UAE Traditional Dress: All You Need to Know

ETheinarin  beehaveUAE traditional dress, also known as Emirati clothing, is a point of national pride. It symbolizes the history, culture, and religion of the people of the UAE. 

Do you know that the traditional dress of the UAE symbolizes pride and identity? The dress is designed keeping in mind the religious beliefs as well as the comfort of the people. Moreover, the dress is such that it suits well with the hot climatic conditions of the UAE.

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The dress offers excellent protection from the blistering sun and heat. As you know, the historical trace of the traditional clothing of the UAE goes back to the Bedouin culture. This specific culture prevailed in the Arabic peninsula. People out there generally stick to their traditional attire even today. However, they are more adaptable to western clothing when visiting abroad.

If you are heading to the UAE wondering about clothing etiquette or just curious about their traditional or national dress, here is everything you need to know.

UAE Traditional Dress – Women’s National Dress

In contrast to the lighter colors generally worn by men, women in UAE generally wear a long flowing gown in black. This dress is known as the abaya and is worn over everyday clothes for modesty. It is important to note that this dress is worn across the Islamic world. It covers the whole body except the face, feet, and hands. Abaya is usually made of cotton or crepe.

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The reason is so that the dress is comfortable to wear during the hot temperatures. However, you will find that most modern versions can be heavily embroidered or designed. Hence these dresses can be expensive as well.

As you might be aware, like men, women also cover their heads according to religious custom. There are several types of headdresses, commonly known as hijab. It includes a Shayla – a light scarf that covers the hair. In addition, the gishwa – a thin veil usually covers the face, but the wearer can see through it quickly.

A niqab is another option. It covers the face entirely but has an opening for the eyes. Finally, the Gulf burqa is a mask many women wear over the eyebrows, nose, and upper lip. This attire is believed to protect a woman’s face from heat and dust. However, this niqab is rarely worn by younger women though you might see them at weddings.

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Henna is also essential to UAE women. Initially worn by brides, the dress helps bring good luck. Henna body art is now often used to decorate a woman’s hands and feet for other special occasions, especially during religious holidays.

UAE Traditional Dress – Why Is it Important

The traditional dress of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a beautiful blend of cultural and religious customs that have evolved over the centuries. The dress code in the UAE is an important aspect of their culture and reflects the country’s values and traditions.

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The traditional male dress is called the Kandura or Dishdasha, a long white robe made of cotton or wool. It is usually ankle-length and has long sleeves. The Kandura is worn with a white, or red checked headscarf called the Ghutra and a black rope called the Agal to hold the Ghutra in place. The traditional female dress is called the Abaya. It is a long black robe that covers the entire body except for the hands, feet, and face. The Abaya is usually made of lightweight fabric. You can decorate it with embroidery, sequins, or other embellishments.

Traditional dress is not just about modesty and religious values; it also has practical reasons. The UAE has a hot and arid climate, and the traditional dress helps to keep the wearer cool and comfortable. The light-colored fabric of the Kandura reflects the sun’s rays and provides ventilation, while the black Abaya helps to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Different Clothing Items

The traditional dress is not limited to formal occasions; it is worn daily by Emiratis and is considered part of their identity. However, in recent years, there has been a shift towards more Western-style clothing, especially among younger generations. This trend has led to modern variations of traditional dress, such as the short-sleeved Kandura or the Abaya with colorful embroidery.

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In addition to the Kandura and Abaya, other traditional clothing items include the Bisht, a flowing cloak worn over the Kandura on formal occasions, and the Thobe, a more colorful version of the Kandura that is popular in some regions.

Overall, the traditional dress of the UAE is an essential part of the country’s culture and identity. It reflects the country’s values and traditions and has practical reasons for its design. While modern variations of the traditional dress are becoming more common, the conventional dress remains an essential symbol of the UAE’s heritage.

UAE Traditional Dress For Women

The traditional dress for women in the United Arab Emirates is the Abaya. The Abaya is a long, loose-fitting robe that covers the entire body except for the hands and feet. It is typically made of lightweight, flowing fabrics such as chiffon or crepe and comes in various colors and styles.

The Abaya is typically worn over a long dress or trousers and a top and is often paired with a headscarf known as a hijab. The hijab is a simple, rectangular piece of fabric draped over the head and secured with pins. Some women may also wear a niqab, a veil covering the face except for the eyes.

While the Abaya has traditionally been black, there has been a recent shift toward more colorful and decorative styles. Many women now wear Abayas with intricate embroidery, beading, and sequins.

In addition to the Abaya, some Emirati women wear a traditional Thobe dress. The Thobe is a long, loose-fitting dress that is typically worn for formal occasions or weddings. It is often made of luxurious fabrics such as silk or satin and may be embellished with gold or silver thread.

Overall, the traditional dress for women in the UAE reflects the country’s culture and religious beliefs, emphasizing modesty and simplicity. However, as fashion trends evolve, there is room for creativity and individual expression within these traditional styles.

UAE Traditional Dress – Modern Trends

The traditional dress of the United Arab Emirates UAE is known as the “kandura” for men and the “abaya” for women. People have been wearing these garments for centuries. They are deeply rooted in the country’s culture and traditions. However, in recent years, there has been a growing trend towards modernizing traditional dress to make them more fashionable and functional.

One of the modern trends in UAE traditional dress is using more vibrant colors and patterns. While the kandura and abaya were traditionally white or black, designers now incorporate bright colors and bold prints to add a touch of modernity to the garments. Additionally, there has been a shift towards more lightweight and breathable fabrics, such as cotton and linen, to make the dress more comfortable in the UAE’s hot and humid climate.

Another modern trend is the use of innovative designs and details to make traditional dress more fashionable. For example, some designers add embellishments like embroidery, beading, and sequins to the kandura and abaya to create a more glamorous look. Others are experimenting with different cuts and styles to create unique silhouettes that are both modern and traditional.

Furthermore, there has been a trend towards making the traditional dress more functional and versatile. Some designers are creating pieces that can be worn for both formal and casual occasions. Examples are abayas with detachable sleeves or kanduras with convertible collars. This allows people to wear the traditional dress in a variety of settings and situations, making it more practical for everyday wear.

Final Thought

In conclusion, while the traditional dress of the UAE remains an integral part of the country’s culture and heritage, there has been a growing trend towards modernizing the garments to make them more fashionable, functional, and versatile. These changes reflect the evolving tastes and needs of the UAE’s population and highlight the country’s ability to blend tradition with innovation.

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