This beautiful Hmong outfit was found at the Galt Flea Market in Galt, CA. The stitch work was amazing and I loved the color combination. I was very tempted to buy it, even though I am not much of the Hmong clothes buyer. I prefer to make my own Hmong clothes. Ultimately, the reason why I do not currently own this outfit is because I could not tell what type of Hmong it was supposed to represent.
The beautiful neckline, with the staircase edging is usually associated with and typical of Hmong Thai attire. In the shirt pictured above, you see this edging on the right and left sides of the shirt. Hmong Thai shirts usually only have this edging on one side of the shirt, not both. Also, you will notice that the sleeves are three-quarters length and are quite wide. This type of sleeve is usually associated with White Hmong tribes. Hmong Thai shirtsleeves are narrow and run the entire length of the arm. Also, there is not usually any embroidery at the bottom of the sleeve, the section that sits at the wrist.
Mixing and matching of Hmong pieces are very common these days. There are many creative creations and combinations out there, which are beautiful and require just as much work. As much as I adore some of these very clever combinations and more fashion forward pieces, I still prefer the real thing.
The outfit pictured above is very close to what a true Hmong outfit is, especially to the untrained eye. I have seen pieces strewn together with typical Hmong cross-stitch patterns slapped on and called “Hmong.” I am always torn about these kinds of outfits. I applaud the unique perspective and vision, but am appalled at the difference between it and an accurate Hmong outfit. There are many differing views on this, however a traditional, authentic Hmong outfit still speaks louder to me.