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Qatar Clothing

Qatar Clothing

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Read about Qatar's National Dress

Qatar clothing has changed over the years. Women's clothing in particular has become richer and more decorated, especially with regard to wedding clothes. Gold thread and jewellery now embellish the clothes, replacing the traditional silver of poorer times.

However, though it may have changed over the years, Qataris are proud of their clothing. Far from being something brought out for special occasions, traditional clothes are worn with pride on a daily basis.

Qatari Women's Clothing | Qatari Men's Clothing | Links and Resources

Qatar Women's Dress

A colourful row of clothes hang in a Doha Souq.When women are outside the home, or present with non-male relatives, their hair will normally be covered, obeying Mohammed's command to cover your shameful parts.

The interpretation of what is shameful is very broad. Some of the more liberal Qataris have started to wear hijab far back on their heads, others allow a fringe to peep through; some cover their hair completely. In recent years, it is not unknown for a hijab to 'accidentally' fall off while in a fashionable shopping mall. Meanwhile, when abroad some liberable Qataris do away with the hijab altogether. It is still rare to see this in Qatar.

Other Qataris choose to cover their whole face. Even here there is variation; eyes may be open (and heavily decorated with makeup), or closed with sunglasses, or even with thin, see-through cloth. There is debate in the Muslim world over whether covering your face is allowed under Islam, and certainly when women perform the Haj: a pilgrimage that forms one of the five pillars of Islam it is forbidden to cover the face.

Ultimately, within Qatar there is choice as to what women wear. However, while sometimes it is the women who choose whether to cover their face, at other times the choice will be made by her family or her husband.

Also see: Why do women cover their face in Qatar?

A covered women on a sign.Sheila

(Slang) The covering worn by women over their head. Also known as hijab or khemaar.


Qatari word for dress.


Originally a word for the long flowing dress that Qatari women wear nowadays normallay used for men's dress.

Abbayah (Abaya)

(Formerly called Aldaffah): a one piece cloak which covers the women from the top of head to their toes.
Read more on fashion beneath the abaya


A dress that was traditionally by girls before marriage. It covered their head and chest and flowed over the back. They used to start wearing this between the age of ten and fourteen, which was when they became eligible for marriage. This is no longer worn.

Qatar Men's Clothing

A man stands with Ghottra wrapped around his face to keep  out the dust.The Ghutra and Ogaal (see below) can be worn in many different ways. Young men like to tilt their Ogaal rakishly to show off their daredevil character, while more conservative and older men like to wear it straight. It does seem to require constant readjustment - especially in shopping malls in front of young ladies!


Cloth folded and placed on the head. Also refers to the clothes worn in winter, which is warmer and is made of kashmiri wool. This is often white in Qatar, but can also be a checked red and white.


A brown or black rope-like coil placed on top of the ghutra.


A cloak ususally made of wool which is worn outside the house.

A bedouin lady wearing the traditional maskBedouin women would also wear a mask or himaar (also known as nekap or burget), which was made of silver or some other solid material. This now seems to be on its way out - it is rare to see younger women wearing this.

Al thobe or thawb

A long, usually white, dress, with a collar which is like a European shirt but extends down to the feet. In the past men wore a collarless thawb al shadd, made of light wool and a thawb ashalhatt with long sleeves. See Thobe for more information.


A pair of long pants worn under the thobe.


This was a white sarong worn by Qatari men in the past. In Qatar, this has been replaced by the Sirwaal, but it is still widely worn in the UAE and Oman.


Leather sandals.

Thobe shilhat

Popular in the last century, this collarless shirt's sleeves went from narrow at the shoulder to incredibly wide at the wrists, forming a triangular shape.

Links and Resources

Culture of Qatar:
see the dress code section.

Related Pages

Useful words and phrases.

Dress Code:
Watch a movie about what you should wear in Qatar.