Omani Dress 101

As part of our Women’s Studies class we took a trip on Sunday to the Centre for Omani Dress, which works to preserve and document all the different traditional dresses of Oman. They are in the process of creating a full-fledged museum but we were able to see part of their extensive collection.

The clothes they have are great representations of the diversity present in Oman, which due to it’s long history and multitude of ethnic groups has several different types of dress that have been common in the past and are still worn today. Some of the styles are specific to a certain tribe or reflect influences from overseas, for example from India or Tanzania.

Men:

The official dress of Oman for men is the dishdasha, a floor-length robe that is typically white but can be found in any color of the rainbow. It is worn with a kumah, an embroidered cap, or a massar, an embroidered cloth wrapped around the head. The massar is usually considered to be more formal but both are very common.

Women:

Most women that you see on the street wear abayas, a long black robe that comes in an infinite amount of styles. There are ones that open in the front, ones with buttons, ones that are closed, and beyond that they can be decorated with almost anything from simple black stitching to sparkly cheetah print stripes. This is always accompanied by a shayla or headscarf.

On special occasions, specifically weddings, women tend to go all out and get very dressed up. There are almost always sparkles and bright colors involved. Being here I have seen the strict fashion rules about matching colors and prints that we have in the U.S. go completely out the window in place of a celebration of color, pattern and design. I can tell you, even though the dress is much more conservative, this way is more fun!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Allen Israel
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 14:25:35

    Miriam,
    If I still had Casual Corner I would adapt some of these styles for our market, espcially patterns and colors. Thanks for sending this. I think you are enjoying these fashions.
    Love,
    Poppa

    Reply

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