There’s no more interesting way of exploring a culture than observing the clothes that people of that culture wear in different occasions. When it comes to clothing, the Vietnamese culture is definitely a source of vivid and colorful models and designs. To get to know more about the stories of diverse Vietnamese traditional clothing items, don’t skip reading this post!
Royal and Chinese influence
In the Vietnamese clothing history, the royal family has always been an important factor. They were the ones to make a decision about the color of the clothes. Civilian men suits could only be in black, white, and brown color, and definitely not yellow since this color was reserved for the king. Only high-grade mandarins could wear red clothes while the lower ones were supposed to have green or blue outfits.
Vietnamese people were under the Chinese clothing influence for a long time. During the reign of Nguyen dynasty which lasted during the entire 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, the mandatory clothing items were mostly trousers and tunics.
The materials used for clothes
Traditionally, Vietnamese clothes were based on the usage of natural fiber. The materials used for the clothes were chosen in accordance with the climate conditions. The tropical climate required light and stable materials such as silk, hemp, and cotton that were used for making turbans, dresses, and tunics.
Silk is especially important in Vietnamese clothing production and some of the most popular shops that offer quality silk in Vietnam are located in Old Quarter of Hanoi, in Hang Gai, which is also known as Silk Street. It’s interesting that a silk suit production requires at least two days, so if you are in a hurry, you may not get what you want. However, nowadays, silk is used not only for the production of traditional suits but also for the production of various other modern items such as shirts, skirts, etc. In addition to these, you can also find some decorative items made of silk – napkins, wall hangings, and table clothes.
In formal occasions, women had to wear three tunics. All of the tunics had buttons at the rib-cage and had to be in different colors. One of them was supposed to be in a dark shade such as black or brown, while the other two were supposed to be brighter – yellow and rose. They had to be worn in a way so that all of the colors can be seen. On the other side, the formal men clothes consisted of special dresses in black and white colors.
There is no Vietnamese clothing combination that doesn’t go well with conical hat (Non La).
These interesting hats are handicrafts that have been significantly changing through the history, including their shape and size. The only rule that had to be applied every time was that men’s rims had to be broader than the rims on female hats. During the history, different hats have been made for different society classes.
Ao Dai is the synonym for gracefulness.
Women wearing Ao Dai are probably one of the most interesting memories that travelers keep from Vietnam. The vividly colored top is worn over the wide trousers that go all the way to the soles.
When we add the fact that every Ao Dai is customized to fit the customer’s shape, it is inevitable realizing how sensual this clothing item is, and how graceful looks the lady wearing it. Young girls are usually seen in Vietnamese traditional clothing like white Ao Dai, while older girls that are not married wear soft pastel colors. Strong and rich colors are reserved for married women.