Traditional Clothing Of Sudan

The continent of Africa is home to a diverse collection of fascinating ways of living. Sudan is not only the largest country in Africa but also the largest Arab nation in the entire world. The traditional clothing of Sudan is both distinctive and stunning in its own right.

Most Sudanese women and men wear long, baggy clothes that cover their bodies due to the climate. All of these gowns and robes are constructed from airy natural materials. Men and women in Sudan wear turbans and scarves, respectively, to cover their heads.

Traditional Clothing Of Sudan

Religious and sun protection functions both benefit from the use of headgear. Dresses with Western influences are worn in Sudan, albeit they are much less common than traditional clothing.

In this article, we will discuss Sudanese traditional clothes.


Women in Nubia wore garments woven from the flax plant before the Muslim conquest in the 13th century. With Muslim authority came the sharia law and the requirement that men and women dress similarly, as was the case in Arab countries. The tob, hijab, and chadur are all items of apparel that women can wear.

Traditional Clothing of Sudan

There are many traditional weavers who are highly skilled and can be found all around Sudan. These weavers create a wide variety of woven goods, including garments and decorative items. In this section, we shall talk about the many various types of Sudanese traditional dress.

1. Tob

The traditional attire of the Sudanese is called a tob and consists of a 15-foot-long piece of fabric worn by both men and women. In fact, they don’t take it off even while they’re at home.

Compared to men’s, women’s tob has more vivid hues. Unlike how males wear it, where both ends are flung over their shoulders, ladies typically just throw it over their left shoulder. Even though the dress is open at the front, it nevertheless manages to cover the wearer’s legs all the way down to the ankles. The tob is typically worn by ladies as an outer layer over a shorter dress.

2. Hijab

The hijab is a long scarf used by Muslim women to cover their hair and protect their modesty from the gaze of men who are not their husbands. The hijab also lends an air of mystery to the wearer.

Women can take off the hijab at home, however, men must always wear the tob. When wearing the hijab, Sudanese women do not cover their faces. This contrasts with the practice in other Arab nations, where the eyes are often left uncovered.

3. Jalabiya

Clothing consists of a long robe in pastel colors or white, a headpiece, and shoes. The Jalabiya is a loose-fitting, ankle-length robe that lacks a collar and cuffs.

Though typically white, it occasionally takes on a brownish hue. Long sleeves and a hem protect the skin from the sun and sand, while a loose shape allows the skin to breathe and minimizes perspiration.

4. Thawbs

Thawbs is the name for the traditional dress worn by women in Sudan. It’s a long piece of fabric that’s worn over a blouse and a skirt or pants. It’s an all-encompassing garment. Many other materials, including cotton, satin, polyester, jersey, denim, and more, can be used to create it. Any color or pattern of the fabric is acceptable for a thawb.

Colorful and stunning, a thawb is a rare sight. Women of a certain age tend to favor white thawbs, while young people favor toobs of varying colors and patterns, often accessorized. Embellishments like embroidery, stitchwork, rhinestones, and other decorative embellishments are commonplace on more expensive thawbs.

5. Shawl

An Indian shawl is a large, rectangular scarf used around the head, shoulders, and upper torso. Although most shawls are either rectangular or square in shape, they can be folded into a triangle. It is also part of the Sudanese costume. Males and females both are using shawl.

6. Chadur

The chadur is an extended piece of fabric that is typically worn as an outer coat. It wraps around the whole body, including the head, completely. Sudanese women also cover their hair with it in addition to the tob and the hijab.

7. Lawo

The lawo is a traditional item of clothing worn by both men and women in Sudan. Comparatively, the tob is longer. It stops just above the knee. That means they can go wherever they want. Men should wear the lawo and tie the ends of both of the long edges around their left hand.

Similar to men, women wear lawo, with the exception that the edges are tied on the right side. Women’s lawo is more vibrantly colored than men’s, and both sexes wear large strips of the same fabric to cover their heads.


Traditionally, males in Sudan would wear something called an emma on their heads. The emma might be white or another color, and it often has an extra decorative trim around its edges.

It is possible to wear the emma with a scarf or shawl that has the same pattern. The traditional length of an emma is 4.5 meters, while the length of a shawl is around half that of an emma.

9. Merkub

Merkub is a type of footwear that is traditionally used in Sudan. Calfskin and snakeskin merkubs are what you’ll find here. Additionally popular are velvet merkubs patterned with leopard and tiger spots.

Merkub, which is regarded as one of the oldest and most deeply entrenched crafts in Sudan, is regarded as one of the significant elements that accurately reflect the identity of the Sudanese people.

Final Word

Some Sudanese men and women wear traditional clothes out of respect for cultural norms and symbols; others find the thawb to be highly practical and attractive, and some ladies simply wear the big wrap-around cloth to avoid unwanted sexual attention from men.

The reasons why everyday life in Sudan remains rooted in national dress are irrelevant. It is essential that they keep wearing the same clothes as their predecessors did and never lose touch with their heritage.

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