The charm of Ao Dai in Vietnam and its history over the times

History of Áo Dài

The history of Áo Dài is the story of changes in Vietnamese people’s cultural life. There is no clear evidence which says about where and when Áo Dài appear but thousands years ago, the image of Áo Dài has appeared in the Dong Son drum. Áo Dài exists along with daily activities of Vietnamese people. For more information about Ao Dai Vietnam, you can access: Tours on Indochina

Until Hung Vuong period, in the year of 40-30 A.D the Hai Ba Trung revolt which firstly was led by two women in Vietnam history got win and established an independent kingdom. According to historical documentary, Hai Ba Trung was wearing 2 flaps of gold armor with the gold parasol covered in the battle.

The beauty of Hue's women in Ao Dai costume
The beauty of Hue’s women in Ao Dai costume

Vietnamese women avoid wearing the 2 flaps dress but Áo Tứ Thân (a four-paneled gown) to show their respect to Hai Ba Trung. Therefore, they skilfully used natural colors from muddy on the bottom of pond to dye clothes, creating a simple dress.

From the 17th century to the early 20th century, under the feudal system, Vietnam society had formed many social classes. The women in the rich aristocratic class had make Áo Tứ Thân evolved into the Áo Ngũ Thân (five-paneled). Wearers displayed their prosperity by putting on multiple layers of fabric which at that time was costly. Vietnamese women wear áo ngũ thân, the form of the ao dai worn in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The gown appears to have two-flaps with slits on both sides, features preserved in the later Áo Dài.

The modern Áo Dài

Áo Dài symbolizes the change in Vietnam’s society under the influence of Western culture at the beginning of the 20th century. Vietnamese fashion writer and designer Cat Tuong improved the Áo Dài with new details like lengthened the top so it reached the floor, moved the buttons from the front to an opening along the shoulder and side seam and fitted the bodice to the curves of the body. After that time, the hard- working designers in Saigon tightened the fit to create the modern Áo Dài in 1950. Áo Dài nowadays is very prevalent with different designs and colors for every women.


Áo Dài– a symbol of Vietnam

Áo Dài is usually worn during special occasions such as Tet, holidays or weddings. Not only in formal activities, Vietnamese people also use it at work or at school as uniform. Vietnam high school girls also wear Áo Dài as uniforms every day in some high schools and universities. Áo Dài also appears in many beauty contest, the feminine beauty of Vietnamese women in Áo Dài has leaved a deep impression on international friends. Vietnam travel tours


In recently, Global Beauty has voted Áo Dài as the best dress in the Asian area. Áo Dài has become the symbol of women beauty not only in Vietnam but also in the world.

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