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Ao Dai Cuoi History and Background

The Ao Dai Cuoi dates back to in one version, 1744 when Lord Vu Vuong of the Nguyen dynasty declared that men and women should wear clothes that are similar to what is today the Ao Dai Cuoi. There is also a Chinese influence as the similarity to the Qipao can be seen. The Ao Dai Cuoi top became a stiffer Mandarin style garment that is body fitting, that was split down the sides with long flowing pants underneath it. The top has a Mandarin Collar.

The colors of the Ao Dai Cuoi traditionally denoted the rank of the person wearing it. Purple had more status than blue. White pants denoted young women. More on the symbolic meaning of colors for Vietnamese.

The French Colonized Vietnam and had some influence on the Ao Dai Cuoi lengthening the top. In the 1950's, the top shrunk to it's current version where it comes to above the knees. Ao Dais are traditionally custom made giving a very flattering look. The Ao Dai Cuoi is cool to wear, since Viet Nam is a tropical country. Traditionally it is often worn with a pointed hat made out of palm leaves to protect against the sun. Now it is worn on special occasions such as Tet (Vietnamese New Year) and for weddings. During a wedding a bride may wear several different Ao Dais Cuoi. Brides often wear a crown like hat, called the khăn đóng made from silk brocade.

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