Graduation Ceremony

Happy belated Fourth of July to my US readers! Hope you guys had a great celebration.

Last week, I’ve shared what I wore to be on the thesis committee, and this week, here’s what I wore to my students’ graduation ceremony. It’s a semi-formal occassion, so of course, I brought out my traditional Vietnamese áo dài.  I was quite happy to realize that my shoes match the buttons and the stitching on the tunic almost exactly, and they added a nice pop of color. For a sentimental touch, I also added a brooch that my students gave me for Teacher’s Day last year.

The students, however, all decided to wear dresses instead, and I don’t blame them – áo dài can be uncomfortable/difficult to move around in (mine isn’t because it’s made of linen and has a looser fit.) My only problem with wearing áo dài, in fact, is that it’s a set, which means you can’t really mix and match it (I do wear the pants separately though). But it’s for special occassions only, so it’s fine.


Traditional

ao dai black flats by 14 shades of grey

As you can see, this isn’t your typical #ootd. It’s a áo dài (literally “long shirt”), the Vietnamese national costume, something people wear mostly for special occasions. At our school, for example, people would wear it for things like graduation ceremonies and Teacher Day’s celebration. It’s not mandatory, but you’re encouraged to. I’ve gotten away with wearing dresses or skirts on most of those occasions, but I’ve been wanting a set of my own – it’s like a Vietnamese version of the LBD, something you should have in your closet – so I bought this over the Lunar New Year (it was warm enough for me to actually wear this to the Lunar New Year party at our school this past Friday.)

The áo dài has been through many incarnations, but at its most basic, it’s a long tunic worn over pants. In recent years, the trend is tight-fitting, shorter tunics worn over straight-leg or skinny cropped pants, but I prefer a more loose-fitting silhouette, similar to the style of the 1930’s-1940’s (though of course, the traditional style would have a high collar instead of a round one like mine.) And the best part? The pants can be worn separately. Often áo dài’s pants are made of white silk and not meant to be worn with other tops, but these are made just like culottes, so I’m totally going to wear them in the summer.

ao dai black flats by 14 shades of greyao dai black flats by 14 shades of grey

ao dai black flats by 14 shades of greyao dai by 14 shades of grey

Áo dài & Culottes: local boutique, Flats: Vagabond