Beautiful Vietnam
Pre-1954 Hanoi fashion
  • | gia dinh va xa hoi, | October 08, 2014 10:40 AM

A few old pictures demonstrate how women in ao dais for women and men in suits appeared in Hanoi streets as Vietnam's unique sense of style took shape, blending new western fashion with the traditional ways of dressing.

Three girls by a piano

Women from the middle and upper-classes often wore ao dais even just to receive guests at home or go to the market. The lower-classes did not wear ao dais as often, but still chose the same soothing and dark color scheme for their clothes.

Women in ao dais

Ao dai innovations

In the old times, women used a black piece of fabric to wrap around a girl's long hair so that it formed a sort of circular tube. The hair, held by fabric, is wrapped around the crown of the head. Make-up at that time was used very sparingly. In 1930, some features of western dress, such as puffy shoulders and wavy sleeves, were introduced to ao dais. Some liked the changes while other criticised them.


Late well-known singer Duy Khanh in suit

A wedding photo

Even though women still wore traditional ao dais, men mostly wore western suits. Suit of that time, however, was cut much looser. Especially for events such as a wedding, a groom would always wear a suit. If he did not have money to buy a new suit, a groom would have to borrow from friends or rent one.

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