Egyptian Style – From Ancient Egypt Fashion to Latest Trends

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Egypt is a country rich in arts, fashion, history, and culture as, for decades, designers from all over the world have used ancient Egypt as a reservoir of inspiration.

In return, these designers have left their imprint on Egyptian fashion styles in a rare blend of Arabic attire with Western styles.

In this article, we’ll look at ancient Egyptian styles and how those traditional clothes continue to influence the fashion trends popular in modern Egypt.




Ancient Egypt Style

From around 3100 BC (before Christ) to the death of Queen Cleopatra in 30 BC, the fashion of ancient Egyptians’ was a unique blend of beauty and comfort.

Adorned with precious gold, gems, beadings, and feathers, the garments showcased one’s social status, influence, and power.

Ancient Egyptian Clothing
Ancient Egyptian Clothing – thevou.com

In contrast, the attire for the lower social classes was made from natural fibers and lightweight materials to keep the wearers cool in the hot desert.

As one of the earliest agricultural societies, ancient Egyptians made garments from linen grown along the Nile and fibers collected from Pastoral nomads’ livestock.

Kalasiris was one of those times’ most popular dress styles, whose length denoted the wearer’s social class.

Egyptian Kalasiris Dresses
Egyptian Kalasiris Dresses – thevou.com




Held up by one or two straps, Kalasiris was worn down to the ankle and the upper edge above or below the breasts. Over the dress, women wore shawls, capes, or robes.

Men wore wrap-around skirts belted at the waist, a style popular amongst all social classes.

However, the higher-class Egyptian men wore highly decorated clothes adorned with jewelry and headdresses – ornamental coverings worn on ceremonial occasions.

Ancient Egyptian Clothing for Men
Ancient Egyptian Clothing for Men – thevou.com

Over time, traditional Egyptian clothing changed – more for women than men, and two of the most notable changes were the pleating of the skirts and the adoption of the triangular apron by the upper class.

The evolution of traditional Egyptian clothing towards modern times includes sheer blouses with pleated sleeves and pleated skirts with sheer overskirts.




Modern Egyptian Style

Although 90 percent of Egyptians are Muslim, dressing to match one’s religious views is not enforced in Egypt.

Dressing restraint is still expected in rural parts of Egypt but modern Egyptians wear styles that differ only marginally from those in Europe.

However, because of the country’s hot climate, most Egyptians wear light clothes made by Egyptian fashion designers from vaporous linen.

As a result, the outfits have a unique style that blends tradition with modernity, while retaining comfort and easiness of wear.




1. Hats and Hijabs

Hats With Hijabs Egyptian Clothing Trend
Hats With Hijabs Egyptian Clothing Trend

As weird as this might sound, in the heat of the Egyptian sun, you’ll need an extra layer of covering, even if you’re already wearing a hijab.

2. Satin Skirts

Satin Skirts Egyptian Clothing Trend
Satin Skirts Egyptian Clothing Trend

While linen has been a key material used by Egyptian designers for millennia, satin is slowly taking over as excellent in the summer to enjoy the sun without getting too hot.

3. Mixed Styles

Mixed Print Patterns Egyptian Clothing Trend
Mixed Boho with Preppy Patterns – Egyptian Clothing Trends, The VOU.

While single-style monochromatic outfits have been the standard for hundreds of years in Egyptian fashion, young Egyptians are experimenting by blending aesthetics from different styles, like Navy jackets from Preppy with Boho-chic floral dresses.




4. Velvet Abayas

Velvet Abayas Egyptian Fashion Trend
Velvet Abayas Egyptian Clothing Trend

Known as the ‘hijab trend makers’, abayas have been a staple in Egyptian fashion for centuries.

However, while young Egyptians continue to wear them, there are new colors and new materials emerging such as velvet and velour.




5. Traditional Embroidery

Traditional Embroidery Egyptian Clothing Trend
Traditional Embroidery Egyptian Clothing Trend

Egyptians have always loved to adorn their bodies with elegant pieces of jewelry and Queen Cleopatra remains a perfect example of ancient Egypt’s glamorous style.

The young Egyptians continue to embellish their dresses and outfits with golden ornaments, precious stones, rare beads, and gemstones.

Conclusion

Decent dressing remains important to Egyptian women who prefer Arabic clothing brands that fully cover their bodies.

Yet, there’s a sense of freedom emerging amongst the younger generation as some wear niqabs to cover faces and heads, others wear hijabs to cover necks and heads, while others wear none.

Modern Egyptian Clothing




The younger generation is also at a stylistic crossroads by blending ancient Egypt style patterns with traditional fashion motifs and current fashion trends.

For example, it is not uncommon in Egyptian fashion to see women wearing niqabs with Burberry coats, skinny jeans, and streetwear sneakers.

street Egyptian fashion 2022




Adult Egyptian men wear Western business suits at work and skinny jeans with short-sleeved shirts for everyday casual or evening wear.

Moreover, as there are no religious restrictions on men’s attire in Egypt, younger males prefer modern Preppy-style polo shirts, jeans, and tracksuits over traditional attire.

Modern Egyptian Clothing
Modern Egyptian Clothing – courtesy @hishamazooz

However, older Egyptian men and certain Muslim devouts refuse Western fashion styles and clothing that clings to the body.

The garment of choice remains galabiya, a loose-fitting ankle-length robe paired with a turban, skullcap, or a fez.

Kaftans are also popular – ankle-length coats with large sleeves – either belted around the waist or over the galabiya.




Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with the latest in fashion, beauty and style!

A graduate of the University of London in Journalism, Marta is a highly ambitious and rule-challenging copywriter with several years of experience in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle editorial writing.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. I love reading through an article that inspires me, especially that I am planning a trip to Egypt soon. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment! Ezmeralda Husain Udela

  2. Went to Egypt in 2019 with my family and spent six months there. I constantly felt like I was so badly dressed. Now, after reading this, and with the knowledge I already have, I’ll be dressed to impress, all Egyptian girls. Can’t wait for the lockdown to be over!

  3. Thank you for sharing this article about Egyptian clothing and fashion designers! Super nice content, I was looking for something relevant for my winter 2022 trip to Cairo and now I know where to find some relevant outfits for my trip.

  4. I am half Egyptian half British and this has to be one of the best articles about Egyptian clothing. Very accurate, love that you cover traditional Egyptian clothing, but also that you understand how the Egyptian youth steers towards the modern, western styles.

  5. So happy to see you advertising and promoting the best Egyptian fashion designers of our generation. They deserve a bit more recognition and love, and I find it amazing that your article does far more than Egyptian fashion and style magazines do. Keep up the good work, you guys are amazing.

  6. I’ve moved to Egpyt a year ago, and I am still struggling to blend in, clothing and style. That’s mostly because the casual tracksuit style that general Egyptian youth wears is not my type. I’ve always been inclined towards high-end clothing brands from France and UK and it took me a while to find brands that incapsulate the Egyptian spirit while showcasing some of the high-end couture styles of my home brands (France and UK). This article does just that; explains the transition from traditional Egyptian apparel to modern casual streetwear style and above all presents the best Egyptian fashion designers that you need to know to be perceived as high social status in Cairo and Egyptian socialite.

  7. As an Egyptian, I confirm the accuracy of this article, and I so much wished that we had more Egyptian designers promoted on the global stage.

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