** boys clothes: Turkey garments

Turkish Boys Clothes: Garments

Figure 1.--This unidentifid Turkish boy was probably photograhed outside his home. Notice how he is dressed in Western fashions, a knickers suit and flat cap. Notice his fortress-like home.

HBC at this time has only limited information on Turkish boys' garment. Turkey was the most Westrernized country in the Middle East. This was in part a matter of geography. It was also a matter of great power conflict. The Ottoman Empire was one of the great powers and for a time threatened to drive deep into Europe well beyond the Balkans. Tradition clothing prevailed. There were garments grounded in Islamic custom. Women wore abaya dresses and men wore turbans and fezzes. To compete with Europe the Ottomans had to keep up with European technology. The failure to keep pace with Europe led to it becoming eventually known as 'the sick man of Europe' (19th century). While the Ottoman Empire was the most advanced country in the Middle East, it was much less developed than Europe. Some Western clothing was worn in the cities, but traditional clothing was widely worn in the villages and countryside. Women in oparticular continued to wear traditional clothing. The Ottomanns inability to field a modern army led to defeat in World War I (1914-18) and the collapse of the Empire. Kemal Atatürk, an Ottoman general, set out to modernize Turkey which meant westernize it. This included all aspects of Turkish docirty, including deemphssizing Islam. And promoting Western dress was part of that process. As a result, Turkish clothing changed dramatically in the 20th century after World War I. Attaturk and the modenizers made certain traditional clothing items like the fez illegal (1925). Turkish people began people began to wear more European styleed clothing. Women continued to use pieces of traditional Turkish fashionm, but men usually wear primarily European styles. Some older men in the contry side continued to wear traditional styles for a while. Western dress became common in Turkey and very fashionable. School childrren wore Western styles. Even Turkey has been affected by the growing strength of Islamic fundamentalism. This has affected fashion, but mostly the clothes worn by girls and women.

Traditional Garments

Traditional clothing as in many countries is a part of culture. Turks as other peoole wove their own clothing and make dyes from natural plant ingredients. Their culture was reflected in the designs they created and the colors they used. The country's different regions developed distinctive characteristics and styles in their headwear, clothing, scarves, and hosiery. The roots of traditional clothing lie with the Turkish tribes that migrated to Anatolia and the Ottoman Empire that developed there. Perhaps the two most distinctive features of Ottoman dress were turbans and baggy trousers. One of the typical features of Turkish clothing is the use of multiple layers. Men might wear trousers, a long robe and a jacket on top. Women usually wore several scarves or kerchiefs of different colors. Flamboyance has been used to describe Turkish traditional styles. The traditional clothing tended to be not only colorful, but bright, giving a striking appearance. Fashion historians note hosiery as important in Turkish traditional clothing. Turkish socks were handmade and very bright. We see many different patterns. The yarn used for knitting was colorful and natural. The socks were not just a fashionable item, bur worn for warmth. Turkey has seven geographical regions: Aegean, Black Sea, Central Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia, Marmara, Mediterranean and Southeastern Anatolia. Some of the important national styles were: Cepken, Entari, Fes, Islak, Salvar, Yasmak, and Yelek. Each of these regions had its own clothing and fashion traditions. Today few Turkish people wear traditional clothing. Men and boys tend to wear European style. occasionally mixing some elements of the folk dress with their western outfits. Women are more likely to wear traditional garments. It is women who have retained traditional styles more fully and keep the traditions.


The traditional headwear associated with the Ottoman Empire was the turban. A more modern innovation was the turban, but banned by the nationalist Turkish government after World War I. The Hat Law (1925) was aimed at promoting Western style headwar instead of the fez. Turbans were no longer worn to any extent, but ghe fezwas wideky worn. The legislation was aimed at men. The legislation did not prohibit the veils or headscarves worn by women. A further clothing law was passed in 1934 with the law relating to the wearing of 'Prohibited Garments'. It banned religion-based clothing, such as the veil and turban and promoted western-style attire.

Skirted Garments

We do not yet know much about skirted garments in Turkey. We do see some boys wearing tunics in the late Ottoman Empire. It seems to have been a kind of schoolwear. We are not sure if it was a school uniform or simply a choice of schoolwear by the parents. Turkish as other Middle-Eastern school children commonly wore school smocks. I think the smocks were almost always associated with school wear. I do not have many details on the styles involved or the extent to which individual schools dictated specific styles. Some images show that the smocks might be worn with large Peter Pan collars. Turkish boys almost always wore their smocks with long trousers. The turkish smocks also seem rather short. Our turkish archive is too limited to make any assessments at this time.

Other Garments


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Created: 10:52 PM 12/12/2021
Last updated: 10:52 PM 12/12/2021