With the dates drawing close, Muslim women are scrambling to prepare for the “Hari Raya Aidilfitri” celebrations. This means a lot of planning, cleaning, baking, and shopping, on top of fasting for the entire Ramadhan month. Exciting times for them!
But of course, retailers, designers, and textile stores share the same excitement. Why? Because they, too, are preparing for the festive season rush. More importantly, they are anticipating Muslim women and their entourage of family members or friends who will be raiding their stores.
Which begs the question, have you started to shop for your Raya outfit(s)? Even if you aren’t Muslim, have you picked out something to wear when you need to attend a Raya open house? More often than not, Raya is the time to eat to our hearts’ content and also, to adorn the traditional attires such as the “baju kurung” or the “baju kebaya” in the brightest and happiest of colours. If you have ever attended a Raya open house or Malay wedding then chances are you might have seen them.
But trends have changed and now, there are various styles of Raya attires to doll up in!
1. Baju kurung
Elegant and sweet, the “baju kurung” is a staple item in any Muslim woman’s wardrobe. The traditional costume is mostly modest and plain. After all, the name does loosely translate into “enclosed dress”. However, times have changed and today, it’s easy to find new age trends and it has since evolved. The modern “baju kurung” not only expresses lively colors and geometric patterns, but are also made of a variety of materials such as silk and chiffon. Some are even dotted with embroidery or sequins and beads to give it that extra radiance.
2. Baju kebaya
The quintessential “baju kebaya” is essentially unchanged since the 15th or the 16th century. Any woman who’s dressed in the blouse-dress combination often appears to be alluring because of the way the semi-transparent, figure-hugging blouse is worn over a torso wrap or a tube top with the opening of the blouse fastened by a brooch. Back then, the blouses were made of only cotton but in more recent times, you may find them in silk, lace, brocade or velvet. Some designer innovations have even included the blouse of the “baju kebaya” worn without a torso wrap or a tube top!
As of late, more and more Muslim women have begun to pick up on the trend of donning this comfortable yet classy item. The “kaftan” is often worn loose, and women of all ages can carry it off. Some women swear by it because it quite seamlessly covers all unsightly “lumps” and “bumps”. These graceful-looking pieces often come in batik print, or heavily influenced by floral and abstract designs, but you may also find them in other fabrics such as silk, chiffon, and viscose. We say it’s perfect for the hot sweltering heat of our tropical weather.
Items such as the “baju kurung” or the “baju kebaya” are best tailor-made. But by now, most tailors would have stopped taking orders because of the festive season rush. Don’t be disheartened though! Here are some places that you can visit to purchase your perfect Raya outfit:
1. Pertama Complex (next to Sogo, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur
2. Ampang Point Shopping Centre, Jalan Mamanda 3, Ampang, Kuala Lumpur
3. Jalan Masjid India, Kuala Lumpur
Happy hunting and good luck!