Did you know about the amazing history behind a traditional batik dress? There are many stories and folklore that revolve around batik clothing, which has a long and colourful history. For instance, some scholars believed that batik dresses were traditionally reserved for the royal family in Java. Being lovers of art and culture, the Javanese royal family was instrumental in the emergence of several different art forms such as wayang kulit (leather puppets) and gamelan orchestras.
To learn more about the origin of batik, read our short summary on the history of Batik.
In the modern day, a batik dress is a timeless classic that many of us love and cherish. It should be a staple in everyone’s wardrobe, whether it be for a casual or special occasion. Let us help you learn how to pick and wear the right dress that is perfect for you.
Tips on Choosing and Wearing a Batik Dress
Wearing one can seem like a daunting experience if you are not familiar with this fashion style, due to the multitude of prints and colours that may potentially clash with each other. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a unique dress for a weekend girls’ night out, a batik dress is the perfect outfit for you. In that spirit, we’ll suggest some tips for wearing batik dresses that will helpfully make you feel confident and at your best.
First, are you going for casual or formal?
Batik dresses made from cotton tend to be more lightweight and the fabric material is more breathable, hence, they are usually worn during casual outings. Are you going for a more opulent and luxurious vibe? Dresses made from silk tend to have smooth and shiny texture, and they tend to be more body-hugging, which are more suitable for formal events such as wedding dinners or company dinners.
Secondly, do you prefer modern or traditional batik?
A traditional batik dress typically comes in natural and earthy colours such as yellow, brown, and crimson red.
Oftentimes, machine-made batik has brighter and synthetic tones such as pink, purple, red, blue, yellow, or green. Dresses made using such modern day techniques are often cheaper, and they may have uneven patterns or colours that bleed and do not conform neatly within the pattern lines.
Batik dresses made using the traditional method are more suitable for black tie events and galas, whereas those made using the modern method may be more suitable for daily wear.
At Dia, we have batik dresses with a multitude of colours, but they are made using the traditional method, using only the finest materials.
How to Style the Batik Dress
Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!
While you might want all eyes on your dress, matching it with accessories is a great way to really pull off the dress in the way that you want.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match a batik dress with a simple pair of pearl earrings or a hoop necklace. These accessories can help to elevate your outfit and make you look more glamorous.
You can check some of our amazing Southeast Asian accessories available here.
Keep it simple
You can pair a simple batik dress with a pair of sneakers for a laid back yet thoughtful look. As a beginner to batik fashion, you might be unsure about what prints and colours will complement each other. To play it safe, start by staying away from having multiple loud and busy patterns to avoid a messy and uncoordinated outfit. (Disclaimer: If you love going maximalist, you do you! We often love it too.)
Don’t be afraid to learn from others
You can follow popular influencers on Instagram who incorporate batik dresses into their day to day outfits. Take a leaf from their books and look at how they coordinate their pieces together. Search for the hashtag #batik dress on Instagram to find out how other people dress in this style. If you hop onto Pinterest, you may be inspired by the endless possibilities and myriad of designs available to you.
Some people prefer to pair batik dresses with a simple black clutch bag that does not detract from the entire outfit. Others may opt for a belt to emphasize their waistline in a loose and flowy dress, or embellish a simple dress with a pair of gold earrings.
Know your body shape
Generally, body hugging batik styles such as wrap dresses are good for those with hourglass shapes. A loose-fitting mod or shift batik dress is a great way to enjoy batik without revealing too much of your body shape as well.
For those with a modest chest and who are not fond of plunging necklines or batik dresses with deep V-necklines, a dress with lots of details or ruffles at the chest area or ruffles may be more up your alley instead.
A more athletic body shape can opt for an A-line style dress, if you’re looking to create the illusion of curves. Those with pear shaped figures may want to avoid an A-line cut if they don’t feel comfortable in the way it highlights their figure.
Empire waist batik dresses are suitable for women with any body type. Sometimes, it is about trial-and-error to find out what styles work for your body type.
Become the Batik Style Expert
Learn about colour theory
Knowing what colours flatter your skin tone will help you choose the right dress. We all have different skin tones that match well or clash with certain colours, and this doesn’t even include your skin’s undertone (warm or cool).
A simple guide to follow that we can recommend is:
- If you have a warm skin tone, warm and earthy tones such as brown, orange and yellow will suit you better.
- Cool skin tones will look good in jewel-toned dresses such as royal blue or deep purple. Pastel colours are more flattering for those with cool skin tones.
- Those with a fairer complexion should refrain from pastel colours and opt for darker tones to add a nice contrast to their skin tone and avoid looking pale or ghostly.
- If you have dark mocha skin, opt for a bright and bold hue that will contrast with your skin tone and bring out its natural shade.
As always, the most important thing is to try out different colours and accessories to see what best suits you. If you feel good and comfortable, then it’s the right choice.
To help you get started, we’ve also pulled together some of our favourites from our clothing collection for you to try.
Recommended Batik dresses from Dia:
With a form-fitting waistline and strategically-placed cutouts at the waist, the ankle-length dress accentuates the beautiful female silhouette, complete with bold and dynamic leopard prints in yellow and black. It is a classy and timeless piece for the effortlessly chic and elegant woman. This is suitable for a candlelight dinner or a girls’ night out, and can be paired with a clutch bag and simple earrings for the extra oomph.
For those with hourglass figures, this dual tone teal and turquoise batik wrap dress with a low V neckline would look resplendent. It features interesting polka dot and flower prints. A pair of stiletto heels would go well with this look.
Designed to complement a wide range of body types, this baggy Kaftan dress has oversized kimono sleeves as well as an undefined waistline. The tropical palm leaf motifs were made with ancient hand-blocking techniques on quality Habotai silk. This kaftan adds a relaxing vibe for your next summer vacation. You can finish the look with a pair of jeans or espadrilles wedge heels, which add a nice touch.
We hope you find our tips on “How to look good in a batik dress” helpful and informative. Go on and paint the town red with these batik dresses!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Team Dia is made up of Dia’s three co-founders: Kylie, Alia, & Aisha. They are friends from Malaysia who decided to create Dia in 2020 out of love for their home region. They have lived across the world and have worked in government, big data, journalism, hospitality, and market research. They’d love for you to join the Dia community.