|Casual clothes of Cao Lan women (photo: langvietonline.vn)
The Cao Lan people live mostly in Thanh Son and Dap Thanh communes, or scattered throughout Ba Che district.
At festivals, new year celebrations, and call-and-response singing sessions, they always wear their traditional costumes. The Cao Lan women wear calf-length shirts. A casual shirt has a brown top and indigo lower part. When they go to festive events, they wear red and indigo shirts.
The shirt looks simple but actually it is sophisticatedly cut. It has a wrap collar that goes under the right armpit. Vi Thị Tuyen of Ba Che district’s Culture Office said: “The clothes of the Cao Lan have embroidery patterns of plants, flowers, the sun, the stars, and human beings. The images feature agricultural activities and daily life. On the front hem they embroider squares and stars, representing the harmonious existence of the earth and the sky.”
Because the long shirts do not have buttons, Cao Lan women use multicolor belts to tie their clothes.
The Artisan Luc Van Binh of Thanh Sơn commune says the full costume of a Cao Lan woman includes a long shirt, a brassiere, a midi skirt, a pair of leggings made of brocaded cloth, and a headscarf.
“Embroidered on the Cao Lan clothing are totems such as roosters and horses and patterns representing bumper crops. Women wear long coats tie with two cloth belts of blue, yellow, red, or brown,” said Binh.
For a casual long shirt, they stick square pieces of white cloth on the front and layers of white and black cloth on the wrap collar.
When a girl gets married, she must wear a brassiere to cover her breasts. Remarried woman, don’t wear a brassiere, according to artisan Luc Van Binh.
Cao Lan women wear a midi skirt flared for easy movement. The normal length is to the calf.
Like many other ethnic groups, the Cao Lan in Ba Che district wear traditional costumes at festivals, parties, and ceremonies. At community events, it’s easy to identify the Cao Lan by their clothing.