What is a Thobe?

What is a thobe? Designer white Emirati style thobe by Chenille Boutique


 A thobe, also known as a dishdasha or kandura, is a traditional ankle-length robe worn by men in the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of South Asia. It signifies modesty and is often made of lightweight fabrics like cotton for comfort in warm climates. While typically plain, modern variations may have subtle embellishments. The thobe holds cultural, religious, and social significance and is worn for everyday activities as well as formal occasions.


Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in traditional clothing, with designers blending thobe elements into contemporary fashion. Now, you can see casual and designer thobes in all metropolis in the world. 





What is Emirati style Thobe? What are differences between Emirati and Saudi Thobe style?


Emirati thobes, as you can see on the Chenille model above, typically have a tassel, rarely having a collar and shirt sleeves. High-end Emirate thobes frequently have ethnic embroidery shoulder motifs, such as this one on the designer model below:





Saudi thobe (kandura) models have a collar and yoke, frequently white, from time to time also in other colors. Saudi thobe style is typically more fit and probably you will select this style for your slim-fit thobe, although having in mind that today many thobe models can be tailored as slim fit. 





 How to select Omani style thobe? 


Omani thobes, a traditional dress in Oman, have a shorter tassel compared to Emirati thobe tassel, and similar to Saudi thobes, do not have a collar. Omani thobe has a specific embroidery that can help to differ them from other types of Middle East traditional clothes.





 Read more - content:

How to iron a thobe?

How to fold a thobe?

How to style a thobe?

How to measure a thobe?


How to iron a thobe? 

Ironing a thobe helps maintain its neat and crisp appearance. Here's a step-by-step guide to iron a thobe properly:

You'll Need:

  • An iron
  • Ironing board or a flat, padded surface
  • Clean spray bottle filled with water (optional)
  • Clean cloth (optional)


  1. Check the Fabric Label:

    • Different fabrics have different heat tolerances. Check the care label to ensure you're using the right heat setting.
  2. Prepare the Iron:

    • Plug in the iron and set it to the appropriate heat setting for the fabric. For cotton or blends, a medium-high heat is typically suitable. For delicate fabrics, use a lower heat setting.
  3. Set Up the Ironing Area:

    • Lay out the thobe on the ironing board or a clean, flat surface. Smooth out any wrinkles or folds.
  4. Steam (Optional):

    • If the thobe is particularly wrinkled, consider using a clean spray bottle to lightly mist the fabric with water. This can help to ease out stubborn wrinkles.
  5. Iron the Collar:

    • Start with the collar. Gently press and move the iron from one end to the other, taking care around any buttons or embellishments.
  6. Iron the Sleeves:

    • Fold one sleeve over the ironing board and iron the top side, then the bottom side. Repeat for the other sleeve.
  7. Iron the Body:

    • Begin at the top of the thobe and work your way down, using long, even strokes. Take care around any pockets, buttons, or decorations.
  8. Pay Attention to Detail:

    • If there are any intricate details or delicate areas (like embroidery), use a clean cloth as a buffer between the iron and the fabric to avoid direct contact.
  9. Adjust as Needed:

    • If you encounter any stubborn wrinkles, go over them with the iron or use a burst of steam.
  10. Hang or Fold Properly:

  • Once the thobe is thoroughly ironed, hang it up or fold it neatly to avoid new wrinkles.

Remember to always check the care label and use a lower heat setting for delicate fabrics. Take your time and be cautious around any embellishments to avoid damage. With care, your thobe will look fresh and well-maintained.


How to fold a thobe?

Folding a thobe is a simple process. Follow these steps for a neat and organized fold:

  1. Prepare a Flat Surface: Start by finding a clean, flat surface like a table or bed.

  2. Button Up: If your thobe has buttons, fasten them all. This helps maintain its shape while folding.

  3. Lay It Flat: Spread the thobe out on the surface with the front side facing down. Ensure that it's as flat and smooth as possible.

  4. Fold the Sleeves: Fold both sleeves towards the center of the thobe. They should overlap in the middle.

  5. Fold in Half: Fold the thobe in half from top to bottom, aligning the shoulders and the sides.

  6. Optional: Fold Again: Depending on the length of the thobe and the storage space available, you can fold it in half once more, or leave it as is.

  7. Store or Pack: Place the folded thobe in a storage space or suitcase, if needed.

Remember to handle the thobe gently to avoid wrinkles, especially if it's made from delicate fabrics. This basic folding technique should keep your thobe neat and organized for storage or travel.


How to style a thobe?

 Styling a thobe can be done in various ways, depending on the occasion, personal preference, and cultural norms. Here are some ideas for styling a thobe:

**1. Casual Everyday Wear:

  • Simple and Classic: Wear the thobe on its own with comfortable sandals or casual shoes for a relaxed, everyday look.

  • Layering: Add a light jacket or vest over the thobe for a layered look. This can add a touch of style while providing some extra warmth if needed.

**2. Formal or Special Occasions:

  • Accessories: Consider wearing a traditional headscarf (ghutra) and agal, along with a pair of elegant shoes. This ensemble is fitting for weddings, religious ceremonies, and other formal events.

  • Belt: If the thobe is loose-fitting, consider adding a stylish belt to define the waist and add a touch of sophistication.

**3. Business or Professional Setting:

  • Tailored Fit: Opt for a well-fitted thobe in a neutral color. Pair it with formal shoes and consider adding a blazer or suit jacket for a polished look.

  • Accessorize Minimally: Stick to understated accessories for a professional appearance. A simple watch and cufflinks can be tasteful additions.

**4. Incorporate Contemporary Elements:

  • Modern Cuts and Fabrics: Experiment with thobes that have modern cuts or incorporate contemporary fabrics and textures. These can offer a fresh take on traditional attire.

  • Mix and Match: Pair the thobe with modern or Western-style clothing items. For example, try wearing it with slim-fit trousers or jeans for a fusion look.

**5. Traditional Occasions with a Twist:

  • Embroidered or Patterned Thobe: Choose a thobe with intricate embroidery or a unique pattern. This can add a distinctive touch to your look for cultural events.

  • Layer with a Vest: Add a traditional vest (such as a bisht) over the thobe for an elegant, traditional look.

Remember, personal style is subjective, and there are no strict rules when it comes to styling a thobe. Experiment with different combinations and find what makes you feel comfortable and confident. Additionally, always consider cultural and regional norms when styling your thobe for specific occasions.


How to measure a thobe?

Do you want to know how to measure a thobe to decide which one is your perfect pick? To measure for a thobe, you'll need a flexible tape measure and possibly a friend to assist you. Follow these steps:Shoulder Width:Have the person stand with their arms relaxed at their sides.

  • Measure across the back, from the end of one shoulder seam to the end of the other.Chest/Bust:
  • Wrap the tape measure around the widest part of the chest or bust, ensuring it's parallel to the ground.Sleeve Length:
  • Extend the arm out straight to the side at a slight angle.
  • Measure from the shoulder seam down to the wrist.Thobe Length:
  • Decide on the desired length for the thobe (e.g., ankle-length, calf-length, etc.).
  • Measure from the highest point of the shoulder to the chosen length.Collar Circumference (if applicable):
  • If the thobe has a collar, measure around the base of the neck where the collar will sit.
  • Izaar or Sirwal (if applicable):Measure around the waist or hips, depending on where the garment will sit.

Keep in mind that it's essential to measure while the person is wearing the typical undergarments they would wear with a thobe. Additionally, take note of any specific sizing guidelines provided by the manufacturer or retailer. If buying online, refer to the sizing chart provided by the seller to ensure the best fit.

Read also: Eid Thobes - Choose the perfect, custom-tailored thobe for this Eid






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