Thai National Costumes
When Queen Sirikit accompanied by the Late King Bhumibhol Adulyadej (King Rama IX) in state visits to Europe and the United States in 1960, H.M. noted that there was a need for a modern national costume suitable for formal wear. The queen had researched and conducted data from historical records of royal dresses, and eight official designs were developed and promoted by the queen herself and her aides. The formal Thai national costume, known in Thai as ชุดไทยพระราชนิยม, Chut Thai Phra Ratcha Niyom, literally Thai dress of royal endorsement, includes several sets of clothing designed for use as national costumes in formal occasions. There are named Ruean Ton, Chitlada, Amarin, Boromphiman, Chakkri, Dusit, Chakkraphat and Siwalai Thai dresses accordingly. Since then, these dresses have been coming into the regular use by Thai women.
For the last attire, at present, Thai fashion designers also offer a minor modification style dress, but still keep the same whole silhouette and change a little in terms of neckline, decoration and others for being used as wedding dresses for Thai bride during wedding ceremony. We call this new design of Thai traditional dress “Thai Prayook Dress” (Thai Contemporary Dress) which each Thai designer has his or her own degree of creativity.
1.Thai Ruean Ton Dress
Thai Ruean Ton is the most casual clothing of all outfits. It is comprised of a horizontally or vertically stripped either cotton or silk Bha Sin (Sarongs) and also smooth-colored Sarong which edging stretches to ankle long and always folds to one side. Anyway, we are able to use blouse colors as same as fabric color stripe, either contrasting with sarong color or the same as the color of sarong. The blouse is separated from sarong, and her sleeves are elbow long in order to comfortable wearing. Her pattern is the rimless, five buttons, front opening and without collar. It is suitable for casual and non-official functions such as Kathin Ton, religious ceremonies of the conferring royal offerings to monks.
2. Thai Chitlada Dress
Thai Chitlada, with its brocaded band at the edging of the Bha Sin (sarong), is a daytime ceremonial dress. We are able to wear Thai Chitlada dress with a long sleeved blouse, with the front opening attached by five ornamental silver or golden buttons. Bha Sin (sarong) is a casual wraparound. It can be worn to an informal ceremony such as welcoming the official royal guests at the airport. Wearers do not need to decorate insignia but the color and style should be appropriate for situation.
3. Thai Amarin Dress
Thai Amarin is evening attire, made of brocaded fabric. This style, wearers do not need to wear belts. The blouse can be wide and round-necked. The sleeves length sits just below the elbows. The beauty of this dress is its textile and accessories. We are able to wear Thai Amarin dress for dinner or the important Royal Birthday Procession. The royal decorations (insignia) are necessary to be worn.
4. Thai Boromphiman Dress
Thai Boromphiman is also formal evening attire, comprising a long sleeved blouse which is either buttoned at the front or back. The blouse is tucked beneath Bha Sin (sarong) with its front pleats (Na Nang). The fabric is brocaded to create a highly luxurious appearance and impression. Her collar is round-necked style. The skirt (sarong) length runs about the ankle. Both Bha Sin and blouse are sewn together like a one piece dress of which style is suitable for a tall and slender person. We are able to wear Thai Boromphiman dress in either formal or semi-formal events such as the League Ceremony or royal functions. It is necessary to decorate this dress with royal accessories (insignia).
5. Thai Chakkri Dress
Thai Chakkri is a formal and elegant outfit. Normally, the procession of weaving cloth is called "Yok" [pronounced like: soak] that is a special technique (Yok creates additional thickness within the fabric without adding supplementary threads. Often, a touch of gold or silver-colored threads are added to make this procession of fabric more expensive. This costume is finished with Bha Sin (sarong), a full length-round skirt with two pleats folds in the front is called "Na Nang".
6. Thai Chakkraphat Dress
Thai Chakkraphat is Thai dress with a shawl like Thai Chakkri. However, it is more conservative and considered more official. The upper part has a pleated shawl cover, a thicker shawl with full embroidery on the upper shawl. It can be worn for royal or national ceremonies.
7. Thai Siwalai Dress
Thai Siwalai is a formal evening costume and quite similar to Thai Boromphiman attire. The difference between these two dresses is that Thai Siwalai dress is worn with an over-shoulder shawl. This traditional Thai costume is worn for royal ceremonies or formal functions.
8. Thai Dusit Dress
Thai Dusit is a round-necked and sleeveless dress. It is very suitable for an evening party as same as western evening dresses. The upper attire may be embroidery or decorated appropriately. The upper clothes may be separated from piece itself or sewn to the skirt. Bha Sin or sarong should be a silver or gold pleated fabric and raised edging. This attire should be worn with traditional Thai ornaments or Western decorations that are appropriate to the occasion.
9. Thai Prayook Dress (Thai Contemporary Dress)
This costume is modified from Thai Chakkri dress. The method of cutting is like (traditional Thai) non- sleeve. It is pleated and leaving the edging of piece long and are sewn together like a one piece dress. Bha Sin or sarong is in traditional Thai design and decorated with front pleats (Na Nang) and also traditional Thai belt. It is very popular in the night clubs or wedding celebration.
For more information, do visit Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles. It displays on Ratsadakornbhibhat House located in the Grand Palace, Bangkok between the door of Wiman-thewet and Wiset-chaisri. Open daily from 09.00 a.m. to 04.30 p.m.
Special thanks for the information and pictures from Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, Queen Sirikit Sericulture Center (Loei), www.visitorstothailand.com, "VISITORS TO THAILAND" MAGAZINE and MAPS GROUP, www.thaiall.com, www.reallaliworld.wordpress.com, www.thaitopwedding.com, and www.pompgorn.com/thai-national-costume.
Special thanks for Thai National Costumes from Finale Wedding Studio and Myriad Grand Monde