What Do People in Thailand Wear?

Feed My Starving Children (FMSC)/CC-BY 2.0

In modern Thailand, people wear westernized clothing similar to what’s seen in America. However, despite its reputation, Thailand is a conservative country, and lots of Thai people frown on too much exposed skin. While allowances are made for tourists, many residents keep the shoulders, legs and body covered. Traditional Thai clothing is made of raw silk and reserved for special occasions and holidays.

Traditional Thai clothing can be classified into six periods, beginning in the 11th Buddhist century. Over the centuries, influences from India have been incorporated and removed. There are broad variations in traditional attire, separated by ruler and region.

Traditionally, women wear knee-length or full-length skirts with a matching top or blouse. Sheer or semitransparent fabrics are frowned upon. Women also wear wrap-around skirts decorated with floral designs. Traditional men’s attire is a silk one-piece suit with a wide belt. Other traditional outfits include the batik sarong and fisherman’s pants. Cotton vests and pants are also considered traditional everyday wear.

In modern Thailand, silk outfits have been replaced by suits and uniforms. Thai silk remains a valuable commodity, valued internationally for its high quality and smooth feel. Thai teenagers wear not only Western fashions, but they also follow Japanese trends as well.