Nón lá (the palm-leaf conical hat) is a traditional symbol of Vietnamese people without age, sex or racial distinctions. As with other traditional attire, Nón lá has a special origin story. This one is related to the history of rice-growing in Vietnam.
According to legend, a giant woman from the sky protected humankind from a deluge of rain. She wore a hat made of four round shaped leaves to guard against the downpour. After the woman departed, the people built a temple to honour her as the Rain-shielding Goddess. (Vietnam online)
Áo Bà Ba
Áo bà ba is typical casual wear in South Vietnam, especially in rural areas. Áo bà ba simply consists of a pair of silk pants and a long sleeved shirt. The shirt is long and split at the sides. It usually buttons up and has two pockets at the bottom.
In the old days, South Vietnamese wore áo bà ba not only when they were inside but also outside. It was worn even when people were farming. The style became popular in major communities because of its usefulness. Material to make áo bà ba is easy to find and does not have to be silk. Depending on the color, áo bà ba has different uses. Dark colors such as black and brown are for working. Bright, colorful outfits are for events, festivals or going out.
Modern versions include countless different designs, colors, and embroidery, that have allowed the outfit to transition into modern Vietnamese fashion.