Saturday, 25 August 2012


Baju Melayu ("Malay dress or attire") is the general term for the traditional Malay costume for men.Specifically, the traditional Malay costumes for both men and women in Malaysia, are the Baju Kurung Teluk Belanga and the Baju Kurung Cekak Musang. But to differentiate between the male and female attire, the male costume is simply referred to as Baju Melayu while the female costume is normally referred to as the Baju Kurung

Baju Melayu

The man widely acknowledged as the creator of the male Baju Melayu, and the person who first popularized it in the 15th Century in the Malacca Sultanate is Tun Hassan Temenggong, the son of Bendahara Seri Maharaja Tun Mutahir.The Malacca Empire was enjoying its heydays during the 15th to early 16th Century until the Portuguese conquered Malacca in 1511. It was the strongest empire in the region then stretching from Sumatra in the south to Thailand in the north, and was a center of entreport trade, with traders from India, China, Middle East and Europe coming and sailing to trade there. With the influx of foreigners to Malacca, they also brought with them their own fashion styles. These eventually influenced the Malay attire, which combined the flowing loose fitting styles (robes) of the Arabs and Indians, trousers and pants of the Mongols and Turks, with the simplicity and elegance of the Europeans. And the Malay Baju Melayu was born.

  This dress for the male Malays is generally quite the same all over Pahang or Malaysia. It has the same simple design cut, with loose fitting being the accepted concept and fashion. The length of the shirt dress for the men is about the length of the person’s arm, and it is very loose fitting, widening downwards. 
Baju Melayu Cekak Musang
   This Malay male attire is worn either with a sarong or trousers in both the Baju Kurung Teluk Belanga and Baju Kurung Cekak Musang styles. As a traditional costume, however, this male dress is worn rightly with matching pants or trousers. The trousers are long, that is, they are worn up to the ankles, like the normal gentlemen’s long trousers. When thus worn with long trousers, the essential accompaniment for the whole attire is the samping. It is this that adds the extra elegance to the costume.

Baju Telok Belanga
    If the shirt, trousers and samping are worn in a similar colour, fabric or pattern, that is, in matching styles, then in Malay the style is called sedondon. The Baju Melayu is worn either in the style of "kain berdagang luar" or "kain berdagang dalam". In the "kain berdagang luar" style, the shirt is worn outside the trousers and covers part of the sampin. In the "kain berdagang dalam", the sampin is worn outside the dress and it covers the lower part of the shirt.Normally, the Teluk Belanga style is worn as "kain berdagang luar" and the Cekak Musang worn in the "kain berdagang dalam" style. In the Malaysian state of Johor, there is a style for the trousers or pants, called the seluar kiul. The pants are wide at the waist, tied using a piece of string instead of buttons or zip, and the pants, instead of baggy, become smaller down to the legs.

   The baju kurung is a type of Malay traditional costume which is believed to be influenced by Arab, Indian and Chinese merchants. This Malay costume or baju kurung is the outfit of the whole Malay archipelago, namely Malaysia and Indonesia. The cut of today’s baju kurung is more sophisticated and the stitches are more intricate. The baju kurung was introduced during the reign of Sultan Abu Bakar of Johore.
The characteristics that differentiates baju kurung from other costumes is the long tunic with sleeves and the presence of pesak and kekek. The unique characteristics of the baju kurung include the hand stiching throughout the outfit known as sembat as well as the seam and heming. The neckline is stitched by hand using the tulang belut stitchings, inspired by the bones of eels.
    Kebaya is a habitual blouse-dress combination for Indonesian females. The kebaya is also recognized in some Asian countries like Malaysia, Burma, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand and Cambodia. It can be made from sheer material and worn with a sarong or batik kain panjang, or other traditional woven garment such as ikat, songket with a colorful motif. During the nineteenth century, and prior to the Nationalist movement of the early 20th century, the model of kebaya had enjoyed a period of being worn by Indonesian, Eurasian, and European women alike, with trivial style variations. In this time distinguishing class and category was important and produced variants of the basic set of clothes. Now we may appreciate the modern kebaya ( or in Indonesia called as model kebaya modern) that may be made of silk, velvet  and brocade.
    The baju kebaya may have two highest forms: the semi-transparent straighter cutblouse of the Java or Bali and the more tightly tailored Sunda kebaya. The blouse is generally semi-transparent and worn over the torso wrap. The skirt or kain is an unstitched material wrap around three metres long. The name sarong in English is erroneous, but the sarung (Malaysian accent: sarong) is truly stitched together to shape a tube just like a Western costume. In Indonesia, especially in Java, Bali and Sunda, the kebaya modern is generally batik which can be from natural stamped cotton to elaborately hand - painted batik tulis embroidered silk with gold thread. In several other areas of Indonesia such as Sumatera, Flores, Lemata Timor, and other islands generally use kain ikat or songket.
Traditional Malay Wedding Costume


Sarah Dorn said... at 10 July 2013 at 05:35

Most interesting! Thank you so much for sharing this, I greatly enjoyed learning about traditional Malay clothing.

Rekha Senthilkumar said... at 12 August 2015 at 22:03
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rekha Senthilkumar said... at 12 August 2015 at 22:19

It was interesting to know about Malay traditional wears.

Rekha Senthilkumar said... at 12 August 2015 at 22:19

It was interesting to know about Malay traditional wears.

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