World Costumes: Ao Dai of Vietnam

In the beautiful Asian country of Vietnam, both the food, people and culture are distinct enough that it can be set apart from all other Asian countries. One of the things that make the culture of this country even more distinct is the silky, colorful national costume, the Ao Dai.
This national costume is made for both males and females alike making it a very versatile outfit, but nowadays it is worn by the majority of the female population. It is a long, near full-body gown-like garment that is slightly form-fitting. It is paired with pants that are loose and often white in color. Sometimes, a squat, round cap can be worn along with the outfit to complete the look.
It has been said that the inspiration behind the design is the Cheongsam, an imperial Chinese garb of the Qing Dynasty. Throughout the years, it has seen slight modifications from the length of the gown increasing, a tighter fit, and a higher collar. Even today, you can find this iconic outfit still worn across the country, sometimes even featured on travel material or ads. That is a testament to how it defines culture itself and how simple yet timeless its design truly is.