The traditional dress for women in Vietnam is called "Ao Dai" (pronounced "ow' yai" or "ow' zai"), literally meaning "Long Dress". Back in 1744, there was a different version of the Ao Dai that was an ensemble of trousers and a gown that had buttons at the front. Now, the costume is a two-piece garment made of fabric. Full-length dresses are worn over somewhat loose silk trousers that are long enough to reach the ground.
From the waist down, the dress splits into a front and back panel. The dress length is gradually shortened until eventually ending just below the knees. Women wear Ao Dai of a variety of colours and intricate patterns and designs for various symbolism. For example, school girls wear pure white to symbolize purity.