Traditional dress of Iraq & Kurdistan: Offshoot of the ancient acculturation

The land of Euphrates and Tigris which was once known to the world as the center of knowledge and culture is today recognized as a land of warfare and bloodshed. It is also true that it remained under the domination of many invaders like Anatolian, Babylonians and Assyrians etc in the ancient history. During that period the region went through tremendous human development and made notable cultural progress. In 7th century AD, this territory was occupied by Islamic Arabs and it was become the prime center of the Muslim caliphate. The descending Abbasid caliphate established Baghdad as their capital city and they established it as the preeminent downtown of education and the greatest ancestry of the Islamic empire.

Colors of the cultural outfits from Iraq

Colors of the cultural outfits from Iraq

The same was ruined by the Mongols in the thirteenth century and then this land experienced a series of invasions and extermination of its people in the history. Ottomans, Mamluks and British took control of this country respectively in the later periods of history when finally it got freedom from the Great Britain in 1932. A pre-coup government of the Hashemite monarchy was established which was ultimately ended in 1958 by military adventurers and then it remained under different dictatorships. In 2003, the United States-organized coalition invaded it again and after the US withdrawal of its troops in 2011, it is again suffering from different insurgencies till present.

Newroz celebrations. Kurdish women in traditional outfits. Image by Andrea Giudiceandrea

Newroz celebrations. Kurdish women in traditional outfits. Image by Andrea Giudiceandrea

Yes, this is Iraq, officially known as the Republic of Iraq which is an Arab country located in the western Asia. A country of more than 32 million people having diverse ethnicities and religious followings is today mainly known for Arab and Kurd communities in the lovely planet. The predeceasing paragraph elaborates clearly that Iraq was once the hub of the oldest Mesopotamian culture and Islamic civilization and even today, it is a country of a wide and varied heritage. Without going into further details, let’s keep our main focus upon the subject i-e, the traditional dress of Iraq & Kurdistan which is an offshoot of the ancient acculturation.    

A model wears fashion from Iraqi folklore during celebrations in Baghdad for International Women Day

A model wears fashion from Iraqi folklore during celebrations in Baghdad for International Women Day

Many Iraqi men and women have started to adopt the clothing culture similar to America in present times. Iraqi men specially can be commonly seen in pants, shirts and also in T-shirts with jeans. But still if you go to the rural or country-side areas of Iraq, you’ll see Iraqi men wearing a big turban on their heads along with long tunic-shaped traditional thobe on their body. Iraqi women also traditionally wear loose-fitting garments with covering of their heads with scarves and body with a big cloak known as abaya. In different parts of Iraqi territory, the Iraqis wear traditional dresses in accordance with their own distinctiveness.

An Iraqi man from Biaj, near Sinjar, in northern Iraq. Image by DVIDSHUB

An Iraqi man from Biaj, near Sinjar, in northern Iraq. Image by DVIDSHUB

Thobe which may also be spelled as Thawb is actually an ankle length garment usually with long sleeves in a tunic shape. During summer, white thobes usually made with cotton are commonly seen and during winter, the Iraqi men prefer to wear thobes usually in bright colors and made with wool. Sometimes this garment is known as dishdasha and it is also very useful to protect the skin from harsh sun-rays. A pair of loose trousers is worn under the dishdasha.

Iraqi man in Dishdasha with his boy. Image by james_gordon_losangeles

Iraqi man in Dishdasha with his boy. Image by james_gordon_losangeles

Iraqi men as mentioned earlier cover their heads normally with a diagonally folded square of cloth which is usually made with cotton and it is held around the head to be draped thoroughly. It is known as Kaffiyeh or Kufiyeh which sometimes also comes in linen, wool, or silk, either plain or patterned. Sometimes it is also supported by Igal or Agal which is necessary to keep the whole thing in place. Igal may be black cord or worn doubled.

Iraqi men wearing traditional outfits. Image by Chris De Bruyn

Iraqi men wearing traditional outfits. Image by Chris De Bruyn

Some wealthy Iraqis belonging to the rural community, especially the Bedouin men also wear a ceremonial dress which is woven with thin camel hair and it is known as Bisht. This dress is normally decorated with thread embroidery around the neck and usually on the front downwards. In the windy winters, Iraqi rural men also wear a typical woolen coat with a fleece lining which is known as farwa. Similarly in some regions, a small decorated jacket which is called damir is also popular which is usually made with velvet. In the footwear, leather sandals and boots are in common use of Iraqi men.

Abaya is common in Iraq. Image Via Kazheen Kurdstan on Pinterest

Abaya is common in Iraq. Image Via Kazheen Kurdstan on Pinterest

Iraqi women cover their bodies with Abayah which is a long black cloak that is worn as outerwear over a dress or trousers. Nowadays it comes in different styles and adorned with embellished patterns. Scarf is also generally used by the Iraqi women to cover their heads.

An Iraqi girl wearing beautiful traditional scarf. Image by NewsHour

An Iraqi girl wearing beautiful traditional scarf. Image by NewsHour

It is pertinent to mention here about Bedouin women of Iraq who use a head cloth called as Shambar which is worn over the head and around the neck tied by a decorative headband. Bedouin women also use Sash (belt) to be wrapped around the waist with the end folded into the wraps. For footwear, the traditional items include leather sandals and leather slippers.

Traditional Iraqi Headdress. Image Via Zoe draws things

Traditional Iraqi Headdress. Image Via Zoe draws things

Today, Abaya which is prepared with fine fabrics and comes in tremendous patterns has become a matter of honour and prestige for the Iraqi women. Synthetic fabrics are also being used for Abaya. Two important scarves which are also commonly in use of Iraqi women these days are; the asha which covers the hair, and the futa which covers the mouth and chin.

Portrait of a woman from Iraq

Portrait of a woman from Iraq

Traditional dresses for women in Iraq are made with cotton in summer and flannel in winter. The casual dresses worn during domestic jobs are not necessarily to be embroidered or decorated. In winter women also wear knitted sweaters or jackets to protect themselves from cold. Baggy trousers or sirwal which are bedecked with embroidery are worn underneath by women.When it comes to formal dress for women in Iraq, one dress which is known as Hashmiyah is very popular. This dress is normally adorned around the neck, around the waist with metal threads and sometimes with rhinestones as well. This dress is also a part of traditional dancing costumes in Iraq these days as the dancers usually wear it without scarves with free hair.

Kurdish dress photography bu Jean Tsimangas

Kurdish dress photography bu Jean Tsimangas

Unlike Iraqis, the people of Kurdistan have still continued their distinctive custom to wear the traditional dresses generally. Iraqi Kurdistan comprises of Northern parts of Iraq which is largely a mountainous zone. The mountainous nature of Iraqi Kurdistan has made a characteristic impact on the clothing behaviors of Iraqi Kurds. Iraqi Kurdistan has a diverse religious population. The dominant religion is Islam, adhered to by the majority of its inhabitants.

Iraqi Kurdish women. photographer Payam Hesami

Iraqi Kurdish women in a magnificent photo with traditional outfits. Photographer: Payam Hesami

The Kurdish culture is a legacy from the various ancient peoples who shaped modern Kurds and their society, but primarily Iranian. Among their neighbors, the Kurdish culture is closest to Persian culture.

Kurdish men from Iraq - Image by HAMED MASOUMI

Kurdish men from Iraq – Image by HAMED MASOUMI

Traditional dress for men in Iraqi Kurdistan includes long baggy trousers or shalwar that fit tightly at the ankle, a short tight jacket over a striped silk shirt and a cummerbund of print or striped cloth wrapped around and around the waist. Some Kurd men also used embroidered jackets as their over garment as well. Kaffiyah is also in common use of the Kurd men and they use it with a long string-like tassel.

Kurdish clothes and make up. A brilliant photograph

Kurdish clothes and make up. A brilliant photograph

Traditional dress for Kurd women is very decorative, bright, voluminous and colorful which is normally bedecked with sequins, glass beads, coins and stone beads. Almost every accessory in the Kurd woman’s garment is embellished with fancy materials. Brilliantly adorned metal belts are also favorite among Kurdish women especially in the formal attires.  The under dress and trousers are made of a plain satin fabric usually matching the colour of the gown.

Kurdish Wedding. Costumes. Image  by lachicaphoto

Kurdish Wedding. Costumes. Image by lachicaphoto

The traditional Kurdish hat for women is usually black velveteen ornamented with traditional amber and turquoise beads with gold or silver charms. Traditional Kurdish women’s outfit includes either a vest or long-sleeved jacket or long overcoat worn over a gown.

Most Kurdish women and men have a large collection of Kurdish dresses and are always on the lookout for new designs and fabric.  A Kurdish girl (Songer Nazdar)

Most Kurdish women and men have a large collection of Kurdish dresses and are always on the lookout for new designs and fabric. A Kurdish girl (Songer Nazdar)

Most Kurdish women and men have a large collection of Kurdish dresses and are always on the lookout for new designs and fabric.  They usually buy the fabrics of their choice and then have it tailors as such there are tailors who specialize in making Kurdish clothes.

Young men from Kurdestan, Northern Iraq. Image by Andrea Giudiceandrea

Young men from Kurdestan, Northern Iraq. Image by Andrea Giudiceandrea

Traditional dress of Iraq & Kurdistan which is an offshoot of the ancient acculturation, presently in its pure form has become a thing of the glorious past and history of this great nation. In the youth, you’ll see a blend of the western clothing and traditional wear, however this confusion rather fusion makes the appearance of Iraqis more charming and graceful.

Traditional dress of Iraq & Kurdistan which is an offshoot of the ancient acculturation. Image by Chris De Bruyn

Traditional dress of Iraq & Kurdistan which is an offshoot of the ancient acculturation. Image by Chris De Bruyn

For more interesting posts with the same subject on the Lovely Planet Website, please click the following links;

1-    Algerian Traditional Dress
2-    Traditional Dress Of Serbia
3-    Traditional Dress Of Kosovo
4-    Traditional Dress Of Libya
5-    Traditional Dress Of Morocco
6-    Traditional Dress Of Albania
7-    Traditional Dress Of Tunisia
8-    Traditional Dress Of Lebanon
9-    Traditional Dress Of Bosnia And Herzegovina
10-  Traditional Dress Of Azerbaijan
11-  Traditional Dress Of Turkmenistan
12-  Traditional Dress Of Kazakhstan
13-  Traditional Dress Of Kyrgyzstan
14-  Traditional Dress Of Uzbekistan
15-  Traditional Dress Of Tajikistan
16-  The Traditional Dress Of Laos
17-  The Traditional Dress Of Vietnam
18-  Traditional Dresses Of The World – 1
19-  Traditional Dress Of Jammu & Kashmir
20-  Ottoman Dresses From Turkey
21-  Colors Of Cholistan
22-  Cultural Dresses Of Balochistan
23-  Lehenga Choli Or Ghagra Choli
24-  Sari Or Saree : Traditional Dress Of Women In South Asia
25-  Ajrak , The Traditional Attire From Sindh , Pakistan
26-  The Traditional Tais Of East Timor
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30-  Rilli, Sindhi Quilt Art
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33-  Hanfu, The Classical Chinese Dress
34-  London Fashion Week
35-  Fashion Week Milan: The Glamorous Event Of Italy
36-  New York Fashion Week
37-  Paris Fashion Week
38- Traditional Dress Of Jordan
39- Traditional Dress Of Syria
40- Traditional Dress Of Afghanistan
41- Traditional Dress Of Palestine
42- Traditional Dress Of Oman
43-Traditional Dress Of Nigeria
44- Traditional Dress Of Hungary
45-Traditional Dress Of Ukraine
46- Malaysian Traditional Dress
47- Traditional Dress Of Kenya
48- Traditional Eastern Brides
49- Traditional Dress Of Bulgaria
50- Traditional dress of Uganda
51- Traditional Dress of Iceland
52- Traditional Dress of Croatia
53- traditional dress of Norway
54- Traditional dress of Finland
55- Traditional Dress of Philippines
56- Traditional dress of Denmark
57- Traditional dress of Belarus
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76- Traditional dress of Venezuela: Not complicated but decorated
77- Traditional dress of Latvia: Made with the Linen fabric
78- Traditional dress of Romania: So captivating and graceful
79- Traditional dress of Estonia: So classy and versatile
80- Traditional dress of Armenia: So colorful and diversified
81- Traditional dress of Angola: A symbol of the ethnic culture
82- Traditional dress of Austria: Dirndl, Lederhosen and Tracht
83-Traditional dress of Namibia: Far from the modernizations
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87. Traditional dress of Brazil: So bright and colorful in nature
88. Traditional dress of Colombia: So iconic in Latin America
89. Traditional dress of Chile: So artistic and cultural
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91- Traditional dress of Panama: The exotic Mola and La Pollera
92- Traditional dress of Cuba: A product of multi-cultural effects
93- Traditional dress of Bangladesh: So awesome in its nature and kind
94- Traditional dress of Indonesia: Featured with unique patterns and designs
95- Traditional dress of Pakistan: Legacy of ancient civilizations
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98- Traditional dress of Mauritania: Fusion of Berber and African cultures
99- Traditional dress of Egypt: Legacy of ancient Kings and Queens
100- Traditional dress of Iran: A product of the glorious Persian heritage

Traditional dress of Iran: A product of the glorious Persian heritage

Gone are the days, when that domain was a superpower on the planet earth and she gave birth to one of the oldest and phenomenal civilizations. We’re talking about the miraculous country presently known as Iran and formerly known as Persia, the land enriched with dazzling heritage and unique cultures. It was a region that gained immense freedom mostly but in the pre-historic times, Persia remained under the dominations of Greek invaders. Similarly in the Middle Ages and afterwards, it was occupied by Arabs, Turks and Mongols.

An Iranian lady portraying the Persian traditional fashion

An Iranian lady portraying the Persian traditional fashion

It should be better understood that the fusion and diversity of the greatest civilizations which were already started to develop in the Persian heritage reached to their climax in the Modern ages, when Safavid, Afsharid and other descending dynasties took over Persia in different periods of history. After the decline of Qajars in 1925, Reza Shah and his son ruled over Iran until 1979 and finally the monarchy was ended, when Islamic revolution took place in Iran. The country was made the Islamic republic.

Dress code of Iranian religious scholars. Image by opalpeterliu

Dress code of Iranian religious scholars. Image by opalpeterliu

Traditional dress of Iran is a product of the glorious Persian heritage. Traditional outfits for Iranian men include the Pirahan, Shalvar, and Jameh combination. According to the historian, Shalwar Kameez which is a popular traditional dress in South Asia was introduced by the Persians. Iranian men also use a wide belt known as “Kamarband” or “cummerbund“. Headdresses were also worn by men known as the Sarband. Such dresses were imported by the Mughal emperors during their era to the Indian sub-continent as well.

Traditional costumes display by a couple in Sa'dabad Palace-Tehran, Iran. Image by kamshots

Traditional costumes display by a couple in Sa’dabad Palace-Tehran, Iran. Image by kamshots

Recent history reveals that the traditional dress for the Iranian women also included trousers, chemise or blouse which was normally in bell-shaped along with jackets and other sort of over-garments. For wealthy and urban living women, trousers were bit tight while in the other remote parts of Iran, women used to wear baggy trousers. Chemise (blouse) locally known as Pirahan was usually made with different types of fabrics. With the passage of times, many trends were introduced in the designing of Pirahan and by the end of the nineteenth century, women’s pirahans became short having waist-height or slightly lower.

Folk costumes from Iran. Photo by Allison Stillwell Young

Folk costumes from Iran. Photo by Allison Stillwell Young

Traditional jackets or over-coats used by Iranian women were usually made with a variety of fabrics and those were adorned with heavy brocades and embroidery. These jackets were usually remained un-fastened. Long robes and loin cloths were also worn by the women and men in Persia. They often used gold jewelry.

Iran. Magnifcent traditional outfits and ornaments

Iran. Magnifcent traditional outfits and ornaments

Passion of using jewelry was at its peak in every era of history among the Iranian women. It included armbands, belts, bracelets, brooches, chin decorations, earrings, hair decorations, necklaces, as well as rings. Special attention was paid to the eyes by the Iranian women as kohl was painted around the eyes with a small stick. In this way the eyes were made larger and darker.

Iranian Kurd women in traditional outfits. Image by Kurdistan Photo

Iranian Kurd women in traditional outfits. Image by Kurdistan Photo

Iran geographically being a huge and demographically being a diverse country has many regions and ethnicities. Every region has its own folk-dances with-in Iran what are usually performed during the festivities and traditional celebrations. And when it comes to Iranian folk-dances, every region has its own distinctive costuming.

Persian dancing costume. Image by davidyuweb

Persian dancing costume. Image by davidyuweb

Dancing was very popular in the Persian history and the Persian classical dance is famous for its technique, style and costumes. The Persian dancers normally used to wear loosely-fitted long dress with long sleeves along with a jacket. The jacket extended over the sides of the hips and was either worn open or closed. The Qadjar dancers wore pants under the dress. A purely Persian pant was cut narrow and cuffed and loose at the bottom.

Persian dancer posing gorgeously wearing traditional costume.

Persian dancer posing gorgeously wearing traditional costume.

Sometimes a Turkish harem pant was worn, extremely full and gathered tight at the ankles. The fabrics were bright in color and flowered. Upon the head was worn an egret, a small paisley-shaped hat adorned with jewels, pearls and a feather. Hair was worn long and elaborate, with side locks and bangs fashioned into shapes.

A group of young women posing on the Khaju Bridge in Isfahan. Image by travfotos

A group of young women posing on the Khaju Bridge in Isfahan. Image by travfotos

After the revolution of 1979, the Iranian women are strictly bound to wear loose-fitting dresses along with a head-covering. Now scarves and veils have also become an integral part of the traditional dress form woman in Iran. But the Iranian women have not left their habits to wear the best and sophisticated clothes with magnificent designs. Even today, the Iranian women although follow the government restrictions, yet they fulfill their desires to dress up in brightly colors outfits and to make their appearances gorgeous.

Modern Iranian lady in stylish outfits. Image by Ali Reza Omidvand

Modern Iranian lady in stylish outfits. Image by Ali Reza Omidvand

Nowadays apart from the head scarf which is natively called as roo-sari, the Iranian ladies also wear a knee-length coat known as a roo-poosh along with a long dress or pair of pants.

From North-west Iran. Traditional outfits. Image  by Adam Jones, Ph.D. - Global Photo Archive

From North-west Iran. Traditional outfits. Image by Adam Jones, Ph.D. – Global Photo Archive

Chador is another garment which is common among the Iranian women. Chador is a full length semi-circular fabric when worn, it naturally covers full body. It is to be remembered that Chador is normally without any type of fasteners. Obviously chador is also accompanied by a Hijab or a scarf. This is true that head covering is essential under Iranian law for women, yet extremely tight scarves are found rarely. Women are normally seen in a way that their hair fall freely.  Nowadays, chadors are usually made from a black cloth, which is normally either a cotton or synthetic material.

Friendly Iranians pose for a photo in the old Bazar-e Vakil at Shiraz, Iran. Image  by D-Stanley

Friendly Iranians pose for a photo in the old Bazar-e Vakil at Shiraz, Iran. Image by D-Stanley

Another cloak type garment is normally used by the Iranian women which is known as Manteau. The purpose is the same like Chador to cover arms, neck and other body.  Manteau and Roo-posh have gained the significance as a compulsory uniform for the Iranian women nowadays.

Iranian couple in modern outfits. Image by Adam Jones, Ph.D. - Global Photo Archive

Iranian couple in modern outfits. Image by Adam Jones, Ph.D. – Global Photo Archive

Present dress-code for Iranian men is mostly like the western outfits. Short-sleeved shirts and t-shirts are acceptable for daily wear. Shorts and three-quarter length pants are only acceptable on the beach. They wear formal suiting in official and corporate affairs.

Day to day wear. Three Iranian old men. Photo by Ai@ce

Day to day wear. Three Iranian old men. Photo by Ai@ce

For more interesting posts with the same subject on the Lovely Planet Website, please click the following links;

1-    Algerian Traditional Dress
2-    Traditional Dress Of Serbia
3-    Traditional Dress Of Kosovo
4-    Traditional Dress Of Libya
5-    Traditional Dress Of Morocco
6-    Traditional Dress Of Albania
7-    Traditional Dress Of Tunisia
8-    Traditional Dress Of Lebanon
9-    Traditional Dress Of Bosnia And Herzegovina
10-  Traditional Dress Of Azerbaijan
11-  Traditional Dress Of Turkmenistan
12-  Traditional Dress Of Kazakhstan
13-  Traditional Dress Of Kyrgyzstan
14-  Traditional Dress Of Uzbekistan
15-  Traditional Dress Of Tajikistan
16-  The Traditional Dress Of Laos
17-  The Traditional Dress Of Vietnam
18-  Traditional Dresses Of The World – 1
19-  Traditional Dress Of Jammu & Kashmir
20-  Ottoman Dresses From Turkey
21-  Colors Of Cholistan
22-  Cultural Dresses Of Balochistan
23-  Lehenga Choli Or Ghagra Choli
24-  Sari Or Saree : Traditional Dress Of Women In South Asia
25-  Ajrak , The Traditional Attire From Sindh , Pakistan
26-  The Traditional Tais Of East Timor
27-  Shalwar Kameez: The Popular Dress Of South Asia
28-  Churidar Pajama: The Favorite South Asian Attire
29-  Pakistani Bridal Dress
30-  Rilli, Sindhi Quilt Art
31-  Fantastic, Alluring Khussa Shoes
32-  Customs And Traditions Of Kalash Tribe
33-  Hanfu, The Classical Chinese Dress
34-  London Fashion Week
35-  Fashion Week Milan: The Glamorous Event Of Italy
36-  New York Fashion Week
37-  Paris Fashion Week
38- Traditional Dress Of Jordan
39- Traditional Dress Of Syria
40- Traditional Dress Of Afghanistan
41- Traditional Dress Of Palestine
42- Traditional Dress Of Oman
43-Traditional Dress Of Nigeria
44- Traditional Dress Of Hungary
45-Traditional Dress Of Ukraine
46- Malaysian Traditional Dress
47- Traditional Dress Of Kenya
48- Traditional Eastern Brides
49- Traditional Dress Of Bulgaria
50- Traditional dress of Uganda
51- Traditional Dress of Iceland
52- Traditional Dress of Croatia
53- traditional dress of Norway
54- Traditional dress of Finland
55- Traditional Dress of Philippines
56- Traditional dress of Denmark
57- Traditional dress of Belarus
58- Traditional Dress of Puerto Rico
59- Traditional Dress of Nicaragua: Marvelous and colorful
60 – Traditional Dress of Nepal: Whimsical but charming
61- Brilliant Colors of Dagestan: Really fanciful and imaginative
62- Kabuki: A classical and traditional Japanese theater
63- Boogie-woogie: A famous Swing Dance
64- Colors of Samba Dance from Brazil: So lively so amazing
65- Ho Jamalo: The favorite folk dance of Sindh
66- Odissi from the Eastern India: A historic ritual dance
67- Sattriya from Assam: A classical Indian dance
68- Fandango: A famous couple dance from Spain
69- Maypole from Europe: A fabulous circle folk dance
70- Cueca: The national dance of Chile
71- Traditional dress of Belgium: A charming European attire
72- Traditional dress of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
73- Colors of Kalash: 5 lovely images of beautiful Kalash girls
74- Traditional dress of Georgia: The fantastic Chokha
75- Traditional dress of Argentina: The warrior Gaucho costume
76- Traditional dress of Venezuela: Not complicated but decorated
77- Traditional dress of Latvia: Made with the Linen fabric
78- Traditional dress of Romania: So captivating and graceful
79- Traditional dress of Estonia: So classy and versatile
80- Traditional dress of Armenia: So colorful and diversified
81- Traditional dress of Angola: A symbol of the ethnic culture
82- Traditional dress of Austria: Dirndl, Lederhosen and Tracht
83-Traditional dress of Namibia: Far from the modernizations
84- Traditional dress of Zambia: Rare but unique in nature
85- Traditional dress of Slovakia: Kroje , decorated and cultural
86. Traditional dress of Qatar: Pure Arabian endowment
87. Traditional dress of Brazil: So bright and colorful in nature
88. Traditional dress of Colombia: So iconic in Latin America
89. Traditional dress of Chile: So artistic and cultural
90. Traditional dress of Mexico: Blend of indigenous and imported cultures
91- Traditional dress of Panama: The exotic Mola and La Pollera
92- Traditional dress of Cuba: A product of multi-cultural effects
93- Traditional dress of Bangladesh: So awesome in its nature and kind
94- Traditional dress of Indonesia: Featured with unique patterns and designs
95- Traditional dress of Pakistan: Legacy of ancient civilizations
96- Traditional dress of Russia: A symbol of ethnic diversity in the Russian Federation
97- Traditional dress of England: Outcome of the local and European clothing repercussions
98- Traditional dress of Mauritania: Fusion of Berber and African cultures
99- Traditional dress of Egypt: Legacy of ancient Kings and Queens

Traditional dress of Egypt: Legacy of ancient Kings and Queens

The land of Pharaohs and Cleopatra located along the river Nile is the gift of the most ancient civilization on the lovely planet which is also considered as the gem of the Arab and the North African continents. This is Egypt, the home to the old-aged pyramids and other archaic monuments. It is known in the Arab world and called by its people as Misr. The rock carvings along the Nile terraces date back to the 10th millennium BC, which is evident that human settlement in Egypt is one of the oldest on the planet earth. The land fertility resulted to the agricultural based economy of the people of this region and the richness of the land gave birth to so many cultures in this territory.

Egyptian lady in traditional costume. Image by Prayitno - Thank you for (4 millions +) views

Egyptian lady in traditional costume. Image by Prayitno – Thank you for (4 millions +) views

Around 6000 BC, Egypt was the center of the Neolithic culture and the people started living on agriculture, fishing and cattle farming in different parts of Egypt. After several centuries, Egypt was formulated in a pure dynastic domain around 3150 BC by King Menes, and then there is a series of many predeceasing kingdoms ruled by different monarchs in different eras of history. The Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt is associated with the Romans who portrayed themselves in this part of the world as the successors of the ancient Pharaohs and continued the Egyptian traditions and clothing style to remain in the hearts of the native Egyptians. Christianity was brought to Egypt by Saint Mark the Evangelist in the 1st century.

Traditional Egyptian Outfits with jewelry

Traditional Egyptian Outfits with jewelry

Egypt of the Middle Ages is glorified with the establishment of the Muslim empire after the defeat of the Byzantine Armies in Egypt. Muslim rulers nominated by the Islamic Caliphate remained in control of Egypt for the next six centuries. Egypt was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1517, after which it became a province of the Ottoman Empire.

Ancient kalasiris costumes from Egypt. Depict Image

Ancient kalasiris costumes from Egypt. Depict Image

Egypt remained under the British occupation in the late nineteenth century and that was ended in shape of a victory for the Albanians led by Muhammad Ali who actually established a dynasty that was to rule Egypt until the revolution of 1952.  After the 1952 Revolution by the Free Officers Movement, the rule of Egypt passed to military hands. On 18 June 1953, the Egyptian Republic was declared.

Traditional dress of Egypt, which is the legacy of ancient Kings and Queens is somehow continued by the Egyptian people with slight variations,. Image by Héctor de Pereda

Traditional dress of Egypt, which is the legacy of ancient Kings and Queens is somehow continued by the Egyptian people with slight variations,. Image by Héctor de Pereda

It was important to state the historic background of the nowadays Egypt in few lines for our readers to understand that why traditional clothing in Egypt is so labyrinthine in its nature as it is basically arrayed with the influences of so many intertwining cultures and heritages.

A woman sits outside her house near Memphis, Egypt wearing traditional outfits. Image  by Shawn Clover

A woman sits outside her house near Memphis, Egypt wearing traditional outfits. Image by Shawn Clover

Traditional dress of Egypt is the legacy of ancient Kings and Queens as it was developed in attractive and delicate manner by them in a unique style. It became more charming in the physically fit environment of the then Egypt, as the slender physical appearances were endorsed and praised by the monarchs of the ancient times in Egypt.

Egyptian man in traditional rural hat. Image by World Bank Photo Collection

Egyptian man in traditional rural hat. Image by World Bank Photo Collection

Egyptian traditional clothing was so much civilized and sophisticated in its description and quality. Environmental conditions were the basic parameters as the clothes were designed and prepared with lighter fabrics to keep the body cool and comfortable in the harsh weather conditions. In ancient Egypt, linen was the most common fabric as it helped the locals to compete with the subtropical heat and almost in every part of the then Egypt, many small spinning, weaving and sewing units of linen were established.

A random capture of the Egyptian villagers in their traditional outfits. Image Scott D. Haddow

A random capture of the Egyptian villagers in their traditional outfits. Image Scott D. Haddow

In the richer and wealthier class of Egypt, sheep-wool wigs were also worn in festivities and wedding ceremonies and the women used to dress-up in linen ankle-length dresses with straps that tied at the neck. The basic form of female clothing was a simple dress called a kalasiris. It was a tube of cloth, sewn along one side, with one or two shoulder straps also used to adorn themselves by magnificent jewelry and ornaments.

. Tinted lips and cheeks with red ochre and lined eyes and brows with black kohl were the integral features in Egyptian women's traditional make-up. Image by Damian Bere

. Tinted lips and cheeks with red ochre and lined eyes and brows with black kohl were the integral features in Egyptian women’s traditional make-up. Image by Damian Bere

Tinted lips and cheeks with red ochre and lined eyes and brows with black kohl were the integral features in their make-up. The most common headdress was the khat or nemes, a striped cloth worn by men. In addition to wigs and varying hairstyles, Egyptians wore different types of caps and head-coverings to enhance their grace.

Belly dance costume. Cairo, Egypt. Image by liber

Belly dance costume. Cairo, Egypt. Image by liber

The pharaohs would wear leopard skins over their shoulders and added a lion’s tail that would hang from their belt. Shaped like a triangle with hide strings stretching from either end of one edge, the piece was tied around the waist and the point of the triangle was pulled up between the lags and tied at the back. The Egyptian men wore wrap around skirts known as the Shendyt, which were belted at the waist, sometimes pleated or gathered in the front. It is pertinent to mention that the men of the lower and poor working class, especially slaves were mostly lived naked. In the ancient times, Egyptian men also wore a strip of cloth to hide their genitals and it was considered an important part of the costume.

An Egyptian in traditional thawb. Photo by Walwyn

An Egyptian in traditional thawb. Photo by Walwyn

Present day’s Thobe or thoub in Egypt, which is a long and normally white shirt along with trousers that normally reach to the ground, is an evolved form of the traditional Schenti or Kilt. The Egyptians wore schenti of woven material that was wrapped around the body several times and tied in front or belted.

Tanoura is a part of the Egyptian famous Folklore. The members of the band twirl wearing colourful special cloth. Image  by Marwa Morgan

Tanoura is a part of the Egyptian famous Folklore. The members of the band twirl wearing colourful special cloth. Image by Marwa Morgan

Djellaba or djellaba is a Berber traditional long, loose-fitting unisex outer robe with full sleeves worn in the North African countries including Egypt. It differs from the Arabian thawb in a sense that it has a wider cut, no collar (in some case no buttons) and longer, wider sleeves.

Egypt  jellabiya costumes. Image by b-e-m

Egypt jellabiya costumes. Image by b-e-m

Traditionally djellabas are made of wool in different shapes and colors.  Jellabiya colours are often white in the summer. During winter, thicker fabric in other colours such as grey, dark green, olive, blue, tan or striped fabrics are used. The dress has become common in the Egyptian women also as they nowadays wear cotton made djellabas in different colors while some prefer them to be worn with scarves and embellished with decorative embroidery.

Belly dancer from Egypt in folk costume in awesome style. Image by CW Abas Photography

Belly dancer from Egypt in folk costume in awesome style. Image by CW Abas Photography

Over the dress, the Egyptian women sometimes also used to take shawl or ropes in form of a garment around 4 feet wide by 13 or 14 feet long. As mentioned earlier, heavy and rather voluminous body beautification was of primary importance not only in women, but also in men. Both sexes bedeck themselves with earrings, bracelets, rings, necklaces and neck collars that were brightly colored.  When it comes to the traditional footwear of Egypt, mostly the Egyptians remained barefoot. However, sandals were used by them on special occasions or to safeguard the feet from sunburn or thrones etc.

Bedouin lady from Sinai, Egypt

Bedouin lady from Sinai, Egypt

I think, it is also essential to mention about the dress-code of Bedouin community in Egypt who are living in the Eastern and Western deserts of the country for many centuries. Presently, most of Bedouin population is inhabited in Sinai and in other urban parts of the country as well. Bedouins are known in the world for their ancient living styles, habits and customs. The Bedouin clothing which is mainly dependent upon the weather; is traditionally sewn in accordance with the desert conditions.  Male dress includes layered and flowing robes along with a piece of cloth to be wrapped around the head and neck to retard moisture loss that can lead to heat stroke and to shield the face against the harsh and dry sand. Bedouin women usually wear black dresses and head covers embroidered in tiny cross-stitch designs: blue for unmarried women, red for married. They cover their faces with a veil highlighted in the same stitches and often decorated with shells and coins.

Egypt Abaya Burqa. Image  by rytc

Egypt Abaya Burqa. Image by rytc

The consistency of luxurious fashion of the Egyptian women is continued till today. Although due to Islamic culture and religious bindings, Abaya or Burqa is also a prominent feature of the traditional women clothing in Egypt, yet some historians connect this characteristic with the ancient social conventions.

Whirling dervesh from Egypt in traditional outfits. Image  by NadiaIsmailPhotography

Whirling dervesh from Egypt in traditional outfits. Image by NadiaIsmailPhotography

Today, Egypt or Misr has a population of approximately 94 million people and the vast majority of the population of Egypt consists of ethnic Egyptians. Traditional dress of Egypt, which is the legacy of ancient Kings and Queens is somehow continued by the Egyptian people with slight variations, no matter from whichever ethnicity they belong to.

Modern youth in Egypt has adopted Jeans and T-Shirt culture. Image  by modenadude

Modern youth in Egypt has adopted Jeans and T-Shirt culture. Image by modenadude

Although pure and classic clothing is limited to the national events, cultural festivities and parades etc and the modern youth has adopted Jeans and T-Shirt culture, yet the traditional outfits with varied styles are still common in the aged and rural communities of Egypt.

The Bedouin clothing which is mainly dependent upon the weather; is traditionally sewn in accordance with the desert conditions.  Image by melibeo

The Bedouin clothing which is mainly dependent upon the weather; is traditionally sewn in accordance with the desert conditions. Image by melibeo

For more interesting posts with the same subject on the Lovely Planet Website, please click the following links;

1-    Algerian Traditional Dress
2-    Traditional Dress Of Serbia
3-    Traditional Dress Of Kosovo
4-    Traditional Dress Of Libya
5-    Traditional Dress Of Morocco
6-    Traditional Dress Of Albania
7-    Traditional Dress Of Tunisia
8-    Traditional Dress Of Lebanon
9-    Traditional Dress Of Bosnia And Herzegovina
10-  Traditional Dress Of Azerbaijan
11-  Traditional Dress Of Turkmenistan
12-  Traditional Dress Of Kazakhstan
13-  Traditional Dress Of Kyrgyzstan
14-  Traditional Dress Of Uzbekistan
15-  Traditional Dress Of Tajikistan
16-  The Traditional Dress Of Laos
17-  The Traditional Dress Of Vietnam
18-  Traditional Dresses Of The World – 1
19-  Traditional Dress Of Jammu & Kashmir
20-  Ottoman Dresses From Turkey
21-  Colors Of Cholistan
22-  Cultural Dresses Of Balochistan
23-  Lehenga Choli Or Ghagra Choli
24-  Sari Or Saree : Traditional Dress Of Women In South Asia
25-  Ajrak , The Traditional Attire From Sindh , Pakistan
26-  The Traditional Tais Of East Timor
27-  Shalwar Kameez: The Popular Dress Of South Asia
28-  Churidar Pajama: The Favorite South Asian Attire
29-  Pakistani Bridal Dress
30-  Rilli, Sindhi Quilt Art
31-  Fantastic, Alluring Khussa Shoes
32-  Customs And Traditions Of Kalash Tribe
33-  Hanfu, The Classical Chinese Dress
34-  London Fashion Week
35-  Fashion Week Milan: The Glamorous Event Of Italy
36-  New York Fashion Week
37-  Paris Fashion Week
38- Traditional Dress Of Jordan
39- Traditional Dress Of Syria
40- Traditional Dress Of Afghanistan
41- Traditional Dress Of Palestine
42- Traditional Dress Of Oman
43-Traditional Dress Of Nigeria
44- Traditional Dress Of Hungary
45-Traditional Dress Of Ukraine
46- Malaysian Traditional Dress
47- Traditional Dress Of Kenya
48- Traditional Eastern Brides
49- Traditional Dress Of Bulgaria
50- Traditional dress of Uganda
51- Traditional Dress of Iceland
52- Traditional Dress of Croatia
53- traditional dress of Norway
54- Traditional dress of Finland
55- Traditional Dress of Philippines
56- Traditional dress of Denmark
57- Traditional dress of Belarus
58- Traditional Dress of Puerto Rico
59- Traditional Dress of Nicaragua: Marvelous and colorful
60 – Traditional Dress of Nepal: Whimsical but charming
61- Brilliant Colors of Dagestan: Really fanciful and imaginative
62- Kabuki: A classical and traditional Japanese theater
63- Boogie-woogie: A famous Swing Dance
64- Colors of Samba Dance from Brazil: So lively so amazing
65- Ho Jamalo: The favorite folk dance of Sindh
66- Odissi from the Eastern India: A historic ritual dance
67- Sattriya from Assam: A classical Indian dance
68- Fandango: A famous couple dance from Spain
69- Maypole from Europe: A fabulous circle folk dance
70- Cueca: The national dance of Chile
71- Traditional dress of Belgium: A charming European attire
72- Traditional dress of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
73- Colors of Kalash: 5 lovely images of beautiful Kalash girls
74- Traditional dress of Georgia: The fantastic Chokha
75- Traditional dress of Argentina: The warrior Gaucho costume
76- Traditional dress of Venezuela: Not complicated but decorated
77- Traditional dress of Latvia: Made with the Linen fabric
78- Traditional dress of Romania: So captivating and graceful
79- Traditional dress of Estonia: So classy and versatile
80- Traditional dress of Armenia: So colorful and diversified
81- Traditional dress of Angola: A symbol of the ethnic culture
82- Traditional dress of Austria: Dirndl, Lederhosen and Tracht
83-Traditional dress of Namibia: Far from the modernizations
84- Traditional dress of Zambia: Rare but unique in nature
85- Traditional dress of Slovakia: Kroje , decorated and cultural
86. Traditional dress of Qatar: Pure Arabian endowment
87. Traditional dress of Brazil: So bright and colorful in nature
88. Traditional dress of Colombia: So iconic in Latin America
89. Traditional dress of Chile: So artistic and cultural
90. Traditional dress of Mexico: Blend of indigenous and imported cultures
91- Traditional dress of Panama: The exotic Mola and La Pollera
92- Traditional dress of Cuba: A product of multi-cultural effects
93- Traditional dress of Bangladesh: So awesome in its nature and kind
94- Traditional dress of Indonesia: Featured with unique patterns and designs
95- Traditional dress of Pakistan: Legacy of ancient civilizations
96- Traditional dress of Russia: A symbol of ethnic diversity in the Russian Federation
97- Traditional dress of England: Outcome of the local and European clothing repercussions
98- Traditional dress of Mauritania: Fusion of Berber and African cultures

Traditional dress of Mauritania: Fusion of Berber and African cultures

In the North-west Africa, a territory inhabited by Haratins, Berbers, Tauregs and black Moors is known to the world as “Mauritania” which is officially called as the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. It is named after the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauretania, which existed long ago in the far north of modern-day Morocco. The total population is of Mauritania is about 2.5 million; out of which, the Haratin community accounts for 40 to 45 percent of the total population, while the white Arab-Berbers account for 25 percent and the black Africans are almost 30 %. Traditional dress of Mauritania is somehow a fusion of Berber and African cultures.

Traditional costumes of the people of Mauritania. Image  by John Spooner

Traditional costumes of the people of Mauritania. Image by John Spooner

Traditional dress for Mauritanian men includes a flowing wide sleeved robe which is known as boubou.  In formal occasions, boubou is especially adorned with intricate embroidery and is beautified in different patterns. Although western dresses like Jeans and T-Shirts are becoming popular in younger men, the popularity of boubou still exists particularly for festivities and national events. Boubou was historically made from silk, but as Silk is considered as a prohibited garment for men in Islam, boubou is now mostly made from cotton and synthetic cloths made to resemble silk.

A herdsman from Mauritania in traditional outfits. Image  by Tobias Mandt

A herdsman from Mauritania in traditional outfits. Image by Tobias Mandt

In the whole country from the south to the north, the Mauritanian men wear the blue or kaftans. The traditional kaftan of Mauritania for men is a pullover robe. Kaftans are worn by both men and women.

For Mauritanian men, the traditional outfit comprises of long tunic-style shirt along with loose pants sometimes with turban and shawl too.  Image by carlosoliveirareis

For Mauritanian men, the traditional outfit comprises of long tunic-style shirt along with loose pants sometimes with turban and shawl too. Image by carlosoliveirareis

Baggy trousers known as Seroual or Sirwal are also common in Mauritanian men. These trousers are not originally an Arab garment but were introduced from Persia to Muslim countries. Mauritanian men traditionally clinch the trousers at the waist with a leather belt. It is a comfortable and airy garment which is very popular in Mauritania.

Taureg Men of Sahara in Mauritania use the indigo dyed cotton garment as their headdress and it is called chehce. Image by cucosan

Taureg Men of Sahara in Mauritania use the indigo dyed cotton garment as their headdress and it is called chehce. Image by cucosan

Taureg Men of Sahara in Mauritania use the indigo dyed cotton garment as their headdress and it is called chehce. It is also used as veil and protector of the face from the sand storm, sunburn and also to prevent the inhalation of wind borne sand. People of Mauritania also use different colors in Cheche these days. This rectangular shaped garment is shaped like a turban and fixed through a typical knot on the head. It is also known as Haouli in Mauritania.

Women of Mauritania in corn crops wearing traditional out fits. Image by Oxfam International

Women of Mauritania in corn crops wearing traditional out fits. Image by Oxfam International

Mauritania is an Islamic country where modesty and decency is the prominent feature in clothing. You’ll hardly find any man or woman exposing arms or legs. For some people it may be conservativeness but such style is also trendy due to harsh climatic conditions of desert and heat as it exists in other Arab and African territories. Adult Mauritanian women compulsorily cover their heads, although in some parts particularly neighboring to Senegal, the women don’t follow such strictness.

Traditional dress for Mauritanian women includes Haasaniya or Mulafa which is a long garment wrapped around the whole body . Image by Helge F.  www.helge.at

Traditional dress for Mauritanian women includes Haasaniya or Mulafa which is a long garment wrapped around the whole body . Image by Helge F. www.helge.at

Traditional dress for Mauritanian women includes Haasaniya or Mulafa which is a long garment wrapped around the whole body and then around again to cover the head.  This is usually a very light fabric which is traditionally dyed in Kaedi. Sometimes the Mauritanian women also prefer a heavier fabric in indigo called ‘niila”. Generally women do not cover their faces, unless it is very windy when it is best to cover up to avoid getting sand everywhere. Maur women also wear a skirt type clothe under this garment.

Berber woman of Mauritania in traditional style. Image copyright by Thierry Lancino

Berber woman of Mauritania in traditional style. Image copyright by Thierry Lancino

Sometimes like other West African countries colorful pagne is also worn by the Mauritanian women which comes both in formal and informal versions. This is a rectangular cotton fabric which is knotted at the waist and drape over a long skirt. The bodice is a boubou and a knotted head scarf completes the dress.

A woman of Mauritania in her vegetable garden in traditional dress. Image  by World Bank Photo Collection

A woman of Mauritania in her vegetable garden in traditional dress. Image by World Bank Photo Collection

In the footwear, traditional sandals made with Gazalle skin are very common in Mauritania. With the passage of time many variations in colors and kinds of fabrics are being introduced in Mauritania for clothing. But in the nutshell, the traditional dress of Mauritanian woman is a cover from head to heel which normally comes in cotton and embellished with geometric patterns. While for Mauritanian men, the traditional outfit comprises of long tunic-style shirt along with loose pants sometimes with turban and shawl too.

Mauritania is an Islamic country where modesty and decency is the prominent feature in clothing. From Nouakchott, Mauritania. Image by carlosoliveirareis

Mauritania is an Islamic country where modesty and decency is the prominent feature in clothing. From Nouakchott, Mauritania. Image by carlosoliveirareis

For more interesting posts with the same subject on the Lovely Planet Website, please click the following links;

1-    Algerian Traditional Dress
2-    Traditional Dress Of Serbia
3-    Traditional Dress Of Kosovo
4-    Traditional Dress Of Libya
5-    Traditional Dress Of Morocco
6-    Traditional Dress Of Albania
7-    Traditional Dress Of Tunisia
8-    Traditional Dress Of Lebanon
9-    Traditional Dress Of Bosnia And Herzegovina
10-  Traditional Dress Of Azerbaijan
11-  Traditional Dress Of Turkmenistan
12-  Traditional Dress Of Kazakhstan
13-  Traditional Dress Of Kyrgyzstan
14-  Traditional Dress Of Uzbekistan
15-  Traditional Dress Of Tajikistan
16-  The Traditional Dress Of Laos
17-  The Traditional Dress Of Vietnam
18-  Traditional Dresses Of The World – 1
19-  Traditional Dress Of Jammu & Kashmir
20-  Ottoman Dresses From Turkey
21-  Colors Of Cholistan
22-  Cultural Dresses Of Balochistan
23-  Lehenga Choli Or Ghagra Choli
24-  Sari Or Saree : Traditional Dress Of Women In South Asia
25-  Ajrak , The Traditional Attire From Sindh , Pakistan
26-  The Traditional Tais Of East Timor
27-  Shalwar Kameez: The Popular Dress Of South Asia
28-  Churidar Pajama: The Favorite South Asian Attire
29-  Pakistani Bridal Dress
30-  Rilli, Sindhi Quilt Art
31-  Fantastic, Alluring Khussa Shoes
32-  Customs And Traditions Of Kalash Tribe
33-  Hanfu, The Classical Chinese Dress
34-  London Fashion Week
35-  Fashion Week Milan: The Glamorous Event Of Italy
36-  New York Fashion Week
37-  Paris Fashion Week
38- Traditional Dress Of Jordan
39- Traditional Dress Of Syria
40- Traditional Dress Of Afghanistan
41- Traditional Dress Of Palestine
42- Traditional Dress Of Oman
43-Traditional Dress Of Nigeria
44- Traditional Dress Of Hungary
45-Traditional Dress Of Ukraine
46- Malaysian Traditional Dress
47- Traditional Dress Of Kenya
48- Traditional Eastern Brides
49- Traditional Dress Of Bulgaria
50- Traditional dress of Uganda
51- Traditional Dress of Iceland
52- Traditional Dress of Croatia
53- traditional dress of Norway
54- Traditional dress of Finland
55- Traditional Dress of Philippines
56- Traditional dress of Denmark
57- Traditional dress of Belarus
58- Traditional Dress of Puerto Rico
59- Traditional Dress of Nicaragua: Marvelous and colorful
60 – Traditional Dress of Nepal: Whimsical but charming
61- Brilliant Colors of Dagestan: Really fanciful and imaginative
62- Kabuki: A classical and traditional Japanese theater
63- Boogie-woogie: A famous Swing Dance
64- Colors of Samba Dance from Brazil: So lively so amazing
65- Ho Jamalo: The favorite folk dance of Sindh
66- Odissi from the Eastern India: A historic ritual dance
67- Sattriya from Assam: A classical Indian dance
68- Fandango: A famous couple dance from Spain
69- Maypole from Europe: A fabulous circle folk dance
70- Cueca: The national dance of Chile
71- Traditional dress of Belgium: A charming European attire
72- Traditional dress of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
73- Colors of Kalash: 5 lovely images of beautiful Kalash girls
74- Traditional dress of Georgia: The fantastic Chokha
75- Traditional dress of Argentina: The warrior Gaucho costume
76- Traditional dress of Venezuela: Not complicated but decorated
77- Traditional dress of Latvia: Made with the Linen fabric
78- Traditional dress of Romania: So captivating and graceful
79- Traditional dress of Estonia: So classy and versatile
80- Traditional dress of Armenia: So colorful and diversified
81- Traditional dress of Angola: A symbol of the ethnic culture
82- Traditional dress of Austria: Dirndl, Lederhosen and Tracht
83-Traditional dress of Namibia: Far from the modernizations
84- Traditional dress of Zambia: Rare but unique in nature
85- Traditional dress of Slovakia: Kroje , decorated and cultural
86. Traditional dress of Qatar: Pure Arabian endowment
87. Traditional dress of Brazil: So bright and colorful in nature
88. Traditional dress of Colombia: So iconic in Latin America
89. Traditional dress of Chile: So artistic and cultural
90. Traditional dress of Mexico: Blend of indigenous and imported cultures
91- Traditional dress of Panama: The exotic Mola and La Pollera
92- Traditional dress of Cuba: A product of multi-cultural effects
93- Traditional dress of Bangladesh: So awesome in its nature and kind
94- Traditional dress of Indonesia: Featured with unique patterns and designs
95- Traditional dress of Pakistan: Legacy of ancient civilizations
96- Traditional dress of Russia: A symbol of ethnic diversity in the Russian Federation
97- Traditional dress of England: Outcome of the local and European clothing repercussions

Traditional dress of England: Outcome of the local and European clothing repercussions

From an impressive and glowing past of the United Kingdom, it is very hard to cover all of the clothing aspects of this great nation. However, we’ll make our utmost efforts in this article to bring before you the charming features of traditional dress of England. We’ll talk in some other articles about traditional outfits from Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

 The English heritage is fully diverse in nature having awesome colors and distinctiveness. HOLMFIRTH FOLK WEEKEND by RayMorris1

The English heritage is fully diverse in nature having awesome colors and distinctiveness. HOLMFIRTH FOLK WEEKEND by RayMorris1

It is believed that England was inhabited by the humans hundreds of thousands years ago, however when it comes to the settlement of modern humans, they started living in this region almost 6,000 years ago.

English government strongly supervises the administration of the country’s heritage and culture.  Photo by meryddian

English government strongly supervises the administration of the country’s heritage and culture. Photo by meryddian

First prominent cultural beginning in England was started in the period of Anglo-Saxons and then there is unlimited series of heritage development in different eras of history that ultimately lead England to become the strongest cultural bearer of the lovely planet. The English heritage is fully diverse in nature having awesome colors and distinctiveness. The country has tremendous standards in every form of arts, literature, theatre, music, architecture, folklore and knowledge. English government strongly supervises the administration of the country’s heritage and culture.

From Southwell Folk Festival. Traditional dresses. Image by Ruth_W

From Southwell Folk Festival. Traditional dresses. Image by Ruth_W

Present day’s England is a country of having the population of more than 50 million people. England is a favorite place for the settlers coming from all around the globe, especially from the Indian sub-continent, the Caribbean and the Chinese territories.

English clothing is a collection of plentiful influences from different cultures and civilizations. Image by Kotomi_

English clothing is a collection of plentiful influences from different cultures and civilizations. Image by Kotomi_

England is a multi-ethnic country and English clothing is a collection of plentiful influences from different cultures and civilizations. Modern English people mostly wear similar clothes as the other western people use like jeans, T-shirts and formal suiting. You’ll also find typical ethnic clothing markets for people having different origins.

Goth Venetian Costumes. Image by Bryan Ledgard

Goth Venetian Costumes. Image by Bryan Ledgard

Traditional dress of England is an outcome of the local and north European clothing repercussions. The dress represents the ancient living style when English people normally used to live in forests, hills and near sea.

Traditional dress of England is the mixed inspiration from the local and north European clothing repercussions. . Canterbury. Mideival music Image by chrisjohnbeckett

Traditional dress of England is the mixed inspiration from the local and north European clothing repercussions. . Canterbury. Mideival music Image by chrisjohnbeckett

The most common material used was wool ranging in texture and quality based on the type of sheep it came from. Linen and hemp were also the other fabrics used and were utilized often in the lower class and as undergarments and head coverings. Silk was also popular material used by the wealthy and was mostly imported from Asia. Leather was used to produce items such as shoes, belts, gloves and armor.

A tribal folk fusion dancer from the North and West Riding. Image by AdamKR

A tribal folk fusion dancer from the North and West Riding. Image by AdamKR

You’ll see the prominence of red and white colors in the traditional outfits of England and the dresses were normally made with the woolen fabrics. Male traditional dress of England was accompanied with conventional weapons like swords and knives as the expression of freedom and chivalry.

A couple riding in traditional style outside Buckingham Palace , England. Image by Sheree (Here intermittently)

A couple riding in traditional style outside Buckingham Palace , England. Image by Sheree (Here intermittently)

There was a fashion for English men to wear longer stockings sometimes having mid thigh length and the stockings and girdle were tied together at a point in the top front of the stocking by which to keep it in place. Men continued to wear both short and long tunics with a girdle for a long period. All classes of men used to wear shoes or boots. Shorter boots, with pointed toes, were also worn and those ended just above the ankle. Gloves continued to be worn by the nobility and could be long, stretching to the elbow, or short, wrist length with decorations.

Clog dancers in folk costumes. Celebrations in England. Image by R Schofield

Clog dancers in folk costumes. Celebrations in England. Image by R Schofield

Traditional dress for English women was a deep and normally red over costume normally made with woolen fabric. This dress which also dates back to the Anglo-Saxon period was usually adorned with embroidery works and knife and was mainly consisted of long swifts. The embroidery was practiced with heavy woolen threads. No particular type of footwear was in use of the then English women; however safety, comfort and easiness were the important parameters for shoe-makers.

Portrait of an English woman outside the Great Gate at Hampton Court Palace. Image by Anne Boleyn

Portrait of an English woman outside the Great Gate at Hampton Court Palace. Image by Anne Boleyn

Trousers were normally made with blue-linen and light designs. The basic garments for women consisted of the smock, hose, kirtle, gown, surcoat, girdle, cape, hood, and bonnet. Other common features included lighter-fittings, lower necklines with more curvaceous silhouettes; “tight lacing was used on women’s clothes to create a form fitting shape which, girdled at the hips, created a long-waist appearance.

Bonnets or headgears played pivotal role in the traditional clothing of England. . Goth with rose. Image by Bryan Ledgard

Bonnets or headgears played pivotal role in the traditional clothing of England. . Goth with rose. Image by Bryan Ledgard

Bonnets or headgears played pivotal role in the traditional clothing of England. In the mid-17th and 18th century “house bonnets” worn by women and girls were generally brimless head coverings which were secured by tying under the chin, and which covered no part of the forehead.  Bonnets remained one of the most common types of headgear worn by women throughout most of the 19th century. For a widow, a bonnet was de rigueur. Silk bonnets, elaborately pleated and ruched, were worn outdoors, or in public places like shops, galleries, churches, and during visits to acquaintances.

Coifs were worn by all classes in England from the Middle Ages to the early seventeenth century. Image:  One lucky guy

Coifs were worn by all classes in England from the Middle Ages to the early seventeenth century. Image: One lucky guy

Coifs date from the 13th century, but fell out of popularity with men in the 14th century. Coifs were worn by all classes in England from the Middle Ages to the early seventeenth century. Coif was actually a close fitting cap covering the top, back, and sides of the head.

Tudors. Actors in folk costumes. Image by  [Duncan]

Tudors. Actors in folk costumes. Image by [Duncan]

During the sixteenth century a tall-crowned, narrow-brimmed, slightly conical hat known as a capotain or capatain became very popular in England. It was usually in black color. The capotain is especially associated with Puritan costume in England in the years leading up to the English Civil War and during the years of the Commonwealth.

Royal British horse guard in traditional outfits. Image by njtrout_2000

Royal British horse guard in traditional outfits. Image by njtrout_2000

Traditional dress of England is a part of royal or folk festivities these days. Morris dancers wear their traditional costumes normally consisting of white shirt, white trousers (pants), black shoes, a boater-type hat and usually coloured sashes like those worn in beauty contests. The hat is usually bedecked with flowers and the ankles with bells that jingle as the dancer moves.

Traditional English sword dance in folk costumes. Image by David Spender

Traditional English sword dance in folk costumes. Image by David Spender

For more interesting posts with the same subject on the Lovely Planet Website, please click the following links;

1-    Algerian Traditional Dress
2-    Traditional Dress Of Serbia
3-    Traditional Dress Of Kosovo
4-    Traditional Dress Of Libya
5-    Traditional Dress Of Morocco
6-    Traditional Dress Of Albania
7-    Traditional Dress Of Tunisia
8-    Traditional Dress Of Lebanon
9-    Traditional Dress Of Bosnia And Herzegovina
10-  Traditional Dress Of Azerbaijan
11-  Traditional Dress Of Turkmenistan
12-  Traditional Dress Of Kazakhstan
13-  Traditional Dress Of Kyrgyzstan
14-  Traditional Dress Of Uzbekistan
15-  Traditional Dress Of Tajikistan
16-  The Traditional Dress Of Laos
17-  The Traditional Dress Of Vietnam
18-  Traditional Dresses Of The World – 1
19-  Traditional Dress Of Jammu & Kashmir
20-  Ottoman Dresses From Turkey
21-  Colors Of Cholistan
22-  Cultural Dresses Of Balochistan
23-  Lehenga Choli Or Ghagra Choli
24-  Sari Or Saree : Traditional Dress Of Women In South Asia
25-  Ajrak , The Traditional Attire From Sindh , Pakistan
26-  The Traditional Tais Of East Timor
27-  Shalwar Kameez: The Popular Dress Of South Asia
28-  Churidar Pajama: The Favorite South Asian Attire
29-  Pakistani Bridal Dress
30-  Rilli, Sindhi Quilt Art
31-  Fantastic, Alluring Khussa Shoes
32-  Customs And Traditions Of Kalash Tribe
33-  Hanfu, The Classical Chinese Dress
34-  London Fashion Week
35-  Fashion Week Milan: The Glamorous Event Of Italy
36-  New York Fashion Week
37-  Paris Fashion Week
38- Traditional Dress Of Jordan
39- Traditional Dress Of Syria
40- Traditional Dress Of Afghanistan
41- Traditional Dress Of Palestine
42- Traditional Dress Of Oman
43-Traditional Dress Of Nigeria
44- Traditional Dress Of Hungary
45-Traditional Dress Of Ukraine
46- Malaysian Traditional Dress
47- Traditional Dress Of Kenya
48- Traditional Eastern Brides
49- Traditional Dress Of Bulgaria
50- Traditional dress of Uganda
51- Traditional Dress of Iceland
52- Traditional Dress of Croatia
53- traditional dress of Norway
54- Traditional dress of Finland
55- Traditional Dress of Philippines
56- Traditional dress of Denmark
57- Traditional dress of Belarus
58- Traditional Dress of Puerto Rico
59- Traditional Dress of Nicaragua: Marvelous and colorful
60 – Traditional Dress of Nepal: Whimsical but charming
61- Brilliant Colors of Dagestan: Really fanciful and imaginative
62- Kabuki: A classical and traditional Japanese theater
63- Boogie-woogie: A famous Swing Dance
64- Colors of Samba Dance from Brazil: So lively so amazing
65- Ho Jamalo: The favorite folk dance of Sindh
66- Odissi from the Eastern India: A historic ritual dance
67- Sattriya from Assam: A classical Indian dance
68- Fandango: A famous couple dance from Spain
69- Maypole from Europe: A fabulous circle folk dance
70- Cueca: The national dance of Chile
71- Traditional dress of Belgium: A charming European attire
72- Traditional dress of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
73- Colors of Kalash: 5 lovely images of beautiful Kalash girls
74- Traditional dress of Georgia: The fantastic Chokha
75- Traditional dress of Argentina: The warrior Gaucho costume
76- Traditional dress of Venezuela: Not complicated but decorated
77- Traditional dress of Latvia: Made with the Linen fabric
78- Traditional dress of Romania: So captivating and graceful
79- Traditional dress of Estonia: So classy and versatile
80- Traditional dress of Armenia: So colorful and diversified
81- Traditional dress of Angola: A symbol of the ethnic culture
82- Traditional dress of Austria: Dirndl, Lederhosen and Tracht
83-Traditional dress of Namibia: Far from the modernizations
84- Traditional dress of Zambia: Rare but unique in nature
85- Traditional dress of Slovakia: Kroje , decorated and cultural
86. Traditional dress of Qatar: Pure Arabian endowment
87. Traditional dress of Brazil: So bright and colorful in nature
88. Traditional dress of Colombia: So iconic in Latin America
89. Traditional dress of Chile: So artistic and cultural
90. Traditional dress of Mexico: Blend of indigenous and imported cultures
91- Traditional dress of Panama: The exotic Mola and La Pollera
92- Traditional dress of Cuba: A product of multi-cultural effects
93- Traditional dress of Bangladesh: So awesome in its nature and kind
94- Traditional dress of Indonesia: Featured with unique patterns and designs
95- Traditional dress of Pakistan: Legacy of ancient civilizations
96- Traditional dress of Russia: A symbol of ethnic diversity in the Russian Federation