Clothing in Indonesia: What to Wear
Indonesia is located in Southeast Asian region and is the world’s largest archipelago. The nation is predominantly a Moslem country and much of the Muslim culture is well preserved especially in the rural areas. The tropical climate requires light clothing in Indonesia but it is customary for Muslim women to wear robes on their head especially when entering mosques.
Light fabrics are advised to protect visitors from the warm, humid climate. In non-formal occasions or when answering official calls, jackets or long-sleeve batik shirts may be worn for men. Clothing in Indonesia can be as diverse as its culture. While you need to be wearing light clothes in urban areas, light jackets or sweaters are recommended in mountainous areas.
Although clothing in Indonesia may be considered conservative, the beaches are an exception. Beachwears are allowed in beaches although Muslim women may still stay in their traditional clothing. Women are not allowed to flaunt their shoulders, arms, necks, and legs in mosques, temples, and other places of worship, which are considered inappropriate and disrespectful.
Traditional clothing in Indonesia consists of the sarongs paired with a “kebaya” for women (kebaya is a tight, long-sleeved blouse, which is low cut) on formal occasions. Women’s hair may be tied up to a bun or attached with a fake hairpiece. Women in rural areas often wear sarongs; rarely do they wear shorts or jeans, and go on barefoot. They carry their babies in a long cloth wrapped down from their shoulders.
Visitors, however, can simply be themselves and wear comfortable clothing so long as they are decent. Most clothing in Indonesia adopts the western style of clothing like the shirt and jeans and some from well-off families can be as glamorous.
The famous traditional clothing in Indonesia is the batik – a dyed cloth that features ethnic designs. It has become an industry over the years and is a source of income for local especially in the rural areas. The locals prepare a white cloth and sketches ethnic designs using wax. When the wax has dried, they dip the cloth in dye. The wax is then removed and print is outlined from it.
The country’s urban hubs have supermarkets, department stores, and large shopping centers where you can shop for clothing in Indonesia, however, if you want to find bigger bargains, you can browse for souvenirs and other stuffs in local markets and shops clustering in the peripheries. You must be careful not to bargain if you don’t intend to buy the item as you could end up upsetting the stall owner.