The Many Interpretations of the Baju Kurung Modern

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The Malaysian fashion scene has witnessed the ever-evolving journey of the baju kurung modern. Each designer has made their own unique mark on this clothing category, that it has widened the scope of how “modernity” is defined when it comes to this ensemble. We take a look at the many different ways to interpret the baju kurung modern and how it is fast becoming a staple in every Malaysian woman’s wardrobe. 

1. Make Functionality Fashionable

Typically, baju kurung is worn at weddings, during Hari Raya Aidilfitri, or other cultural events. But the designers of today saw the potential in creating modest wear that was not only stylish but practical. This eureka moment was probably what ignited the trend of baju kurung modern as it shifts from the restrictive traditional design to something that could be used from day to night, with some functional additions thrown in such as deep pockets or swapping the sarong for flowy pants. This allows women to look stylish while on the move and covers their modesty without sacrificing on comfort. 

2. Less is So Much More

Flip through our mother’s photo albums of her donning the baju kurung of yesteryears, and most likely you will see the patterns chosen were usually elaborate, with intricate sewing of delicate fabrics. The baju kurung modern, however, often comes with a more minimalist design, with a simple but sleek silhouette that cuts a very modern look. Complemented with simple accessories, the baju kurung modern can look like a million bucks without the need of a busy aesthetic. 

3. The Modern Palette is Muted

Another popular choice for designers to express modernity is through their selection of colours. The trend for millennials is to choose muted or pastel hues as a rebellious contrast to the loud, block colours in the designs of past decades. But do not mistake the palette to be underwhelming or bland. On the contrary, if we take inspiration from Scandinavian interior design, for instance, the monochromatic aesthetic exudes effortless elegance and looks uber chic. 

4. A Fusion of Influences

One of the definitive acts of modernity is to open up our world to other cultures – and this truth extends to fashion as well. It is inevitable to see the baju kurung modern evolve to include western or even influences from other Asian cultures. The baju kurung dress or baju kurung kimono comes to mind when one thinks of how the baju kurung modern has surprised us with how versatile it can be when you lead with a borderless imagination. 

5. Keeping it Casual 

 Isn’t it funny how baju kurung was always considered formal attire when there are certainly no rules dictating it so? Why, it is even part of our school uniform design which is a testament to the practicality of it. That is perhaps why we now see the baju kurung modern as casual wear these days especially at weekend outings or music festivals. After all, what better way to define modernity than to rewrite the rules? 

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