A true staple in the modern Muslim man’s wardrobe, the thobe has received much love from Arabs and non-Arabs alike, with mosque-goers enjoying its versatility and ample coverage during prayer. In this article, we at Bahath and The Muslim Male will introduce the main thobe styles and offer tips on how to style them. Though thobes are typically worn as part of a full traditional outfit, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t get creative and create your own signature look with thobes mixed with Western pieces. It’s all about ingenuity here and no matter which side of the fashion spectrum you fall on, we’re sure that there’s a Thobe out there for you!
(Images: al-faizan.com, tobybyhatem.com, jay1milion on instagram.com, Abdulqadir Abuukar lookook.nu)
This style typically comes to mind when the word thobe is mentioned amongst our sartorially-minded brothers. This long sleeved, often white, garment is native to the Arabian Gulf, where natives can even distinguish which Gulf state an individual may be from depending on the cut and collar styles (for example, Saudi thobes are often very tailored with a two-button mandarin collar, whereas Emirati thobes are loosely cut with a rounded collar and tassel).
Traditionally, these thobes are worn by themselves with only an undershirt and either loose sirwal pants or a wrapped izar loincloth underneath and with a headscarf known as a ghutra as an accessory, which is either wrapped in a small turban or secured in a multitude of styles by a rough headband called an “egal”. In the Arabian Gulf, thobe-wearing is a matter of pride and native Khaleejis usually have their thobes and ghutras ironed and vary the colours of both depending on the season.
Thankfully, due to the versatility of these thobes, typically lightweight and unpatterned, they make amazing layering pieces and can also be embellished with their own unique designs, hence making modern looks easy. Wear alone with loafers, a great watch and designer shades for a fun warm-weather look while for a more winter-ready formal look, try layering under a camel or black overcoat and pairing it with sharp Chelsea boots. For a more edgy look, layer under an olive military coat with faded jeans and chunky Doc Martens. It should also be noted that this thobe style pairs easier with streetwear trends as opposed to the two following styles, so rocking one over slim joggers and Yeezys would also be an awesome twist on traditional.
zaahidma on instagram.com
These thobes are in abundance online and can easily be found at a cheap price through any online men’s Islamic clothing brand as well as on eBay, though more tailored versions are sold by brands such as Al Faizan. Try finding them with as little polyester as possible (ideally 50% or less) to avoid looking too shiny and try standard cut thobes first, as slim-cut thobes can be difficult to walk in.
(Images: ebay.com, theislamicestablishment.com, aliexpress.com)
Short-sleeved thobes, often referred to as kanduras or gandouras in their native North Africa, are great casual options for warmer weather or at home and are typically found in either single-button mandarin or v-neck styles. Additionally, they typically come in a wide variety of prints and having a few of these in your closet can add great variety to your thobe collection.
Though they are traditionally worn as daywear or homewear, they can also easily be dressed up for a smart casual ensemble that will stand out amidst untailored shalwar sets typically seen at mosque events. For daywear, pair any patterned or unpatterned kandura with quality leather sandals and a casual watch while for a smart casual look, pair an unpatterned, dark-colored kandura with loafers and a formal watch. Additionally, an interesting, layered look for the cooler seasons could be achieved through pairing with a knee-length or longer black or navy overcoat with black dress boots, with the addition of a newsboy cap or slouchy beanie for a more trendy take.
While these thobes are not as easily found as the previous styles are, they do abound on eBay and can be had for around half the price of a long-sleeved thobe.
(Images: trekearth.com, YUMEworld on etsy.com, toa.st, jubbathobe.com)
Easily the most distinctive type of thobe, the djellaba, native to Morocco, is a long-sleeved, hooded garment typically made out of cotton or heavy wool in a variety of vibrant colors in either plain or striped patterns. It’s easily the best thobe option for the Fall/Winter season, as its hood gives adequate protection on a rainy day and its loose cut allows for layering multiple short and long-sleeved pieces underneath.
To wear the djellaba in traditional Moroccan style, wear with a sirwal, a plain undershirt, Moroccan babouche slippers and either a fez or short turban as headwear. For a more formal Moroccan look, substitute the undershirt, sirwal and babouche and with a crisp dress shirt, slacks and either oxfords or tassel loafers.
To rock the djellaba as a smart-casual piece, pair with dark, slim-cut jeans, slip-on loafers and a quality watch. For a youthful look, try torn jeans and chunky boots with a beanie and leather cuff bracelet as accessories. Also, once the warm weather rolls around again, the djellaba would make for perfect beachwear over plain swim trunks and sandals, topped off with your favourite sunglasses.
Online, brands such as Shukr and Al Hannah Islamic Clothing often carry djellaba or djellaba-inspired hooded thobes, though your best bet quality-wise would be to grab one on your next trip to Morocco or have a Moroccan friend cop one for you!
We hope you enjoyed our overview of the world of thobes and can’t wait to see how our favorite brothers rock them in new ways this winter season. Comment below and tell us how you like to rock your thobes!
Author: Tyler Hussain Mallari
Special thanks to Tyler from @themuslimmale on Instagram for collaborating with us on this post. Be sure to follow his account for style inspiration and modest menswear.
You May Have Missed...