One thing that grabbed my fascination when I first travelled Vietnam was the fashion and in particular the womens. It can be so unusually unique, amazingly colourful, incredibly sexy but hilarious all at the same time. Another plus is that most of the time it’s as practical as a hook on a fishing line and as comfortable as freshly ironed pair of underwear .
Now let me tell you something personal about myself ; I don’t wear pyjamas but I do have a fondness and appreciation for them – Vietnamese pyjamas actually. Ok, so I’m constantly reminded by locals that “they aren’t actually pyjamas”, but for me and my western eyes, they resemble a lovely set of Pyjamas: ‘soft, loose clothing that is worn in bed and consists of trousers and a type of shirt’. So as such I must eat my own words as they are not actually worn to bed… they are more often that not, worn anywhere else but! By the definition , the locals are right – pyjamas they are not – but it’s hard to shake the familiarity. Since I was a very young lad the only clothes I’ve ever seen with the same style, fabric and patterns are….. pyjamas!
You will see these comfortable and unconciouslly fashionable women strutting their stuff down the public ‘catwalks’ of Vietnams alleys, streets, markets, restaraunts, food stalls, parks….. hell, basically anywhere you find women you will be able to feast your eyes on a colourful pair of Vietnamese ‘jammies’ without too much effort. I don’t think these ladies are too aware of how iconic their comfortable ‘day clothes’ are and how much foreigners love their clothing choice. They often feel as thought they look quite ugly, unfashionable and shy away from photos.
Many pyjamas are tailored to the individual, but off-the-shelf pyjamas are made through a truly communal effort with each household completing one step in the production. Usually made in the countryside, one house may only prepare the sleeves, others will make the body only, while another family sew the legs before the next family will add an elastic waist & stitch those said legs together. Everyone has their special part to play and so attention to detail and quality is usually pretty good. The one size fits all style of these ‘Pyjamas’ are way more popular in the countryside and women will actually often wear a somewhat ‘special’, fancy and barely worn pair to a wedding!
I have a secret. I have a few actually, but I have one I’m willing to share one now with you….. I tried on some Vietnamese womens pyjamas last week. I will add it was due to the pressure from a peer of mine, although she didn’t have to push too hard! I have to admit, i secretly wanted to understand the level of comfort that this clothing is renowned for. I was humbly satisfied to put to rest the curiosity that was brewing away in me for months. They were unbelievable – the next best thing to being naked!
Yes, even though the chosen set were a little too tight on me, they were all heavily discounted and with quite a range on offer, I did ponder the purchase of a set for myself (purely for use AT HOME of course). That idea was quickly put to rest though when I realised that I was prematurely tempting my cross dressing fate! Anyway, if I wanted some decent PJ’s the mens section was just one isle over full of just as comfortable, but in somewhat more conservative, boring colours. Although…. those boring PJ’s would definently send me off the sleep a bit quicker 😉
– A white girl in Viet Pyjamas – A white man in Viet pyjamas