Saudi Arabian Traditional Dress

In Saudi Arabia, as in all countries, climate, usefulness, and custom influence dress.

Men and boys wear the thawb, an ankle length piece of clothing which is long and fits loosely. Athough the thawb covers almost the entire body, it allows air to circulate freely. This piece of clothing was traditionally made of cotton, but it is also made of other kinds of cloth.

Men also wear a ghutra an iqal on their heads. This is a square head cloth with a double circle of black rope or cord to hold it on the head.

Today Saudi men and boys wear this head cloth not only with the thawh, but also with work clothes. This headcloth comes in plain white and in red-and-white checks. It is folded diagonally to make a triangle.


Women and girls in Saudi Arabia wear a long dress with long sleeves. It is called a jallabia (or sometimes a thawh). It comes in different colors: black, green, purple, blue…and a lot more colors.

The dress is long so that it can cover every part of the body because our religion does not allow us to show any parts of our body. We have to cover everything.

Women in Saudi Arabia don’t wear these dresses every day now. They only wear them on special days or when they feel like wearing them, but the Bedouins, people who live in the desert in Saudi Arabia, still wear jallabias every single day.