July 13, 2024

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Cheongsam and ao dai: Traditional costumes of China, Vietnam

1 min read

A group of Chinese women wearing various qipao walk on a field path. /CFP

A group of Chinese women wearing various qipao walk on a field path. /CFP

A Chinese woman wears a qipao. /CFP

A Chinese woman wears a qipao. /CFP

A Chinese woman wears a qipao. /CFP

An undated photo shows two Vietnamese women wearing ao dai. /IC

An undated photo shows two Vietnamese women wearing ao dai. /IC

An undated photo shows two Vietnamese women wearing ao dai. /IC

An undated photo shows two Vietnamese women wearing ao dai. /IC

An undated photo shows two Vietnamese women wearing ao dai. /IC

An undated photo shows two Vietnamese women wearing ao dai. /IC

Traditional clothing is a cultural symbol of the countries they come from. The cheongsam, also known as the qipao, is a traditional and iconic Chinese dress characterized by its high-necked collar, fitted form, and side slits. It’s dubbed the “national dress” for women in China with a century-long history. 

In Vietnam, there is a “national dress” for local women, named ao dai. With a longer history than the qipao, the ao dai is a traditional Vietnamese garment that consists of a long tunic worn over trousers. Extremely similar to the qipao, it’s also known for its form-fitting style, high collar, and side slits. 

The qipao, however, typically has a straight skirt, while the ao dai features a more flared design. In addition, the ao dai is often worn with loose trousers, while the qipao is worn as a one-piece dress. Both of them are respectively considered as representations of the Chinese and Vietnamese cultures.

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