In Vietnam, the national attire is called “Ao Dai”. Besides, there is a male and female Ao Dai, which differ in design. This costume looks remarkable on a wearer, especially on women, because it fits all the shapes of a body perfectly. But did you know that authentic Ao Dai was not sexy or attractive at all? Until 1930, it used to be more baggy, the slits at the sides not as high, and the colors duller, so the outfit seemed pretty simple and ordinary. But modern women’s Ao Dai is anything but dull! We have other fun facts about Vietnamese folk dress here.
The Ao Dai is not a dress or long blouse but a full set of clothing. It consists of a blouse and loose trousers. And the blouse is never worn by itself, without pants underneath, even when the slit is low.
There is a special variation of Ao Dai for brides. It is called “Ao Dai Cuoi” and is elaborately decorated. Some modern Ao Dai Cuoi designs even may have a detachable cape for the bride to take it off after the official wedding ceremony. This style of Ao Dai can be adorned with lace, embroidered or printed flowers, etc. And, of course, it is often complemented with a special rounded bridal headdress.
Some high schools in Vietnam established Ao Dai as a compulsory school uniform. This tradition started in the 1980s. And, frankly speaking, a lot of Vietnamese students like this attire because it looks great and is pretty comfy to wear.
In the past, female Ao Dai used to be knee-length. As we can see, modern Ao Dai is usually longer – below-the-knee length, ankle-length, floor-length, or even may have a train.
There are some unusual designs of Ao Dai. For example, in 1968, “Ao Dai Hippy” was introduced to the public. This outfit was brightly colored and made in the flower child style or at least had some of the features.
Also, there is Ao Dai Mini, a practical version of the costume. It is knee-length and has high clits.
Vietnamese women often wear Ao Dai with high heels. They say such footwear looks perfectly with Ao Dai, like no other style of shoes.
Modern Vietnamese women usually wear Ao Dai for special occasions rather than in day-to-day life. It is perfect attire for weddings (as a wedding guest, not only for the bride), religious and festive ceremonies, national celebrations, festivals, etc.
The Ao Dai is often paired with a traditional Vietnamese conical hat. And we’re talking about contemporary garments, not just vintage pieces.