Wednesday, 19 September 2012

malay traditional outfit

Traditional Malay dressing is strongly dictated by the Islamic dress code, though over the years certain liberties have been taken. But with the revival of Islamic consciousness among the Malays, Malay dressing has returned to its original accent on modesty and conservatism. That is not to say that Malay fashion is boring; far from it. Malay women are faithfully observing the Islamic dress code while putting a dash of colour and flair. As a result, fesyen Muslimat(fashion for the faithful women) has become mainstream haute couture.

Baju Kurung: The Malay traditional costume for women is called the baju kurung. It comprises a loose tunic, the baju, worn over a long skirt or the sarung. It is still worn in its original loose form, especially when attending funerals where the white baju is normally worn as a sign of respect.
On other occasions, the baju is worn is all shades and colours. Baju kurung is often worn on Fridays by female office workers, as a sign of respect for the day, even among those who opt for modern dresses on other days.

Kebaya: Immortalised by Singapore Airlines stewardesses, the sarong kebaya was the rage of the 1960s. It accentuates the woman's figures and assets. A two-piece costume, it consists of a tight blouse (often made of lace or transparent material) and a figure hugging sheath of fine batik. In the old days, the woman would wrap a long piece of batik around her hips and pleat the end. But for convenience, the sheath and pleats are now sewn.
The tightness of the sheath made walking difficult and over the years a slit was introduced. How high that slit was depended on how bold you wanted to be.
With greater Islamic consciousness, the kebaya has lost its fuigure-hugging quality and is now worn as a loose garment.

Selendang: Among the muslimat, another mandatory piece of clothing is the scarf called either the tudung or selendang. This should cover the hair and the bosom, in accordance with the Islamic dress code. The selendang has been part of the Malay woman's wardrobe for ages, though with greater understanding of Islam a stricter observance of what should be concealed and what can be exposed is now practiced. In the past, the selendang would be draped over the head (exposing part of the hair) or simply slung over the shoulder.
Jubah: Though not really Malay in origin, the jubah is a loose robe that hides the figure. It is really Arabic in origin and is worn together with the selendang by women who choose to observe a stricter dress code.

Baju Melayu: The traditional garb for the men is the Baju Melayu. It is a loose shirt worn over a sarung or a pair of trousers. The more elaborate ones will also don a kain samping- a piece of brocade (songket) tied around the waist, and trousers to match the shirt.
To complete their ensemble, a headdress called a songkok is worn. This is normally made of velvet. Headdresses are encouraged during prayers, and the songkok has become an indispensible part of the Malay man's costume.

In my next entry i will share some information about the Malay custom. Thank you and have a good day .

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