The headdress starts with the “tagiyah”, a small white knit skullcap. Over this men wear the “ghutra” a large cotton square folded in a triangle. This is usually red and white. This is folded over the tagiyah. The loose ends of the ghuta can be used to protect the face in case of a sand storm and can also be used to shield the face from the sun. Lastly, the “iqal” a double black cord holds the ghuta in place.
Religion dictates that women cover themselves in the presence of men who are not close relatives. Women in public will generally wear the abaya, a scarf to cover the hair and a veil to cover the face. However, Saudi women are very much interested in fashion and will wear western style clothes under the abaya. Abayas in different colors are also becoming popular and some prominent designers have shown them in fashion shows. Thobes for women may be embroidered or beaded on the front.
Dress codes for foreigners are not as strict as for Saudis but foreigners are still expected to dress modestly in public. Bare midriffs or bare arms and legs are not acceptable for men or women in public. Women are expected to cover their heads and wear loose clothing. Tight fitting clothes on women are not acceptable.
About the Author
Sara works at HilalPlaza, which offers Women’s and Men’s Islamic Clothing of various styles and fashions.