Middle East

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Gutrah avaThe Arab countries are known, among other things, for their famous male headscarves. These items are worn to protect the head from the hot sun and sand. The tradition of using different headcovers is ancient-long in the Middle East. Today, we’d like to show you the right way – or rather ways – of wearing the headdress called “gutrah”. Also, you’ll learn 5 various ways of draping the cloth over the head.

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Mesopotamian avaWhat did the clothing in Mesopotamian look like? Let's do a Sumerian costume breakdown. Basically, fashion changes when the world changes. And in Mesopotamia, fashion didn't need to change for 5,000 years. When we look at the sculptures or drawings from that era, we see dull and neutral colors and shapes, but was it really so? You’ll find out from this article.

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Iran avaIran is a country with many different ethnic groups. Each of them has their own exceptional clothing traditions and styles. The outfits in Iran historically are modest. Local women tend to cover their body and often the face, too. But it doesn’t mean at all that their folk costumes are boring, baggy and tasteless. On the contrary, the Iranian garments are bright, beautifully adorned, elegant, and eye-catching. See for yourself.

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Jewish wedding avaThe Jewish wedding is a curious sight to behold. The wedding traditions of these people differ from the European or Asian bridal traditions. They are unique and can surprise somebody who watches the festivities for the first time. Though, the wedding outfits of a bride and groom are pretty much usual, with a touch of Jewish traditional accessories and peculiarities. For instance, do you know how a kosher wedding dress looks like?

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Lebanese-coupleModern Lebanon is a very fashionable country, one of the most stylish in the whole Arab world. But the majority of Lebanese wear western-style clothing today, instead of their own traditional outfits. The national costumes of Lebanon are still worn in the rural areas where traditions are kept more thoroughly. But clothing traditions of this country are as diverse as the ethnic composition of Lebanon. During its history, the country was under the rule of Roman, Persian, Greek, Arab, Ottoman Empires, and also France recently. Each of them left a trace in the life and traditions of Lebanon. And it makes Lebanese traditional costume all the more interesting.

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Omani jewelry avaThe Middle Eastern countries have, perhaps, the most amazing traditional jewelry pieces. And Oman is definitely a place where striking silver jewels and adornments are made. Though, it’s hard to find really old Omani jewelry because every generation, every owner remakes them to suit his (or rather her) taste, lifestyle, family traditions, or even modern fashion trends. Some of these remarkable jewelry items and articles of clothes are preserved and displayed in the British Museum in London.

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Palestine avaThe craft of embroidery in Palestine underwent big changes in the mid-20th century. Why? What geopolitical events were so serious that they influenced the traditional craft that used to be established and changeless for centuries before. Let’s find out. Also, let’s see how the Palestinian needlework has changed and what it looks like today. It’s great that young women in this country and in the diaspora abroad are still interested in traditional embroidery and other crafts. Yes, they alter the patterns and color palette, but they don’t give up doing it. That is how folk art survives in the 21st century.

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Palestine1 avaPalestinian traditional embroidery called “tatriz” can be very different in different regions of the country. Some areas prefer a certain color, others use typical symbolic patterns, or even hide embroidered clothes underneath plain cloaks. Palestine is a comparatively small country but its cultural and historic heritage is huge. And one of the main folk clothing crafts here is needlework. So, let’s try to highlight the major characteristic features of several Palestinian regions here.

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Jalileh Mansour avaIt’s always fun to listen to people talking about their folk dress. They can share lots of tiny details and peculiarities that we wouldn’t find out otherwise. That’s why Nationalclothing.org likes to publish the stories of people from around the world who own and wear the traditional costumes of their countries. Today, we offer you a story of a 97-year-old Palestinian woman Jalileh Mansour. She will show us her folk outfit and talk a little about it.

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Bethlehem avaVarious regions of Palestine have their own unique clothing traditions. Sometimes, the outfits differ radically, in other cases, there is only so much difference. We’d like to show you some photos of the clothing designs, shapes, and ornamentation from several regions of Palestine. Also, you’ll see how Palestinian designers can combine modern fashion tendencies with authentic features and traditional motifs.

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pal femaledress avaThe folk clothing of Palestine is extremely rich in embroidery. By the way, the traditional embroidery is called “tatriz”, and it adds a distinctive Palestinian flavor to any dress. The complicated history of Palestine had a considerable influence on the national costume and clothing traditions of this country. But luckily, in modern times, the traditional outfit of Palestine experiences its flourishing. There is a boom of tatriz and Palestinian traditional garments within the country and far beyond its borders. Local manufacturers and Palestinian and Israeli merchants work hard to advertise these folk costumes and export them to every possible interested country of the world. So, let’s try to find out a little bit about this extraordinary folk clothes.

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Qatar avaWhat do children wear in Qatar? Are traditional Qatari outfits popular among kids? How are their folk costumes different from adult clothes? People often ask questions about kids’ wear in various countries around the world. Let’s look at Qatari folk dress for children. These garments are great because they are much more decorative and ornate than adult traditional costumes, which are rather plain and simple.

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Qatar men ttl So, everybody wants to know what the Qatari «Uniform» is.

First of all, you've got to be fit.
You've got to make sure that your Thobe is nice and fit.
I wish I was fit, but you know.
(Thobe is the traditional Arabian clothing for men (spelled "thobe" or "thaub"). A long tunic).

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Saudi-coupleSaudi Arabian national dress conforms to standards, traditions, climatic conditions and preferences of local people. That's why Saudis choose traditional clothing, not Western style of attire. Also the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia refers to the Muslim world, and the national costume shows it. Saudi people are conservative in clothing, family relationships, religion and way of life in general.

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Ottoman avaThe traditional Ottoman male clothing in the 17th century looked pretty and unique – ornate, often made from silk, beautifully patterned, and designed in an original fashion. Some of the garments were commonly used not only in the Ottoman Empire but by its neighbors as well, but the whole outfit allowed you to recognize the wearer at once. Especially, the typical turban. The silhouette and cut of the attire also emanated a distinctive Ottoman charm and noble air.

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Turkish2 avaA short time ago, we’ve published the first portion of old photos of Turkish traditional outfits from a rather large collection. Here is the second portion of photos. Even more authentic men’s, women’s, and kids’ Turkish costumes from the second half of the 19th century. Even more of extraordinary accessories, weapons, jewels, etc. It’s a pity, these photos are black&white so you can’t distinguish the color palette of the garments and most of embellishments. Nevertheless, we can see the cut and design, forms and shapes of these clothing articles.

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Turkish avaWe’ve found a large collection of vintage photos of Turkish folk costumes from the end of the 19th century. And we’d like to share them with you. Unfortunately, these are black&white photos so you can’t distinguish the color palette of the garments and most of the ornamentation. But still, we can see the cut, design, and shapes of Turkish multilayered male, female, and kid costumes, their awesome accessories (often, pretty bizarre, too). So, here is the first portion of photos.

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Ottoman royalty avaThe Ottoman Empire (the 14th – early 20th century) was a very large, very powerful, and very wealthy state. The clothing of its rulers and their concubines was the most fashionable and high-quality – the most expensive fabrics only, gold embroidery, plenty of gold and silver jewelry, etc. But the cut and design of these garments, of course, were rather modest and restrained because it was a Muslim country. Here you can see several beautiful vintage clothing articles from museum collections that represent the Ottoman Empire.

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Shal and Shepik avaThe Kurdish traditional clothing is still used sometimes today, though, mostly by older people. Particularly, the ancient outfit called the “shal and shepik” can be rarely seen these days in everyday life; it is mostly worn as a ceremonial dress. These clothing pieces were even banned by Turkish politicians at one time – they were called “uniforms for illegal organizations”. But in reality, shal and shepik are just the handmade folk garments that are considered Kurdish cultural heritage.

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Sadberk showpiece avaOne of the most extraordinary museums of traditional clothing, accessories, and jewelry in Turkey is based on a private collection. The woman named Sadberk Koç dedicated her life to collecting precious Turkish antiques from the 18th-19th centuries. She managed to gather a great number of items. And after her death, her husband created the Sadberk Hanim Museum or Lady Sadberk Museum to show her collection to the Turkish people and the whole world. This collection is marvelous! Just one person owned enough valuables for the whole museum!

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Turkish-couple avaTurkey is a country with old clothing traditions. Their roots are in the Ottoman Empire which has formed Turkish cultural and traditional heritage pretty much. Even hundreds of years after the Ottoman Empire, Turkish national costume has a lot of features typical for those days. But today few people in Turkey wear traditional clothing in day-to-day life. Men usually use European style of clothes or mix some elements of the folk dress with western pieces of attire. Women wear national costumes more often, they retained the national dress more fully and keep the traditions more carefully.

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talli avaThe talli embroidery or braiding is one of the authentic clothing crafts still popular in the United Arab Emirates. Emirati women have been doing it, like, forever because no one knows when this handicraft was first invented. The talli embroidering is a rather complicated and time-consuming process, girls start to learn how to do it around 5 years old, but the artful pieces made by talli technique are worth all the effort – they are beautiful!

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Emirati avaThe jalabiya is definitely one of the most beautiful and impressive Emirati pieces of clothing, if not the prettiest garment ever. These female robes are traditional and, at the same time, look contemporary. Thanks to these garments, the women in the UAE are able to wear something bright and ornate, because, as you know, their daily apparel usually includes the abaya, a thin black robe, which is very modest and has a few embellishments. But the festive jalabiya totally compensates for that.

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UAE avaThere are many speculations about Emirati traditional clothing these days. In particular, about local women wearing hijabs, special burqa masks, and other headwear that covers the face. But actually, there is a good reason for such accessories, just as for some of the men’s clothing articles. For instance, do you know the second functional reason to use an agal, special cord that holds the male headscarf in place? It is exciting how every part of Emirati national costume has its purpose and cultural background.

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Shemagh avaWe would like to share with you a nice tutorial on how to wear the Emirati shemagh. In the video, you’ll see that the tutor uses the “Shall Omani” (Omani headwrap) rather than the Emirati shemagh. That’s because the fabric of shall Omani is thicker and so the details are better visible. But you can do the same with your shemagh or ghutra. The shemagh (also called keffiyeh, kufiya, ghutrah, hattah, mashadah, chafiye, dastmal yazdi, or cemedani) is the traditional Middle Eastern men’s headdress.

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Al Sadu avaAl Sadu is a traditional weaving technique in the United Arab Emirates. Just as many other folk crafts around the world, Al Sadu is close to disappearance. Fewer and fewer Emirati women practice it and teach the youth how to weave using Al Sadu technique. But still, Bedouins are a rare ethnic group that thoroughly keeps the old traditions. Hopefully, this craft will also survive. But if not, use this chance to watch the traditional Bedouin weaving and learn more about it, while you still can.