Forget the imperial dresses. Forget fine jewelry. Forget golden embroidery. The Vietnamese national outfit is the pyjama.
The Vietnamese people use an outfit that resembles our pyjama. Depending on the occasion and the level of wealth, some wear silk, some wear cotton. And they go everywhere in this outfit. According to an expat from Dubai, the opera in Hanoi is somewhat the only place not suitable to wear a pyjama in.
That kind of clothes are actually very comfortable here. It is hot and humid here. Friday had the heath peak of the week with 39'c. Now I just arrived to Saigon (or officially Ho Chi Minh City), it's 9 p.m. and it's 30'c. So the pyjama is a soft and cool alternative for "normal" clothes.
Just like in any other southern country, here white skin equals beauty. Especially children who know some words of English have come to me, pointed at my skin and said "beautiful". Therefore the pyjama is good in the sense that it protects the skin from excess sun and keeps the person from getting sun tanned. The Vietnamese have a good laugh when I tell them about the self tanning creams we use.
This tradition with the pyjama brings the concept of "casual Friday" to a whole new level and it works fine here. Maybe I'll also loosen up when I come back home..