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Ao Dai - Vietnamese traditional dress

Updated on February 18, 2011

Ao dai is the traditional dress of Vietnam, covering the body from the neck to the knee or to below the knee, for both men and women. Ao dai are often worn on formal occasions, girls wear them to work or to more traditionally to school.

No one really knows when did the ''ao dai'' come into being and how it got its form because there is no documentary record and not many studies have been carried out. Ancient dress of the Vietnamese, the carvings on the Ngoc Lu drum from a few thousand years ago show that the women were wearing dresses with two slits. Historian Dao Duy Anh wrote "According to Records of the Van Lang, the old people, that is our ancestors, had long-wearing dresses with a split on the left side.

Unlike the Japanese kimono or Korean hanbok, ao dai is both a traditional and modern dress. Wearing ao dai for girls is not limited to only wearing in some places or on special occasions, they can be worn everywhere, used as office uniforms, school uniforms, or as dresses to go out or wear at a formal reception at home. To wear the dress is not difficult or cumbersome, and can be worn even with simple things: for example with jeans and normal shoes, slippers or wooden clogs. If it is necessary to be formal (such as maid for a bride), then a cloak or traditional head wear can be added.


Ao dai can have many colors but most beautiful is the white ao dai, white high-heeled shoes and a traditional hat. The upper part of the dress ties close to the waist but require double wide pants. Two flaps cut on the waist makes the dress very comfortable to wear and give the wearer a slender shape. The body is surrounded by soft tissue and allows the woman to reveal her waist to give a sexy appearance.

The ao dai is highly personal, each dress is tailored for the individual. No technology currently exists to manufacture the ao dai on a mass produced basis. This gives the dress a unique appearance for each wearer. Women in Vietnam are very careful to look after their ao dai.

This is an example of a modern ao dai to be worn with jeans or other modern clothes.
This is an example of a modern ao dai to be worn with jeans or other modern clothes.

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    • profile image

      Thanh Nguyen 

      6 years ago

      If you want more photos of Ao Dai, you can check out

    • profile image

      Hoang Nghia 

      6 years ago

      I really love your pics on the site.Ao dai is the most beautiful dress for the Vietnamese's girls and women. I think they would be most comfortable to wear for any body shape although they do look very good on the slim Vietnamese women. Visit for more information about Vietnam.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This website is AWESOME!!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      good. how to down load

    • Greatlife profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for introducing another culture. Love the vibrant colors and the photos are appealing.


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