Clothing is a major characteristic of any culture. It is, furthermore considered a dominant figure that helps pulling foreigners sights and interests to the culture attached. Some people view clothes as just tools of covering their bodies and protecting them from external elements. Anyway, throughout history it has been proved clothing transcends this external job and goes deeper to the level of determining the character of the person putting them on, furthermore, telling to which culture He /She belongs. Different cultures have evolved various ways of creating clothes out of cloth, by time these clothes have become major part of them and became the means that show their users’ life style.
– History and Styles
Morocco is a very old country that goes back in time to thousands of years. Moroccans still wear the traditional clothing of their predecessors without variation or influence from the Western fashion. This long history in addition to the numerous events that took place in it affected directly and indirectly the clothing style of Moroccan people. Many peoples came to Morocco such as Berbers, Phoenicians, Arabs, and Romans. This diversity clarifies and justifies the presence of several dress styles in Morocco.
Anyway, clothing for women and men in Morocco consists of long robes with hoods and traditional slippers. These magnificent dresses have been worn since the ancient times of Moroccan history, and are being still used today.
A Kaftan which is known world widely today is one of the famous traditional Moroccan dresses. Although the Ottoman Empire has never set foot in Morocco, Moroccan designers adopted this Ottoman dress, and put their artificial touches on it. It is still present in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia as well. Nowadays Kaftan is worn by women in Morocco. The word kaftan is used to indicate one piece dress that can be worn on both casual and formal occasions.
Men popular Costume
Men in Morocco and North Africa in general wear up what is called Djellabah. It is a long fitting outer dress with full sleeves. Originally they were made of wool. Anyway, nowadays cotton-made Djellabahs are more dominant worldwide. This dress is known for its different colors, which give it beauty and charm.
Men in Morocco often wear up light colored Djellabah along with a traditional Fez or Tarbush which is a traditional headdress that is usually red and sometimes with a tassel attached to its top and a soft yellow babouche or Balgha which are heelless slippers made from leather mainly for religious events and wedding ceremonies. Qob is a baggy hood that is included in the Djellabah which comes to a point at the back of it.
Qob is used as a protector against rains and the sands thrown by strong winds in the desert. During times of warm weather, this Qob is turned into a pocket where loaves and bread can be put. Djellabahs were made of coarse wool that is obtained from sheep living in the near mountains.
Most women’s Djellabahs are brightly colored and have ornate patterns, stitching, or beading, while men’s Djellabah are usually plainer and colored neutrally.
Women’s fascinating dresses
Unlike the Kaftan, which is one-piece dress, Takchita is a Moroccan traditional dress that is composed of two parts, the first layer is called Takchita and the second one is called Dfina. Takchita is worn mainly by women for celebrations particularly weddings. The upper layer of it is usually adorned with embroidery and sequins. You can view the latest interpretations of traditional Moroccan clothing particularly the Takchita at the annual Caftan fashion show in Morocco.
Women in Morocco also wear up what is called the Haik which is a traditional white costume that is made of silk and wool. The Haik covers the whole body except face and hands and it is mainly used in cold and conservative areas in Morocco. As opposite to this winter costume there is a beautiful summer one called The Gandoura. Gandoura is a summer costume worn by both men and women in Morocco. It is a Berber traditional dress with short sleeves and side pockets. Moroccans like it for its comfort and it is very popular and well known in Morocco and Algeria as well.
Aladdin trousers and Sahrawi fashion
Another traditional costume in Morocco is the Qandrissi trousers. Millions of people around the world have watched Aladdin movie and, furthermore, have been aspired by his panties. Qandrissi is originally a Persian costume. However, Moroccan people wear it and love it as well. These pants are comfortable practical and baggy.
Moroccan men used to wear them largely. These pants attract tourists for they come in different sizes and colors. As mentioned above, Morocco consists of several societies which justify the diversity concerning clothing and dresses. In the Sahara, for example, which locates south to Morocco, men put on the Deraa which is a loose Gandoura open on the side to keep the body ventilated. Sahrawi men wear Qandrissi pants under their Deraa.
Deraa comes in two colors mainly, blue for everyday life and white for weddings and private ceremonies. However, women in the Sahara wear the Melhfa which is different from the Djellabah. Sahrawi women wear the Melhfa to protect themselves from the blowing sands caused by rough winds in the desert.
Melhfa is a large fabric with bright colors usually worn in black and blue. Anyway, nowadays Melhfa is worn with more joyful colors. Despite the expansion of Western dress styles worldwide Moroccan new generation still use these patterns of dress. This is, actually, due to their practicality especially in rough climate situations in Sahara.
It has been proved around the world that clothing is an important part of any culture. Along with the natural sites, landscapes, food and every attractive part of any country, clothing is considered as a leading figure of both attracting tourists and reflecting the peoples’ cultural, religious and regional identity as well. Morocco is shaped by diversity which is, anyway, reflected by the multiple dress styles found in it. As a visitor, it will be a great chance for you to try all these fascinating dresses and feel the historic spirit related to them. If you would like to spread this information, you are welcome to share them and make people see how beautiful Morocco and its clothing culture are.