The “Ao Dai” is a traditional dress of Vietnam. It is one of the symbols of Vietnam. When one hears about Vietnam, the word “Ao Dai” will most probably be mentioned.
Early versions of the “Ao Dai” date back to 1744 when Lord Vu Vuong of the Nguyen Dynasty decided both men and women should wear an outfit of pants and a gown that buttoned down the front. What wasn’t, until 1930 that “Ao Dai”appear similar to what it looks today. Now, Men wear it less, generally only on ceremonial occasions such as weddings or funerals. During the 1950s two tailors in Saigon started producing “Ao Dai”with raglan sleeves. This creates a diagonal seam running from the collar to the underarm. This style is still preferred today
“Ao Dai”is made individually to fit each customer’s shape to create the most flasttering look. Its body-hugging top flows over wide trousers that brush the floor. The pants should reach the soles of the feet and flow along the floor. Splits in the gown extend well above waist height and make it comfortable and easy to move in.
Comfortability is always taken into account for fashions and beauty. Tailors must be skills so as to ensure the wearer has freedom of movement. Despite it being a long robe, “Ao Dai” is cool to wear. Synthetic or silk fabrics are best to use being they do not crush and dry quickly. For this reason “Ao Dai” is a practical uniform for daily wear.
The color can show the wearer’s age and status. Young girls wear pure white, fully-lined outfits symbolizing their purity. Older but unmarried girls move into soft pastel shades. Only married women wear “Ao Dai”in strong, rich colors, usually over white or black pants. “Ao Dai”is rarely seen in places where manual work is practiced. In the nineties the Ao dai become popular again. It has become standard and common attire for female students as well and staff at offices and hotels. Ao dai nowadays is very popular with different designs and colors. “Ao Dai”has become the most preferred dress for formal occasions and traditionally ceremonies.
Today, “Ao Dai” has been modified. Its length is cut shorter usually just below the knee. Variations in the neck, between boat and mandarin style, are common. Adventurous alterations such as a low scooped neckline, puffed sleeves or off the shoulder designs are appearing as ladies experiment with fashion. Access to new fabrics have made for some interesting design most visitors to Vietnam admire local tailors’ skills when making ao dai. It is hard to think of a more elegant, demure and charming outfit, that suits Vietnamese women of different ages, than Ao Dai.