Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Trang Fashion-setters:

Gracious teacher who consented to let me take her photo after I complimented her on her taste in clothing.Wish I had gotten one of the marvelous silk suit she wore yesterday.

The teachers at my school are always well-dressed in black skirts and cute blouses to match the colors of each day of the week that honors the King. (It's a mark of respect to wear the King's daily colors.)

Monday: Yellow
Tuesday: Pink
Wednesday: Green
Friday: Blue
Saturday: Purple
Sunday: Red

I struggle to keep up but don't have certain colors and didn't bring a black skirt. Some of the teachers dress to the nines and also wear expensive jewelry. One in particular always looks like she stepped out of a Thai fashion magazine. I have become accustomed to saying "suay?" (Not a question but the proper tone for exclaiming the word "beautiful.")

Yesterday, she wore a blue silk suit that would be appropriate for a wedding in our country. And today, it was a lovely cotton ensemble. She also brought a bolt of Thai silk that she is going to have made into something. We are talking gorgeous hand-woven fabrics here and garments custom-made by a dressmaker. She says she's buying all she can while she can still afford it because she's retiring soon and will no longer have the money to splurge on fine clothing. She and her husband do intend to travel though--and she'll need nice things.

The teachers all gathered and debated styles around a thick book of what I assumed were models wearing patterns of clothing that could be copied

No, I was informed, the book features prominent Trang citizens wearing their finery, apparently so that other folks can see what's fashionable and have their own dressmaker or tailor sew it up for them.

This book is over an inch thick. Every page features someone different--or an entire family, all beautifully dressed in something stunning and with every hair perfect. Even more surprising than the book itself is that folks in the book have to ante up and pay to be in there. (Could this be the Thai version of "keeping up with the Jones's"?)

I told the teachers I was going to my niece's wedding in May and they all decided that I should choose a style from this book, purchase some hand-woven Thai silk and show everyone how beautiful I can be going Trang-style.

Great idea. Except that Thai silk of this quality is NOT cheap even at a great exchange rate. Plus, I don't know any dressmakers who can produce a meticulously designed gown just by looking at a photo. (And also I might stand out like a sore thumb looking like I was fresh from a visit to the King of Thailand.)

Khem, our CCS Program director, has several breathtaking hand-made/woven gowns that she will wear for her wedding celebration on February 22 (after I leave Trang). She changes gowns several times during the day, as is traditional. Her parents are even now hand-delivering wedding invitations (another tradition) to over 700 guests.

Good thing I won't be here for that wedding because I haven't a clue what I could possibly wear. (Though I would like to spy on what every one else will be wearing.)

Beautiful hand-woven detail on the sleeves and also around the hem of the skirt.

She also was wearing Thai silver--and promised to bring in her collection of it for me to see tomorrow. It comes from Chiang Mai, made by silver artisans there.

The Cream of Trang Society Below (Pictures from the book):

Note on Above Post:

Have learned more about the Trang fashion-setting book. Khem's Mom and Dad (absolutely lovely folks) are in the book but somehow, I missed them. They were invited to be in it by the Governor of Trang and made a donation toward the book because its purpose is to promote the Thai silk industry and inspire people to invest in beautiful silk garments.

Her parents know many of the people in the book. Tonight, they took Gerry and me out to dinner because Gerry is leaving Trang on Saturday. I have made two visits to the English classes tutored by Khem's Mom (who was once the province head for English education in the schools here) and Gerry has made one. More about that wonderful dinner tomorrow!


  1. Pam, I think it's a great idea for a dress for the wedding.You could have it made there. I like the one of the lady in the 3rd picture on the left sitting on the arm of a chair. When we were in Hong Kong Bill had a shirt made while we were there. How much is expensive??? Judy

  2. pretty dresses! lovely silk...

  3. Interesting, well at least it makes it easier to narrow down what to wear each day.