Vietnamese Traditional Clothing

Despite its obvious significance, clothing is rarely mentioned in discussions about culture. Vietnam’s cultural variety means that its traditional attire has its own distinct design. Many different fashions may be seen in Vietnam, united solely by a love of contrasting colors and bold designs.

Many of you may only be familiar with the ao dai when I mention Vietnamese traditional clothing. There are many other incredible traditional costumes in Vietnam besides the ao dai, such as the ao tu than, the ao tac, and the ao ba ba. There’s no denying the ao dai’s international and domestic fame, but now I’d want to tell you a little bit more about our other traditional garments.

Vietnamese Traditional Clothing

In this article, we will go over Vietnamese traditional clothing

Traditional Vietnamese Dress

Vietnam’s long history of interaction with other cultures means that the country’s attire reflects a blend of indigenous and foreign styles. Because of these factors, a unique Vietnamese fashion trend emerged.

1. Ao Dai for man

The Ao Dai continues to be the most prevalent and well-liked style of traditional clothing worn by the vast majority of Vietnamese people, regardless of gender. The Ao Dai is a long tunic for men that is traditionally fashioned from silk. It has a typical high collar at the neck and buttons that go down the left side of the tunic so that it can be fastened.

Male tunics are typically divided at the sides to the waist, and they are worn with loose pants below. The length of the tunic is typically just below the knees.

2. Ao Dai for Women

The Ao Dai for women is cut differently than the men’s version; it’s more like a frock than a tunic. The female Ao Dai shares numerous characteristics with its male counterpart, but it differs in that it is worn much closer to the body and ends at the ankles rather than the knees.

There are two primary variations of the Ao Dai, one with four separate flaps that button together at the front, and the other with an additional flap that fastens at the right side. The Ao Dai is worn with a long skirt and a cap made of leaves or a head scarf in the northern part of Vietnam. The Ao Dai is typically worn over baggy, brightly colored slacks in the south. From the waist down, the front and back of a Southern Ao Dai are divided into two panels, while the sides of a Northern Ao Dai are often left completely uncut. 

Women in the Mekong Delta area wear a distinctive traditional dress style known as the Ao Ba Ba, which is not seen anywhere else in the country. The costume is a long shirt that is one piece in the back and two sections in the front, with straps that go from the neck to the waist. In most cases, this complex item is paired with long, loose-fitting black or white slacks that end just above the ankles.

3. Ao Tu Than

The ao tu than has two long front than and two long back than. Like the four main flaps of an ao dai from the first generation, the meaning of these thans is to honor one’s biological and spouse’s sets of parents. The ao tu than also lacks the fifth inner flap and the corresponding buttons. To make an ao tu than, four pieces of cloth are joined together (of the same or contrasting hue), but the ends are left open. Yem, a type of bodice, is worn under a light shirt. A silk sash is worn around the women’s waists. The ao tu than is the top garment worn. No buttons mean the wearer ties the two front flaps over their midsection, leaving them slack for a more relaxed fit.

Underneath the ao tu than is a long, floor-grazing black skirt. One of the most common additions to an ao tu than is a non quai thao, a large flat palm hat. Natural materials such as the dye yam, tropical almond leaves, and mud were once used to impart color to ao tu than. Many vibrant colors have been used to dye ao tu than, which has enhanced its aesthetic appeal.

Back in the day, northern women wore ao tu than as their everyday wear. Northern Vietnamese women still wear the ao dai nowadays, but only on special occasions like when they perform quan ho, a genre of Vietnamese folk music.

4. Ao Tac

To put it simply, the ao tac is a style of the ao dai that differs from the original by virtue of its free and roomy sleeves. Since ao tac was worn by everyone from the aristocracy and government to the middle and working classes, it is widely regarded as the Nguyen Dynasty’s official national costume.

The Vietnamese traditional dress known as an ao tac was worn for religious and cultural events as well as special occasions like weddings, funerals, Tet, and other memorials. Color choice is up to you, but remember to consider the event you’re attending. Because the sleeves of an ao tac are so long and loose, it is proper etiquette to fold them in front of the stomach. This is done to demonstrate modesty, respect, and elegance in times of high stakes.

The ao tac is a variation on the five-flap gown that, like the ao dai, features a standing and round collar. The fabric can be left blank or adorned with woven patterns. Layered beneath the ao tac was the ao dai, a five-flap gown with a high neck. The ao tac was once a luxurious costume used exclusively on special occasions, thus the base layer of clothing was worn to safeguard the ao tac. Men traditionally wore white against their skin, but women were allowed to wear any color they pleased. Wearing a turban that is wrapped around the head complements this ensemble.

Today, ao tac are still worn by Vietnamese people at ceremonies honoring the dead, celebrating life, and celebrating weddings and funerals. The ao tac is one of the outfits getting a makeover, and now it may be worn whenever you like rather than just for special occasions.

5. Ao Ba Ba

Note that the correct spelling of this name is áo bà ba. The tone of the phrase ba is slightly different. The term “ao ba ba” translates to “madam Ba’s blouse.” There are numerous theories on where ao ba ba came from, but I have a good one to share with you now.

You can button it all the way from the top of your head to your stomach, and it’s just a basic short shirt with long sleeves. O bà ba always goes with long silk pants. This set’s hues can be customized to suit the wearers’ tastes and preferences. The o bà ba is a common rural dress in Vietnam, especially in the southwest. It’s a common sight to see folks from the Southwest participating in various activities while wearing this shirt.

Final Word

Compared to other national costumes, Ao Dai may be a more modern innovation. Because of their high-quality construction and eye-catching aesthetic, they have gained widespread recognition and admiration.

If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam, be sure to stop by one of the many costume rental shops available for use in the country’s top photo shoots. After returning home from Vietnam, nothing will bring back incredible memories like a fantastic portrait set in native costume.

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