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The ao dai is considered to be elegant and demure.
Traditionally, ao dai is long, wide-legged trousers are worn under a high-necked, long sleeved., fitted tunic with slits along each side.
Ao dai is said to be provocative, especially when it is made of thin or see-through fabric.
Who wears the ao dai?
Ao dai is worn by young girls, married women, men, and almost everybody.
Young girls wear pure white because it symbolizes their purity.
Only married women wear gowns in strong, rich colors.
Ao dai had always been more prevalent (seen) in south Vietnam than in north Vietnam.
Men do wear ao dai, but they only wear it to ceremonial occasions.
For example, at weddings or funerals.
The ao dai in modern Vietnam
Although the ao dai had disappeared for for short period of time, its extravagance and elegance is seen both in Vietnam and outside of Vietnams’ borders.
Now in days, the ao dai is used as a uniform for female students in Vietnam’s middle schools, and also in most high schools.
There is also a film called “The White Silk Dress” that addresses the ao dai.
Lastly, ao dai plays an important role in Vietnamese women because it symbolizes the spirit of the Vietnamese women.
Nguyen, Nhien T. “My pink ao Dai.” EBSCO Research Databases. 8 Dec. 2007: 1-2.
“ Ao Dai Vietnamese Traditional Dress.” Fri, April 26, 2002. Dec. 8, 2007. http://www.acjc.edu.sg/Spectra/Vibrant Culture/Vietnam/aodaihis.html .
“ Ao dai.” Wikipedia. Dec. 8, 2007. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81od%C3%A0i .
Saree/ Sari By Dana Elkins
What is a Sari?
According to the American-Heritage Dictionary, a sari is “an outer garment worn chiefly by women of India and Pakistan, consisting of a length of light weight cloth with one end wrapped about the waist to form a skirt and the other draped over the shoulder or covering the head.”
History of the Sari
One of the earliest depictions of a Sari-like drape covering the entire body dates back to 100 B.C.
This body-hugging style shown in the terracotta images of the time may have evolved among India’s temple dancers in ancient times to allow their limbs freedom of movement while maintaining their standards of modesty.
Style of Dress
The concept of beauty in ancient India was that of small waist and large bust and hips, as is evident of the sculptures of those times. The sari seemed to be the perfect dress to emphasize those proportions as it exposes the waist of a woman and emphasizes the waist and bust with the pleated fabric.
Women will also wear accessories (like a belt) with elaborate designs around the waist to emphasize their hip area.
Style of Dress
The success of the sari through the ages is attributed to its simplicity and practical comfort, combined with the sense of luxury a woman experiences.
The art of draping the sari is in itself an expression of a woman’s creativity.
In urban India, saris tend to be draped in four to five styles requiring approximately six yards of fabric.
Style of Dress
It is immensely versatile, and there is a surprising number of regional variations of draping in the numerous regions of India.
The sari follows the shape of the body, yet conceals, it is often said, a hundred imperfections.
It is true that not only is it one of the most graceful garments, but also one of the kindest.
What is a Qipao
Pronounced ch'i-p'ao it is a body-hugging one-piece dress worn by women of China.
When the Manchu took over China in 1644 the woman were forced to wear the traditional Manchu dress, the Qipao.
After 300 years the dress became the adopted clothing for Chinese woman
The first qipao’s were very wide, baggy and loose. They Covered most of body, and served to deemphasize and conceal the figure of the wearer.
When the Qing dynasty ended in the 1900 the look of the qipao changed.
The qipao became more form fitting and revealing.
As Western fashions changed, the basic design changed too, introducing high-necked sleeveless dresses, bell-like sleeves, and the black lace frothing at the hem of a ball gown.
By the 1940’s, qipao came in transparent black, beaded bodices, matching capes, and even velvet. Later, checked fabrics also became quite common.
In the 1950s, women in the workforce in Hong Kong started to wear more functional Qipao’s made of wool, twill, and other materials.
Then they were replaced by more comfortable clothes like sweaters, jeans, business suits and skirts.
Today it is considered formal wear, worn by the elderly on their birthday or by older woman at her wedding.
They are also worn by politicians, and are sometimes seen in beauty competitions