Today we will talk about Vietnamese women’s fashion and prospects for cooperation in this field with European designers, couturier, fashion houses of the European Union. We’ll take a look at the evolution of the most iconic and striking women’s clothing that each culture can boast. At the same time, designers spend a lot of time searching for new forms and inspiration in search of new forms of expression and emphasizing our natural features. One of the sources of such inspiration can become for you the culture of the Far East. I sincerely hope that this article will contribute to a deeper understanding of the forms that you will see in some of the most representative photo on this account, and we will open more than a dozen top stores with you and hold many exhibitions and presentations, inviting the original cultures of the East to visit. After all, this is the mission of the Project Alpa-Ost EU – to build a bridge of development, inspiration and prosperity between your inspired idea and its highly skilled implementation.


Vietnamese women’s costumes through the ages

Vietnam has gone through countless historical periods associated with specific development stages in terms of cultural identity, special customs, habits, and costumes of the Vietnamese people in each period, which have created their own unique imprints. , especially women’s costumes.

2000 BC – 200 AD
Hung Kings period with Dong Son culture
– Before being influenced by the Han Dynasty

Women in Hung Vuong’s period often wore a short shirt to the belly, split the chest, tight to the body, wearing a full-breasted bib with a round neck close to the neck, decorated with pictures of rice grains. There were also short, square-necked blouses that show part of the shoulders and chest, or full chest, partially open the shoulders and on the back. The latter two types can be worn under the hood or buttoned on the left side. There are decorative patterns on the shirt. The belt has three rows of evenly spaced decorative dots wrapped around the belly… The patterns on the bronze drums or the carvings on the brass knife handles from this period show that Vietnamese costumes have been shaped very clearly. This is also the reason for the cultural identity shown in the traditional clothes of the Vietnamese people today. Accordingly, both women’s and men’s costumes have been clearly distinguished, in which women’s costumes are richer and have the most artistic value. 

The forerunner of the modern ao dai and the typical Vietnamese costume, which is a bun, and a shirt on the left (different from China’s right lapel) are also considered to have appeared from this period.

11th – 13th centuries –  Ly Dynasty

As one of the heyday of the feudal dynasties, the king of the Ly dynasty issued regulations on dress to distinguish between classes of people and mandarins. The king also showed the spirit of independence and self-reliance of the nation by not using the brocade of the Song dynasty to make vestments, but using domestic fabrics.

The most prominent feature in the costumes of this period is the development to a new level of decorative patterns, no longer simple and rudimentary images, twisted patterns, crochet patterns … are delicately embroidered on the top costumes, expressing the meaningful harmony between nature and human life.

15th – 16th centuries –  Tran Dynasty to pre-Le

The most outstanding feature in the Tran dynasty was the defeat of the Nguyen – Mong invaders for 3 times. Due to the continuous confrontation with powerful enemies, the mentality of being ready to “death to death for the country to live” was always present in the life of the army and people of the Tran Dynasty, affecting both the clothes and aesthetic conceptions of the people. whole nation.

Women’s national costume is divided into 2 phases. From the 13th to the 15th century, it featured a shirt with wide sleeves, a cloak with a deep cut collar, and a strapless camisole inside. By the 15th-16th centuries, during the late Tran and early Le dynasties, the collar was sewn more discreetly with a round neck, neater sleeves. However, the colors are more sophisticated and eye-catching.

15th – 16th centuries –  Le Dynasty

It can be said that the Le Dynasty was the sublimation period of Vietnamese women’s costumes when there were many designs and extremely diverse designs during this period. But in general, the costumes of the Le Dynasty have quite sophisticated designs with many layers of robes and eye-catching colors. Influenced by Chinese culture, the traditional costumes of the Le Dynasty have not escaped the shadow of this mighty land. The costumes of Vietnamese women in the Le Dynasty have many similarities with the Hanfu robes of China with wide sleeves and a large waist belt used to fix this robe. It is because of the influence of Chinese culture that this costume is not welcomed by many people.

16th century –  Mac Dynasty 

The costume in this dynasty was very close to the four-body shirt, wearing a raven beak of Vietnamese village women in the 19th-20th centuries, with the appearance of “fashion” to have long hair, wear a scarf, and turn the street. In the middle, wearing a round neck long dress with a long belt in front of the abdomen, long and wide skirt. More fashionable, aristocratic women also wear colorful Siamese bands that hang down their legs, contributing to a graceful and graceful beauty. Jewelry is also increasingly diverse in design and color, with flat round bracelets, gourd-shaped earrings, lotus-shaped or beautiful round earrings.

17th – 18th centuries –  Late Le Dynasty

Until the Later Le period, many different styles of costumes appeared and the dresses showed their own culture. The costumes of the women of the Late Le period were very discreet with many layers of different colors. The most characteristic is still the wide sleeve. The maid costume (or mandarin in the palace) has a round neck, can be long or short sleeves, a single or layered skirt, wide or narrow sleeves…

18th century –  Later Le Dynasty – Tay Son

Women’s costumes in the Tay Son period were quite sophisticated with details of embroidery, meticulous sewing, and especially a bit like war uniforms and instead of skirts, they wore pants. In the early 19th century, women were forbidden to wear skirts because it was considered vulgar.

19th century –  Nguyen Dynasty

Social life in this period had a significant influence on people’s costumes. If the costumes of the ruling class are increasingly “mixed” according to the race for semi-seasonal reform, in society, traditional costumes such as ao dai, camisole, four-body shirt, raven beak scarf, etc. hat strap … have become the breath and the cultural crystallization of the whole nation. While the peach bib goes beyond the royal palace to join the woman who needs to work “in the fields of rain and sunshine”, or with a four-piece shirt in Lim festivals, Western fashion with flared skirts Modern and innovative dresses were also gradually introduced and favored by young aristocratic women, in which Queen Nam Phuong – the last queen of Vietnam’s feudal dynasties, was very fond of wearing Western costumes. and dress very well. 

Mid-20th century to present

By the 19th and 20th centuries, the Ao Dai began to become an indispensable costume in Vietnamese social life, from the queens and princesses in the royal palace to the formal and aristocratic styles of ao dai, brocade materials, embroidered gold thread – all to the ladies, which they wear ao dai to school, to the office, to the market, to the street. For a long time in the 19th and 20th centuries, the ao dai became a kind of casual clothing loved by men, women, and children in Vietnam. Experiencing many historical changes, along with the introduction of Western fashion trends, Ao Dai has made many improvements according to certain trends. However, regardless of any reform movement, from Le Mur Ao Dai, a shirt with a tight waist or a boat collar according to Tran Le Xuan’s “fashion” to the current long-sleeved ao dais, the Ao Dai is still demonstrates the immutability that not all costumes can do.


Vietnam’s history spans thousands of years with a unique, long-standing culture imbued with national identity. This is evident in the variety of traditional costumes. Each type of costume with a variety of designs and separate materials, represents the characteristics of traditional culture throughout the regions of Vietnam. Let me also introduce to you a little about the types of traditional costumes in Vietnam to better understand the cultural values ​​​​through the ages of this country.

Vietnam is a country with a long history and diverse national cultural identities. In particular, the traditional costumes of the Vietnamese people through each period have created their own distinct impressions, especially women’s costumes. Costumes such as Ao Dai , Ao Dai , Ba Ba shirt with a strap sport hat have gradually become an indispensable cultural beauty, the crystallization of a long-standing culture.

Introducing the Vietnamese Ao Dai

Ao Dai has long become the national costume of our country when introduced to international friends. Vietnamese Ao Dai is one of the traditional costumes containing a long history, culture, aesthetic concepts and expressing the cultural identity of our nation. Ao Dai was previously used at all times for both men and women. However, nowadays, this costume is mainly for women and is only worn on important occasions and is considered a school uniform or an office uniform.

Today, Ao Dai is innovated to match modern fashion trends. Many Ao Dai dresses with short sleeves, stylized collars and sleeves, etc., were born to bring diversity to this type of costume but still retain the inherent tradition.

Discreet but charming traditional Ao Dai (Thai Tuan Dau Xua Collection).
Thai Tuan’s Ao Dai is diverse according to modern trends that are both striking and fashionable (BST Frame Heaven Memory).
The white ao dai exalts the gentle and loving features of Vietnamese schoolgirls (Lencii Thai Tuan Collection).

Four-piece costume

The four-body dress is a kind of traditional costume with the ancient beauty of women in the North of Vietnam for a while. The shirt has many special meanings, symbolizing the virtues and traditions of ancient women, who are rustic but very attractive people, always industrious and hard-working. 

The four-piece dress has a symbolic design, with two flaps in the front, two flaps in the back representing the four mothers and fathers, and the inner bib represents a parent holding a child in their lap. Today, the private shirt is still widely used in performances and traditional festivals to honor and promote the image of ancient Vietnamese women.

The four-body dress carries the traditional gentle beauty of the northern girl (Source: Viet Times).

Grandma’s clothes

Ba ba shirt is a long-standing traditional costume of both men and women, popular in the southern countryside. This type of costume has a simple and close design like regular shirts with long or short sleeves, a middle collar and is fastened with a row of buttons extending from the neck to the belly. The image of Ba Ba shirt symbolizes the people of the South who are both rustic and close. 

Ba Ba shirt with simple beauty, lightness and comfort is still popularly used in cultural performances, traditional festivals or going out and going to the market.

Ba Ba dress shows the rustic but loving beauty of the Southern people (Source: Cinema World).

Indigo clothes

Indigo shirt is the traditional costume of ethnic minorities in the Northern mountainous region. Traditional shirts dyed with pure indigo, without embroidery of any decorative motifs or patterns, but still show the typical simple and gracious culture of the Tay people or brocade motifs that enhance the charming beauty. shape of the Nung. Due to the development of modern society, the indigo shirt is gradually being lost due to the relatively complicated manufacturing process.

Traditional indigo dress of the Tay people (Source: VnExpress Newspaper).
Traditional indigo dress of the Tay, Nung, and Thai (Source: VnExpress newspaper).

Other traditional ethnic costumes

It can be said that the traditional costumes of the Vietnamese people are very rich and diverse. Each ethnic group in all regions of the country brings its own mark, reflected in the design, color and material of each type of costume, which can be mentioned with some outstanding costumes such as: 

Cham ethnic group : Men wear criss-crossed blouses, laced up, shorts inside and skirts wrapped around the outside. Women have a variety of costumes, usually a round neck top with a mountain top, a pleated skirt or a tube skirt.

Traditional costumes of the Cham people (Source: VnExpress Newspaper).

H’Mong ethnic group : The traditional costume consists of a split neck shirt, a pleated skirt with leggings and a hat, made of linen with many outstanding colors and diverse and sophisticated patterns.

The image recreates the traditional H’Mong costume (Source: Saigoneer).
The image recreates the traditional H’Mong costume (Source: Saigoneer).
The image recreates the traditional H’Mong costume (Source: Saigoneer).

Muong ethnic group : Men usually wear blouses, split chest with round neck, wide-leg pants and a scarf in the middle of the abdomen. Women wear short-sleeved blouses with long sleeves, combined with ankle-length black skirts decorated with intricate woven patterns.

Traditional costumes of the Muong (Source: VnExpress Newspaper).

Traditional costumes of Vietnam through the periods carry distinct imprints and contain the meanings and national identities of the country, culture and people of many regions. Hopefully, through this article, you will have a better understanding of the good cultural values ​​handed down and preserved through traditional Vietnamese costumes.


The Alpa-Ost project invites everyone who is interested in the development of the model business market and international projects in the field of fashion to cooperate and launch partnership projects. Please send your commercial offers and questions to our corporate address – weimar@alpa-ost.eu We will be happy for fruitful cooperation and close cooperation.

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