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Kebaya, Indonesian National Blouse for Woman

Updated on July 5, 2017

Hello readers, how are you? I just wanted to introduce to you one of the art of fashion from Indonesia, our national dress, Kebaya. As Hijabi Muslima, I usually not use this type of apparel, but I want to share with you the part of culture of Indonesia.


Material of Kebaya. Organdi, broccade and traditional fabric
Material of Kebaya. Organdi, broccade and traditional fabric
Simple design of Kebaya for everyday use
Simple design of Kebaya for everyday use
Muslim touch on Kebaya
Muslim touch on Kebaya

Today is April 21, which is the Kartini’s day in Indonesia. Kartini is a heroine who lived during the Dutch colonial period, when the Indonesian women are still confined within the bounds of her way to obtaining customary proper education. Kartini was the first woman who dared to dream to promoted education for women at that time by established special schools for girls. For her services, she was appointed as a national heroine and the date of her birth, which is 21 April celebrated as Kartini’s day in Indonesia, which is a special day for women.


Kebaya for everyday used for Muslimah. Usually will be more loose to not show off the figure of the user
Kebaya for everyday used for Muslimah. Usually will be more loose to not show off the figure of the user
The example of Kebaya Haute Couture in fashion runway. Usually wear at the wedding and another grand party
The example of Kebaya Haute Couture in fashion runway. Usually wear at the wedding and another grand party
Modern Kebaya By Anne Avantie
Modern Kebaya By Anne Avantie



Every year at Kartini’s day, Indonesian women, especially women who work (or study) at education and government institutions celebrate Kartini’s day by wearing the national dress called Kebaya. Kebaya is thin blouse that wear paired with a sarong or batik cloth. But Kebaya not just ordinary blouse. It is a blouse that became the pride of Indonesia and also Malaysia because of its beauty and its originality in design.



Traditional Kebaya with  modern hair styling
Traditional Kebaya with modern hair styling
It is not look like Kebaya anymore, but it is Kebaya
It is not look like Kebaya anymore, but it is Kebaya
Modern Kebaya
Modern Kebaya

Word “Kebaya” comes from the word "Kaba" in Arabic which means clothing. It was introduced by the Portuguese when they set foot for the first time in Southeast Asia. Kebaya came into used since the 15th century by members of the royal family and became their exclusive clothing, while the Indonesian women in general are still using "kemben", which is an apparel made by fabric that folded in such a way to wrap the body right from under arm to bottom, without covering the shoulders.When later the Europeans and the Portuguese who came to Indonesia during Dutch colonial rule began to used it, it slowly began to replaced the position of Kemben, and then kebaya started being used widely by the general public in the more simple design and materials of course, and then recognized as an Indonesian national dress.



Modern Kebaya with Sarong
Modern Kebaya with Sarong
More simple design of Wedding Kebaya
More simple design of Wedding Kebaya
Kebaya in modern design for evening  party, with modern hair design and jins
Kebaya in modern design for evening party, with modern hair design and jins


Kebaya uniqueness can easily be found in it special design, its beauty and the material it used. The materials of Kebaya generally are thin material of various kinds of fabrics such as Brocade, tulle, silk or satin, which embroidered with flowers pattern, and decorated by lace and beautiful beading. Kebaya used by paired it with a Sarong or Batik cloth which being folded to wrapped body in such a way without using any stitches to make alluring effect on the body, and usually wear with special styling of hair. Apart from a thin material, there is Kebaya made from thick material which is velvet embellished with gold embroidery, but this type of kebaya not many in it’s kind.


Modern design of Kebaya for Wedding with layer
Modern design of Kebaya for Wedding with layer
Wedding Kebaya with modern romantic touch
Wedding Kebaya with modern romantic touch
European touch in Modern Kebaya
European touch in Modern Kebaya



If you visit Indonesia and entering traditional markets, you will easily find old women who trade with wearing this outfit. They generally are the women who grew up in the Dutch colonial period, and only used to use Kebaya in their daily living. Also sometimes if you are lucky, you can meet women who peddle traditional herbal medicine or gado-gado (salad type of food) around the town with a basket that tied in her back or carried above her head which is full by her merchandise, but lately these women are rarely to be seen around the town because they started off Kebaya and switch to regular clothing.

Lace, and beads make these two Kebaya look sparkling
Lace, and beads make these two Kebaya look sparkling
Another Haute Couture Design for Kebaya
Another Haute Couture Design for Kebaya
Haute Couture of Kebaya
Haute Couture of Kebaya

Based on the design and the material, Kebaya can be classified into :

(1) Kebaya for daily used which have simpler shapes made from slightly thicker and simple embroidery sections.

(2) a party Kebaya is usually made of brocade materials, combined with Kemben resemble corsets, and

(3) The Wedding Kebaya is usually made of brocade, tulle and lace pattern which is filled with complicated embroidery and beautiful beading.

Originally, wach of the Kebayas designed to showed off the beautiful shape of the body, with sarong or Batik folded very tightly around waist as the skirt.

Bride in white
Bride in white
Kebaya in Paris Fashion Runway
Kebaya in Paris Fashion Runway
Blue, blue, blue!
Blue, blue, blue!

But today there are type of Kebaya with modern touch in its design and also the use of additional fabric layers which increase it thickness so they no longer exhibit the body. Muslim women usually make it in a loose design. (Too bad I couldn’t able to found a pictures of Wedding Kebaya for Muslimah in loose design to show it to you)

People also turned the Sarong or Batik cloth into skirt with have similar look like folded cloth to make it more easy to wear and move.

Since a few years ago Kebaya began to become the object of interest by many fashion designers, and in their hands a number of works in the form of Haute Couture of Kebaya had been created which later became known by foreign people by shows it at Paris Fashion Runway. Indonesian most famous designer for Kebaya today is Anne Avantie. She is the one that her works always being used at Miss Universe contest for Miss Indonesia.


Former Miss Indonesia wearing designer collection
Former Miss Indonesia wearing designer collection
Traditional Kebaya for wedding with the touch of modern design in it's tail and skirt
Traditional Kebaya for wedding with the touch of modern design in it's tail and skirt
Lace everywhere
Lace everywhere

If you have interest to buy Kebaya, there are several online boutique that sells Kebaya for the International market. You can Google it. But my advice is before buying kebaya from brocade material with no lining, notice first the sensitivity of your skin, because for sensitive and easily irritated skin like mine, for example, wearing Kebaya without lining, though beautiful to the eye, will be incredibly uncomfortable. Itchy! With only by look at the pictures, you must be able to imagine how it feels, right? If you have to deal with this problem, you should just buy kebaya which has a layer to avoid direct contact with skin and it’s embroider brocade material, or you can ask a tailor to made special clothe to be use as layer inside Kebaya.

I hope this useful. :)

Best regard,

Freya

Comments

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  • BkCreative profile image

    BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

    How absolutely beautiful! Beautiful women, color, clothes. SO elegant. Thanks for such a spectacular fashion show filled with information!

  • Freya Cesare profile image
    Author

    Freya Cesare 7 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

    I'm so glad you like it. Thank you for stopping by and for your comment. :)

  • carolina muscle profile image

    carolina muscle 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    Its very interesting- and beautiful!

  • Freya Cesare profile image
    Author

    Freya Cesare 7 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

    Thank you, Carolina. Maybe your wife will like it to be wear at special moment for both of you. Maybe. ^_^

  • prasetio30 profile image

    prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

    Thanks for share our traditional cloths for us. I think we have to know about Indonesian heritage. And you had done it well. Hubpages also the great place for promotion. Nice hub and good work. Take care!

    Prasetio

  • Bbudoyono profile image

    Bbudoyono 7 years ago

    Very beautiful pictures!

  • Freya Cesare profile image
    Author

    Freya Cesare 7 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

    Prasetio, yes, Hubpages can be great place for promotion, mostly about Indonesia heritage. I still considering to make another Hub about Batik or Wayang, but I still can't decided yet. Thank you, Pras. ^_^

    Bbudoyono, Sallamu alaikum, Sir. Yes, beautiful pictures. Kebaya is really beautiful and elegant. Thank you, Sir.

  • tannybdksa profile image

    tannybdksa 7 years ago

    i really like clothes like that. I love a baju kurung too. one of my bruneian friend gave me hers and it looks lovely. :)

  • Freya Cesare profile image
    Author

    Freya Cesare 7 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

    Ah, yes, it is really beautiful. I'm glad you like it. ^_^

  • harrist profile image

    harrist 7 years ago from on the Net

    gak nyangka frey ternyata bule banyak juga yah yang seneng ama kebaya hehehe :-) mantapsss

  • Freya Cesare profile image
    Author

    Freya Cesare 7 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

    Hahaha... Ya iyalah! Aku kan pamer yang rancangan terbaik. :D Hai, teman! Salam kenal. :)

  • Micky Dee profile image

    Micky Dee 6 years ago

    Freya, I purposely ignored this hub thinking it would not be interesting to me. I was wrong. And I should know that if you created the hub then it would be beautiful. I knew ti would be very tastefully done. But- the garments are very pretty. More complex than the title may suggest. The young ladies are very modest and lovely.

    You are more beautiful than all the above though. No! I'm no biased! And - yes I am!

  • gulnazahmad profile image

    gulnazahmad 6 years ago from Pakistan

    Where ever you will find cultural touch you will be appealed because cultures are so rich and colorful. Its good that you don't wear them because of your Hijab but you can wear them with hijab then they cover as well as look beautiful.

  • Freya Cesare profile image
    Author

    Freya Cesare 6 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

    Micky Dee: Yes, you are bias. Hehehe... but that is sweet and make me like you more. Hehehe... I think I am bias too. LOL. I love beautiful things and nothing can describe beauty better than pictures, except beauty inside human being, of course! That is why I really enjoy to displaying very beautiful pictures to showed others the reason why I thought Kebaya is beautiful. I am glad you found it good. Thank you, King Micky. ^_^

    Gulnazzahmad : The reason I am not wear it is not just because my hijab, but also because it give me itch. My skin too sensitive and the fabric usually scratched my skin and leave red mark. Not comfortable at all. Maybe it just like beautiful high hells, great to look at but feel suck in our feet. :D So, I am rarely wear it. But it is not stop me to admiring it's beauty. Thank you, Sis.

  • shegarlynn profile image

    shegarlynn 6 years ago from United States

    I love fashion, thanks for sharing your lovely traditional wedding kebaya. maybe I will have one of those above..LOL

  • Freya Cesare profile image
    Author

    Freya Cesare 6 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

    Hey, salam, Sis. Sorry for the late reply. Lol. You should have one. Kebaya really beautiful. THank you, dear. ^^

  • profile image

    SKSLink.com 6 years ago

    Nice combination of Chinese, Malay, Indian & Indoseian Kebayas`.

  • Freya Cesare profile image
    Author

    Freya Cesare 6 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

    Indian? Ah, yes. It has similarity, right? ^^ Thank you, SKSlink.com

  • profile image

    jot 5 years ago

    Hi can you please advise of an international site or shop in uk that I can purchase one of these beautiful kebayas.

    Thanks

  • Hui (蕙) profile image

    Hui (蕙) 5 years ago

    Like a gallery for a fashion design display. Beautiful dress, and charming Indonesian women!

  • Freya Cesare profile image
    Author

    Freya Cesare 5 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

    Jot, I'm so sorry. But I don't have that kind of information.

    Hui: I'm glad you like it.

    Sorry all, for this very late reply.

  • RumahKebayaSwiss profile image

    RumahKebayaSwiss 5 years ago

    Hi Freya, I love this article so much. What the stunning writing. Can I have your permission to copy this link to my FB wall - RUMAH KEBAYA SWITZERLAND. I am just so glad that I can bring KEBAYA to Europe. Good Job!

  • Freya Cesare profile image
    Author

    Freya Cesare 5 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

    So Swiss have Kebaya? wow! Good news. Of course you can share this article. Thank you very much. By the way, do you sell it online? because I have friends from around the world asking where they can buy Kebaya online. Indonesia have several online shop for kebaya but I am type of person who will never suggesting people to buy something I personally not sure the quality of it. If you sell it online, maybe it can help them.

  • RumahKebayaSwiss profile image

    RumahKebayaSwiss 5 years ago

    I am proudly to say, YES that we have KEBAYA in Switzerland!! We sell wedding Kebaya for the bride, man suit for the groom, and we can also provide Kebaya for the family. We also design casual kebaya for casual outings. Most of our goods are CUSTOM MADE and 100% handmade from Indonesia. We also do provide online order service for our customers who are residing outside of Switzerland. Just email us about the concept of their kebaya (the material, model, colours, details, etc).But for sure the best feel if the customers can come to us and see our products by themselves. Currently, our RUMAH KEBAYA are in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Switzerland. For more info u can check from our FACEBOOK RUMAH KEBAYA SWITZERLAND and RUMAH KEBAYA MALAYSIA. I am sure that you will love it.;)

  • profile image

    kayotic 5 years ago

    A very good piece of information on Kebayas. I've never been one to dress up but living in Bali has "forced" me into the traditional kebaya and sarong. I have come to love this piece of clothing that when in Europe or the US at a loss for what to wear for special occasions I'll slip into a kebaya combined with nice jeans or a sarong. Viola - all dressed up. And now I have requests to provide the kebaya for the international market.

  • Angelme566 profile image

    Angelme566 5 years ago

    Wow this is so beautiful..your national dress is full of elegance and classy . Is it expensive ? It looks one..

    So good of you featuring this topic , it is just telling me that you got this spirit of nationalism and it is burning i know...that is a must to all citizenry , from my point of you.. We must be proud of our country and we are obligated to promote our tourism. All must help their country and not wait for the country to help them..

    Such a good hub is this..

  • RoyalKing profile image

    RoyalKing 3 years ago

    I was looking for some great ideas for sewing but this blog post gave me some inspiration to go ahead with my work. Thanks for such a great work.

    Regards,

    http://sewingmachinerepairbook.com/

  • profile image

    williammwill 3 years ago

    I think the Indonesian dress style is very glamorous.

    http://www.lordswoods.co.uk/13-top-dressing

  • profile image

    mattfuller 3 years ago

    Indonesian Heritage is quite fascinating. Being such a close neighbor here in Australia, I feel that us Aussies should be more aware of this heritage. I am from Brisbane Australia, I was referred to this post from a friend on a dating website that I meet here: http://www.freedatingaustralia.com.au/brisbane-qld

    Anyways, best of luck and good to see you are accepting a wide range of apparels.

  • profile image

    wawan coy 3 years ago

    Like a gallery for a fashion design display. Beautiful dress, and charming Indonesian women

    Regards,

    http://www.rumahminimalis36.com

  • raquelle148 profile image

    raquelle148 2 years ago

    All designs are awesome. I love it.

  • mexicanweddings profile image

    fayel wedding 2 years ago from mexico

    good article :)

    please check the mexican traditionel wedding

    5 ways to make your traditional mexican wedding amazing :http://www.mexicanweddingtradition.com/2014/12/5-w...

  • profile image

    SavingsBazar 8 months ago

    Also, check http://www.savingsbazar.com/ for Apparels Deals for Online Shopping India.

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