Balinese Fashionista!

Maybe you recall my post about the Balinese wedding I was so fortunate to attend. And perhaps you remember the photos of the women in their beautiful clothing, and me in my black T-shirt and sarong. Well, no more! I have been invited to two more ceremonious events in the coming weeks and I shuddered to think of showing up so inappropriately garbed. I asked Dewa about the lace blouse that so many of the women wear. “You mean kebaya?” he corrected me. “Yes, the lace blouse, kebaya, where can I get one?” Well, it seems if you want it to fit properly you buy the lace and go to a tailor. “Very expensive,” he said. I didn’t doubt it. A few days passed and I again broached the subject. This time his wife brought a bag of fabrics to show me. None of them were lace. “Too hot!” I exclaimed. “Need holes!” They laughed and again Dewa warned me, “Very expensive.” It occurred to me that something might be available ready made at the market. I asked and his answer was affirmative. “Yes, you can buy there, small, medium, large. Not tailored.”

The next day I took myself to the market. Even though that in itself is a challenge not for the faint of heart, I was on a mission. Passing stalls of jewelry, soaps, incense, carvings, and food, I finally found my way upstairs to clothing vendors. The first person who accosted me with, “Sarong? You buy sarong today? Good luck buy from me.” I said, “Kebaya?” It was like an army snapped to attention and suddenly kebayas were everywhere, cotton ones, polyester ones, every color of the rainbow, and yes, lace ones! I won’t belabor the details, but with much buttoning and unbuttoning (there is a row of 12 tiny buttons down the front and they are all displayed buttoned) and trying on and taking off, I found the perfect kebaya. Then with hand signals to represent the cummerbund around the waist the exact item was located. Some quick bargaining and I had hunted, captured, and bagged my prey! I actually found my way out of the market without getting completely turned around and hurried home. Assembling the outfit on my bed to get the full effect of the shopping expedition, I have to say I was thrilled. Here it is, my event-appropriate costume for ceremonies Bali style.

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