Baju Kurung - Malay Traditional Costume
Baju Kurung is the Malay traditional costume for the Muslim men and women in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei. This costume was origins from Teluk Belanga in Singapore (Singapore was part of Johor Malaysia at that time), and was created and worn in Johor during the reign of Temenggong Abu Bakar Sri Maharaja.
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Although Baju Kurung is the name for the attire for both men and women, the women dress is normally referred to as BajuKurung, while the man clothing is referred to as Baju Melayu.
Baju Melayu is mainly make up of two parts, the baju (top) and the pants (bottom). Baju is a long sleeved shirt and has a raised stiff collar known as the cekak musang collar. For more formal wear, it normally go with songkok (black hat) and samping (extra piece of sarong wrapped around the waist).
Baju Kurung is similar to Baju Melayu, consists of a skirt or sarong and a blouse, and covers most parts of the body in compliance with the Islamic teaching. The skirt or sarong are normally full length, the blouse has long sleeves and extends to between the hips and knees. To complete the outfit, headscarf (a tudung) or long scarf (selendang) is worn around the shoulders or around the head, crossed loosely at the front of the neck.
As time progresses, few variation of BajuKurung have evolved. It includes the bajukurung labuh, bajukurung moden, bajukurung cekak musang and bajukurung Kedah.
Among all, BajuKurung Teluk Belanga and BajuKurung Cekak Musang are the most popular. The main difference between the two design is the cutting style at the neckline or collar. Teluk Belanga has no collar and the neckline is usually stitched in the style known as tulang belut which look like a eel's spines or bones. There is a loop at the end of the neckline to fit a kancing in the form of a hook or button. As for the Cekak Musang design, it has a raised or stiff collar, opened down to the chest and with buttons.
Today, Bajukurung are worn with pants and scarves instead of skirt or sarong, more casual and simpler.