By Nawara Fattahova

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti men, especially youths, are not wearing the traditional dishdasha daily anymore. Many bedouin still wear it, while many urbanites don’t. But the dishdasha is still the official dress for formal occasions, such as weddings.

Khaled, 36, said he has been wearing Western outfits since he was a child. “I find pants much more comfortable. For me comfort is the most important thing, as I find the dishdasha uncomfortable. Yet I still wear it when attending weddings, as it is essential. After attending a wedding, if I want to go somewhere else, I will first pass by home to change my clothes,” he told Kuwait Times.

Fahad, 31, echoed Khaled. “The dishdasha is only for weddings or funerals. Young Kuwaitis are not wearing it even for diwaniya gatherings. Casual outfits are much more comfortable for moving freely. I regularly go to the gym, so I always wear sports outfits. I can’t go to the gym in a dishdasha,” he pointed out.

“Some people like to wear a dishdasha as part of their traditions. But time has changed, and I definitely prefer casual outfits. I only wear a dishdasha for weddings and for Eid gatherings, but for the shortest time possible. Even at my workplace at the citizen service department, I wear casual outfits as they don’t demand wearing a dishdasha,” Fahad added.

Jazzaf, a 34-year-old teacher, also doesn’t wear the dishdasha. “I wear pants because they are more comfortable and give me much freer movement than a dishdasha. Also, if I stain or burn my pants, no worries! But a dishdasha would look bad if you get a coffee or ketchup stain on it while dining out,” he said.

Even some older Kuwaitis prefer to dress casually every day. Salem, 54, only wears a dishdasha for official occasions such as weddings, mourning gatherings and Eid visits. “I have got used to wearing casuals and rarely wear a dishdasha. When I was still working, I used to wear a dishdasha to work, but after I retired, I stopped doing so. In fact, I stopped wearing a dishdasha 15 years ago!” he told Kuwait Times.

A vendor surrounded by dishdashas in a shop in Kuwait City.

“I used to wear dishdasha when visiting diwaniyas, but not anymore. Earlier, the diwaniyas I visited demanded wearing a dishdasha, but the dress code has been relaxed now. Most of my friends also wear casuals, even when going to the diwaniya. But for Eid, till today I have to get a new dishdasha. All my sons also wear it during Eid,” Salem added.

Mohammed, 47, wore only dishdashas till the age of 14. “After that I started wearing casuals. I don’t even wear a dishdasha to work as I’m a mechanical engineer - I wear a uniform. I still wear a dishdasha for weddings and funerals. But I try to avoid weddings because of the dishdasha, especially since I only buy a new one once every few years. Even during Eid I don’t wear a dishdasha, unless I have to visit people outside the family,” he noted.

Among his friends, Mohammed is the only person who goes to diwaniyas not wearing a dishdasha. “For me, it’s a habit to dress casually. At my age, I can’t wear dishdasha without the ghutra and egal. This is the main reason why I don’t wear a dishdasha, as I don’t like to wear the ghutra and egal. If I have to wear the ghutra, it will take me over half an hour in front of the mirror to wear it properly,” stressed Mohammed.