Sartorial Perspective

At the end of her shift, our 50-something-year-old cleaner comes out of the bathroom with a huge grin on her face and says to me, “I go to church now. Do you like my shirt?” Being a bright and bubbly woman, she was near to bouncing around the kitchen, proud to be wearing a shirt her now-deceased, and well-loved, sister used to own.

She’s sporting a new blouse, patterned in reds and browns, a waved collar adorning her neck – not nearly as gruesome as most fashion here, and obviously a blouse for special occasions. That said, this particular top is transparent enough to showcase her black bra beneath it.

Entirely reflective of the constant paradox that is Vietnam: the current 30-40ish generation is devoutly abstinent and yet the women will wear what I can only call club attire to work, church, the grocery store, everywhere..

I’d have said this was only to be seductive, but it seems more of a commonplace absent-minded decision than the former. This, especially if my genuinely sweet, and rather religious, cleaner will wear a transparent top to church. Surely she isn’t trying to be seductive.

..Unless she’s planning on seducing her Pastor/Priest/Whatever.



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