Art & Culture

Myanmar Dress

The typical garment of the Burmese is the Indian lungi or longyi, a sarong worn by both men and women. This replaced the traditional paso for men and tamein for women by the 20th century. For business and formal occasions, Bamar men wear a Manchu Chinese jacket (Taik Pon) over an English collar shirt (sometimes donning a turban called gaung baung), while Bamar women wear a blouse buttoned at the front, called yinzi or to the side, called yinbon, and a shawl. In urban areas, skirts and pants are becoming more common, particularly among the young.
     During the British colonial era, Burmese nationalists associated traditional clothing, in particular Yaw longyi, a type of longyi from the Yaw region, and pinni taikpon, a fawn-colored collarless jacket, with anti-colonialism and nationalist sentiment, because of a clampdown in the 1920s over increasing dissent. Wearing "traditional" clothing was seen as a mode of passive resistance among the Burmese. British rule nonetheless influenced hair fashion and clothing. Cropped short hair, called bo ke replaced long hair as the norm among Burmese men.
     Similarly, women began wearing hairstyles like amauk, consisting of crested bangs curled at the top, with the traditional hair bun. The female sarong (htamein) became shorter, no longer extending to the feet, but to the ankles, and the length of the sarong's top decreased to reveal more waistline. This period also saw the introduction of a sheer muslin blouse for women, revealing a corset-like lace bodice called za bawli.
     The hnyat-phanat is a traditional sandal.