Near or Middle Eastern Basic Garb

The basic garb for both men and women in the Near or Middle East in the SCA period was cut the same. The gender differences lie in details – length, materials, and decorations. There were cultural differences also, the Turks cut their coat tighter than the Persian with a different cut on the gores. But overall, the basic pieces were the same.

Over all most men wore a pair of underwear, a pair of pants, a shirt, one or more coats, shoes and some type of head gear. All of these were cut in a method called “Rectangular construction”. This means that they were cut out in very basic geometric shapes, rectangles, squares and triangles. This method is very economical of fabric.

The pants and under pants are cut pretty much the same way. The few miniatures that show the under pants are shone in a white fabric, most likely linen or cotton depending on the area. Pants are shone in numerous colors and from what I can tell cut full at the waist and pegged at the ankle with a drawstring at the waist. See Figure 1.


Figure 1 Basic Near Eastern Pants

The under tunic or shirt usually was not seen in normal day to day wear. It is the equivalent to the modern under shirt worn to protect the outer garments. Usually made of Linen or Cotton fabric, it is a basic T-tunic cut with side gores and underarm gussets.


Figure 2 Under-Tunic

Now on to the coats. Over all there seems to be three basic styles in Near/Middle Eastern coats, the Persian style, the Turkish style and the Central Asian cross-over front coat. The differences between the Persian and Turkish styles are mainly in the gores. The Persian coat’s gores go the arm pit and the Turkish only go to the waist.

Figure 3  Persian Coat                                                                      Figure 4 Turkish Coat



Figure 5 Cross over Coat

Up to now I have been talking about Men clothing but just about everything I have said before applies to Women’s clothing also. The main differences are in the length. Women until right at the end of 16th century wore full length outer garments only. There under garments are the only exceptions that I know of; most of these seemed to end about calf length. Women even wore the cross over coats until the end of the 13th century.

I hope this helps to introduce the garments of the Near and Middle East. If you have questions please contact me at

Sayyida Dinah bint Ismai’l / Dinah Tackett