Was it the brutal Egyptian sun rays and the decision to take a 3 day Nile felucca cruise (Egyptian sailboat), or was it the satisfaction I saw in the faces of all of the users, the twinkle in their eyes as the only clue to their secret…What was this secret to success, this comfort beyond understanding?
We went shopping.
After the normal haggling back and forth, inevitably leading to the notorious bit of baksheesh (tip…or bribe), I settled on purchasing a cotton light green fabric, baggy style Egyptian man dress called a jellabiya (الجلابية).
My excitement was now raging out of control and I simply couldn’t wait to explore this novel article of clothing. We found the secret.
What is a Jellabiya (الجلابية)?
A Jellabiya is basically an oversize long sleeved shirt that covers the entire body in a baggy piece of fabric. It is normally loose fitting for ultimate comfort and style!
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Here are 18 of the top reasons you should be wearing a Jellabiya (الجلابية):
1. Cool when hot
2. Warm when cool
3. Blocks the harsh sun rays
4. Substitutes as a sleeping bag or sheet
5. Sways back and forth when you walk
6. Convenient and easy to wear
7. Don’t need to decide what pants to wear with what shirt
8. Don’t need to decide to wear pants or shorts
9. Easily slip out of the entire gown when you need to swim
10. Upstream breeze between the legs
11. You can hide things underneath it
12. Makes playing football challenging and fun
13. Can be used as a block for privacy
14. Can be used as a napkin
15. You can afford to finish the buffet!
16. There is space for growth (after meals or in life)
17. The ultimate garment for relaxation
18. You will get some awesome looks and grins
Due to the length and overall looseness of the dress, there’s a learning curve to walking in a jellabiya.
Instead of a full out walk like in a pair of shorts, it is necessary to do a shuffle to avoid pulling down the dress with a catch of a heel. Mastery of the jellabiya walk doesn’t take long and with a little practice, you will be an expert.
When you decide to make the step from painful Western pants to an Egyptian hospitality jellabiya, your body will never stop rejoicing in comfort and repeatedly thanking you!
For a river trip on the Nile, relaxing on the beach, or eating dates in an Oasis, a jellabiya will always be the right decision.
Donning my jellabiya was my introduction to perfectly fitting into the culture and traditions of ancient Egypt…well not really, but it was still the ticket to comfort.
We got some funny looks, many laughs and a few compliments.
Jellabiya’s can be found all over Egypt in varying styles.
I’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts, Have you ever worn a jellabiya?
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