The fashion and clothes of the Middle East exhibit development of historical and political change, as well as a combination of influences that have enhanced and modernized its different cultures, resulting in a dress custom that is both progressive and faithful to its traditional design identities.
Fashion in Arab countries
Traditional clothing is an important part of any country’s culture. These costumes are cultural heritages that contribute to a country’s identity, such as traditions, customs, and history. The traditional clothes of the Arab world, like those of all other countries, have a distinct feature.
Traditional clothing is the everyday clothing of a segment of the population in most Arab countries, such as the poor and lower-middle class. Of course, this dress is also worn by others in public and private ceremonies. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the effects of relations with the West had a gradual effect on the traditional Islamic system almost two centuries ago.
Traditional clothing in Islamic and Arab lands from North Africa and the Middle East, inspired by the loose coverings worn on all clothing by Urdu-speaking and ancient Persian languages, covers all limbs and protrusions. It also gives the body glory and dignity while protecting it from the harsh weather of the plains and valleys.
Since ancient times, it has been known that Arabic clothing was loose and was sewn according to the weather and environmental conditions in the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant, and Iraq. Despite differences in their way of life, tribe, and residential areas, most existing sayings and narrations about Arabic dress almost unanimously agree that the turban, long shirt, pants, and cloak are the clothes that Arabs wear.
Women in some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, are never seen walking down the street without an abaya. Of course, the compulsory hijab law was repealed in all Saudi cities except Medina and Mecca in the new law, which goes into effect in September 2020. While in other Arab countries such as Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt, women with hijab (cloak) or women without hijab wear casual clothes such as shirts and jeans, long and short skirts.
Arabs clothing customs and traditions in the Middle East
Traditionally, the white clothes of men and the black hijab of women were associated with Arab clothing in the Middle East. In terms of men’s and women’s clothing, the Middle East is a diverse and colorful world. Where traditions and Western fashion meet. This is despite the fact that many countries continue to be influenced by Arab traditions and traditional clothing.
Age, place of residence, and social class are three important factors that influence the type of clothing people to wear in the Middle East. On the one hand, young people prefer to wear Western clothing and reserve their traditional clothing for special occasions such as weddings, religious celebrations, or pilgrimages. While older generations prefer to dress traditionally.
People in cities, on the other hand, pay more attention to the latest fashion developments, whereas men and women in smaller cities and rural areas prefer to wear traditional clothing for comfort and protection from the sun and sandstorms. Western fashion designers, on the other hand, are very popular among the middle and upper social classes. This is despite the fact that traditional and older clothing is widely available in the city.
Arab men typically wear long, comfortable clothes called “dishdasha” or “thobe,” which they pair with “chafiyeh” (kufi) and “oqal.” On the dishdasha, they occasionally wear a robe. The robe is also known as a “Bisht” or “Khachieh,” and it is mostly worn by the tribe’s elderly and old men or Sheikh. Dishdasha has unique stitching. This coverage varies by country; for example, the Arabs of Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait wear the collar dishdasha, whereas the Emirati, Omani, Sudanese, and Egyptians prefer the collarless one.
Fashion and clothing design in Lebanon
Among Arab countries, Lebanon deserves the title of the most modern and fashionable Arab country in terms of clothing and clothing in the Middle East. Many women in Beirut’s hearts do not wear a hijab. Lebanese women have recently emerged as the world’s most fashionable women. Lebanon today is a fashionable country, and one of the most fashionable in the Arab world.
Traditional tailoring exists in Lebanon, but these tailors make custom clothes for customers and Arab princes rather than offering collection-like designs. However, many Lebanese now prefer Western clothing to traditional clothing.
Great Lebanese designers such as Norma Kamali, Zuhair Murad, Elie Saab, Rim Akra, and Rabih Kairouz have made their mark on the international fashion scene. They provide designs that are based on their country’s cultural codes while also blending them with global tastes.
Lebanon, despite its small population of 2.4 million people, is still a free country. Lebanese women have long served as models for fashion designers such as Zuhair Murad and Elie Saab. They’re fantastic. They travel frequently and dress in French and European fashion. Many French fashion studios have opened shops in Beirut.
Local Lebanese costumes are still worn in rural areas, and traditions are fully preserved. The style of local clothing in Lebanon, on the other hand, is as diverse as the Lebanese native composition. Throughout history, the country has been ruled by Rome, Iran, Greece, the Arabs, the Ottoman Empire, and finally France, and each of these powers has left its mark on Lebanese life and traditions, making local Lebanese clothing more appealing.
Traditional Lebanese costumes have all but vanished, replaced by the ritual costumes worn by the Lebanese folk dance group “Dabkeh,” which reflects the culture of Lebanon’s beautiful plains and mountains. One of the traditional clothes that the Lebanese still wear is a type of pants called Sherwal, which is worn alone and does not require anything else, and of course, men wear it under the dashdash in the Persian Gulf.
Women’s traditional Lebanese clothing
Traditional clothing in Lebanon differs in rural and urban areas, as it has in the past, and this is especially true of women’s clothing. However, traditional Lebanese women’s clothing has one thing in common (both urban and rural), and that is that these clothes attempt to cover the entire body, including the head. Western-style clothing is common in many Lebanese cities, and women have a high level of awareness in many urban areas.
Traditional clothing is mostly worn in villages. When leaving the house, urban women wear a long black dress called an abaya. They also wear a mask over their faces (veil). Muslim women typically wear the hijab, but Christian women in Lebanon also wear robes, headscarves, and niqabs to cover their bodies. However, if a man is not present, Lebanese women may remove their headscarves, and if men see them, they can be quickly put on and secured.
Abayas are long women’s shirts that are narrow in the upper body and widen from the waist onwards. In ancient times, the abaya was a loose top that evolved over time and eventually took the form of an abaya, and despite the changes that have occurred in the lives of the people in Lebanon, the traditional dress of women remains a part of indigenous folklore. And it is regarded as a location. However, in terms of design, quality, fabric, color, and ornamentation, it has not lagged behind the fashionable caravan. It has evolved from a form of heritage to a traditional dress worn by those who want to express their religious identity.
Abaya has ancient roots in Lebanon; it was the formal dress of Lebanese princesses, who wanted their abayas to be made of natural silk and woven with a spinning machine, and it is still a source of pride for rich women to wear this Lebanese dress on special occasions.
Long sleeves that could be detached from the garment and then reattached to the garment were a unique feature of traditional Lebanese clothing in the past (and sometimes still are). These sleeves were heavily embroidered and embellished. Many women wore these sleeves with their casual and everyday clothes to transform them into lovely festive attire. Beautifully colored embroidered sleeves are still sold separately from clothing today. Women frequently wore these sleeves on their backs while eating or doing other activities to keep them clean and to allow them to rotate easily while dancing.
Men’s traditional Lebanese clothing
Lebanese menswear typically includes baggy pants, shirts, vests, coats, belts, caps, and shoes. Although the clothes for celebrations are much lighter, dark colors predominate in these dresses. Striped fabrics are also used in the production of men’s clothing. Loose blue or black pants, a white shirt, a dark vest with a red or black belt (shawl), shoes, and a headband are typical outfits. This style of dress can still be seen in Lebanon’s rural areas.
Lebanese men’s clothing is very comfortable and designed to suit the region’s climatic conditions, which is why Lebanese men are hesitant to abandon their traditional clothing. In Lebanon, men’s clothing consists of a men’s black suit that is wide and spacious from the waist to the knees and narrows from the knees to the ankles. The coats are embellished with bright decorations, beautiful colors, and embroidery.
Men in Lebanon wear a variety of caps. The Chafiyeh, which is also worn in many other Arab countries, is the most common cap today. Another type of men’s cap is known as a “Fez,” which is a small brown conical felt hat. Fez is the oldest type of cap in Lebanon, and it is mostly worn by older men today, while young men wear Chafiyeh.