Traditional Costumes

Traditional CostumesCotton and wool are the main material used in Afghanistan and these are woven and dyed and made into garments by each family or group.

Women wear the Chadri, which covers a woman from head to foot. with a latticed slit for the eyes, is made of cotton in shades of blue, brown, black. In the rural parts, women working on the land dispense with this, but cover their faces in the presence of a stranger. The women near Pakistan’s border wear long, full trousers, often red in colour, with a loose, long-sleeved tunic dress, rather like the kameez, together with a draped headscarf. This is the basis of many of the women’s costumes and the tunic varies in length and design. In the northern areas striped material is used, often dyed red from madder or in shades of blue and brown. Loose sleeveless, hip-length jackets are worn in full-length striped coat for warmth.

Young girls go bareheaded, but women cover their heads with long headscarves, the colours varying according to the groups to which they belong. The scarves are tied round the head, leaving a long end hanging down the back, which can be drawn across the face. A white headscarf signifies the married status.

The men wear a thigh-length, long-sleeved shirt which is belted at the waist with a skirt effect to the lower half. A sleeveless waistcoat is worn over the shirt and there are loose fitting white trousers. Another form of dress is the long-sleeved, ankle-length ‘chupan’. This is a long coat made in wool, often white in colour and worn by the mountain peopl in the winter season. The chupan is worn over loosely fitting jackets and trousers, or is wrapped round the body like a cloak. There is also a similar type of coat which is made in stripes of darkish colours.

In the winter, thick woolen, hand-knitted stockings are worn with leather boots. Children and adults wear sandals or a form of boot as protection against the rough mountainous ground or earth. The hide comes from the Yak, which is found throughout the highlands of central Asia. In the cities, the open toe sandals is very common and sometimes shoes with up-pointed toes are seen. There are various forms of headgear which include the large turbans with a long end hanging down the back, neat around astrakhan hats, woolen knitted hats and large fur sheepskin hats.