Children are happiest during the Hari Raya celebrations. And when it comes to clothes, writes Sushma Veera, tradition still rules
WHILE fashion trends influence our daily dressing, tradition trumps during Hari Raya.
Like adults, children also enjoy wearing baju kurung or baju Melayu with a blend of the latest and the traditional. They, however, usually opt for more casual wear on the second or third day.
These days, children prefer to pick their own outfits. Allowing them to do so gives them a chance to express themselves and assert their independence.
We speak to a few parents about shopping with their children.
Freelance writer Siti Mariam Md Shukor says her two children decide on their clothes.
“They have their own preferences. It helps them learn which clothes are appropriate and I believe it’s a good idea for them to have a say in what they wear.”
“I like anything in pink,” says Nurin Farisya Isman Zakri, five.
Besides pink, she also loves other girlie things which, at times, do not match her mother’s taste.
“If she is not happy with the colours that I buy, she may not wear the clothes, giving excuses that they are too tight or are not comfortable,” says Siti Mariam.
Shopping trips with her children can, at times, be a challenge. “This is when I don’t like what she has picked or she is not happy with my choice. When in such a situation, I try to explain my reasons to her and to make her understand.
Her choices are, at times, not appropriate for the occasion,” says Siti Mariam. “So I will show her pictures in magazines and point out the difference.”
However, she does not really go for branded clothing. “It is not a must to wear branded items. I have always taught my children that clothes that are nice and comfortable are worth it, regardless of their brand,” she says.
Although the 28-year-old allows Nurin to choose her own clothes, she makes sure the latter does not forget her roots.
“When it comes to Hari Raya, baju kurung is a must and my daughter understands that too. Later, she can change into casual wear — a dress, skirt or pants. I buy more casual clothes as these are worn more often.”
This Hari Raya, she is going for something simple with bright colours as the fashion theme for the family.
Traditional attire is a must for Mohd Faizal Ismail’s 10-year-old daughter and 8-month-old son.
“Usually, we get two sets of baju kurung tailored for her for the first day of Hari Raya or when we are out visiting. We will also buy her some new casual wear as children may not be comfortable in baju kurung the whole day.”
Every year, they pick a colour theme and this year, it is brown.
“My wife decides. I just go along with it,” says Faizal, an announcer with Hot FM who adds that his daughter will always have something in mind — be it the colour or type of clothes she wants — and she would tell her mother.
“When she was 3 or 5, she liked anything in pink. Her dresses, shoes and accessories were pink. This changed gradually. She is now picking clothes and colours that suit her style,” says Faizal.
“As parents, we have to give our children some freedom in making choices. Most of us did not have the chance to do so when we were children but today, it is important to expose them to some sort of ‘decision making’ as this will help positively in their thinking and behaviour.”
Although Faizal and his wife allow their daughter to choose, he stresses that the final decision is still with them.
“We will take her selection into consideration and decide. She listens to what we have to say and reconsiders. It works out well each time.”
Anida Mohd Taharim’s two daughters and son love wearing traditional attire for Hari Raya.
“They actually know how to differentiate between a normal day and festive one, especially Hari Raya,” says Anida.
This year, says the programming general manager for Media Prima Radio Networks, the family has picked a combination of purple and blue for the theme colours.
She has no problem allowing her children to pick their own clothes — as long as it suits them and their age. Her children are aged between 3 and 9.
“They will choose their own clothes but will always come to us for an opinion because, at the end of the day, they know we are the ones paying for the clothes. I will also guide them in their selections as they have the tendency to pick the same thing every time.”
Anida says the girls like something girlie but they understand that it doesn’t always have to be in pink or a dress.
“They still can be girlish with leggings, colourful blouses and jeans. My little boy is fine with anything but of late, he likes to wear a cap and a jacket — all due to the influence of TV animation series, Boboboi.”
Anida also strongly believes that allowing her children to pick their clothes will help instill a sense of responsibility.
“They will also learn fashion sense, decision making and how to be creative,” she says.
BACK TO BASICS
“Of course we must have at least one set of baju Melayu each, complete with songkok and sampin,” says bakery owner Suzaini Md Shukor, who adds that the rest will be casual clothes.
Suzaini has not given much thought yet to the latest trends this year. “So far from what I can see, everything is going back to plain and simple, yet elegant and smart. Tight pants are a no-no,” says the mother of four boys. “Boys being boys, they will be running here and there with their friends and cousins, so they will need something more comfortable. I prefer cotton.”
Although Suzaini does not encourage branded clothing, she admits to buying them sometimes.
She prefers that her children, aged between 4 and 14, choose their own clothing.
She says: “It’s not easy to pick their clothes as each one has a different character — Mr Sensitive, Mr Casanova or Mr I Don’t Care.
“My eldest wants me to choose for him but the second and third will have their own requests. My youngest, well, he loves to shop so he picks his own clothes.”
Her eldest, Faruq Hakim, says simple and comfortable is what he looks for. “I am not fussy and I don’t mind if my mother picks the clothes for me. I am a football fan and as such, football jerseys are on the top of my list,” he says.
“By observing their tastes in fashion, I have learned more about their characters,” says Suzaini.