The Algerian national costume dress has remained much the same for centuries. For more facts and information read our guide…
Although many inhabitants of the large cities such as Algiers wear European type clothing, this is not the case in the less urban or rural areas of Algeria. Most people in these areas cling to the traditional garb.
Men in the less urbanized areas wear a gandoura or cloak which is made of white or brown wool. They also wear a shirt which is worn over another longer shirt. Men may also wear a burnous which is a cape. This cape is made of linen for summer wear and wool for the winter. It may be plain or ornately embroidered to show the wealth of the wearer. A fez, a type of cup shaped hat is also worn. A rural woman will traditionally wear a haik which is a veil like garment that covers the woman from head to toe. This is worn over loose fitting pants that are gathered at the ankles.
An interesting contradiction to Muslim dress is the Taureg men from a Berber tribe in the south of Algeria. In this tribe, the women are the family leaders and it is the men not the women who wear veils. The man will wear a length of indigo cloth wrapped over his head in a turban and it extends over his robes. It covers all his features completely other than his eyes.
The Berbers still to some extent are nomadic and shepherding is a way of life. Shepherds also dress in the traditional way. They wear a long turban over baggy pants. A leather girdle is worn around a cloak. The turban is long enough so that the bottom material may be drawn around the face in a veil.
The Ouled Nail
The Ouled Nail is a large Berber tribe. Here you find an exception in a young girls dress. The girls are instructed from a very young age by their mothers in the arts of love making and dancing. When the girls come of marrying age, they are expected to earn their dowry by dancing. The typical dancing costume consists of their hair being braided and oiled covered by a diadem. They wear ruffled dresses or a loose fitting outfit called a meliah, held together by jeweled pins.