at a loss at to why Your Workplace would have taken to instituting such fashion-restrictive directives 😉

  2. Oh, that’s just absolutely beautiful – I think I’m going to have to hit up eBay and see if I can find myself one now. Might have to find somewhere to wear it first though!

    • Yay! I am glad you like it Amber. With your colouring and very slender frame and would easily get away with wearing the long or short versions anywhere. Although perhaps with the Scottish winter weather, not for a wee while yet.

      I am looking forward very much to your new Shoe Challenge.

  3. Not sure where you get off calling yourself “dumpy.” You are anything but. Are all the women in Australia built like willow trees? I didn’t think so but…

    I think you look fabulous and are too hard on yourself. And the dress is lovely. But when you started talking about all the buttons etc. it made me wonder how hard it is when it’s time to visit the “loo” (is that what you call it?) – since bathroom breaks are required every couple of hours for me (I drink a lot of water) I don’t know that I could manage one of these dresses.

    In any case, quit being so hard on yourself. You look fabulous dahling.

    • Hi Anne

      I’ve been having a Nothing Fits sort of a week. Humidity plus post Christmas excess.

      The poppers are mostly around the neck, bust and shoulders but yes, turning your body to get the toilet paper would compromise the fastenings.

  4. They’re not silk, but you can get these style dresses tailor-shaped to your body at Paddy’s markets (i’ve got a couple). The dress costs around $40 and if you pay an extra $10 they pin it for you (a little embarassing since you’re in public at the markets and there aren’t any change rooms). Then you pick it up the next week.
    The only problem is sitting down in them 😉

  5. Hi L&S,
    I love your blog but it always wrecks havoc on my attention span. Now I have a new fetish, Cheongsams. I just downloaded “In The Mood…. ” too. Now what was I supposed to be doing? You look absolutely dashing in that thing. Besides, what does Maggie know from blogs?

    • Good afternoon Alphonse and an official welcome to Law and Shoes. I would give you a virtual tour but it sounds like you have been round these parts. It is always gratifying to know that there are other easily distracted people out there. Did you enjoy the film?

  6. thank God for the dress code then! You have the figure that cheongsams were designed for. They have been my favourite dress for a long time.

    I guess fingernail parade is next at work

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