Preserving the heritage of men’s traditional ao dai

When talk turns to the Vietnamese ao dai, most people would imagine beautiful women wearing the traditional outfit. Few would know, however, that it was initially designed for men. Through history’s ups and downs, the men’s ao dai relinquished its crown and is now worn must less often in everyday life.


Nguyen Tan Hoang – a Grade 10 student at Chu Van An High School in Hanoi – has been an active member of the “Dinh lang Viet” (Vietnamese communal house) group, which promotes the wearing of the men’s ao dai, for the last three years.

In the 19th century, male students at the Bưởi School, as Chu Van An was then known, regularly wore an ao dai to school, so doing likewise is a source of pride for Hoang.

His attitude is proof that youngsters would feel prouder about the traditional outfit if they knew about its history and value. Experts say it is necessary to promote the image of the ao dai for men.

Given that Vietnam’s national outfit project has been delayed for nearly 20 years, the restoration of the ao dai for men is considered a way of preserving a part of the country’s heritage that may fall into oblivion./.