Arabic Dress: An Introduction to Arab Fashion

Did you know that the Arab world is home to more than 300 million people? It is also home to some of the most fashionable women in the world. From Saudi Arabia, UAE, Morocco, Egypt, Qatar, and everything in between, it is known as the Arab world. In this area of the world, Arabic gown finds an important place. The women in the Arab world are known for their attention to detail, especially when it comes to fashion.

These women have also mastered the art of combining different aesthetics and are known to mix tailored silhouettes with loose ones. The results are dresses and outfits that are both flattering and comfortable simultaneously.

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Every piece they wear will tell a story about their personality and fashion sense. However, there are specific trends that are unique to different cultures. It is fascinating to know and discover more about the unique fashion of Arabic women and Arabic dress and how they influence high fashion.

Even today, many people are unfamiliar with Arab culture. Many of them think that hijab and abaya are the only traditional Arabic garments women wear. Here we highlight some elements of the traditional Arabic dress and their garments, worn in various parts of the Arabic world.

Modern Arabic Dress

As you might know, Arabic culture is highly known for its religious values and practices. Likewise, their traditional attire reflects the same. Thus making the dress look more distinctive and appealing in its own way. Exploring and knowing its significance and necessity – is entirely a distinct subject. 

In contrast to Arabic men, women have a considerable diversification in the dresses they wear. Now, we will talk more about Arabic dresses with long sleeve and the variety of styling that women here try day in and day out. 

You might know the abayas, kaftans, and their varying designs. At the same time, it is the right time to talk about the contemporary style of Arabic dresses that can increase your collection of dresses.

Do you know that no dress can battle and win with the maxi dresses when it comes to the attire’s comfort? Yes, that’s why girls and women love this maxi dress. 

The long maxi dresses can look appealing when styled in soft material with flawless designs. Your designer can fit them as per your preference. You can look for some versions of maxi dress designs that suit your style and fashion.

The Art of Arab Dress

Today, Arabic garments are more than a fashion statement. Arabic dress is a way of expressing the cultural identity and cultural heritage of these nations. The Arabic dress is an art piece with a large variety of colors, fits, and types of embellishments. 

Unfortunately, above these attractive traditional dresses – there are a lot of myths and misconceptions. Especially about Arab women’s traditional garments and their style. 

However, contrary to popular opinion, most of the different Arab nations and different regions – generally have their preferred dress and types of headscarves. The versatility of Arab dresses is an important area to explore.


Abaya, meaning cloth in Arabic, is a loose over-garment often worn in the Arabian Peninsula. The Arabic dress is also popular in North Africa and the Middle East. The outfit resembles a wide robe and is meant to cover the complete body of a wearer and protect it from sight. 

In the Islamic world, Abaya is usually worn by both men and women. It covers the entire body, apart from the hands, feet, and head of the person wearing it. Traditionally, the abaya is black and often decorated with embroidery.

In certain countries, lighter-colored abayas are preferred, particularly earth tones. As you know, the abaya is an over-garment. You can wear any clothes. You can also wear famous fashion designer outfits.

If you speak of famous fashion designers, some high-class fashion labels have specialized in making designer abayas. Similar to other types of Islamic garments, the abaya has also undergone changes over time. For example, in the 1990s, the style had fitted sleeves. It became popular since it allowed bigger freedom of movement. 

The uthmaniyah style of abaya is inspired by a tunica often worn in Oman. The style features a cross-over front fastening representing a modern twist on a traditional Arab outfit. You can find other designs with several moreover twists for ease and comfort.

Jilbab or Chador

Jilbab is another popular type of clothing worn by Arabic women. It is a loose-fit outfit resembling a long dress or tunic. The outfit is sometimes called a chador, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq. It covers the entire body starting from the head downwards.

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This Arabic dress is usually tucked in below the armpits and has no openings for hands. The design of the Islamic attire is closed at the neck by a pin or needle. Traditionally, chadors are plain black or blue with subtle decorations. But nowadays, you can also see chadors made from colorful fabrics with bold, attention-grabbing patterns.


Most commonly, the word hijab describes a veil worn by Arab women which covers the hair while the face is revealed. Hijabs come in many sizes and shapes. 

The al-amira, for example, is a type of two-piece hijab. It is characterized by a close-fitting polyester or cotton cap, accompanied by a tube-like scarf falling down the neck of the wearer. 

The veil is often embellished with embroidery around the edges. Khimar is longer than a usual hijab covering the body to the waist. It covers the neck, head, chest, and shoulders while leaving the face uncovered.

More often, women choose a hijab that matches the style of the abaya. More traditional women wear hijabs in colors such as blue and black. Interestingly, most women today choose brighter colors or bold prints. Particular fashion designers make luxury hijabs from chiffon (chiffon dress), silk, and other fabrics that feature their recognizable logos.

Most younger Arab women like to accessorize the hijab, for example, with baseball beanies, hats, earrings, and other jewelry. Some use glued add-ons, rhinestones or ravishing embroidery. 

In addition, a lot of women employ different folds. They have extra wrapping and pinning techniques to diversify their appearance. Adding accessories, textures, and sparkles to the hijab often allows the wearer to stand out and express their personal style.

Varieties of Hijab

You will find various styles of hijab worn all over the world. It is fine all along as the conditions of hijab are met. You will also notice some Muslim women do not wear it at all. But the Quran and Sunnah regard that as disobedience to their Lord of the creation, Allah. The reason being it opposes a direct command of His.


A niqab is usually worn with an abaya, a veil that covers the whole face and leaves only a narrow slit around the eyes. The origin of name comes from the word baqarah. You will also find Arab women wearing half-niqabs that reveal half of a nose alongside the eyes. Sometimes part of the forehead is also visible.

A niqab is a double-layer black gauze or cloth with its upper and lower sections attached around the eyes. The length of the niqab usually spans just below the neck. The length may extend till the dawn of the woman’s chest.

Though traditionally, you will find niqabs in black and blue without any accessories. However, nowadays, niqabs are made from various fabrics that feature various decorations.

For instance, some niqabs feature popular logos and patterns. Other times, designs may introduce decorative embroidery and iron-on embellishments to highlight areas in the face. They may include the eye-opening, the chin line, or even the lower edge of the fabric.


A burqa is a similar attire that completely covers the face and the body of the person wearing it. The area around the eyes is usually covered in a thin mash allowing the person to see through it. In hot desert areas, the dress protects the eyes of the woman from sand and dust. You can find burqas in all colors, light and dark, but light blue, black, and white are the most popularly used ones.


Some countries have indeed followed the footprints of Western fashion. But some countries still hold tight to their traditional attire, such as Saudi Arabia and Yemen. 

Even would agree that Arabic clothing remains a significant business, especially in the Middle East. Unlike in Western countries, Arabic apparel is very useful in expressing the personality of the person wearing it. 

Clothes in the Middle East have become a fashion statement, just like in the West. At the same time, you might have noticed that clothing has become a more profound social and moral dimension. 

It is indeed true that – according to the garment, the dress can signal its region. At the same time, it can signify social class, wealth, and even personality. Moreover, choosing a specific item of clothing can reflect fundamental moral values.

Surprisingly, some Arabs think women who do not wear hijabs are more open-minded and have fewer moral values. They also feel that women wearing hijabs may be more religious and thus respectable. Finally, there is a wide range of Arab dresses which women can choose from.

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