Traditional Thai Dresses Part I

Ever since I was little, I have been fascinated by the amazingly gorgeous traditional Thai dresses. The Thai national or traditional dress is called ‘Chut Thai phra ratcha niyom’ (ชุดไทยพระราชนิยม) in Thai which means ‘Thai dress of royal endorsement’. This kind of dress (chut Thai) is commonly worn on formal occasions as national costume.

traditional dresses at Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles

Traditional Thai dresses at the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, Bangkok, Thailand*

Today we can distinguish between eight different styles of Thai national dresses. They are said to have originated in the mid 20th century. In fact, when HM Queen Sirikit accompanied the King in state visits to Western countries in 1960, she realized the need for a modern national costume. Thus, Queen Sirikit had research conducted concerning historical records of royal dresses. Consequently, eight official designs were developed and also promoted by HM Queen Sirikit herself.

I will focus on traditional (national) Thai dresses for women but of course there are also national attire for men. I have divided this article into two parts, simply because there is so much material and information. Hence, I think it is better to have smaller ‘bites’ 😉

Traditional Thai dresses

Traditional Thai dresses featured in this post (photo credit: bangkokpost.com)

Traditional Thai Dresses

1. Chut Thai Chakkri

Chut Thai Chakkri is a very formal and elegant dress. This kind of garment is usually produced by using the Yok weaving technique. A special feature of the Yok weaving method is that it creates additional thickness within the fabrics without adding extra threads. In the Chakkri Style, the ‘Pha-Sin’, that is the ‘Pha-Noong’ or skirt, is a full length wrap skirt. This skirt has two pleated folds in front which are called ‘Na- Nang’.

chakkri style Thai dresschakkri style Thai dressChakkri style dresses*

Traditional Thai dress, Chakkri (photo credit: Amat Nimitpark)

Traditional Thai dress, Chakkri (photo credit: Amat Nimitpark)

2. Chut Thai Boromphiman

Like Thai Chakkri, Thai Boromphiman is also a formal evening attire. It can be worn in formal ceremonies and royal functions. The Boromphiman comprises a long sleeved round necked buttoned blouse which is tucked beneath the ankle length ‘Pha-Noong’ skirt with its front pleats (‘Na-Nang’). The blouse and the skirt are sown together so that they form a one piece traditional dress. The Boromphiman is made of brocaded fabrics in order to create a very luxurious appearance.

thai boromphiman dressthai boromphiman dressBoromphiman dresses*

3. Chut Thai Siwalai

The Thai Siwalai is a formal evening gown similar to the Boromphiman and the Chakkri. The only difference between these Thai traditional dresses is that the Siwalai has a shawl draped over the long- sleeved blouse. This shawl is also called ‘sbai’ in Thai. Chut Thai Siwalai is worn in royal ceremonies and other formal occasions. By the way, the term siwalai was derived from the English word ‘civilized’.

thai siwalai dressqueen sirikit in thai siwalai dress

Thai Siwalai dress & HM Queen Sirikit in Thai Siwalai dress around 1950*

4. Chut Thai Chakkraphat

First of all, it is important to mention that ‘Chakkraphat’ means emperor in Thai language. Hence, Thai Chakkraphat is an official and conservative traditional dress with a shawl similar to Chakkri. Nevertheless, it appears even more put together than the Thai Chakkri dress because the shawl is thicker, richly embroidered and decorated with beautiful ornaments. It can be worn in royal or national ceremonies.

thai chakraphat, thai traditional dress of queen sirikit of thailandthai chakkraphat dress

Thai Chakkraphat dresses*

In the following part, I will feature the remaining four styles of traditional Thai dresses. Hence, stay tuned if you like these amazingly beautiful garments! Or click here to check it out immediately 🙂 It is also interesting to note that today the Siamese Fashionista group tries to encourage young Thais to dress traditionally.

Yours, Sirinya

(*All photos in this post are from the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles unless otherwise stated, a further source about traditional dresses in Thailand is here)




Sirinya Ann’s Atelier: Art & Crafts

Maybe you’ve already noticed that I have a small handicraft shop here called ‘Sirinya Ann’s Atelier’. I’ve started this shop at DaWanda about two years ago and have added some articles from time to time since then. Everything you find in this store is handcrafted by myself 🙂

For instance, here are some of my handcrafted items:

Sirinya Ann's Atelier: collar necklace with Thai fabric

Sirinya Ann’s Art Atelier: collar necklace with Thai fabric

Clutch decorated with Thai fabric, Sirinya Ann's Atelier

Clutch decorated with Thai fabric, Sirinya Ann’s Atelier

Collar necklace with Thai brocade Sirinya Ann's Atelier

Collar necklace with Thai brocade Sirinya Ann’s Atelier

Hair barrette made from Thai brocade, Sirinya Ann's Atelier

Hair barrette made from Thai brocade, Sirinya Ann’s Atelier

Sirinya Ann’s Atelier

In my shop you find extravagant and extraordinary accessories, hair accessories, fascinators and jewellery made from Thai fabic, silk, brocade, satin, pearls, rhinestones or other similar materials. The fabrics are chosen with care and most of them I bring with me from my travels to Thailand. Sometimes opulent or sometimes subtle, my products have an extraorinary exotic touch.
From time to time, I also offer Vintage articles in my shop.

You see, I very much enjoy crafting accessories and jewellery with traditional Thai fabric simply because the material is so special and extraordinary.

Hairband with Thai brocade appliques

Hairband with Thai brocade appliques

collar necklace made from Thai fabric, brocade from Sirinya Ann's Atelier

Collar necklace made from Thai fabric, brocade from Sirinya Ann’s Atelier

Recently, I’ve also tried to do some decoupage art using copies of Chakrabhand Posayakrit’s marvellous paintings. In my tribute to this Thai artist, I’ve already shown you some of my decoupage art.

Decoupage art with image by Chakrabhand Posayakrit, Sirinya Ann's Atelier

Decoupage art with image by Chakrabhand Posayakrit

Decoupage art with image by Chakrabhand Posayakrit

Decoupage art with Buddha image by Chakrabhand Posayakrit

At the moment I have discontinued my shop but if there is any interest, please let me know in the comments and I will reopen Sirinya Ann’s Atelier at DaWanda or Etsy 🙂

Yours, Sirinya