'Ao Dai' named' Vietnam's Tourist Ambassador
Our national costume has recently been named Vietnam's 'Tourist Ambassador'!
National costumes embody the cultural uniqueness of a country. Korea has the hanbok. Japan boasts its kimono. Scotland is distinctive for its kilt. And Vietnam is proud of its Ao Dai, which represents feminine charm and gentleness. Dating from the 19th century and the period of our imperial kings, today our national dress can be seen being worn daily by older school girls, at university graduation ceremonies, in wedding photographs and at important family celebrations.
Ao Dai literally means “long costume” in Vietnamese and is without doubt our country’s most elegant costume. Simply, a set of Ao Dai includes two parts, a dress and a pair of trousers. The upper part of the dress resembles a close-fitting blouse; the lower section has two long flaps one on the front and the other the back. The trousers are often worn loose. A pair of high-heeled shoes perfectly compliments the set.
The secret of the charm of Ao Dai lies with the fabric of which it is made and how closely it fits. In the hands of skillful local tailors our national costume is capable of either bolstering physical beauty or hiding imperfections of the body. If the wearer wishes to highlight their shape, their Ao Dai is made almost skintight. Otherwise the garments are made loose. Xuan Tu gives a gentle warning that a skintight Ao Dai will show every bump and curve!