A while ago I was asked about the construction of the Vietnamese Ao Dai and Chinese Cheongsam/Qipao. I had a few dresses at my disposal and figured it would be fun to do a compare and contrast. Due to the relatively small collection, I was only able to photograph a few samples (all tailored circa 2000s, except one I'm sure…). This basically just covers the “classic” tailoring styles of Ao Dai and Cheongsam/Qipao... which may or may not be followed by the latest fashion trends.
NOTE: For simplicity’s sake, I primarily used the word Cheongsam (Cantonese) instead of Qípáo (Mandarin) because its wider use as an English loanword.
I’m not a tailor or have any sewing ability whatsoever so please don’t ask me about patterns, darts, etc.
The typical American tourists decides to try on aodai. She looks at the pants and thinks, "forget those! It's too hot! What could go wrong?"
While walking to that trendy restaurant, the tourist notices the locals are giving her weird looks. She brushes it off, thinking those people are living in the past.
No, they aren't. They're giving her weird looks because common sense tells me wearing aodai without the pants is the Vietnamese equivalent to showing your back while wearing kimono. (It's inappropriate.)
The design is more modest in my opinion. Plus I like pants. ;v;
The high collar and the long sleeves are really cool too!
But I kinda like the frog fasteners and the rounded hemlines on the Cheongsam.
But it seems like a guy would wear the Ao Dai more than women?? I've seen a couple of movies/manga/books where the guy wears something very similar to what seems to be the Ao Dai?
Minus the girly patterns.
Actually no, the traditional áo dài was worn by both
What you're seeing here is the modernised version of áo dài, started in the 1930s and reached its peak during the reign of the puppet Ngô Đình Diệm whose sister-in-law Trần Lệ Xuân very liked them and made her own style.
Traditional áo dài started in late 19th century and was more like a simplified version of the earlier áo tứ thân
Comparing a modern to a traditional one
a= modern, b = traditional