What Did Our Lebanese Ancestors Wear?

Clothing is a big part of a community’s culture. Besides food, dancing, and traditions, clothing is considered the principal visual image people have of a nationality.

Lebanon has been influenced by many civilizations over the years, from Phoenicians to Greeks to Ottomans and French. Lebanese fashion saw major changes as well as other aspects of Folklore. 

We even see shifts of popularity between various sects and regions. So what kind of clothing did our ancestors show off?

The Tarboosh

Tarboosh or “Fez” is a brimless hat shaped like a truncated cone. It is made of red felt or cloth with a black silk tassel.

Young and old men from all social classes used to wear the Tarboosh. It was introduced by the Ottomans. Over time, it came to be seen as part of an “Oriental” cultural identity.

The Labbadeh

The Labbadeh is an ancient headdress that has been worn since Phoenician times.

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The famous green Phoenician figurines are depicted wearing these remarkable hats. This is truly the traditional Lebanese headwear – unlike the Tarboush.

The Tantour

The Tantour is a headdress/veil worn by women. An ornamented silver cone was usually worn by the upper class.

Women also used to wear silky veils or woolen scarves. This was popular in the nineteenth century but rarely seen after 1850. The tradition persisted longer in Lebanon among the Druze community.

The Abaya

The Abaya is a traditional long baggy dress that is still fashionable till this day. Both men and women wore the Abaya.

The Sherwal

Baggy comfortable pants worn by men. The “Boyfriend cut” jeans are actually modern jeans inspired by the old Sherwal.

The Gambaz

A tight dress worn by women usually made of shiny silk.

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