Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Omani Gentleman's Attire - Part 1

Men's Fashion in Oman:

Traditional white dishdasha with fareeha
1. Dishdasha [Dishdadeesh (pl.)] - The dishdasha is a  floor-length robe with a short cord-like tassel called "fareeka" hanging from the neck area. This tassel was reportedly used for saturating with perfume, but in practice most men use bahoor (perfume-soaked wood incense) to steam the perfume into their clothes.

The traditional dishdasha is white and is required for entering and doing business in government buildings; however, tan, cream, blue and black (in Salalah region) coloured dishdasha are also popular.

In the interior regions or Batinah region, wearing a dishdasha with a longer "fareeka" is seen, as well as, dishdasha that closes at the neck with small buttons (closer to Emirati style) and sans (without) "fareeka".

Dishdasha can be purchased "ready-made", or can be custom tailored. The average cost for tailoring a dishdasha is about 20 OMR (50 USD, 33 quid). Cotton is the most common fabric used; the softer the cotton the less stiff and more comfortable the garment will be. After cleaning, dishdasha need to be ironed. It costs around 200 Bz to launder the robe. 

Under the dishdasha, men wrap a 'wazar' (not to be confused with 'wazeer' – government Minister), a thin piece of cloth reaching almost floor length from waist, snugly tied around their waists and on top wear an undershirt called "fanella" similar to Western undershirts.

Alternate style with button neck; no tassel
Alternate style with longer tassel;
worn in Buraimi, Batiniah, interior

Examples of dishdasha 'in action'.

2. Headwear:

Omani traditional cap or kuma
To complete their outfits, Omani men cover their heads with either a cap (kuma) which is the shape of an upside-down flower pot or turban (misr). Turbans are considered more formal than kuma. The headwear can be bought in sooks or local retail stores. Most are imported.

Kumas must be sized properly to fit the head. The few hand-sown kumas made in Oman are the priciest. The average cost of a kuma is from around 10 OMR to 30 OMR depending on quality and negotiations with the merchant.

Government officials wearing classic turbans
Royal turban

Turbans can be found in many colours and varieties of quality of fabric and workmanship. Turbans are considered Kashmiri handicrafts due to the hand-embroidered design work. A white-colored turban with design work is considered classic.

High quality turbans are made from very soft pashmire or shahtoosh with intricate and meticulous embroidered patterns. Less quality turbans from a rougher and less intricate designs. The worst quality is machine-made turbans. The royal family 'Al-Said' has a signature-style, colorful turban they often wear for official business.
Turban tied with more "relaxed" style.
Photo of Prince Hamdan of Dubai (Emirati)
Style in wrapping the turbans also varies from region to region. In the northern regions, men tend to leave more material flowing down the back rather than tightly wrapping and tucking loose ends in like in the capital Muscat.

The following chart shows pricing guidelines for purchasing turbans. Be sure to wrap the turban to see how the design looks folded. Most every merchant is open to negotiations, and it is not expected one will buy at the first named price.

Kashmiri Turban  / Approx. merchant cost / Retail price range / Notes

Highest Quality / 150 OMR + /Shahtoosh, extreme softness and delicate, intricate design, light colors
High Quality / 55 OMR / 65-125 OMR / very soft fabric, wraps easily, check edges to make sure authentic
Mid Quality 2 / 32-35 OMR / 38-65 OMR / soft with nice design; embroidery stitches larger, many colors
Mid Quality 1/ 28 OMR / 32-45 OMR / quality level adequate, most popular sold, best deal for the money
Low Quality /<10 OMR / 10 -30 OMR / rough material, some machine made

Cotton Turbans
Cotton turbans are also popular, but usually do not have intricate embroidery. They normally come in checkered patterns such as red and white. The cost is anywhere from 1 to 12 OMR.

    This describes Omani men's traditional clothes including dishdasha and turbans,

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