Since ancient times headdresses have protected Arab men from the hot sun, the sand and wind of their desert environment. The style and choice of headdress reveals a lot about the wearer’s nationality, status, and religion.

In the six countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Oman) it is the norm for those countries’ nationals to wear traditional Arab dress and head gear. There are details of difference between these countries.

A majority of Arab males wear a keffiyeh or shemagh. It is a traditional square cotton scarf, which they put on their heads and then hold it in place it with strong cord, known as agal . However, there a many different ways a shemagh can be draped around the head. Each tribe, area or even country has its own traditional colours. In the UAE it is mostly white with a black agal. This varies for Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Bahrain, etc. Other popular choices for headdresses, for example in Oman, are the traditional spherical caps and cotton turbans.

The Middle East may have changed a lot in terms of technology and development. But when it comes to fashion, tradition and culture dominate the scene. For this reason Arabs take pride in maintaining their historical dress code.


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