A Kebaya is a shirt- dress of sorts that is traditionally worn by women in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar and the Philippines. Most Kebayas are made of sheer material like silk or a semi-transparent cotton or polyester material that is embroidered with floral patterns or brocade or some colorful patterns. A Kebaya is traditionally won over a sarong or a traditional ikat, a songet or a batik Kain panjang.
Understanding the importance of Kebaya dress
Evolution of kebaya dress
Kebayas have evolved over the years and have transcended from being a traditional or cultural garment but a fashionable piece of clothing. Kebayas have become more than just a national dress of the Indonesian people but a fashionable garment that has made its way down fashion show ramps and onto western style clothing shops.
How it is worn
How a Kebaya is worn depends on the style and fashion sensibility of the wearer. It might be a traditional dress, and you might like to wear it in the correct way; as it is worn traditionally. However, you can always mix the kebaya modern dress with other designs if you are a creative person. There are various reasons why Kebayas are so popular and why you would want to wear them:
They are comfortable
Kebayas are traditionally made from materials created with natural fibers. This not only makes them comfortable to wear but the material is easy to care for, and it is eco-friendly. Kebayas are colorful and eye catching
They are modest
A lot of countries and cultures imported the Kebaya because it is a modest item of clothing that women can wear. Kebayas cover the body without subjecting the wearer to dull modesty. Kebayas can be dressed up of down. They can be won over a traditional sarong, a skirt or a pair of jeans, or shorts. People who like to study the meaning or origins attached to things, people around them will be curious to know about the Kebaya. This makes it wearable talking piece.
If you ever get the chance to travel to Indonesia, make sure you find a good Kebaya to bring back with you. Remember that it is still a national dress. It might be useful to have a look about and see how Indonesian women wear theirs, maybe get some information of meanings attached to a specific embroidery design, colors and patterns. Fashion is always evolving, but Kebayas will always be around.