Algerian traditional dress is considered one of the most significant in the North African region in the sense that it has maintained its original style for many centuries. Although in the capital city of Algiers, Algerians wear the western style of dresses yet in the remote areas of the country, especially the rural class continues their tradition of using the traditional Algerian attires.
Modern Algerians wear a mix of traditional and European clothing. Traditionally, men wear white woolen cloaks, called the gandoura, over a cotton shirt. Sometimes, they also wear linen or wool burnous over the shoulders. Women are draped head to foot in the haik, worn over loose pants that gather at the ankle.
Algerian fashion reflects styles imported from the Arab, Mediterranean, and African countries. Islamic law requires that women dress modestly, but it does not prevent them from dressing flamboyantly and elegantly, favoring colorful fabrics and bright patterns with intricate decoration.
Although some Algerians wear European and Westernized clothing, especially younger generations, Algerian clothing is well-suited to the environment, which is why designers focus on updating traditional outfits rather than replacing them with Western costumes. Algerian fashion designers incorporate traditional elements into modern designs, reflected in the cut, color, design or pattern. Traditional wear varies based on region. The women of Algiers wear the karakou, which is a dress that is worn with pants and a velvet jacket embroidered in gold and silver, while the women of West Algeria wear the blouse, a full-length dress made of lace with sequins across the chest.
Clothing can also reflect social status. Some men adorn their burnous with fancy embroidery, to convey societal class messages.
Trendy traditional men’s dressing style in Algeria consists of a Gandoura or cloak which is made of white or brown wool. They also use a shirt which is worn over another longer shirt. Burnous is also used by Algerian men in their clothing which is a sleeveless coat. Burnous is made of lawn in the summer while it is prepared with wool in the winter. This may be consisting of captivating embroidery and various design patterns.
Furthermore, the typical women of Algeria wear a dress known as Haik, which is a veil-like fabric that covers the woman from head to toe. Under this they use loose fitting trousers. The Islamic influence is also shown as mostly the women cover their heads with headdresses.
Algeria culture is evident in the way of dressing of Algerians, hence it is important to ensure the mode of dressing (Western or traditional) is well representative of the ideals of the country.