Traditional Algerian clothing is in keeping with the principle of modesty according to Muslim societies. This does not mean it has to be colorless. Read our guide for more facts and information...
Although many men have picked up clothing fashions from Europe, there is also a great number or men who choose to dress in the traditional Algerian style. A fez is worn as a hat. They then drape themselves in a cloak called a gandoura. This is made of wool for winter wear and linen for summer wear and is usually white or brown. They may also wear a cape called a burnous, which may be heavily embroidered according to the wealth of the wearer. This is worn over a long shirt. Underneath there is a shorter shirt, and this may be topped by a vest.
Tuareg men who are members of a Berber tribe from the south of Algeria wear a length of indigo cloth wrapped around the head in a turban. This extends over their robes, and covers all facial features except their eyes.
This is the point that Algerian designers really have worked on in recent years. Women may still dress traditionally according to Muslim law, but also show their love for color and design.
Traditionally the women wear a haik which drapes them from head to toe and may be used as a veil to cover their face. This is worn over loose fitting pants that are gathered at the ankles.
Other clothing for women combines the modesty required by Muslim law with women’s love for bright colors and intricate design. Shades of red, yellow, greens and blue are typically used. Heavy gold and silver embroidery is added.
One traditional outfit is the karakou which is a velvet jacket embroidered with gold and silver thread. This is worn with traditional saroul or Arab pants. This style is popular in the capital of Algiers.
From Tlemcen in the west of Algeria comes the blousa. This is a full length straight dress made from lace and has a sequined chest. A traditional dress from the eastern part of Algeria is the Djerba Fergani. This dress is always made of velvet and embroidered in gold and silver. The sleeves of the dress may be made of lace. Most of these fashions are reserved for wear at weddings or other special occasions. They all meet the requirements of modesty under the Islamic code, but all look lovely on the woman wearing them.