If you know anything about Vietnamese culture and clothing, you’ve likely already heard the term “Ao Dai” before. If not, you might be wondering exactly what the Vietnamese Ao Dai is. With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide as to everything you need to know about this ancient Vietnamese traditional dress.
What is the Vietnamese Ao Dai?
The Ao Dai is a common fashion garment worn by women across Vietnam and has been for many years. Throughout its time, it has also faced political controversy for what it represents but is now openly welcomed by the government of Vietnam.
The Ao Dai is a long gown worn with trousers that was designed as a symbol of the reign of Nguyen Phuc Khoat for southern women to wear. It was designed to separate women from those of the rival country in the north. The idea behind the garment was taken from the traditional “Cham”. The country was invaded by Vietnamese and hence the Ao Dai was born from what was the Cham’s traditional clothing.
In some other respects, the Ao Dai has been recognised as a variation of the Ao Tu. The exact origins of the Ao Dai aren’t completely known. However, it has been a popular garment across Vietnam for many centuries.
The Ao Dai gained significant significance as a part of the campaign for women’s rights in the country. The ruling communist party saw the piece of clothing as a capitalist defiance against the communist rule. This stigma against the Ao Dai continued until the government officially recognised it again in the 1980s.
The Modern Ao Dai
The Vietnamese Ao Dai has had something of a bumpy past, that’s for certain. However, its place today is less politically relevant and it’s more seen as a common piece of clothing for women to wear for special occasions across the country in the modern day.
The Ao Dai is commonly worn for celebratory events, including high school proms, weddings and other events of significance nowadays.
It has also become a popular piece of clothing for everyday where. Many Vietnamese companies require their female staff to wear Ao Dai, including flight attendants, receptionists, bank staff and hotel workers. The modern Ao Dai’s popularity is huge and it can be found in most fashion retailers in Vietnam. Now shaken from politically controversy, the beautiful garment can simply be worn by Vietnamese women.
The Ao Dai and variations of the Vietnamese Ao Dai have spread to other countries across the globe and is becoming more and more common in the United States. Ao Dai are becoming more and more fashion focused with variations becoming more common. In the future, the Ao Dai is sure to adapt more as Vietnamese culture does.
If you’re looking for a quintessential garment that pretty much summarizes Vietnamese female fashion, the Ao Dai does just that. It’s symbolic past is one that has truly shaken Vietnam’s political scene, but it’s also just a piece of clothing that looks great and is easily recognizable across Vietnam.
Where To Buy Vietnam’s Ao Dai?
Right from the Source – Visiting Vietnam
The best way to get a modern ao dai is obviously going to the source – straight to Vietnam. It may not necessarily be a good idea to go there just for an ao dai, unless you plan to invest in a really expensive one. As you get to Vietnam, you can just as well take a few days off and enjoy a vacation.
The best part about getting a ao dai tailored in Vietnam is the possibility to get it perfectly done. There is no room for misinterpretations. Besides, knowing that you wear a traditional handmade piece of apparel will also add to your uniqueness and appreciation toward unique fashion.
On a side note, unless you buy a ao dai on one of your vacations, reaching to Vietnam for some clothes is not necessarily the wisest idea. Not only you will have to spend at least a few days in there, but you also need to do some research and find the best tailors.
The Easy Way – Ordering Online
You do not necessarily need to go to Vietnam for a ao dai. Instead, you can just as well order online. Rely on a professional store that will actually provide silk clothing or other quality materials. Ideally, you should stick to reputable websites like Amazon.
You can do it from the comfort of your home, then get the ao dai adjusted at a local tailor. Also, ordering online is usually way cheaper than going to Vietnam personally. You also have more choices in terms of materials and designs.
On a negative note, ordering online does not allow you to touch and feel the material before doing it, so be extremely careful who you buy from if you truly want quality.
As a short final conclusion, a modern ao dai can certainly turn plenty of heads down the street, especially if tailored by a professional and adjusted accordingly. Where to buy it from is solely your responsibility though, yet the good news is that you do have options