Cheongsam (长衫) is typical, traditional clothing for Chinese women. Also known as Qipao (Ch'ipau).
A cheongsam usually has two long slits at either side of the hem for convenient movement and display of the legs. Unlike a short skirt, the slits of cheongsam show a woman's legs when she walks.
A more formal description is: a longer, figure-fitting, one piece garment with a standing collar, an asymmetric left-over-right opening (youren) and two side slits.
The modern Cheongsam was developed in Shanghai in the 1920s. Several alterations have been made to the design. It was popular in China from the 1920s to 1940s, as many noble and high-class women wore it. Although the cheongsam is thought to be traditional Chinese clothing, it is modern.
The traditional Qipao evolved from Manchu women's Changpao during the Qing Dynasty.