My inspiration for this look came from my love for old Chinese advertising art from the 1920s-1940s. Just as in the West during those decades, many talented Shanghai artists made their living painting beautiful calendar girls (called yufenpai) to sell everything from cosmetics to insect repellant. These girls, often languid and always gorgeously attired, seemed to glow from the paper they were printed on. I’m just mad for them–you can see many more by scrolling to the bottom of this post!
This style of dress is called a cheongsam or qipao.A marriage between traditional garments and Western styles, the modern cheongsam was first created in 1920s Shanghai. Worn by educated women, actresses, and courtesans, the cheongsam of the 20’s was still a loose garment with flowing sleeves.
It wasn’t until the 1930’s that the cheongsam we know today began to materialize: during this time, it began to hug the body. The high leg-slits made their first appearance, and the loose sleeves of the 20’s gave way to cap sleeves or none at all.
I adore mine—the embroidery is especially beautiful in person! I bought it on Ebay for about $34 from a Chinese seller. In my experience, cheongsam tend to run small (especially in the ribcage), so you may want to order a size up from the one you think you’d wear or ask the seller to give you a flat measurement of the ribcage area.
If you’d like to work this look into your casual everyday wardrobe, perhaps a blouse like the one above would be right up your alley! I found this beauty on chinasprout.com—they ship from New York and the prices are very good. They have a lot of beautiful tops and cheongsam as well. Most of them are sleeveless or cap-sleeved (no more forgiving than sleeveless), but will look lovely with a pair of Sleevey Wonders!
I’d like to share with you a gallery of Shanghai Posters that I collected while researching this post–I found most of them the Chinese web. Many of these don’t turn up on the English web, and the ones that do are usually lower quality. Enjoy!
Fizzyfiiz’s picture post of the In The Mood For Cheongsam exhibit at the National Museum of Singapore really helped me understand the details of how the cheongsam changed over time: http://bit.ly/KyfRe5
Information on the English web about Shanghai Posters is pretty scarce and repetitive. The links below have by far the most in-depth information on these posters of anything I could find).
Old Orient Museum–Beautiful presentation of many digitally restored posters, pinups, and early Japanese photography. Best general overview on the English web: http://bit.ly/JJ1sPS
Sections of the following two books can be viewed on Google Books:
Shanghai Girl Gets All Dressed Up (this book looks fun–it covers the Shanghai of the 30′s, its fashion, and explores the lives of wealthy and glamorous women): http://bit.ly/KwJagS
Selling Happiness: Calendar Posters and Visual Culture in Early-Twentieth Century Shanghai (very detailed history of Shanghai Posters, the artists who made them, and the artistic techniques they used): http://bit.ly/IXY54O
The Representation of Modern Women in Yuefenpai in 1920s and 1930s Shanghai (a thesis): http://bit.ly/If4ERE
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We at Sleevey Wonders are proud to have been involved with February’s New York Fashion Week! NY Fashion Week is a prestigious fashion industry event where designers unveil their new collections, and people at all levels of the industry network at conferences and glamorous parties.
Did we have a runway show? Well…not quite yet!
However, Sleevey Wonders adorned the lovely arms of the extraordinarily successful fashion blogger La Carmina as she spoke on a panel at the Independent Fashion Bloggers Conference, giving advice about how to make it as a professional fashion blogger. We also were chosen to be a sponsor of Melimoda.com’s launch party.
“I’m in love with my lace sleeves, a gift from Sleevey Wonders. Since I dislike wearing heavy blouses under sleeveless dresses […], these garments are an elegant solution. Made with 4-way stretch fabric, they transform the same dress into a completely different look (a clever way to expand your wardrobe). And the design is slimming: no Photoshop!”
La Carmina is a specimen of a rare species: a blogger who actually makes a living at it. Moreover, she’s considered one of the most influential in the world: she was one of 40 fashion bloggers, honored as the 40 most influential in the world, who were flown to LuisaViaRoma’s Firenze4Ever (Italy’s Fashion Week) in both 2011 & 2012.
See how Sleevey Wonders look in movement, & listen to La Carmina’s inspiring story about how her fashion blogging led to a career:
We loved La Carmina’s outfit, and how she paired a patterned dress with the Black Lace Sleeveys. Even if your own style is more subdued, you can experiment with combining patterns! Try out your Lace Sleeveys with some of your patterned clothes—you’d be surprised what works!
The photo below is from the Melimoda launch party—there we are on the red carpet background, listed as a sponsor!
We gave Melimoda our brochures and coupons to include in their gift bags for guests. Melimoda.com is a new fashion social networking site for clothing brands, designers, buyers, and fashion lovers to connect with each other. We (Jenny and Ruthann) have both signed up and think that it’s very promising; it can only be a good thing to break down the barriers between high fashion designers and their customers.
We at Sleevey Wonders are thrilled to have been included in gift baskets that were given to the 2012 Grammy nominees and presenters who stayed at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills! The baskets, which included a voucher for a free pair of Sleevey Wonders went to the following celebrities:
Isaac Slade (The Fray)
Ben Wysocki (The Fray)
Rob Affuso (Skid Row Drummer)
LL Cool J
Katy Perry (did not stay at the hotel but we got her one)
Dave Grohl (did not stay at the hotel but we gifted him one)
The Band Perry
Plus 7 Mystery Celebrities who checked in under pseudonyms. Go ahead and fill these spots in with the names of your favorite performers or presenters who were at the Grammys this year—it may very well actually be true!
Additionally, 2 baskets went to People Magazine, one to charity, and one was given away as part of a radio promotion. Hollywood Baskets, who put the baskets together, provided this list and provided us with the amazing opportunity to participate in such an exciting project!
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Filmed in Seattle on the anniversary of Japan’s tragic earthquake/tsunami disaster, the video is an exuberant celebration of Japan’s vibrant pop culture and street fashion.
La Carmina and her pals made signs, danced around downtown Seattle, and took donations from passerby. Doesn’t she look beautiful?:
Their efforts were inspired by Ridley Scott’s Japan in a Day project, and they are submitting their many hours of footage to be considered for inclusion in Scott’s upcoming documentary. The documentary, being made in conjunction with Fuji TV, will focus what people in Japan and around the world were doing on the one year anniversary of Japan’s disaster.
Ridley Scott (who directed such films as Bladerunner and Alien) is producing Japan in a Day, which will air on Japanese television. However, he’ll also be using submitted footage to make a film that will be released worldwide. We at Sleevey Wonders are keeping our fingers crossed for you guys!
La Carmina is an alternative fashion/subcultures blogger, travel TV host, author of 3 books, designer and journalist for AOL Travel / Huffington Post. Her popular blog – http://www.lacarmina.com/blog – has been featured in major publications (The New Yorker, Washington Post, WWD, Village Voice, Cosmopolitan, Time Out New York, LA Times). She is a travel and pop culture journalist for CNN, Huffington Post, AOL and Lip Service. She was one of the 40 world’s top fashion bloggers to be flown to LuisaViaRoma’s event in Italy.
The video was made in collaboration with tank9 and Mary 9, whose Youtube dance videos have garnered them a large number of subscribers.
Hi! This is the official blog of Sleevey Wonders! Anyone could be forgiven for wondering why a business needs a blog, or for thinking that most businesses’ blogs are just a vehicle for pushing their products. Indeed, most of them are; we’re aiming to be different. How so? Read on!
We not only want to help you beautify your arms and expand your wardrobe with Sleevey Wonders, we want to help you beautify your life and expand your horizons with this blog. So while some of the content of this blog will be about Sleevey Wonders (news and announcements, exclusive special sales for our readers, photo sets of outfits we’ve created from our own wardrobes based around a pair of Sleevey Wonders, styling suggestions, photos of our customers, etc), our scope will be broader than that.
Each of us at Sleevey Wonders will share our own tips and tricks with you, from our own areas of expertise: Ruthann is amazingly good at integrating creativity into all areas of life–you should see the recipes she makes up! Jenny E. is a seasoned online clothing shopper who never knows how to answer when people ask her where she shops, because she buys clothes from so many different places. She’ll teach you her search techniques and how she gets beautiful, well-made clothing (sometimes designer) very cheaply.
We want to share with you everything that we know about how to make life more beautiful, more fun, more creative. We’d love for you to share those things with us, as well–we’re really looking forward to it!!! Four easy ways to keep up with the Sleevey Wonders blog: