National Thai Textiles: Easy Yet Elegant

National Thai Textiles: ‘Easy Yet Elegant’
Let’s Dress UP 
8 July – 12 August 2022

The Royal Thai Embassy – Washington D.C. would like to make it our mission to popularise Thai textiles and garments to any interested people in the U.S. Inaguably, Thailand remains a country of weavers and wooden looms, artisans making traditional Thai Textiles – Treasures of a Kingdom by hand in a time honoured way despite the rise of mass produced, industrially manufactured materials and fashion. Few things in Thailand are as instantly iconic as the traditional Thai dress, or chut thai, but what people may not know is that there are many styles to choose from.

Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, the Queen Mother has been a long supporter of traditional Thai materials, especially Thai silk. Considered an icon of Thai fashion, The Queen Mother is responsible for imbuing the national costume with its distinct Thai identity. Once used mainly for classic designs, Thai fabrics and especially silk have been increasingly finding their way into street fashion. To date, Thai textiles are not difficult to find and it becomes more in eyes of those fashionista and/or brand designers around the world. Thus, the Thai Embassy is pleased to encourage and launch a colorful campaign to any interested people. 


  • Let’s dress UP and have fun in mixing up your every outfits with ‘Thai Fabrics’ in your own styles
  • Snap your style and post on social media (IG/FB) ‘Easy Yet Elegant’
  • Always #tag us at Instagram or Facebook  @BeyondThai.T  during 8 July – 12 August 2022
  • Don’t forget to make it public so we could also appreciate your beautiful costumes
  • Receive a thank you gift from Thailand for the most interactive fashionista that posted photos and tagged us


Thai Textiles – Treasures of a Kingdom

Women Weavers

Woman working on weaving machine for weave handmade fabric. Textile weaving. Weaving using traditional hand weaving loom on cotton strands. Textile or cloth production in Thailand. Asian culture.

Village-based weaving is and has been a way of life for generations. The locally-produced fabrics date from a rich history of cultural-based materials and clothing, are often made in the same way they have been for generations and sold at local markets across the country.

It gives visitors a chance to experience the authentic weaving heritage personally plus put travel dollars direct into Thailand’s textile rich destinations. Every trip provides an opportunity to support local weavers, sustaining the trade for future generations whilst gaining valuable firsthand knowledge on how to buy incredible fabrics in Thailand.

In the Isan region, women find strength, merit and economic status through traditional textile production. Buying direct from weavers or local markets in small Thai villages empowers women whilst supporting the local economy and small businesses.

Northeast Mudmee Magic 

The diversity of the ethnic people who settled in villages on the Khorat Plateau led to an abundance of different weaving styles, producing a vast array of silk and cotton textiles. Each is unique and beautiful on its own right as every Northeastern or Isan village will have its own signature style.

Mudmee silk is a staple of the Northeast region weaving industry and H.M. Queen Sirikit is very fond of this kind of silk. Though it can be woven from cotton yarn, Mudmee is regarded as the ‘Queen of Thai Silk’ because of the Thai Queen and the textile’s intricate patterns.

It is woven in almost all provinces in the Northeast region; such as, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Roi Et, Surin, Buri Ram and Si Sa Ket.

Southern Region Textiles 

The textiles of Southern Thailand exhibit characteristics and influences of those from Malaysia and or Indonesia’s island of Sumatra. Pha Yok is a rare cloth woven only in Nakhon Si Thammarat and Trang provinces. It is another type of fabric that was favoured in the past by royals and people of noble birth. It is like Songket (a Malaysian cloth) and requires high-skilled weavers and complicated techniques. Gold and silver thread woven into this kind of cloth creates its lustrous texture. Source: Thailand Foundation 

Hang Karok is a technique unique to the Southern Region that uses two-coloured twisted thread before woven. Centres of production include villages around Trang and in the Songkhla Lake area.



Thai Textiles Trend Book

Thai Textiles Trend Book: Vibrant and elegant: Find out about the modern aesthetics and trends of Thai textiles in Thai Textiles Trend Book by the Department of Cultural Promotion, Ministry of Culture. Source:




The eight Thai dresses

Her Majesty Queen Sirikit led fashion designers and researchers to create the eight styles of Thai dresses referred to as chut thai phra rajaniyom (Thai outfits of royal favor). They drew from historical records of royal dresses to create a suitable ensemble for every occasion, varying in formality and complexity. The chut thai are a celebration of femininity and refinement.

Ruean Ton

Ruean Ton: The Ruean Ton consists of a collarless blouse and ankle-length sarong or sinh. The sinh has a striped pattern, usually horizontal and towards the bottom of the skirt. The blouse has five buttons down the center and three-quarter sleeves. The blouse may have the same color as the sinh or its patterns or contrast entirely.

Named after the teak houses of Dusit Palace in Bangkok that were built as a more informal reception for the King’s subjects, this simple and comfortable ensemble is considered the casual chut thai. Today, the Ruean Ton is often worn for religious ceremonies & holidays, and going to the temple, and as a uniform in the hospitality industry.


Chitralada: Named after the Chitralada Royal Villa, the Chitralada is more formal than the Ruean Ton. Key differences are that the blouse has a short, standing collar and the entire ensemble may be covered in flower embroidery.

Depending on the fabrics used, this outfit may be worn during daytime ceremonies, royal ceremonies, and official visits with foreign dignitaries that do not require displaying insignia. Black versions of the Chitralada are worn at funerals or during periods of mourning.

Source: Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles


Amarin: Named after the Amarin Winitchai Throne Hall, the Amarin is similar to the Chitralada, but uses more luxurious fabrics and is paired with an extravagant set of jewelry. The silk garments may also incorporate gold thread (silk brocade), especially in the flower embroidery. While there is no belt, the Amarin outfit is usually adorned with insignia depending on the occasion.

This ensemble is suitable for evening functions, receptions, the theatre, royal ceremonies & processions, association gatherings, and other occasions that call for full- or half-dress attire.

Source: Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles


Boromphiman: Named after the Boromphiman Throne Hall, the Boromphiman also uses luxurious fabrics—either Thai silk or silk brocade. Key differences from the Amarin are that the blouse does not have any buttons and can either open at the front or back. Furthermore, the blouse is sewn into the sinh as a single piece, and the sarong is pleated in front in a fashion known as jeeb wai chai pok. Accessories also include an ornamental belt.

Considered formal, the Boromphiman is worn for evening functions and other occasions that call for full- or half-dress attire, such as gala dinners, royal and official receptions, and by royal brides.

Source: Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles


Dusit: Named after Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall, the Dusit is markedly different from the other outfits. The blouse is sleeveless and the collar widened into a round neck- and backline. It opens at the back and is adorned with sewn-on jewelry such as pearls, beads, and sequins. It is worn with a gold brocade sinh that is pleated in the front and paired with a belt.

The Dusit is equivalent to a formal Western-style evening gown.

Worn by Queen Sirikit during state visits to Japan (June 3rd, 1963) and Taiwan (June 7th, 1963).
Source: Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles


Chakri: Named after the Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall, the Chakri is what most people think of when they refer to a traditional Thai dress. Made of gold or silver metal-thread brocade, the outfit consists of bodice wrapped in a single shawl or sabai draped across the chest over the non-dominant shoulder, exposing the other shoulder. The sinh has the signature front pleat, and the ensemble is paired with an ornate belt and necklace.

Considered an evening dress, the Chakri is also worn to royal ceremonies and by brides-to-be for daytime engagement or wedding ceremonies.

Source: Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles


Chakraphat: Named for ​​Chakraphat Phiman Throne Hall, the Chakraphat is similar to the Chakri but considered more elegant. The key difference is that this outfit uses two sabai layered over each other. The outer shawl is often highly ornate, with detailed embroidery. The Chakraphat is often highly accessorized with a necklace, a belt, a tiara, armbands, bracelets, and earrings depending on the occasion.

The Chakraphat may be worn for formal banquets and official dinners.

Source: Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles


Siwalai: Named for Siwalai Garden in the Grand Palace, the Siwalai consists of a long-sleeve blouse with a short standing collar, a sabai draped across the chest like the Chakraphat, and a sinh with a front pleat that can be a separate piece or sewn into the blouse as one dress similar to the Boromphiman.

The Siwalai is also commonly seen at royal ceremonies or at very formal daytime and evening events.

Worn by Queen Sirikit to a command performance at the National Theatre
 (January 16th, 1968).
Source: Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles


SUPPORT for Thai textiles

Her Majesty Queen Sirikit has since been a long supporter of traditional Thai materials, especially Thai silk. Sericulture or silk farming is an extremely difficult trade passed down for generations. After harvesting and soaking the cocoons of the silk moth caterpillar, the silk is spun into threads and painstakingly woven by hand into complicated patterns.

In 1976, the Queen graciously created the SUPPORT Foundation to preserve the history and craftsmanship of Thai textiles, particularly handwoven silk and cotton. The foundation has since been a steady source of income for rural farming communities, especially those prone to bouts of flooding and drought.

Since its inception, SUPPORT has organized annual fashion shows where renowned international designers are invited to incorporate Thai silk into their designs. In this way, Her Majesty ensures the preservation of a beautiful Thai tradition.


Fashion fit for a Queen

Thai dresses were designed as early as the 1960s for royalty, but Her Majesty’s timeless style and foresight has allowed these traditional ensembles to stay relevant as proud statements of the Thai identity and enjoy widespread use and appreciation.

If you want to know more about traditional Thai clothes, visit Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles or reach out to their Facebook Page. There are several rotating exhibitions showcasing Thai textiles and garments, including the dresses worn by the Queen herself.

Useful links: