Burma, Especially Its Children – Post 3: Why are the Guys Wearing Skirts?

There’s another question I know will come up so I’ll answer it right away: why are the guys wearing skirts?


It’s not a skirt, it’s called a longyi. A longyi is one piece of cloth approximately
2 1/2 feet wide and 6 1/2 feet long. The fabric is folded and draped to stay in
place without being knotted. The longyi helps keep people cool in the hot
Burmese climate.

Yangon, Burma, Myanmar. Streets.

Yangon, Burma, Myanmar. Streets.

Longyi for a male may be referred to as “paso” while longyi for a female (which has a slightly different design and includes a waistband) is known as “htamain”. Additionally, the types of patterns printed on the fabric are different for males and females.

Men from young to old wear longyi.

Mandalay, Burma, Myanmar. Mandalay Streets

Most people wear longyi but some young adults wear western style pants or skirts.



The cloth used to make longyis is beautifully designed and colored. The colors are rich and bright; there’s not much in the way of dull earth tones or sappy pastels.


Lesson: In politically-sensitive Burma, even clothing can be a political statement!

“The Burmese Premier, General Than Shwe, and other members of the ruling junta caused a stir in February 2011 when they appeared on national television wearing women’s acheiks and longbon head scarves – an act political observers were quick to interpret as superstition, or yadaya. Fortune tellers have repeatedly predicted that a woman will rule Burma one day, and so the generals’ cross-dressing was seen as an attempt to confound the pundits and forestall the rise of NLD leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.”

Quote above is from here