Middle East

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.

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.

Saudi coupleBahraini men and women traditionally wear Arabic-style clothing. Practically the same or very similar garments we can see in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, etc. There are many Muslims in Bahrain, so their everyday and festive clothes always correspond with religious rules and beliefs. Male Bahraini costume is rather conservative and simple, while female garments can be bright, richly bejeweled, and really beautiful.

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.

Kurdish caps avaKurdish skullcaps are unique because of the patterns we see on them. They are traditionally hand-crocheted, and the artisans create beautiful dotted ornamentation that you won’t find on other caps around the world. The pattern depends on the region of origin of a man wearing this skullcap, so one look at someone’s skullcap and keffiyeh will help determine his native region of Iraq.

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?

Maronite mummies avaIn the National Museum of Beirut, 8 mummies are displayed together with outstanding clothing they wore to the grave. These people – adults and kids, the youngest is only 4 months old – were dressed in beautiful embroidered dresses when buried. And the garments are so well-preserved that you could even determine the needlework patterns on them and recreate the dresses if you wanted. That’s amazing how much this clothing is similar to modern folk costumes and traditional embroidered dresses.

Lebanese avaMost people around the world know too little about Lebanese national costumes. And that’s a pity, as some of the Lebanese folk garments are really interesting. A lot of Middle Eastern historians and ethnographers think that some Lebanese fashion trends and clothing traditions even influenced European traditional fashion. Some people consider that a Lebanese headdress called “tantour” inspired 19th-century women to wear hennin-like headgear – similar high conical headpieces.

A ZTraditional pieces of the male and female national costumes in Lebanon: abaya, abba, agal, gambaz, jubbe, kabkab, kaffia, kubran, labbade, libas, mandeal, sherwal, tantur, tarboush, and taqiah.

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.

Oman avaThe national outfit of Oman is truly elegant. This is a country of the Arab world, so the folk clothing here is rather modest and typical for the Muslim culture. Although Omani men’s traditional attire might be one of the most graceful and stylish in the whole Middle East. Take, for example, these blindingly white robes, a charming khanjar dagger in its silver and encrusted scabbard, a lovely male turban of just the right size, not too big and not too small, and so on. Any man seems taut and slender in this apparel.

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.

Palestinian embroidery avaPalestinian embroidery styles – and folk clothing styles in general – were formed somewhere around the 2nd-3rd century B.C. and developed throughout the millennia after that. By the 10th century A.D., practically all of the rules, techniques, ornamentation symbols, etc were already established. They changed comparatively little since then. Let’s look at some of the characteristic features of Palestinian needlework. Did you know that a whole lot of European embroidery patterns were brought from the Arab world during the Crusades and incorporated here?

pal female dress avaPalestinian traditional clothing culture is so rich and admirable, it has inspired for centuries the tailors and fashion designers not only in Palestine itself but far across its borders to create masterpieces using Palestinian authentic embroidery patterns, traditional silhouettes and shapes of garments, typical colors, and breathtaking jewelry pieces. Most people around the world know too little about the beauty of Palestinian clothing traditions. We’d like to correct this injustice at least partly, so this material will reveal a few curious secrets of the folk costume of Palestine and its influence on European medieval and 18th-19th century fashion.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A ZTraditional pieces of the male and female national costumes in Palestine: abaya, bisht, burnous, bushnika, damer, dimaya, hata wi ‘agal, izar, jallayeh, jubba, jubbeh, khabara, kuffiyah, laffeh, lavandi, malliaia, qamis, qibar, qumbaz, salta, sirwal, tarbush, tatriz, taqiyyah, taqsireh, and thob.

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.

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.

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).

Gutrah avaThis headdress is a symbol of Saudi Arabia. The local men wear it with pride and know its history and cultural importance. It’s not exclusively Saudi Arabian but very typical for this country. What can possibly be interesting about it? Actually, a lot of things. Let’s find out more about gutrah and other accessories worn with it, learn some rare and fun facts about this headgear, and explain why gutrah is so important for Saudi men.

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.

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.

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.