The ao dai (pronounced roughly "ow yie") is traditional Vietnamese women's attire. I had one made for me three years ago, and decided to get another one made now. Here it is, modeled in the store, last night. After the husband took this shot, I realized that the black daypack against the black slacks was probably not a good thing, but since I think I look fat in the photo sans daypack, this one will have to do. (The other photo is online, and if you can find it you can see it and how fat I look.)
This ao dai has embroidery on the front of flowers representing the four seasons. At the top is the current season, spring. Beneath that is a flower representing summer. Next down is autumn, followed by winter. The silk of the ao dai is a greenish blue, and the blue is what shows up in the embroidery closeups. The green tone is truer in the whole-body shot. It is a good thing I ordered this ao dai when I did because the university came in yesterday and ordered all the rest of the silk in that color for pants to be worn under white ao dais by some of the women at an upcoming celebration of the school's 55th anniversary.
And speaking of the whole-body shot, I was informed in no uncertain terms by the ladies in the silk shop that I need to get a "real" bra that will lift my breasts to the proper level if I want the cut of the ao dai to look as it should. I didn't want to get into a discussion of why my sports bras don't count as "real." I guess I'll add "find real bra" to my list of things to do when I get home, though it may not happen until an occasion on which to wear this arises.
While at the silk shop to pick up the ao dai last night, the husband ordered two tailored cotton dress shirts. From some catalog pages (sorry, J. Jill, but it's cheaper to get your look here than at home), I ordered three linen shirts ("big shirts" in catalog jargon), two pairs of linen slacks, one linen pencil skirt, and one loosely flowing silk skirt, all tailored to me as I measured last night. I'll offer a contest here in the fine print to people who have read all the way to the end. Guess in the comments to this blog or in an email or Facebook message to me what you think the above items all together cost (excluding the ao dai, which was $70). Closest guess without going over will get a silk scarf in the color of their choice. Entries close at 4:00 a.m. Hue time on Friday, which is 5:00 p.m. Thursday in Virginia. Include the color scarf you want with your guess, and I'll pick one up for the winner when I pick up the clothes on Friday. (We'll be going in tomorrow for interim fittings.) Scarf to be given in person or mailed as appropriate either on my way home (an Aussie could win this) or when I get home.