There are two verse when it comes to the Malay traditional clothes or what I say "Baju Melayu" :
1.Some says that it follows what our ancestors believe in having 5 buttons that relates with family harmony.
2. Some says it follows the Islamic rules of Faith, for every button has its meaning.
Here are 3 different views on the Malay traditional clothes and the the third picture from the left is our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W's clothing.
Origins of The Malay Traditional Clothing :
It was believed to have been in worn since Sultan Muhammad Shah (1424-1444), about 700 years ago. For the people of Malacca, the people of the country wore their "Baju Melayu" was quite short and tight but then one day, one of their Nobles changed the look of the "Baju Melayu" into how it looks today.
Malay Philosophy of the Baju Melayu :
"Baju Melayu Cekak Musang" has 5 buttons details. Proponents say this is taken as a symbol of domestic harmony, 2 buttons on top symbolizes the mother and father and 3 below details symbolize their children.
|Baju Melayu Modern|
Malay and Islamic Philosophy of the Baju Melayu :
Some Muslim scholars states that the "Baju Melayu" follows the signs of Islam artistic signature. It can be seen and understood by the number of buttons on the "Baju Melayu"and if there is 5 buttons, it smbolizes the five pillars of Islam. If there was 4 buttons, it signifies "Shariah", "Hakikat", "Tarikat" and "Ma'rifat". Finally, if there were 3 buttons, it means Islam, Iman and Ihsan.
Hope that these links could help you to understand more: