Buttoned Up Shirt Collar In Or Out Of Fashion Thobe – Arabic Clothing for Men and Women

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Thobe – Arabic Clothing for Men and Women

When it comes to Arabic dresses for men, we visualize them in long, loose, full-length dresses that resemble robes or tunics, usually white in color. These ankle-length garments with long sleeves are called Thobes. Dishdasha, Kandura or Suriyah are other names used for this dress in different regions of the world. The word Thobe is an Arabic word meaning ‘a garment’. It is also spelled as thawing. It is a favorite traditional Arab dress which gives a unique identity to the men of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. People in East Africa also dress up in clothes. Thobes is a favorite throughout the Middle East.

Shaped like long tunics, thobes can be worn in different lengths – short ones represent modesty, while long thobes are a symbol of royalty, high social status and wealth. The preferred fabric used for a thobe is cotton; however, wool material is also used in cold weather. Thobes are made of polyester, georgette or any light fabric. Thobes made of lighter fabric are considered casual and are usually worn as dresses for everyday wear in the comfortable surroundings of one’s home.

Men in the Arabian Gulf, Iraq, Jordan and other Muslim countries wear a thobe in their own distinctive style. These full-length garments offer versatility for Muslim men. A thobe or dishdasha can also be made from embroidered or printed fabric. Most popular are some sparkling embroideries around the neck and cuffs. Formal thobes can have sequin detailing to make the dress look special and formal. A very formal form of a thobe is called “bisht” which is worn by men of status and wealth on very significant formal occasions such as a wedding, Eid or other important ceremonies. A “bisht” is usually made in Syria, Jordan and Iraq and is a popular dress in these regions.

Thobe styles can be distinguished by their design and cut. Men’s headdresses worn with thobes also vary from region to region and indicate style and individuality. Men in Morocco wear shorter sleeves that make their thobe look like an ankle-length T-shirt. They call it a gandora. The neckline is also more open and their chest pocket is embroidered. Kuwaiti thobes have a button collar and are a slim fit. The Omanis wear a Mussar as a headdress with a dishdasha. Their thobe has no collar and is often colorful. The Bahraini Kandura has a soft shirt collar and is loose fitting. It has shirt pockets just like regular shirts. Men in Qatar prefer shiny and fine fabric for their lips. Their dress has a long tassel and a shirt pocket. Men in the UAE do not wear a kandura with a collar, but they appreciate some fine embroidery on the sleeves of their dress. The Saudis often wear a checkered headdress with a whip. Their clothes are well-fitting with a buttoned collar and formal shirt sleeves designed to have cufflinks. Therefore, Arab men from different regions wear thobes in different styles.

The word thobe does not only refer to men’s clothing; it is also used for a similar traditional dress for Palestinian women. Ladies’ thobe is made of fine georgette, silk or chiffon and is worn in fresh and bright colours. It brings to mind a large full-length faded garment that is heavily embroidered at the front and has a billowing back. It is also named as a “Khaleeji Dress” and is worn in traditional ceremonies. A thobe, worn by a man or a woman, is considered a distinctive garment of the Arab world, where it either represents comfort, royalty and status or elegance, taste and style.

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