classical costume is quite unique to the nation. Modern Thai
men invariably have two suits when dressing up for celebrations
or formal ceremonies: a western suit and a Thai suit. Women
have as many as six Thai classical dresses to choose from.
Nowadays, Thai people wear Thai classical costumes for special
occasions only, such as wedding ceremonies, temple visits
or informal ceremonies.
An Overview of Thai Costumes
of early Thai costumes can be found in ancient sculptures
and literature. The Thai people believed that dressing up
in the right color would bring them good luck. This belief
can be found in the poems of the Thai poet Soonthornphu, who
lived in the Ayutthaya period. His poem entitled Sawatdiruksa,
said that the color of clothing should be red on Sunday, white
on Monday, violet and dark indigo on Tuesday, bright orange
on Wednesday, green and yellow on Thursday, gray like the
color of a rain cloud on Friday and black on Saturday. These
colors were favorable both for daily wear and when going to
costume has been influenced by the styles of neighboring peoples
such as the Khmer, Lao, Burmese, Malays and Indonesians. Later,
these styles were adapted to create true regional Thai identities.
the Dvaravarti period, evidence from sculptures shows that
costumes were very simple. Incorporating features of Mon and
Khmer clothing, the people at that time wore a simple piece
of cloth around their bodies, between waist and knee. Men
wore a loincloth while the women occasionally draped a piece
of clothing over the shoulders. The high bun was the fashionable
hairstyle at the time. Ornaments and jewelry were made from
stone and metal, and worn at the wrists and arms.
the Srivijaraya period, costume followed the styles of Dvaravarti
but with more ornamentation at the neck, wrists, arms and
ankles. The women held their hair in a high bun while the
men wore their hair in pigtails at the ears.
in the Lopburi period was influenced by the Khmer to a greater
degree. Upper bodies of both men and women were naked. Sometimes
the women wore a 'sabai', a piece of cloth hung across one
the Chiang Saen period, tribes from northern Thailand brought
new ideas to costume. Men wore three-quarter-length pants
with their upper bodies bare. They wore a turban-like head-cloth
and tied the pants at the waist in various ways. Women began
to wear ankle-length tube-skirts for the first time, with
jewelry at the neck, arms and wrists.
Back to Top