The clothing of Afghanistan people has always been special with beautiful colors and designs. In the 1950s, the designs of the clothing were much similar to western style of that time as women in Kabul were wearing miniskirts just like their counterparts in the western world. The traditional dressing reflects diversity, culture of the afghan people and geopolitical dynamics of their country.
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The Afghanistan clothing first differentiates between men and women (Afghanistan Clothing par. 1). Customarily women four garments— pants (tombaan), an overdress (parahaan), head gear (chaadar) and footwear (payzarr). This combination in known as Afghan women dress (kaala Afghani). On the other hand, men wear an over shirt, a hat or cap, and foot wear or boots. In addition they also wear a vest, another hat and shawl during cold seasons. Cotton and wool are the most common materials used in making the Afghani clothing. Silk is also used although it is quite expensive. At the time of the Taliban regime, women used to wear long dress with trouser and Burqa on top (Afghanistan Clothing par. 2).
The part in front of the burqa reaches to the knee while the part on the back goes to the ankle. Women were supposed to wear only black shoes. White shoes were not allowed because the flag of the Taliban regime was white and wearing white was seen as stepping on the flag.
The traditional clothing for women of Afghanistan is quite unique and very beautiful. Its uniqueness is based on the well designed embroidery that is made by use of hands. Their dress is long and is made of cotton and also comes in different colors with a matching trouser, head scarf, a purse and flat shoes known as paizar. The style of clothing for the women has changed over the years due to war and cultural invasions. Currently, it is composed of jeans and head scarf for covering the head. While inside their homes, women wear a long knee dress with trousers and headscarf and a black or matching trouser usually made of cotton and it is worn during summer. This is the basis for clothing of the women in Afghanistan (Afghanistan Clothing par. 6).
The classic Afghanistan clothing for men is long up to the knee and has a voluminous trouser known as Perahan Tunban. This dress became common during the reign of the Taliban. The Taliban banned foreign clothes and styles such as jeans, and pants. However, today men wear jeans and suits (Brown and Kazem 36). In addition, they also wear long-sleeved coats with sleeves that reach the calves made of silk that comes in stripped colors. This cloth is exclusive and is worn over the Perahan Tunban. This is a reserve for the rich people. In addition, men cover their heads by wearing several types of hats that come in different names Qarakul (made from lamb skin), Pakool (wool), Turban (silk or cotton), or normal caps that come in black and white colors. The current clothing of men is a mixture of all types and has a blend of the west and Afghan styles. For those who have no money to purchase new clothes, they can get clothes from second hand dealers who sell clothes from abroad. However; there are some who cannot afford different second hand clothes because they are of higher quality.
The Afghanistan clothing is also unique in that it differentiates age and stays in society. For example, although the afghan women wear pants, overdress, and foot wear, aesthetic characteristics are not the same across the ages. The focus for decorations are preserved for pant cuffs, dress bodices and head gear borders as the women grow old and gain status through engagement, marriage and birth. These changes are also experienced in men clothing, though to a lesser degree (Afghanistan Clothing par. 7).
Afghanistan clothing is also unique as it reflects religious affiliations. Most Afghani’s are Muslims and their religion has a strict prescription on how people are supposed to wear. Islamic code of dressing “govern fit, transparency, and drape of dress” In essence people are required to wear dress that fit loosely so that body contours are not noticeable. Another aspect of the afghan clothing is that it depicts regional association. Embroidery styles of the afghan clothing tend to be linked to geographic regions as well as ethnic groups
The traditional fashion for children is almost similar to adult ones depending on the size. That of boys has a” chest piece embroidery Perhan Tunban and has golden stitch embroidery waistcoat and a golden stitch embroidery hat” The girl’s clothing is also similar to that of women “Lebassay Afghani” and has a small head size scarf and shoes. However, modern clothing includes jeans and shirts and cotton pants for the boys. For girls it is a two piece knee length dress with trousers and is known as panjabbi (Afghanistan Clothing par. 8).
The clothing of the Afghanistan people, observed in the context of daily life, is unique as it differentiates people based on gender, age, region and religion. The clothing serves to bring the people and maintain a sense of afghan uniqueness. The afghan clothing style is used to bring unity among the people of Afghanistan and also differentiate themselves from other people in Middle East, Central and South Asia.