Traditional Kazakh male clothing.The garb of Kazakh hunters. A Kazakh man chases a woman wearing traditional garb. Fur coats are worn in the cold of winter.
Kazakh clothing is a style of clothing worn by Kazakh people, often made of material suited to the region's hot summers and cold winters. Such garments may reflect social standing; contemporary Kazakhs commonly wear modern western clothing, but many still wear traditional clothing for holidays and on special occasions.
Materials and production methods
Cloth, skin, felt, and fur are all traditional materials used for Kazakh clothing. Embroidery, fur, jewelry and ornamentation may also be used for decoration.
For those able to afford the expense, imported materials such as silk, brocade and velvet are sewn into clothes.
Hides are used for coat-making in a process that includes skinning, drying, and greasing with sour milk mixed with flour. After four days, the skins are washed and stacked in heavily salted water. After a further period of drying, the inner side is scraped with a special knife, before being warmed, which imparts a whitish color to the skin. The skin is now ready for dying in various colours: yellow dye is made by boiling the crushed root of a taranovy plant; red dye is made from the root of a plant named uiran boyau and orange dye is often made from the dried crusts of pomegranates.
Kazakhs use white wool, and consider wool from the neck of the sheep and camel to be particularly valuable.
Fabric may be home-spun and produced on primitive horizontal machines; even in ancient times, imported cotton, silk and woolen fabrics were used by Kazakh nomads. The nobility in feudal times used imported fabrics to make clothes while less affluent Kazakhs wore fur, leather and self-made woolen products.
Women wear a shirt-like garment known as a koylek. It is sewn from different fabrics depending on the purpose - from inexpensive fabrics for daily use to more expensive ones for festive wear. The dress is made by folding an integral piece of fabric in half and sewing the sides laterally from the armpits to the bottom hem.
Kazakh girls wear trousers sewn from a sheepskin, homespun cloth, and dense cotton fabrics. Trousers may be short (shalbar) or long (dalbar).
A shapan is a wide dressing gown with long sleeves while a wedding gown is often a shapan made of expensive red fabric.