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 sister used to own.

She’s sporting what looks like a new blouse, patterned in reds and browns, subtle frills adorning her collar – obviously a blouse for slightly special occasions and, in fact, not gruesome-looking (like most fashion here). However, this particular top is transparent enough that I can clearly see her black bra beneath.

This is when I realise, it’s not that Vietnamese women wear these tops – to work, church, grocery shopping – to be seductive; it’s just commonplace. No second thought for what offering up your bra might suggest about your.. availability.

A good reflection of the contradictory perspectives here.

The current 30-40ish generation is devoutly abstinent, and yet the women will wear what I can only call club-attire to work; trying to attract a certain form of attention, no?

No. If my genuinely sweet, and rather religious, cleaner will wear a transparent top to church, surely it’s not necessarily their way of being seductive.

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

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