Since I grew up in a country that is so exposed to American culture, seeing Cambodian men walking and biking around in a very hot noon wearing collared polo instead of T-shirt is an interesting sight to me. I realized, this is a casual outfit for men of Siem Reap, Cambodia.
I think I’ve seen more girls wearing what I’m used to as “casual clothes”- jeans, short, skirt and shirt.
I even asked one of the admirable Cambodian bloggers, Chak Sopheap, to stop for a while for me to take a photo of her very pretty pumps! Haha.
But I was very curious about what Khmer Fashion industry has to offer or rather, has been offering for the past centuries. Like Indonesia’s batik, I am fascinated by Cambodia’s silk and since it’s a neighbor of Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, the Fisherman pants and the traditional Sampot are always in the list of “to-buy” for a first-timer like me.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find either of the two but found this wrap around pants in the Old Market, originally for 7USD but I haggled to buy for 3USD (that’s just around 125Php!)
The fabric is very light, comfortable and perfect for the very hot weather of Siem Reap and the Philippines. It looks like the traditional Cambodian trouser and can either be tied at front or at the back depending on your preference and style (I tied it at front in the photo above).
It can be worn as a casual pants paired with a tight top and a strap-y sandals like the one I worn when I went around to see the astonishing temples:
Because of its straight cut, comfort and elegance are both achieved with this pants. The simplicity of color and the high waist are perfect for an evening attire or even for a corporate attire paired with a simple jacket.
I tried to pair it with my mustard pointed shoes and black sleeveless top (Maldita) together with a gold long necklace with a few brown stones in a busy work-day and since everybody likes it (plus the fact that it’s affordable!), I just had a beautiful fun day!
So if seeing the temples is on top of your bucket list, don’t forget to include this pants too! It’s available in the Old Market and even in the Night Market near Pub Street.
It’s simplicity, comfort and elegance qualify it as a must-have. Plus! The thought that you’re wearing a piece of history and Khmer’s identity!
Just please be reminded that it opens in the sides since it’s just wrapped and tied. Though it doesn’t open widely when you walk, please be aware of how you sit or just wear a cycling shorts together with it if it’s not that hot. 🙂 Or else, you’ll look so ridiculous like this:
Hay naku. Now I know why the guy was so nice to take my photo, libre boso. Haha.
If you want to order online, you can check this very beautifully hand-crafted Khmer brand, Artisans Angkor, based in Siem Reap, which originally started as an avenue for young rural people to find work near their home village. But eventually has become a real showcase of Khmer workmanship for its silk fabrics and garments, stone and wood carving, lacquer ware, polychrome products, silver plating and silk painting.