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Wearing a Vietnamese long dress

Modern vs. traditional “ao dai”

Vietnamese women are often known for their femininity, and one of the reasons for that is because of the Vietnamese long dresses that they often wear.  The Vietnamese long dress or “ao dai” has been worn by Vietnamese women for many generations, and is most commonly worn during festive events.  Even in the United States, Vietnamese females often wear “ao dai” to weddings, churches and temples.

Traditionally, Vietnamese long dresses are very conservative in design.  Although form-fitting, the dresses cover every inch of a woman’s body. To date, this type of traditional design is still very popular.  However, more modern designs are also gaining a lot of attention.  Modern Vietnamese long dresses can have short sleeves or be entirely sleeveless.  They can also have funky collars or a lower neckline. 

If the event you are going to is formal and subdued in nature, then your best bet is to wear a traditional “ao dai.”  For most other occasions, either modern or traditional should be fine.  However, if you are wearing one to your prom, I would definitely suggest a more modern style.

If you have long hair, then wearing a traditional “ao dai” with your hair down is going to give you a very nice feminine look.  If you have short hair and toned arms, then sporting a modern sleeveless Vietnamese long dress can look really great.  One word of caution: do not wear your “ao dai” with shorts.  I know some Vietnamese singers have tried to do so in the past.  But if you ask me, it is pretty tacky.  Plus it takes away the charm of the “ao dai.”  So please wear it with long pants.