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Dress from the Gulf States: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates

Fadwa El Guindi and Wesam al-Othman

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Central and Southwest Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Khalij (Arab Gulf) dress that is characteristic of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the Emirates shares the core code underlying dress and some aspects of form with Arab-Islamic dress in general. In the contemporary Arab Gulf region the tendency to mark gender by dress is quite dramatic. In Qatar, for example, women (young and old) dress in black and men (young and old) in white. Both sexes wear long clothing with long sleeves and wear head covers. But these clothing items have different referents

The Abayeh in Qatar

Christina Lindholm

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Central and Southwest Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The abayeh is a contemporary long cloaklike garment worn by most Qatari women outside the home. The wearing of the abayeh and the shayla, the head covering, is not legally enforced, and both garments can be modified and decorated by the individual. While many own and wear Western dress at home, abayehs are willingly retained as a sign of respect for the woman’s culture, heritage, family honor, and gendered place in society. Most Qatari females adopt the abayeh and shayla at the onset of puberty.

Twenty-First-Century Qatari Abayeh Fashions

Christina Lindholm

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Central and Southwest Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Women in Qatar, like many other conservative Muslim Middle Eastern countries, dress in a black robe, the abayeh, and long headscarf, the shaylah. They are adhering to the Qur’anic directive to dress modestly and interpret this as wearing all-covering robes and concealing their hair. There is little agreement on why the women “cover.” Some scholars state that it provides privacy and protection from the eyes of male strangers. Others believe that by wearing plain, anonymous robes, women protect men

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