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What is a Thawb?

THAWB, THOBE OR JUBBAH?

A Thawb, Thobe or Jubbah, also termed as a dishdasha or kandura is an ankle length arab garment, usually with long sleeves similar to that of a robe or a kaftan. A sirwal or trousers is typically worn underneath.

COLOUR

The truth is, there is no significance to the different colours you see in a Thawb, except for personal style and choice. White, by far, is the favourite colour. Arab men tend to wear white or lighter silky feel colours in the summer months, as it is the coolest to wear in the hot desert heat. The winter months sees a rise in the darker colours such as black or brown, usually made in thicker materials such as cotton or viscose.

STYLE

As every country has its own tradition, similarly it is the tradition of the arabs to wear a thawb. The style varies throughout the different regions of the arab world with each having their unique definition of it. The main indicator is seen when paying close attention to the neck and the sleeves. Here are a few examples:

  • Man in Morocco wearing the djellabah. The sleeves tend to be wide and comfortable with the neck being open allowing breathable space.  Qob is a baggy hood at the back of the djellabah that comes to a point. It is used as a protection against rains and sands of the desert, while being used as a pocket where bread can be put during the warm weather.
  • In UAE, the kandura has no collar and is indicated by the long loose tassel hanging from the neck. Matching embroidery is seen along the neck and the sleeves. 
uae emirati kandura thobe
  • The omani kandura resembles to that of the emirati, except that it has a shorter tassel to the side of the neckline.
omani thawb
  • The Dishdasha in Saudi Arabia are typically a tighter fit than the neighbouring gulf countries. The Saudi thawb appear like a shirt featuring a two-button collar and shirtsleeves made for cufflinks.
man wearing saudi arabia dishdasha
  • The Qatari Thawb is commonly made out of a shiny fabric. They have a band collar together with a shirt pocket.

A thawb is sometimes worn with a bisht, meaning outer cloak. A bisht is usually worn for prestige on special occasions such as weddings/eid or for the friday jumuah prayers . It may also be worn by men of status, royalty, wealth or sometimes a religious position. 

We often refer to women when it comes to the subject of dressing modestly in Islam. However, what many don’t know is that rules apply to both men and women. For that reason, men in the gulf countries wear the traditional Islamic clothing that is modest and unrevealing.

It is common for arab men to wear their Thawb with pride. You will barely ever see a guy walking around with a stain on his thawb or creases on his jubbah. This is how well they maintain their pristine glory.

Today, we see a growth in the Thawb industry. The Thawb has never gone out of fashion. It is a timeless piece with its elegance being preserved through history. Men’s Jubba have travelled to the UK too. They are advertised as men’s clothing for the modern day muslim male. Everyone loves the stylish look about the thawb.

We see traditional attire being reinvented with a contemporary edge for the modern generation. Everyone loves to see an updated Thawb.
The chance to feel traditional and stylish at the same time was once storybook. Now, we can live it. 

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