Thursday, February 21, 2013

Burmese Daze

We're gettin traditional on ya'll ova here!

Chiang Mai is home not only to wild stylish creatures, and fashion fans but also to a vibrant and hardworking  Burmese community. Photographed here is a friend wearing a hybrid of traditional Burmese dress.The hybrid part being the collard shirt, the traditional part being the wrapped, frabric longyi and  flip flops. Now for a lil bit of Burmese Fashion 101: the longyi is a tubular piece of fabric commonly worn by both men and women through out Burma. Men tie the longyi in a loose knot at the center of their waist (photo here) and women fold and wrap the fabric like a sarong and tuck it in at their waist (no photo available).  It is super comfortable and airy, which is perfect for living in a country where itissohotIwouldbecoolersittinginafurnace.

The longyi is an essential part of Burmese traditional dress; however, it is very popular as casual wear as well. When I was visiting Burma I was surprised and thrilled to see so many men and women strutting the longyi. The fabric comes in all sorts of crazy cool and beautiful patterns and each ethnic group has their own distinctive look.

My personal favourite part of the Burmese traditionalbutoftenwornascasual dress are the gadibas which are velvet flip flops, that's right velvet flip flops. Burma has been hiding this secret for too long (to be fair they have been a pariah state for several decades) but now that is opening up, people gotta know, gadibas are the coolestchicestcomfortableist to slip your feet it AND they have the nicest sounding name because it almost rhymes with godiva..

Funny story about gadibas though: When I was in Burma and was introduced to these magical slippers I headed to the first stores I could find to buy myself a pair. Now women's and men's gadibas are different. The strap part for men is thicker and the soles are wider while the women's version is slimmer, with thinner and often decorated straps. After visiting the first gadiba store I realized that my feet were too big for the largest female size #whitegirlproblemsinasia so I was like "no problem I will just buy the boys version, because no one will notice and I will totally fit it". Wrong, oh my I was sososo wrong. As I walked to my office it was just repeated takes of people looking at my feet, looking at my face, looking at my feet and then scrunching up their face, I swear if I had wheels for feet people would have been less confused and offended. I quickly returned to the office, coming milliseconds away from breaking the world record for speed walking, and swore not to wear my beloved men's gadibas until I returned to a country were the offensive rate wasn't 10/10.

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