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Baju MelayuIntroduction of Baju Melayu

Baju Melayu (Jawi: باجو ملايو) is a traditional Malay outfit for men. It literally translates as ‘Malay shirt’ and consists of two main parts. The first being the baju (long sleeved shirt) itself which has a raised stiff collar known as the cekak musang collar (literally fox’s lease). The second part is the trousers called “seluar“. The two parts are made out of the same type of fabric which is usually cotton, or a mixture of polyester and cotton.

A skirt-type adornment is also commonly worn with the Baju Melayu, which is either the “kain samping”, made out of songket cloth or the kain sarung, made out of cotton or a polyester mix. Both are loops of fabric which are folded around the wearer’s waist. A jet-black or dark coloured headgear called the songkok can also worn to complete the attire.

Baju MelayuCekak Musang

In shirts made with the cekak musang collar, the placket of the baju will seem to form a third of the baju from the top when it is worn beneath the kain samping or kain sarung. However, the hem line of the baju actually runs to the middle of the lap. The placket typically has three to four buttonholes and is fastened together by dress studs called kancing which are not unlike those used in Western-style formal dress shirts.

The studs usually have screw-in backs and can be made from a variety of materials including gold, silver and precious or semi-precious stones. The studs may also be connected with a light metal chain which will be concealed behind the shirt when the placket is fastened.

Teluk Belanga 1 2

Baju MelayuTeluk Belanga

In the state of Johor, both the design and the wearing of Baju Melayu is somewhat different from that of other areas. Here, the kain sampingor kain sarung is worn below the baju rather than above it. The baju itself does not have the cekak musang collar or any placket. Instead, the opening is hemmed with stiff stitching called tulang belut (literally eel’s spine) and ends with a small loop at the top of one side to fit a singular kancing (similar to the collars of Baju Kurung worn by women).

This style is known as the Teluk Belanga style and was believed to be designed by Sultan Abu Bakar’s aides to commemorate the move of Johor’s administrative capital from Teluk Belanga in Singapore to Tanjung Puteri in 1866 (known as Johor Bahru from 1866)

Cekak Musang 2