UAE Dress: Fashion Trends To Follow

The traditional UAE dress is a significant source of pride and identity for its people, representing their history, culture, and religion. It is designed considering both religious beliefs and the wearer’s comfort, making it suitable for the country’s hot climatic conditions. 

The traditional attire provides excellent protection against the scorching sun and heat. The origins of this dress can be traced back to the Bedouin culture, which was prevalent in the Arabic peninsula. 

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Even today, many people in this region continue to wear their traditional attire, though they may adopt Western clothing when traveling abroad. Are you planning a trip to the UAE and want to know about clothing etiquette, or are you simply curious about the country’s traditional or national dress? Then this guide will provide you with all the necessary information.

UAE Dress – Women’s National Dress

While men in the UAE typically wear lighter-colored clothing, women often wear a long, flowing black gown called an abaya over their everyday attire for modesty. It’s worth noting that this type of dress is common throughout the Islamic world, covering the entire body except for the face, hands, and feet. Typically crafted from cotton or crepe, the abaya is designed for comfort in hot temperatures. However, contemporary versions may feature intricate embroidery or unique designs, making them expensive garments.

Like men, women in the UAE also adhere to religious customs by covering their heads with headdresses, known as hijab. There are various types of hijabs, including the Shayla, a lightweight scarf covering the hair, and the gishwa, a thin veil that typically covers the face but allows the wearer to see through it easily. 

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Another option is the niqab, which covers the face entirely but has an opening for the eyes. Additionally, some women wear the Gulf burqa, a mask that covers the eyebrows, nose, and upper lip, believed to protect the face from heat and dust. Although rare among younger women, the niqab may be seen at weddings. 

Another important aspect of UAE women’s attire is henna, which brides traditionally wore as a good luck charm. Nowadays, women often use henna body art to decorate their hands and feet for special occasions, particularly during religious holidays.

UAE Dress – Its Important

The traditional attire of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a captivating fusion of cultural and religious customs that have evolved over centuries. The dress code is a vital aspect of UAE culture. It represents the country’s values and traditions.

The traditional attire for men in the UAE is called Kandura or Dishdasha, a long white robe made from wool or cotton. This ankle-length robe features long sleeves and is typically worn with a red or white checked headscarf known as Ghutra, and a black rope called Agal to secure the Ghutra in place. 

The traditional dress for women in the UAE is known as Abaya, which is a long black robe covering the entire body except for the face, hands, and feet. The Abaya is typically lightweight and can be adorned with sequins, embroidery, or other decorative elements.

Aside from representing modesty and religious values, traditional attire in the UAE also serves practical purposes. The country’s hot and dry climate can be challenging, and the traditional dress helps to keep the wearer cool and comfortable. The Kandura’s light-colored fabric reflects the sun’s rays and promotes airflow, while the black Abaya protects from the sun’s harmful rays, helping to shield the skin.

Different Clothing Items

Emiratis do not restrict traditional dress to formal events; they wear it daily and consider it a part of their identity. However, in recent times, there has been a trend among younger generations toward Western-style clothing. This shift has resulted in a modernized version of traditional attire, including short-sleeved Kanduras and Abayas with colorful embroidery.

Apart from the Kandura and Abaya, the UAE also has other traditional garments. These include the Bisht, a flowing cloak worn over the Kandura during formal occasions, and the Thobe, a vibrant variation of the Kandura that is trendy in certain regions.

The traditional attire of the UAE is a significant element of the country’s culture and identity. It embodies the UAE’s values and traditions, and its practical design suits the region’s climate well. Despite the emergence of modernized versions, the conventional dress continues to serve as a crucial symbol of the UAE’s rich heritage.

UAE Traditional Dress For Women

The Abaya is the traditional dress for women in the United Arab Emirates. It is a loose-fitting robe that covers the entire body except for the hands and feet. It is typically made of lightweight fabrics like chiffon or crepe. There are various colors and styles available for the Abaya.

The traditional attire for women in the United Arab Emirates is the Abaya. It is a loose-fitting robe made of lightweight fabrics such as chiffon or crepe and covers the whole body except for the hands and feet. The Abaya is available in various colors and styles.

Although traditionally, the Abaya was black. There is a trend toward more colorful and embellished styles. Many women opt for Abayas with intricate embroidery, beading, and sequins.

The Thobe is another traditional dress that some Emirati women wear, typically for formal events or weddings. It is a long, loose-fitting dress, often made of luxurious materials like silk or satin and adorned with gold or silver thread.

The conventional dress of women in the UAE symbolizes the country’s culture and religious practices, emphasizing modesty and simplicity. As fashion trends evolve, there is an opportunity for creativity and personal expression within these traditional styles.

UAE Traditional Dress – Modern Trends

For centuries, the traditional dress of the United Arab Emirates has been the “kandura” for men and the “abaya” for women. It reflects the country’s culture and traditions. However, in recent times, there has been a trend toward modernizing traditional attire to make it more stylish and practical.

Modernizing UAE traditional dress has included incorporating more vibrant colors and patterns. Although traditionally white or black, designers now add bold prints and bright colors to the kandura and abaya to make them more modern. Another trend is using more breathable and lightweight fabrics like cotton and linen to make the dress more comfortable in the hot and humid UAE climate.

Traditional dress in the UAE has been evolving with the passage of time., and one of the latest trends is the incorporation of innovative designs and details to make them more fashionable. Some designers are experimenting with different cuts and styles to create unique silhouettes that are both modern and traditional. Others add embellishments like embroidery, beading, and sequins to the kandura and abaya to create a more glamorous look. These modern adaptations give a fresh twist to traditional dress, making it more appealing to the younger generation.

In addition, there is a growing trend toward making traditional dresses in the UAE more versatile and functional. Designers are creating pieces that can be worn for both formal and casual occasions. For instance, some abayas come with detachable sleeves, while some kanduras have convertible collars. This allows people to wear traditional dress in various settings and situations. Thus, making it more practical and suitable for daily wear.


To sum up, the traditional UAE dress holds significant cultural value. But at the same time modernization has brought new trends to enhance their style, functionality, and versatility. Incorporating vibrant colors, patterns, and innovative designs has made garments more fashionable.

Moreover, using lightweight and breathable fabrics and creating pieces suitable for different occasions have made them more practical and functional. These changes signify the UAE’s ability to preserve its heritage while adapting to modern fashion trends.

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