My mother-in-law also has the tradition of buying new clothes for Hari Raya Idul Fitri. She usually takes her grandchildren for shopping spree weeks before Hari Raya. I started going to my tailor months before Hari Raya. It's a custom in Malaysia to wear traditional clothes during Hari Raya. While men wear Baju Melayu, women can wear either Kebaya or Baju Kurung.
I like to wear Kebaya instead of Baju Kurung because I always had my baju kurung loose-long sleeves accidently dipped into curry gravy or rendang. I still haven't mastered the art of wearing baju kurung without dirtying its sleeves or skirt.
Malaysians celebrate Hari Raya Idul Fitri for one whole month. We will have a full month of "open houses" where friends and relatives visit each other's houses for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Companies will book hotel ballrooms to host open houses for their employees and clients. Because of this, I have to have at least 3 or 4 Kebaya on standby.
So, every year I would ask my tailor to make 3-4 Kebayas.
Unlike normal clothes that I wear during Chinese New Year, after Hari Raya celebration is over, I hardly wear my Kebaya anymore. I am a jeans-and-t-shirt kinda girl so the only time I wear my Kebaya is when I have to go for weddings, which at this age, I seldom get any wedding invitation anymore. Most of our friends are married (or decided not to get married) and it's too early to get invitation for friend's children's wedding.
After 8 years of Hari Raya in Kuala Lumpur, I was stuck with a lot of kebayas that I rarely use. I don't want to throw them away because I still need them once in a while. The Kebayas occupy too much space in my small closet.
Since I couldn't make my closet bigger and I couldn't throw the kebayas, I told myself not to buy or make new kebayas for Hari Raya. If I have to buy, maybe buy only 1 piece, just to participate in the festive mood and to contribute to the economy cycle. I decided to just reuse the old kebayas (which I wore max 3 times each).
Initially I was a bit uncomfortable wearing previous years' kebaya. But I think my decision was well justified. Let me tell you the reasons:
1. NOBODY noticed that I wore the kebaya that I had worn 4-8 years ago. Kebaya has the classic and everlasting style so there is no "out-of season" kebaya.
2. I save the space in my closet.
3. I don't need to waste time going back and forth to the tailor to make the kebayas. I have to go to the mall, stuck in traffic jam, find parking, and buy the fabrics. Then go to the tailor, stuck again in the jam, find parking again, have the tailor measure my ever-changing body size. After 2 weeks, I have to go back again to the tailor for fitting, another round of driving and parking. Then after another week, I have to pick up the kebayas... again... another round of traffic jam and parking hassle. Imagine how many hours I used to spend for that. I got tired just reading this no 3 reason..!
4. I save some money. Tailor-made kebaya is much more expensive than the ready-made but since I don't have an ideal model body, I could never find any ready-made kebaya that fit me.
5. I can contribute a little bit to the environment by polluting less (eliminate the CO2 emission from my driving back and forth in the attempt of getting the new kebayas) and reducing the waste from clothes (Reuse, Reduce and Recycle)
6. It makes me feel super good... coz I can still fit into my old kebaya...! Either I had a great tailor who could make my kebaya fit my enlarged body or my enlarged body is actually not that large..:)
7. It motivates me to keep my body size in check.
So... the secret is out.... I am wearing my old recycle kebayas for Hari Raya.