Áo Tứ Thân: How It’s Made

The áo tứ thân is a “four-panelled traditional dress is a gauze or silk robe worn over a white or yellow shirt. The robe consists of four narrow pieces of fabric that run the length of the body. The length of the áo tứ thân reaches almost to the floor with tight sleeves. It is mixed with an Áo yếm and black long skirt. Two pieces are joined at the back down to the heel. The front two pieces are joined with the two back pieces down to the waist and the ties together into a knot under a green, pink, or yellow belt. The skirt is usually black color that can reach to the ground. The robe is usually brown, black, or ebony gauze. The áo tứ thân is not to be mistaken with the Áo giao lĩnh which has a cross collar.

One of the earlier records of the áo tứ thân

  • A flowing outer tunic, reaching almost to the floor. It is open at the front, like a jacket. At the waist the tunic splits into two flaps: a full flap in the back (made up of two flaps sewn together) and the two flaps in the front which are not sewn together but can be tied together or left dangling.
  • Váy đụp, a long skirt, worn under the tunic.
  • Yếm, an ancient bodice worn as an undergarment by women. It comes in many fabrics and colors, worn under the skirt and outer tunic.
  • A silk sash which is tied at the waist as a belt.
  • Guốc Mộc, a set of wooden clogs that were worn as shoes
  • Nón Quai Thao, the hat that was generally warn along with the áo tứ thân in exchange of the Khăn mỏ quạ

Yếm Lụa Đào
Model: Nguyễn Tâm Trang

Áo Yếm

As part of the áo tứ thân any many other traditional Vietnamese dresses, the Yếm is most frequently worn underneath a blouse or overcoat. It is a square piece of cloth with one corner cut away to fit under the woman’s throat. This piece of clothing was a typical Vietnamese undergarment worn by Vietnamese women from all walks of life.

Yếm Đào
Model: Nguyễn Tâm Trang

Nón Quai Thao

The hat paired up with the áo tứ thân generally with a silk strap to hold in place.

Guốc Mộc

Traditional Wooden Sandals Worn with multiple Áo