Tunisian Garments: Traditional Garments

Figure 1.--The Europeans were interested in colonial people, for some reason especially the French. Here we see a postcard of a young Tunisian mother, dating about 1910. She wears traditinal clothing, but without any face covering.

Traditional clothing never disappeared during the colonial era. This was in part because much of the population remained outside of the urban francophone society. Today you continue to see both men and women weaing both styles. Tunisia is perhaps the most secular of all Arab countries. Often traditional dress was reserved for special occassions and festivals. But in the the old quarters of Tunis and rural areas, traditional garb is more common. Until after World War II, the fez was worn. The most common traditional male garment is the Jebba. It is made of wool, but fancy ones are done in silk. It covers just about the whole body except the forearms and the calves. The Jebba is sometimes worn with a Farmla, a kind of vest. A Sadra or Badia are also worn with the Jebba. The traditional outfit can be comoleted with a jacket that is called a Montane and some baggy trousers or Sirouel. A silk sash can be added as a sort of belt at the waist. The Jebba comes in a wide range of colors. A traditional round felt hat called the Chechia can also be seen. The Barnous is a traditional Tunisia garment worn in cold weather. You can see the boy on the previous page wearing one. It is basically the long woolen cloak worn by Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. The Blouza and Fouta are the major traditional women's garments. Thye are not as modest as many Islamists would like. The The Hijab was once prohibited by Tunisia's secular Government. Since the Arab Spring, however, you now see quite a mumber of women wearing them.


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Created: 7:12 PM 11/16/2016
Last updated: 7:12 PM 11/16/2016