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Mrs. Le Thi Minh Trang

I was born and raised in the ancient capital of Hue, where the traditional ao dai dress has long been a part of daily life. As a child, I would watch my mother with awe as she donned her Ao Dai for work or special occasions. Everywhere I went, I would see schoolgirls in their pristine white Ao Dai, adding a touch of elegance to the verdant streets. Even now, in the city where I live, Ao Dai remains a ubiquitous garment, more refined and diverse than ever, embodying the spirit of the times. We are gradually affirming Hue's status as the "Capital of the Ao Dai."

Strolling along Hue's streets, one can easily spot shops offering Ao Dai tailoring services, some long-standing, others more modern. Anyone who visits this ancient city, no matter for how brief a time, would love to acquire an Ao Dai with the unique Hue style, carefully tailored to enhance the soft curves of a woman's body, with intricate details on every seam, embroidery, and pattern, making it both aesthetically pleasing and comfortable to wear. The Ao Dai's flowing silhouette conceals all the stitching and construction of the garment, which creates a light and airy feel.

When I turned sixteen, I received my very first Ao Dai as part of the high school uniform that every girl coveted. It marked my coming-of-age, and filled my family with pride. I later gifted my daughter her first Ao Dai when she was ten, for a school performance. Watching her fumble with the buttons and ask me to help her fasten them, I felt a deep connection to my past. I recalled the joy of donning my own Ao Dai for the first time, and seeing the gentle and demure girl in front of me, whose charm I had never truly noticed before. Seeing her eyes light up with happiness as she twirled around in her Ao Dai, I saw myself in her once more.

Now, in my forties, Ao Dai remains my go-to choice, a habit I have kept since childhood. You know, we even wore ao dai at our wedding, and continue to wear them on formal occasions, at work, or simply because it's a beautiful day. We share a deep love for this national dress, which has accompanied us through life's ups and downs, just like a loyal friend.

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