The Baju Melayu is a traditional Malay costume passed down and integrated into our culture for generations. As a customary piece of clothing in Malaysia, the Baju Melayu comes in various styles and colours for many to enjoy. Fashion industries have also gotten involved in creating modern takes to keep up with the trends today. However, certain types and characteristics can still be seen to this very day.
The Baju Melayu Teluk Belanga is a type of Baju Melayu and is an all-time fan favourite while the Baju Melayu Cekak Musang is a classic piece that dates back to 1866. Both this style comes in a two-piece, a top and matching pants, and is traditionally worn with an addition of a kain samping. The Bayu Melayu top typically fits loosely, while its matching pants can always be switched out with jeans for a more casual look. So, what exactly differentiates the Baju Melayu Teluk Belanga and the Baju Melayu Cekak Musang?
Both styles can be easily distinguishable by their neckline or collar. The Baju Melayu Teluk Belanga has a hand-stitched ‘eel spine’ round neck collar. This simple neckline gives off a friendly vibe that is appropriate for daily wear and casual outings. To paint a clearer picture, it is very much like the neckline in baju kurung for females. The Baju Melayu Cekak Musang, on the other hand, sports a raised collar, usually 2-2.5 cm above the neckline. The raised collar adds a pinch of elegance to the entire outfit and is therefore usually worn to more formal events like weddings and festivities.
- Kancing or Sitat
The buttons found in both styles are dress studs, also known as kancing or sitat. Whilst the type and colour of the buttons is entirely up to your discretion, the number of buttons found in each style is fixed. In the Baju Melayu Teluk Belanga, there is only one button holding the round neck collar together. The Baju Melayu Cekak Musang has five, signifying the 5 pillars of Islam. Go ahead and customise the buttons for a little touch of personality or match them with your family, friends or significant other.
- Placement of Kain Samping
You can easily tell the two styles of Baju Melayu apart with its accompanied kain samping. In addition to its raised collars, this style of Baju Melayu gives off a more presentable look. Unlike the design found in Baju Melayu Teluk Belanga, the Cekak Musang is worn with the kain samping folded neatly over the top.
Despite their differences, both have their own individual charms. If you’re hesitant on which to get, why not get both! There is always more space in the closet. Add in a watch or layer up with some bracelets to spice up your look. Mix and match different colours and accessories to express yourself!