26 Jan 2012


Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

The Jellaba, also called Djellaba or Kaftan refers to the Moroccan garment without hood

The origins of the Jellaba go back to the Ottoman Empire, as it was one of the finest Ottoman clothing worn by the elite. Like other garments, it has gone through changes over the years. Men and women wear Jellabas equally. They are also worn in Egypt.

Jellabas protect against the heat, the cold, the wind and the sand. It's a very comfortable garment and exists in different materials for warm and cold weather.

As a foreigner in Morocco or Egypt, you can wear any type of traditional clothing. It is perfectly acceptable and even well appreciated. In winter, a man can wear a woolen djellaba over his clothes to keep warm. And, if a woman has invited people over to celebrate a holiday, she can put on a Jellaba to receive her guests.

In Morocco, women wear it during special occasions like a wedding. The Jellaba is the basic garment of the bride on her wedding day. It is also worn under a takshita, which is another beautifully decorated gown with traditional, hand-made buttons on the front, wide sleeves and a thick belt worn around the waist (see picture below).

There are also very beautiful Jellabas with handmade broderie and semi precious stones, which are worn as evening garments.

My very first Jellaba I bought in Egypt on a cruise on the Nile.

It was thrown on board for the tourists to buy from Egyptians sitting in little boats. The money we put in a basket and let it down to the boat with a cord. I still wear it on special occasions when I am on holidays, it's the one with the long sleeves. The turquoise one is for summer when it's very warm.

They are so easy to wear on your bathsuit, when you have to go for lunch or supper in a hotel.
These once I also bought in Egypt, until I realized that I can find them in Brussels on the big Sunday market, because there are a many Morrocans who live here. The price is between 8 and 10 €, (13 $) so it's not worthwhile to buy them in Egypt or Morocco and to carry them home. It's about the same price.

Since I discovered the Jellaba, I also wear it at home instead of a dressing gown, these two once are for the winter and in velvet. The red one I bought in the UK in an Indian shop in 2007 ! It had been washed and washed and still looks nearly new !

At least if some unexpected visitors come in the morning they find me in an "evening dress" !

And when Claudie Commedia Land came for a week to Brussels, she also bought a Jellaba !


anitamombanita said...

Now that's my kinda clothing! Comfort above all else!! Some of those are gorgeous too!

A Lady's Life said...

I also love these kind of clothes but to sleep in I prefer pants.
They are great for the beach and when I was younger I would wear them shopping.
I also love the pants the Sikhs wear. They are so comfortable. I once had pants like this with a jacket and I wore them till they tore. I loved them so much.:)

Mara said...

They look really nice and comfortable. Oh, and colourful as well...

diane b said...

They look comfortable and pretty. It would hide my rolls of fat. When we migrated to Australia way back when, we stopped in suez and Aden and the people came in their little boats and used baskets like you described. So they have been doing it for years.

Cathy Kennedy said...

I think the Jellaba's the Morrocco women wear are quite beautiful. This is an outfit's loose fit has to be quite comfortable and so pretty to wear anywhere.

Riet said...

Now that is easy dressing and you always look dressed.

Sue said...

I wouldn't mind wearing one of these myself!


storybeader said...

they look very comfortable. And the wedding dresses are beautiful - love all that embroidery and all! {:-D

Jo said...

oh I think i need one ... not only do they look comfortable, but they are beautifully embellished.

Judie said...

Gattina, this is just the type of garment that I simply love to wear! Where can I get one????

Vicki/Jake said...

Screams comfort! I could live in them:) Thanks for showing these...

Jenny said...

Wow. Love this word...jellaba! I am going to use this in a dress store to confuse the employees!

Such an elegant and comfortable look! You look beautiful in yours!

Thanks for a jaunty little post about jellabas for the letter "J".