A while back, I was trying to figure out how a Chinese person could wear a qipao (also known as a cheong sam - traditional Chinese dress) without looking like a waitress or someone in fancy dress. Then I saw Eurobrat's post on trying on a Cavalli S/S06-esque qipao dress from Zara which then prompted me to do a further search into the possibility of wearing a qipao that doesn't look hokey or cheap. Of course, for people living in countries with the luxury of affordable tailors, the best option would be to choose a tasteful fabric and have a qipao made up for you - a service that I haven't really taken advantage of even when I'm in Hong Kong.
So then, I came across these sweet dresses from Hong Kong Soho boutique May May King that are available to order internationally. I vaguely remember passing this store since it's practically on my doorstep but never had a chance to peek inside, so it's great that it has a very pro-looking website (so many boutiques in Hong Kong don't!). These qi pao's in less than conventional fabrics, come in a variety of other fabrics too. From the website, I gather that they're quite flexible so I think asking them for fabric samples might not be a problem. I'm really loving the qipaos in black crochet and the 18th century English woodcut fabric too - definitely not getting any 'hostess/waitress' vibes from them!