Clothing in Morocco
Morocco is a rich country in terms of history, traditions, people, culture, religion, climate, geography and so forth. Every one of these aspects of the country influences how Moroccan people are dressed. Among the variety of clothes in Morocco, we find the djellaba and kaftan, two fine garments that speak of the luxurious clothing style of the country.
If you are walking down the streets of any city of Morocco, you will certainly see some men and women wearing long and loose hooded gowns over their normal clothing. This garment is called the djellaba. It covers the entire body except for the head, the hands and the feet.
The djellaba for women is different than the one for men in style and purpose. Women wear a djellaba for different reasons. First of all, it is a very comfortable and aesthetically appealing. Second, it is a modest garment to wear in a Muslim country. Some women accompany it by wearing a scarf around their neck or head. It is also worn when visiting the family on a religious holiday.
Men usually only wear a djellaba on special occasions, sometimes topped with the famous Moroccan red cap, called a fez or tarbouche, and yellow leather slippers, known as baboush or belgha. The woman’s djellaba is more colorful compared to the man’s, and nowadays djellabas are becoming shorter and slimmer. There are verses of the Koran that mention the djellaba as a garment to be worn by Muslim women. A djellaba is mostly worn outside the house and there are djellabas for every day as well as for special occasions.
The kaftan refers to the Moroccan garment that looks like the djellaba but without a hood. The origins of the kaftan go back to the Ottoman Empire, as it was one of the finest Ottoman clothing worn by the elite. Like other garments, it has gone through changes over the years.
In Morocco, women wear it during special occasions like a wedding. The kaftan is the basic garment of the bride on her wedding day. It is also worn under a takshita, which is another beautifully decorated gown with traditional, hand-made buttons on the front, wide sleeves and a thick belt worn around the waist. As opposed to a djellaba, a kaftan is not worn outside the house.
As a foreigner in Morocco, you can wear any type of traditional Moroccan clothing. It is perfectly acceptable and even well appreciated. In winter, a man can wear a woolen djellaba over his clothes to keep warm. And, if a woman has invited people over to celebrate a holiday, she can put on a kaftan to receive her guests.