The Origins of the Modern Cheongsam, 1920s presents the modernised cheongsam as worn by the educated elite. The style in the 1920s signifies a period of liberation, with the burgeoning of new ideas and thoughts on the role of women. The cheongsam of the 1920s was loose; the sleeves were wide, and the overall look, simple.
1920 to 1940s saw a stronger sense of modernisation and the embrace of western fashion concepts with narrower and shorter sleeves, the use of imported fabrics such as silk crepe, georgette and chiffon, and the use of geometric, floral and Art Deco motifs. The cheongsam was a popular garb for teachers, wives of wealthy businessmen, young girls, and the Peranakans, as it was associated with modernity.
The Golden Period of Cheongsam in Singapore, 1950s to 1960s represents the evolution of the cheongsam to a popular everyday wear for the working woman, showing a significant shift in the identity of women from a traditional home-maker to the modern working female as a result of the country’s changing political, economic and social climate after World War II.