Although “Baju Kurung” is the name for the attire for both male and female, in Malaysia, the female dress is referred to as “Baju Kurung”, while the male dress is referred to as “Baju Melayu”.
Two versions of the costumes are popular. One is the Baju Kurung Teluk Belanga and the other is the Baju Kurung Cekak Musang. The main difference between this two fashion styles is the cutting style at the neck, where the Teluk Belanga style has no collar and the neckline is stitched in the style known as “tulang belut” (“eel’s spines or bones”). The Baju Kurung Teluk Belanga originated, as its name implies, from Teluk Belanga, in the island of Singapore, which was previously the capital of the state of Johor. On the other hand the Cekak Musang style has a standing collar with holes for five buttons including two buttons for the collar.
The Cekak Musang shirt also normally has three pockets – two at the bottom, and one at the upper left breast. The Teluk Belanga shirt normally has only two pockets both at the bottom. The Baju Melayu is a loosely fitting shirt with long sleeves, worn with long pants with a “samping” which is wrapped around the middle of the body from the stomach to the knee and sometimes lower. This “samping” is usually a three-quarter length or full sarong-style cloth made of kain songket, tenun Pahang Diraja or other woven materials with traditional patterns.