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Indonesians have generally used batik to decorate items of clothing.  Because of the warm and humid tropical climate, traditional Indonesian clothing is fairly simple and comfortable.  

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Picture credits: Dr. George Henry

Kain Sarong

One of the most common type of clothing is kain sarong or tubular cloth.  It is a kind of garment which covers the body from the waist to the ankles.  It is worn by women both formally and informally, and also worn by men for going to mosque or relaxing at home. 

Kain Panjang

Kain panjang or long cloth is a longer version of sarong; it is a skirt cloth worn by men and women.  Kain panjang is a single piece of cloth which is not sewn at all, but simply wrapped around the waist, usually with some kind of belt or sash.  Kain panjang is usually worn on more formal occasions, especially in Java, while sarong may be worn as everyday wear for men and women.

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Kemben or Breast Cloth

Indonesian women formerly wore a kemben, or breast cloth.  Kemben is a long narrow strip of batik cloth, tightly wound around the chest and left the shoulder bare.  Kemben has largely been replaced by the kebaya which is a more modest but tight-fitting tailored blouse.

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More Pictures of selendang

Selendang or Shawl

Selendang completes an attire for a Javanese woman.  It is similar in size and shape to the kemben.  It becomes a highly functional piece of cloth which can be draped around the head in various ways.   Most women in Java wear selendang so that they can carry personal objects when they need to.

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Ikat kepala or Head-cloth

Ikat kepala (blangkon in Javanese) or head-cloth is usually worn by men at formal occasions.  The ikat head cloth can be tied in a various ways to form a turban.  At one time  you could tell the rank of a man in Indonesia by the way he wore his turban. Today, a ready-made ikat kepala can be easily found in Indonesia.