Traditional Thai clothing
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Traditional Thai clothing is called chut thai (Thai: ชุดไทย), which literally means "Thai outfit". It can be worn by men, women, and children. Chut thai for women usually consists of a pha nung or a chong kraben, a blouse, and a sabai. Northern and northeastern women may wear a sinh instead of a pha nung and a chong kraben with either a blouse or a suea pat. Chut thai for men includes a chong kraben or pants, a Raj pattern shirt, with optional knee-length white socks and a sabai. Chut thai for northern Thai men is composed of a sado, a white Manchu styled jacket, and sometimes a khian hua. In formal occasions, people may choose to wear a so-called formal Thai national costume.
Historically, both Thai males and females dressed themselves with a loincloth wrap called chong kraben. Men wore their chong kraben to cover the waist to halfway down the thigh, whilst women wear their chong kraben down the waist to well below the knee. Members of the nobility wore silk robes called khrui and a tall, pointed hat called lomphok in attendance of royal affairs. Bare chests and bare feet were accepted as part of the Thai formal dress code, and are observed in murals, illustrated manuscripts, and early photographs up to the middle–1800s. Prior to the 20th century, the primary markers that distinguished class in Thai clothing were the use of cotton and silk cloths with printed or woven motifs, but both commoners and royals alike wore wrapped, not stitched clothing. Traditional Thai attire changed significantly during the Rattanakosin period.
Prior to the 1700s, Thai men and women both kept their hair long. However, following the Burmese–Siamese wars of 1759-1760 and 1765–1767 and repeated Burmese invasions into Ayutthaya, central Thai women began cutting their hair in a crew-cut short style, which remained the national hairstyle until the 1900s.
From the 1860s onward, Thai royals "selectively adopted Victorian corporeal and sartorial etiquette to fashion modern personas that were publicized domestically and internationally by means of mechanically reproduced images." Stitched clothing, including court attire and ceremonial uniforms, were invented during the reign of King Chulalongkorn. Western forms of dress became popular among urbanites in Bangkok during this period. During the early–1900s, King Chulalongkorn encouraged Thai women to wear long hair instead of traditional short hair which later became a trend during the reign of King Vajiravudh along with wearing pha sinh (ผ้าซิ่น), a tubular skirt, instead of the chong kraben (โจงกระเบน), a cloth wrap.
On 15 January 1941, Plaek Pibulsonggram issued a Thai cultural mandate to modernize and Westernize Thai dress, by deeming the long-practiced customs of wearing underpants, wearing no shirt, or wearing a wraparound cloth, as forms of inappropriate public attire.
The pha nung(ผ้านุ่ง) is the Thai name for a cloth worn around the lower body that resembles a long skirt.
Chong kraben or Chang kben (Thai: โจงกระเบน Thai pronunciation: [tɕoːŋ.kra.beːn]) is a lower-body, wraparound cloth. It is synonymous with the Khmer sampot. The sampot is a long, rectangular cloth worn around the lower body. The traditional dress is similar to the dhoti of South Asia. The chong kraben resembles pants more than skirts. It is a rectangular piece of cloth measuring three meters long and one meter wide. It is worn by wrapping around the waist, stretching it away from the body, twisting the ends together then pulling the twisted fabric between the legs and tucking it in the back of the waist.
Sabai (Thai: สไบ Thai pronunciation: [sa.baj]) or pha biang (Thai: ผ้าเบี่ยง Thai pronunciation: [pʰâː.bìaŋ]) is shawl-like garment, or breast cloth. Sabais can be used by women or men. The sabai is also known as a long piece of silk, about a foot wide, draped diagonally around the chest by covering one shoulder which its end drops behind the back. Sabais could be worn around the naked chest or on top of another cloth. The practice of wearing Sabai along with Victorian cloth was a common practice during the reign of King Chulalongkorn and lasted until the reign of King Vajiravudh when Westernized clothing became more fashionable. The wearing of sabais as daily wear was officially banned by Plaek Pibulsonggram during Thailand's clothing reform.
Suea pat (Thai: เสื้อปัด Thai pronunciation: [sɯ̂a.pàt]) is a long-sleeved shirt with no buttons. It is worn by wrapping the right side of the front panel of the shirt over the left side of the front panel, and the two panels are tied together via strings. Suea pats are typically worn by northern Thai women
Raj pattern (Thai: ราชปะแตน, RTGS: ratcha pataen) refers either to a Thai men's costume consisting of a white Nehru-style jacket with five buttons, a chong kraben, knee-length socks, and dress shoes, or to the specific form of the jacket itself. It was worn chiefly during the late–19th and early–20th centuries by government officials and the upper class in Bangkok, and nowadays is used in select circumstances as a national costume.
The formal Thai costume, known in Thai as ชุดไทยพระราชนิยม (RTGS: chut thai phra ratcha niyom, literally Thai dress of royal endorsement), includes several sets of dress, designed as the Thai national costume in formal occasions. Although described and intended for use as national costume, they are of relatively modern origins, having been conceived in the second half of the 20th century.
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