Vietnamese Ao Dai - A traditional costume of the Vietnamese

Vietnamese ao dai - A traditional costume of the Vietnamese is regarded as a cultural icon connected to the perception of Vietnamese women. The Vietnamese ao dai has undergone several changes throughout the years while continuing to have its original elements. It inspires pride and elevates Vietnamese women's graceful and soft attractiveness.

1. What is Vietnam's traditional dress?

Ao Dai is Vietnam's most popular and widely recognized national costume, and the Ao Dai is a symbol of national pride. It leaves a lasting impression on anyone who comes and visits the place. Featuring a bouncy hemline top on wide-leg trousers that reach the bottom of the foot and touch the floor, this skirt style covers almost the entire body in soft fabric. But with the slits on the skirt extending past the waist for easy and comfortable movement. Although there are many variations in color and collar style, the dress still follows the typical two-piece garment design of a fitted tunic with a high collar that splits the front and back from the waist to the backdown.

The overall ao dai exudes grace, gentleness, and beauty. Such symbolism has its roots in Vietnamese history, and as time has passed, Vietnamese people from all walks of life have continued to wear the costume and accept what it stands for.  Although this costume is for both men and women, men rarely wear it, except for important occasions such as weddings and funerals. The way the dress is amazingly flattering on any figure will easily make a woman feel comfortable and confident in this beautiful outfit.


2. Different types of Vietnamese Ao Dai

There are many different types of Vietnamese ao dai depending on the style, material, color, and purpose of use. Here are some popular types of Vietnamese ao dai:

Innovative Ao Dai: This is a modern version of the traditional Ao Dai, with a simpler design, easy to wear, and suitable for many different occasions.
Silk Ao Dai: Ao Dai is made of soft, high-gloss silk material, often worn on important occasions such as weddings or festivals.

Wedding Ao Dai: Wedding dresses are usually made from high-quality silk and delicately embroidered flowers on the surface. This is a very beautiful and formal ao dai, often worn on the bride's wedding day.

Traditional Ao Dai: It is a traditional long dress, with a classic design, reaching to the heel and usually made of cotton or silk.
Ao Dai skirt: Ao Dai skirt is a combination of ao dai and skirt, creating a new style, suitable for party or street occasions.

Men's Ao Dai: Ao Dai is not only for women but also designed for men with a simple and elegant design. Men's Ao Dai is often worn in festivals or formal events.

3. How inseparable is it?

Vietnamese Ao Dai carries with it many special cultural meanings and values. First, it is a symbol of the sophistication, elegance, and beauty of Vietnamese traditional costumes. Ao Dai also shows the combination of East and West styles.

In addition, Ao Dai also carries with it the meaning of Vietnam's traditions and history. It is considered the traditional costume of Vietnamese women throughout the centuries, from the feudal period to the modern era. Ao Dai also plays an important role in traditional Vietnamese festival events, such as the Lunar New Year or Hue Festival. Ao Dai is also worn in important events such as weddings, wedding photography, funerals, and other occasions.

Finally, the Ao Dai also shows pride in the country and Vietnamese culture. It is a symbol of solidarity, love, and loyalty to the country, and has been handed down and preserved by generations of Vietnamese people throughout the centuries.


4. History of the traditional dress

No one knows when Ao Dai was born, or what shape it looks like because there are no recorded documents, and not many people study it. The earliest traces of the Vietnamese, according to the engraving on the face of the Ngoc Lu bronze drum several thousand years ago, show a woman in a two-piece ao dai.

4.1 Four-piece dress

For the sake of colleagues, people sew the Tu Than Ao Dai neatly with the two front flaps tied together, the back two flaps turning into a shirt. They have to pair two lapels at the back to create a flap. As a costume of the popular class, people often sew Tu Than Ao Dai with dark fabric to go to work. Urban women with less labor often wear tight clothing to distinguish them from the working poor. It is like a four-body dress, people sew it together into two front and back like ao dai.


4.2 Ao Dai Lemur

The bold breakthrough that contributes to today's ao dai design is the "Le Mur" ao dai created by Cat Tuong in 1939. Unlike the traditional wide-sleeved shirt, Le Mur slims down the muscular curves. with lots of details. like a bulging hand and neck. People at that time strongly condemned that image of ao dai, so only the modern style connoisseurs dared to wear it. By 1943, this style of clothing was gradually forgotten.

4.3 Madame Nhu Ao Dai

In the early 1960s, Mrs. Tran Thi Xuan, wife of Mr. Ngo Dinh Nhu, designed a long open-neck style, removing the collar. The famous Ao Dai named after Madame Nhu was strongly opposed to the fine customs and traditions of the society at that time.

4.4 Waist Ao Dai

In the 1960s, the Ao Dai at the waist challenged traditional views to become fashionable. At this time, women widely use comfortable bras. Urban women with an open mind want to show off their body curves through tight-fitting shirts.

4.5 Modern clothes

After the 1970s, renewed life made the Ao Dai forgotten. However, from 1970 onwards, Ao Dai returned with many different designs and materials through creative and innovative collections of designers. Costumes are innovated from traditional designs into wedding dresses, short skirts to wear with jeans…

5. The land of “Ao Dai”

5.1 Hue City

If you have the opportunity to come to Hue, an action not to be missed is to put on a beautiful Ao Dai, and transform into a gentle and elegant Hue girl,...With ao dai shops stretching along Mai streets. Thuc Loan, Ben Nghe, Nguyen Sinh Cung,… are crowded with visitors. If you only visit Hue for a day, even half a day, and want to own a Hue-style Ao Dai, visit the Ao Dai tailoring shops in the Citadel and choose the fast Ao Dai tailoring service within three hours, four hours.

The way to sew ao dai in Hue is different from many places, the tailor here pays attention to the hemline and is meticulous. The stitching around the hem of the shirt is drawn from the fabric of that shirt, so the colors are consistent, when worn on the body, the shirt is very flying, not revealing the thread and seam. Therefore, Hue Ao Dai is not only a pure costume but has become a tourist product of the ancient capital, making many tourists from far away often order for themselves an Ao Dai as a special gift from their ancestors Hue.


5.2 Ha Noi Capital City

From ancient times in the song of musician Hoang Duong until now, the Ao Dai has never been absent on the streets of Hanoi. In the early days of winter, the weather is beautiful and pleasing to people like this, Hanoi women are sloppy with ao dai. From Hoan Kiem Lake, around Phan Dinh Phung, Phung Hung, Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, Temple of Literature - Quoc Tu Giam to daisies gardens, …

The streets of Hanoi are colorful and soft with long dresses fluttering in the wind. Looking at the sisters, brothers, mothers, and grandmothers gently and confidently shining in the ao dai, we feel like we are playing happy music in our hearts. The city is more beautiful, lovely, and livable than ever.

6. How much is the “Ao Dai” cost

Ao dais range in price from VND350,000 (US$15) for the least costly to VND4,700,000  (US$200) for the most expensive. Bargaining is important because stores are located in the Old Quarter, which is a tourist hotspot.

7. Conclusion

With such a long history of development, the Vietnamese Ao Dai is more complete than ever. The ao dai holds a outstanding role in Vietnamese culture, representing the country's rich heritage and its people's sense of identity and pride.

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