Traditional Malay clothing emphasises modesty for both men and women, which is why they are fitted in a certain way and covering the head, body and limbs. There are many variations of traditional attire so in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidilfitri; we take a look at some of the common outfits that are worn during this religious celebration.
As it is typical for Muslim women to use head scarves that cover the hair but not the face (tudung in Malay), there are many types of scarves available in every colour and material. The most exquisite ones are embellished with pearls, beads and crystals; and are worn for special occasions and celebrations. Daily wear scarves are simpler but can be worn in different styles to complement outfits.
This ubiquitous outfit comprises a knee length long-sleeved top and a long skirt. There are many variations of baju kurung including modern variation which can be more fitted and have details like bell sleeves, peplum hems and pleated skirts. The fabric used ranges from the traditional songket (patterned handwoven silk or cotton material), silk, satin and cotton in batik, pastels and bright colours.
Baju Kurung Kedah
A derivation of the baju kurung, this version sees a shorter top with three-quarter sleeves paired with either a long skirt or a batik sarong. This is considered a more practical and comfortable version of the original.
Originating from the ancient Javanese kingdom of Majapahit, this traditional outfit is a long-sleeved blouse worn with a sarong made of songket or batik. Variations of the top can be made with sheer fabric adorned with brocade, delicate embroidery or floral appliqués.
Baju Melayu & Songkok
Worn by Malay men, the baju Melayu is a long-sleeved shirt with a stiff raised collar worn with a kain sampin (made from batik or songket) folded around the waist over a pair of loose trousers. The shirt is fastened together by removable buttons called butang, which can be made from silver, gold or precious stones. To complete the look, headgear called a songkok is also worn.