Men in skirts

The men in Myanmar wear skirts.  It’s actually really great- as a traveler, it makes you feel more like you’re in another country when everyone dresses differently than they do back home. You just don’t see that very often anymore in our commonly traveled-to places.

(Thus, my excitement when I saw women in Vietnam wearing those conical straw hats, and my slight disappointment that I didn’t see bunches of geishas running around Japan.)

Kim posed at the airport for our first (stealth) photo of a man in a skirt. The skirts are called longyi, and they are essentially just a length of fabric, knotted at the waist.

Most men seem to wear them with either a button-down or polo shirt. And everyone was wearing flip-flops. Women wear these longyi, as well, but their skirts have different patterns (usually plain or flowered or something jazzy) than the men’s usual blue or green-based plaid variation.

(Photos: The color options at the men’s longyi store.)

And women’s longyi usually have waistbands, whereas for men, the tube skirt is more like a length of cloth which they wrap around themselves from behind and tie into a large knot at the front. And it somehow doesn’t pull open obscenely. Of course, this makes for frequent adjustments throughout the day, so I suppose they have that in common with Western men, anyway.

Most of the younger guys we saw usually stood with a leg/hip jutted out to the side, which is probably a cooler way of standing, and probably also helps to keep the longyi in place. The longyi seem to hit between mid-calf and almost ankle-length, but not all men or women wear them.  There are plenty of people in “Western” garb, too.

I hope this lovely cultural dress isn’t one more thing that disappears as we all move toward worldwide sameness. I tend to think that discovering (and blogging about) our differences is one of the most interesting parts of traveling.

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