Nyonya Clothing

The Straits Chinese wore similar clothing to the native Malay’s Baju Panjang (long dress) with Batik Sarung (batik wrap-aroud skirt). Later, they adopted the Indonesian kebaya and developed it into their traditional clothing. They embroidered beautiful and refined motifs of flowers, phoneix and many others on to the kebaya which is called the Nyonya Kebaya or Kebaya Sulam (embroidered kebaya).

“The traditional attire for Nyonyas are the nyonya kebaya worn with batik sarung and kerongsang (linked brooches).

What is a kebaya?

Kebaya is a cotton jacket originally from Indonesia….

What is special about the traditional Nyonya kebaya?

The Nyonya kebaya tops are usually sheer and translucent worn with ‘anak baju’, an inner cotton camisole. The materials vary from voile to gauze cotton or georgette. The collar, sleeves and hem of jacket are emphasized with motifs, beautifully hand-embroidered flowers, butterflies, phoenix, honey comb or other patterns.


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