The Ao Dai is the traditional garment of Vietnam. It’s typically worn by Vietnamese women, but can also be worn by Vietnamese men. The word “Ao” means shirt and “Dai” means long in the Vietnamese language; so put together, it literally translates to “long dress.” This is because it looks like a long shirt with wide sleeves that flows out into a skirt at the bottom. Ao Dai are made of silk or cotton and usually come in white, black or blue colors.
The first Ao Dai was created by the Nguyen Dynasty in 18th century. This significant garment is a reflection of Vietnam’s ability to adopt and transform different cultures during their history as they constantly had to defend themselves against foreigners. The style has since evolved from having loose fitting, traditional Vietnamese styles into more fitted clothing with modern designs inspired by Western trends that are more flattering for women today while still retaining its cultural identity through asymmetrical hemlines and ikat fabric patterns on lightweight cotton materials.
The Ao Dai is usually worn with simple jewelry like earrings, bracelets or necklaces. Women are typically barefoot while men often wear sandals, shoes and slippers. Men will also sometimes wrap their thong around the waist for modesty to cover up certain parts of their bodies from view before getting dressed in an Ao Dai.
The Ao Dai is typically worn on special occasions like weddings or formal dinners, as it’s considered to be “high fashion” and has the highest level of formality out of all traditional Vietnamese clothing options. It can also be used for day wear in certain circumstances when paired with a blouse underneath that covers up part of the skirt. The dress looks great without anything under it too because its long sleeves flow down into an elegant floor-length gown, but this look usually calls for more fancy jewelry than just earrings alone!
The Ao Dai for men have not changed much over time. It is now worn only during traditional ceremonies and mostly by older generations of males. When the masculinity and practicality of Western men’s clothing has been eagerly embraced by Vietnamese men, what is to be expected other than for them to return back in time? The Ao Dai for men may have become an item of nostalgic value today but it will be a trend that future generations can look forward too.
The Ao Dai is at the center of Vietnamese culture and entertainment. Famous designers have devoted their careers to developing new looks for this traditional garment, which has become a staple in both Vietnam as well as among communities around the world with large populations of Vietnamese immigrants!
The women’s Ao Dai is a cultural metamorphosis that, as typically Vietnamese, combines Western elements of fashion and aesthetics to become distinctly Vietnamese. Ao dai can be considered as one that merges both Eastern culture with Western elements to produce uniquely Vietnamese product which has been adopted by many over time.