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Traditional Clothing in UAE

Dishdasha (Creative Commons / Mary Paulose)
Dishdasha (Creative Commons / Mary Paulose)
There is always a big question mark whenever the topic of traditional clothing in the United Arab Emirates crops up. Other than Islam followers, not many are aware of the Arabic style of clothing typical to Muslim culture. With the exception of Dubai, remaining Emirates in the UAE are conservative in regards to their style of dressing and to a certain extent strictly adopt what modesty in Islamic text offers.
Dubai attracts many outsiders such as tourists and expats, thus keeping its clothing styles lenient. Although western style of dressing such as t-shirts, long skirts and trousers are permitted, women are expected to keep their skin covered. To sum it up, anything and everything goes as long as you remember that you are in a progressive yet Islamic Emirate.

Islamic / Traditional Clothing are styled in context with what is to be worn during the day, in the night and for religious occasions. The designs of the clothes have been adapted to the local hot weather and the religious beliefs of the region. Following is a list of the traditional clothing worn by men and women in the UAE:

Abaya: The Abaya is a long elegant cloak worn by women in the UAE, where it is their national dress. Traditionally black in colour, it covers the whole body except the face, feet and hands and therefore some women prefer to team it up with the niqāb and Gafaaz to cover up the face and hands as well.
Agal: An Agal, also called as iqal, egal or igal is a black band secured tightly around the ghutrah to keep it in place. Usually in black in colour, the Agal is losing its prominence these days with  young men draping the guthra in different ways.

Burqa: The Burqa or burkha, burka, burqua is an outer piece of clothing used to cover a woman’s body to prevent exposure of skin in public. The Burqa is removed when the women returns to her house in the company of her family members. It is worn over daily attire and is more common among the older generation.

Kandura: Also known as thawb, thobe, or dishdasha, the Kandura is an ankle length, loose-fitting robe for men, usually white in colour. In winter, the Kandura is available in a splash of colours mostly in darker shades. The length of the robe represents the status of the person with the wealthy and royal seen in longer robes. Shorter length symbolizes modesty and is worn by the remaining Arabs.

Gishwa: UAE women dress traditionally in a Gishwa, which is a thin veil covering the face whereby it is unrecognizable. However, it is fine enough for the wearer to see through.

Ghutrah: A typical headscarf worn by men, the ghutrah is also known by the name of keffiyeh/kufiya, or shemagh in other Arabic countries. Made from square cloth of cotton in chequered patterns, it is draped over the head in various styles. In dry climates, these scarves provide protection from blowing dust and harsh rays of the sun.

Ghafiyah: The ghafiyah is a look-alike of a Muslim prayer hat worn below the ghutrah headscarf by Arabic men. They are intricately embroidered and not visible to the naked eye as it is covered by the ghutrah.


Meher ali
Hi good day

I just need information about uae kandura y uae kandora has long rope on the front their any reason.


Hi Meher

I don't think there is any reason that for long length. it is just a style

jesus christ
hi i was wondering why they were cloaks ?
Candy Lee
Very good for your information!
Iesha Abboud
Nice article. Wearing long robes are part of middle eastern culture, one of the main reasons of which is because to protect the body from sandstorm. I would say in Dubai today many are after ethnic Arabic clothing and as a person living in Deira, I know that most of the malls today like Deira City Centre are promoting this culture, even for kids which is, in a way, a noble effort to preserve our culture in a multi-cultural setup.
Hallo! How I can buy(order)quality Kandura for my Son and me like present for Eid? Thanks for answers. Senad Austria(EU)
Chronometer UAE
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Emma William
Usually tourists do not live in UAE do not wear the national dresses. They mostly wear polo shirts, jeans pants, cotton pants, shorts and jogger pants and most of the times prefer online shopping. There are also many shopping guides available on internet from where can information related to best shopping places.
Dear Sir, Can you supply any of this product:T-shirt and Towels by contract
Shaharyar khan
Hello. I was on a tour in uae, i was told that i can not wear kandura and Ghutrah, and especially The Igal, please guide me, if i go to uae in near future, can i wear these? And is their any specific type of arabic dress that i cant wear?
@Shaharyar, I don't think you will have a restriction wearing Arabic dress of any kind.
What do men wear underneath there robes during the long hot weather
Abdulhakim Al-Amin
please send me a site that sales men's Islamic headscarves. I would like to buy some, Thank you.
Hi, What it the difference between the all white Ghutrah and the colored ones e.g red and white
I really want to be a half Muslim to look pretty
Really helpful and helped me with my project thank you!!
Every culture has features and peculiarities, familiar only to the people of this nation. And it’s very interesting to learn about traditional clothing from natives. That’s why if you have something to say about your national costume, please, do it using comments. Tell us things which you know about your country’s cultural heritage. Other people will discover something new for them thanks to you.
Great post. Thanks for sharing.
Hi, Nice Blog Such A Great Post. !! Dubai Tour Packages
Isabella South
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