Traditional Iranian Outfits

Traditional Iranian Outfits


Gone are the days, when that domain was a superpower on the planet earth and she gave birth to one of the oldest and phenomenal civilizations. We’re talking about the miraculous country presently known as Iran and formerly known as Persia, the land enriched with dazzling heritage and unique cultures. It was a region that gained immense freedom mostly but in the pre-historic times, Persia remained under the dominations of Greek invaders. Similarly in the Middle Ages and afterwards, it was occupied by Arabs, Turks and Mongols.

An Iranian lady portraying the Persian traditional fashion
An Iranian lady portraying the Persian traditional fashion

It should be better understood that the fusion and diversity of the greatest civilizations which were already started to develop in the Persian heritage reached to their climax in the Modern ages, when Safavid, Afsharid and other descending dynasties took over Persia in different periods of history. After the decline of Qajars in 1925, Reza Shah and his son ruled over Iran until 1979 and finally the monarchy was ended, when Islamic revolution took place in Iran. The country was made the Islamic republic.

Dress code of Iranian religious scholars. Image by opalpeterliu
Dress code of Iranian religious scholars. Image by opalpeterliu

Traditional dress of Iran is a product of the glorious Persian heritage. Traditional outfits for Iranian men include the Pirahan, Shalvar, and Jameh combination. According to the historian, Shalwar Kameez which is a popular traditional dress in South Asia was introduced by the Persians. Iranian men also use a wide belt known as “Kamarband” or “cummerbund“. Headdresses were also worn by men known as the Sarband. Such dresses were imported by the Mughal emperors during their era to the Indian sub-continent as well.

Traditional costumes display by a couple in Sa'dabad Palace-Tehran, Iran. Image by kamshots
Traditional costumes display by a couple in Sa’dabad Palace-Tehran, Iran. Image by kamshots

Recent history reveals that the traditional dress for the Iranian women also included trousers, chemise or blouse which was normally in bell-shaped along with jackets and other sort of over-garments. For wealthy and urban living women, trousers were bit tight while in the other remote parts of Iran, women used to wear baggy trousers. Chemise (blouse) locally known as Pirahan was usually made with different types of fabrics. With the passage of times, many trends were introduced in the designing of Pirahan and by the end of the nineteenth century, women’s pirahans became short having waist-height or slightly lower.

Folk costumes from Iran. Photo by Allison Stillwell Young
Folk costumes from Iran. Photo by Allison Stillwell Young

Traditional jackets or over-coats used by Iranian women were usually made with a variety of fabrics and those were adorned with heavy brocades and embroidery. These jackets were usually remained un-fastened. Long robes and loin cloths were also worn by the women and men in Persia. They often used gold jewelry.

Iran. Magnifcent traditional outfits and ornaments
Iran. Magnifcent traditional outfits and ornaments

Passion of using jewelry was at its peak in every era of history among the Iranian women. It included armbands, belts, bracelets, brooches, chin decorations, earrings, hair decorations, necklaces, as well as rings. Special attention was paid to the eyes by the Iranian women as kohl was painted around the eyes with a small stick. In this way the eyes were made larger and darker.

Iranian Kurd women in traditional outfits. Image by Kurdistan Photo
Iranian Kurd women in traditional outfits. Image by Kurdistan Photo

Iran geographically being a huge and demographically being a diverse country has many regions and ethnicities. Every region has its own folk-dances with-in Iran what are usually performed during the festivities and traditional celebrations. And when it comes to Iranian folk-dances, every region has its own distinctive costuming.

Persian dancing costume. Image by davidyuweb
Persian dancing costume. Image by davidyuweb

Dancing was very popular in the Persian history and the Persian classical dance is famous for its technique, style and costumes. The Persian dancers normally used to wear loosely-fitted long dress with long sleeves along with a jacket. The jacket extended over the sides of the hips and was either worn open or closed. The Qadjar dancers wore pants under the dress. A purely Persian pant was cut narrow and cuffed and loose at the bottom.

Persian dancer posing gorgeously wearing traditional costume.
Persian dancer posing gorgeously wearing traditional costume.

Sometimes a Turkish harem pant was worn, extremely full and gathered tight at the ankles. The fabrics were bright in color and flowered. Upon the head was worn an egret, a small paisley-shaped hat adorned with jewels, pearls and a feather. Hair was worn long and elaborate, with side locks and bangs fashioned into shapes.

A group of young women posing on the Khaju Bridge in Isfahan. Image by travfotos
A group of young women posing on the Khaju Bridge in Isfahan. Image by travfotos

After the revolution of 1979, the Iranian women are strictly bound to wear loose-fitting dresses along with a head-covering. Now scarves and veils have also become an integral part of the traditional dress form woman in Iran. But the Iranian women have not left their habits to wear the best and sophisticated clothes with magnificent designs. Even today, the Iranian women although follow the government restrictions, yet they fulfill their desires to dress up in brightly colors outfits and to make their appearances gorgeous.

Modern Iranian lady in stylish outfits. Image by Ali Reza Omidvand
Modern Iranian lady in stylish outfits. Image by Ali Reza Omidvand

Nowadays apart from the head scarf which is natively called as roo-sari, the Iranian ladies also wear a knee-length coat known as a roo-poosh along with a long dress or pair of pants.

From North-west Iran. Traditional outfits. Image  by Adam Jones, Ph.D. - Global Photo Archive
From North-west Iran. Traditional outfits. Image by Adam Jones, Ph.D. – Global Photo Archive

Chador is another garment which is common among the Iranian women. Chador is a full length semi-circular fabric when worn, it naturally covers full body. It is to be remembered that Chador is normally without any type of fasteners. Obviously chador is also accompanied by a Hijab or a scarf. This is true that head covering is essential under Iranian law for women, yet extremely tight scarves are found rarely. Women are normally seen in a way that their hair fall freely.  Nowadays, chadors are usually made from a black cloth, which is normally either a cotton or synthetic material.

Friendly Iranians pose for a photo in the old Bazar-e Vakil at Shiraz, Iran. Image  by D-Stanley
Friendly Iranians pose for a photo in the old Bazar-e Vakil at Shiraz, Iran. Image by D-Stanley

Another cloak type garment is normally used by the Iranian women which is known as Manteau. The purpose is the same like Chador to cover arms, neck and other body.  Manteau and Roo-posh have gained the significance as a compulsory uniform for the Iranian women nowadays.

Iranian couple in modern outfits. Image by Adam Jones, Ph.D. - Global Photo Archive
Iranian couple in modern outfits. Image by Adam Jones, Ph.D. – Global Photo Archive

Present dress-code for Iranian men is mostly like the western outfits. Short-sleeved shirts and t-shirts are acceptable for daily wear. Shorts and three-quarter length pants are only acceptable on the beach. They wear formal suiting in official and corporate affairs.

Day to day wear. Three Iranian old men. Photo by Ai@ce
Day to day wear. Three Iranian old men. Photo by [email protected]

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