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A journey through Vietnamese traditional costumes

When talking about Vietnamese traditional costumes, many of you will just be familiar with the Ao Dai. However, in addition to the Ao Dai, there are many other incredible traditional costumes such as ao Tu Than, ao Nhat Binh, ao Tac, and so on. There is no doubt that Ao Dai is very well-known in Vietnam and the world, but this blog post will introduce to you more about Vietnamese traditional clothes which is called Viet Phuc. So, let’s start!

Introduction to Viet Phuc

Vietnam is a country with a long-standing cultural heritage. Throughout the course of history, as it developed and changed, Vietnamese people have had their own distinct clothing, each piece reflecting the cultural identity of the nation and the historical period. Viet Phuc refers to traditional Vietnamese garments, which are authentically Vietnamese, have a long history, and are rich in national identity, having been created long ago and developed over time. Therefore, ancient Vietnamese clothing is an important element of Vietnamese dress culture, contributing to the creation of the national cultural identity.

Viet Phuc through Historical Periods 

The transformation of Vietnamese clothing over different periods is a fascinating story. It not only reflects the highs and lows of Vietnam's history but also shows the diversity and creativity in clothing design. From the earliest days of the Văn Lang state, Vietnamese clothing has evolved significantly.

The real transformation began during the Lý dynasty in 1009. As Vietnam entered the feudal era, society changed dramatically, leading to major changes in clothing. The simple outfits of earlier times became more elaborate and diverse, indicating the wearer's social status and class. Vietnamese clothing, or Viet Phuc, can be divided into two main types: royal clothing and folk clothing. This journey of transformation in Vietnamese clothing is a crucial part of the nation's culture, creating unique values over thousands of years.

Distinct Types of Traditional Costumes: Áo Giao Lĩnh

Giao Lĩnh is the predecessor of Ao Dai. It is also known as áo đối lĩnh or sometimes áo tràng vạt. This garment is made wide, with slits on both sides, wide sleeves, and a long body that reaches the heels. The body of Giao Lĩnh is made from four pieces of fabric and is worn with a colored belt and a black skirt. The overlapping collar of the Giao Lĩnh symbolizes elegance and formality, making it a common choice for important occasions and festivals. There are two types of Giao Lĩnh: those with short flaps and those with long flaps. It is essential to wear the flaps in the correct sequence. If worn incorrectly, it can resemble the clothes used for the dead.

Giao Lĩnh were recorded in French documents

Áo Tứ Thân (Four-part dress)

Some archaeological heritage sites have uncovered images of Áo Tứ Thân with two flowing flaps blowing in the wind on the carvings of the Ngọc Lũ bronze drum, dating back several thousand years. Áo Tứ Thân is a type of outerwear commonly used by women in Northern Vietnam. It consists of a back made from two pieces of fabric in the same color, while the front has two separate panels that are tied together and draped in front of the abdomen to create a soft and graceful look. In a traditional Áo Tứ Thân, a woman first wears a yếm, a Vietnamese undergarment, followed by a flowing outer tunic and a silk sash tied around the waist. The Áo Tứ Thân, which nearly reaches the heels, is often paired with black silk pants and a colorful silk belt.

Áo Tứ Thân (Four-part dress)

Áo Ngũ Thân (Five-part dress)

Áo Ngũ Thân emerged around the 17th to 19th centuries, following a clothing revolution by Nguyen Phuc Khoat. Áo Ngũ Thân, also known as the Áo Ngũ Thể, has sleeves that are more fitted compared to those of the áo tấc and áo giao lĩnh, hence called "tight sleeves." It is named Áo Ngũ Thân because of being constructed from five panels: two front panels, two back panels that meet at the chest and back, and the fifth panel on the front right side, inside the first front panel. The male and female versions of Ngũ Thân are quite similar, differing only in a few aspects such as the women's collar being lower than the men's, the women's sleeves being narrower, and the men's panels being longer than the women's.

Áo Ngũ Thân (Five-part dress)

Áo Nhật Bình

The Nhật Bình was worn by the Empress Dowager, Empress, Princesses, and high-ranking female officials during iGmportant court events. It has a wide rectangular collar and front panels that tie together to form a rectangle on the chest, which is why it’s called “Nhật Bình”. The dress is often decorated with phoenix patterns, flowers, and characters for "Prosperity" and "Longevity," with shiny threads. The design and colors indicate the wearer’s rank: the Empress’s dress is yellow and orange, the Princess’s is red, second-rank concubines wear peach, third-rank concubines wear purple, and fourth-rank concubines wear light purple.

Áo Nhật Bình

Viet Phuc in Modern Life 

Today, Viet Phuc remains a vital part of Vietnamese society, appearing in everyday life and cultural celebrations. These garments, from school uniforms to formal attire, are still cherished and worn with pride, connecting people to the nation's rich heritage.

Additionally, Viet Phuc has garnered international attention, captivating the global fashion industry with its beautiful designs and cultural significance. 

We warmly welcome you to join us at C4C, where you not only participate in meaningful social activities but also have the opportunity to explore the rich and vibrant culture of Vietnam. Immerse yourself in local traditions, experience breathtaking landscapes, and engage with communities to make a lasting impact.

So let’s join with us and connect people worldwide through this extraordinary cultural journey!



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