The Qipao is a female dress with distinctive Chinese features and enjoys a growing popularity in the international world of high fashion.
It is also named "cheongsam," meaning simply "long dress," entered the English vocabulary from the dialect of China's Guangdong Province (Cantonese). In other parts of the country including Beijing, however, it is known as "qipao", which has a history behind it. Please read <Qipao History>
Qipao and cheongsam both refer to a one- or two-piece dress of Chinese origin. As a garment, it is designed mostly for women. It is often seen as the quintessential Chinese national dress.
The main difference between the two words is their linguistic origin.
Cheongsam is the English version of the Cantonese cheuhngsaam (which means long dress). The Cantonese cheuhngsaam is used in the southern part of China while the qipao is used in the northern part of the country. Eventually, the Cantonese cheuhngsaam came to Shanghai and evolved into the English cheongsam.
Another English term for this dress is “mandarin gown.”