The baju kurung, a kind of regional clothes for Malay female, includes baju and kurung. In Malay language, baju means clothes and shirts; kurung means confinement, imprison. Baju is a kind of frock coat, whose sleeve length is to the wrist; kurung is a kind of skirt, which is of the ankle length.
Baju Kurung is one of the oldest Malay clothing styles. The person who is widely acknowledged as the creator of Baju Kurung and the first popularized it is Tun Hassan Temenggong, the son of Bendahara Seri Maharaja Tun Mutahir, in the 15th century Malacca sultanate. Malacca was enjoying its golden era during this period until the Portuguese conquered Malacca in 1511. It was the strongest sultanate in Malay archipelago and was a center of entrepot trade, with traders from China, India, and the Middle East.
As the time goes by, the baju kurung has developed into three main kinds of styles. The original style is the Taditional Baju kurung. The hemline comes below the knees. Another style is the Baju Kurung Kedah. It is similar to the traditional one, but its kurung is cut shorter in the hem so that it is below the waistline. The last style is the Baju Kurung Moden. It is the modern pattern for women. There are many differences between the modern cut and the traditional cut, for example, the collars in the modern one is commonly accessorized with some sumptuous buttons, while the tradition one seldom has this kind of decoration.
Since Malaysia is an Islam country, Islam requires that a woman’s clothes should cover the whole body except hands and face. Consequently, compared with modern clothes, the baju kurung may look conservative. However, many Malay women still prefer the baju kurung.
In short, due to bringing mental and practical benefits, the baju kurung, as an unique traditional clothes, is acceptable by many modern Malay women. Moreover, to a Malay Muslim woman, wearing the baju kurung not only expresses her loyalty to Islam, but also displays Malay culture to foreigners. At the same time, the baju kurung makes women beautiful, elegant, safe, formal, and comfortable. One Malay young woman said, “When a woman is wearing the baju kurung, she is generally considered polite, respectable, and genteel.” From this view, the baju kurung is a kind of formal dress for certain occasions in Malaysia.
According to www.ukessays.com; en.wikipedia