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Description: The Vietnamese yem first appeared in ancient times, but the general shape it has today dates from the Ly Dynasty. Since 1802, the yem has been a square piece of cloth with two of the corners above the woman's breasts. The front of yem worn by aristocratic women had braided ribbons. Working women usually wore a round-collar yem. At that time, there was also a "split-collar yem" and an yem with the split plunging downwards and called a "swallow-winged yem." By 1920, coquettish girls liked colourful yem with the split plunging near their breasts. Young girls liked light colours such as aqua, sky-blue, and rose, whereas middle-aged women wore darker colours. Working women wore light brown or dark brown yem. Women tied four long strips of cloth, two at each side tie the yem, together at the back of the neck and at the waist. They tied the strips firmly when working but loosely during times of leisure, and sometimes, very loosely. The top comers of the yem had three stitched lines to make the collar more durable and more beautiful. Some women embroidered flowers at this spot. They decorated the ribbons in a colour that complemented the rest of the yem. Some women would sew a tiny bag of perfume onto the ribbons to turn the heads of their admirers. Girls sometimes attached betel quids for their lovers to their yem ribbons.
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