Áo dài – Vietnamese Traditional Outfit

Vietnamese Outfit

Áo dài

The áo dài (áo dài) is a Vietnamese national outfit, now primarily for women. In its current form, it is a tight-fitting silk tunic worn over pantaloons. The word is pronounced approximately ow-zye, in the North, and with a y sound for the d in the South. Áo is derived from a Middle Chinese word meaning “padded coat”. Dài means “long”.

The word “ao dai” was originally applied to the outfit worn at the court of the Nguyễn Lords at Huế in the 18th century. This outfit evolved into the áo ngũ thân, a five-paneled aristocratic gown worn in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Inspired by Paris fashions, Nguyễn Cát Tường and other artists associated with Hanoi University redesigned the ngũ thân as a modern dress in the 1920s and 1930s. The updated look was promoted by the artists and magazines of Tự Lực văn đoàn (“Self-Reliant Literary Group”) as a national costume for the modern era. In the 1950s, Saigon designers tightened the fit to produce the version worn by Vietnamese women today. The dress was extremely popular in South Vietnam in the 1960s and early 1970s. The Communist Party, which has ruled Vietnam since 1975, for a time disapproved of the dress and promoted frugal, androgynous styles. In the 1990s, the ao dai regained popularity. On Tết and other occasions, Vietnamese men may wear an áo gấm “(brocade robe)”, a version of the ao dai made of thicker fabric.

Áo Dài Khăn Đóng Áo Tứ Thân Áo Dài Huế Áo Dài
Áo Dài Khăn Đóng Khăn Đóng Áo Dài
Nón Bài Thơ Áo Dài Huế

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