The traditional attire of the Vietnamese in the north is a pajama set for men. For women, a robe, bra, and trousers are usually worn in a brown color. In the South, both men and women wear pajamas. At present, the costumes resemble Western clothing. Traditional costumes of the Vietnamese people are straightforward and modest. In past times, there were strict dress codes. Ordinary people were prohibited from wearing clothes with dyes other than black, brown, or white. Costumes in yellow were reserved for the King. Those in purple and red were reserved for high-ranking court officials, while petty women officials exclusively wore dresses in blue. Men's clothing has gradually changed along with social development. The traditional set of long gowns gave way to more modern-looking suits, while business shirts and pants have replaced traditional long-sleeved shirts and wide pants. Traditional costumes still exist, and efforts are increasingly being made to bring back traditional festivals and entertainment with traditional costumes.
Every ethnic group in Vietnam has its own style of clothing. Festivals are the occasion for all to wear their favorite clothes. Over thousands of years, the traditional dress of all ethnic groups in Vietnam has changed, but each ethnic group has maintained its own characteristics separately. In the mountain areas, people live in houses built on stilts and wear pants or skirts and vests with designs imitating wildflowers and beasts. In the northern uplands and the Central Highlands, the young women have made skirts and vests with beautiful and colorful decorations in style for farm work and to travel on hilly slopes and mountains.
Vietnamese consider clean, well-pressed clothes to be necessary. Women usually don't wear skirts above their knees. It is not unusual to see men wearing their pajamas on the streets. It is acceptable for older men to wear their pajamas and sandals as their regular daytime clothes.
Fashion sense may stand out in this traditionally patriotic country. Still, it lights the way ahead for Vietnam's fledgling fashion industry, both domestically and if it is to attempt to make its mark in the global market for trendsetting fashion. The emerging industry is concentrated around Ho Chi Minh City with its growing population of trendy and relatively affluent urbanites. Critics say most designers here copy or improvise Western and Chinese patterns. But a band of young designers in the southern business capital seeks to assert a separate identity with works partly inspired by Vietnamese traditions that are catching the eye of foreign designers.
In Vietnam, as in the rest of the world, men are generally less fashion-focused than women, but even some young men are beginning to pay more attention to what they wear. Some are adopting an American skateboarder look. And some, like their female counterparts, are dyeing their hair red I like to mix many colors because I want to have fun and create the image of a happy life." After nearly two decades of economic reforms, fun, and a happy life are becoming affordable for many Vietnamese people. "People have so far been used to wearing something that lasts long, synthetic fabrics, "Now the living standards are upgraded, and people care about what they wear. It is a good sign of fashion. They realize that silk, cotton, or linen is good and begin using many different materials and colors.
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