“The traditional costumes of a country tell many stories about its history and culture. “
Vietnam is a multi ethnic country with 54 distinct groups and each with its own cultural heritage and specific styles of clothing. Common traits often include splendid color, seemingly contradicting one another in each outfit. When talking about Vietnamese traditionally costumes, many of you will be familiar with Ao Dai.
The "Ao dai" ("flowing tunic") has been the traditional dress for Vietnamese women since long ago. The word "ao dai" was originally applied to the outfit worn at the court of the Nguyen Lords at Hue in the 18th century. This outfit evolved into the Ao Ngu Than, a five-paneled aristocratic gown worn from 19th to early 20th centuries. In the 1950s, Saigon designers tightened the fit to produce the version worn by Vietnamese women today.
Nowadays, Women preferred Ao Dai more than men.But men wear also wear during New Year time. There is a small difference that the male dress extends only to the knees (while for the female is up to over the ankles). You can encounter Vietnamese women in the Ao Dai in every corner of country. Ao Dai, literally means long dress, it has long trousers and a two-flap dress with different colors and patterns.
Ao Dai is a long flowing tunic that consists of only 2 parts. It is wearing over a loose-fitting pair of either white, black, or colored pants. However, the white pants are more popular over the others. The dress splits into a front and back panel from the waist down. It is also buttoned down on the 1eft side to the waist. There are many stylish variations in color and collar design.
The specialty of the Ao Dai is a tight-fitting dress which magnifies the beautiful curves of a woman’s body. The slits on both sides up to the waist create a charming and unique cut that is classically flattering. Today, designers have created many new styles of ao dai, diversifying this costume.
Modern Vietnamese women usually wear the ao dai for special occasions such as Tet (Vietnamese New Year), weddings, festivals, and ceremonies. In public high schools, schoolgirls have to wear the white ao dai twice a week, on Monday and on an optional weekday. High school female teachers also have to wear the ao dai when they are in class, but they can choose the color and style.
"Ao dai" is one of the few Vietnamese words that appear in English-language dictionaries. Academic commentary on the Ao Dai emphasizes the way the dress ties feminine beauty to Vietnamese nationalism. Yes, from the past to till now Vietnamese ladies are proving that ‘Elegance is the only beauty that never fades’ by wearing traditional “Ao Dai”.