The most of the Kazakh people depended upon the livestock economy and their traditional practices, customs and living style was also of nomadic nature. Presently, lots of changes have occurred in the daily lives of the people of Kazakhstan and their sustenance and priorities have become more diversified. Especially after the Russian domination, the culture was become a blend of from the Western influences. With the passage of time when the cultural ties of Kazakhstan were evolved, the style of clothing of Kazakh people was also turned over from simplicity. Embroidery, floral patterns and new designs were placed upon the traditional attires of the Kazakhs. Similarly animal skins and furs that were used earlier as the raw material of clothing were replaced by imported materials like silk, brocade, velvet and cotton.
The traditional dress of Kazakhstan was worn with a waist coat that was more like a jacket or a gown for a woman. The Kazakh men used to wear “zheyde” that was an outer coat along with the trousers made of thick cotton fabric. The skullcaps like the traditional “Kolpok” or “Kalpak” and “Takiya” were the important headdress of the Kazakh men. Bashlyk was prepared with camel skin, which was supposed to be worn on top of other hats, to protect from dust, sun, rain and snow. The Kazakh men normally liked the boots with high heels.
The Kazakh women used to wear pants with a tight shirt but the outer coat was a loose out fit that was also called as “kamzol”, a type of dressing gown. The women belonging to different classes used various types of fabrics for sewing their dresses. For example, the upper class women made their dresses of silk, satin, velvet or brocade etc. Moreover, these expensive fabrics were also decorated with laces, embroidery and stripes of fur.
The traditional dresses of Kazakh women were stitched with a little distinction for the women belonging to various age groups. The Kazakh girls also used to wear two kinds of headdresses; skull cap (Takiya) and a warm hat (Borik), decorated with otter, fox or beaver fur. A tuft of owl feather was often sewed to the top of Takiya for further grace. The footwear was almost the same like the men; the young Kazakh women loved the boots with high heels while the elder women preferred low-heeled shoes.
As the wedding occasion was the most awaited and significant moment of the life of a Kazakh woman, the bridal costume was embellished with maximum adornments and decorations. The most noteworthy item of the dowry articles of a Kazakh bride was the headdress known as “Saukele” along with a facial veil. The wedding dress that was usually of red color and Saukele were prepared long before the girls reached the age of marriage.
Although the modernism, Western influence and contemporary fashion attacks have affected the traditional dress of Kazakhstan, yet the Kazakh people are trying their level best to maintain their clothing heritage. The Kazakh fashion industry time and again introduces the traditional and national costumes prepared with a variety of applications and decorations. The traditional ornaments like earrings, flat and wrought bracelets and rings are still an integral element of the Kazakh women’s clothing.