Traditional Persian Dress Styles
Most people of Iran are Persians, but there are many other ethnic groups that make up a varied and interesting population. Each of the groups have their own distinct cultures, they have different traditions to one another, their own languages, clothes and cuisine. The differences between the ethnic groups are mostly brought out in the dress of the women, the color and type of their fabrics, the embroidery, and style of hijab they wear. This all gives an indication what tribe or which region the person comes from.
The Bakhtiari are a nomadic tribe who venture all over the landscape. This means they sometimes have to endure extreme weather conditions. Their dress reflects this, and most are very versatile to cope with the changes in climate. The men prefer to wear tunics, with baggy trousers that are fastened at the ankle. On their heads they wear a sort of skullcap made out of wool. The women wear skirts that are layered in many fabrics, and their long scarves will normally be adorned with hand stitched embellishments.
Hailing from Turkish origins, the Qashai tribe are another of the nomadic peoples of Iran. Like the Bakhtiari women, these people love wearing full-volume layered skirts, together with extra-long scarves that are attached under the chin. This enables the women to use their hair strands as a way to frame their faces. The unique fashion accessory for the men are a sort of round hat that is totally made of wool, it is a unique feature to this tribe.
The Baluchi people occupy the southeast regions of Iran that border with both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Their clothing is heavily influenced by these two neighboring countries, so the shalwar kameez is extremely popular. Another rather unique feature for women are the highly colorful dresses that are knee high. The women also like to wear a lot of jewelry such as decorative brooches, necklaces and bracelets made out of gold. In addition, it is common to see the women wearing shawls which is a way to cover the shoulders and head. As with many other tribes, the men prefer loose clothing with long pants. A turban is often the headwear of choice for Baluchi men.
Turkmen prefer to dress less glamorously and most of their clothing has earthy tones and colors. The women prefer to wear long robes and conceal their faces by hanging a piece of cloth which goes down as far as the nose. The men’s clothes are predominately dictated by the weather – wool hats, long trousers and warm tunics.
Our final ethnic group of Persia are the Kurds, and as they have quite a large population, their styles of dress changes depending which region they come from. The men and the women tend to wear similar looking garments, which are predominately baggy and fastened at the waist by a belt. The Kurdish women are famed for their scarves which they adorn with jewels and coins. The wonderful variation of Persian dress is simply enchanting, it keeps their identity and their culture alive.