General Masculine Dress

The long gown which is the common garment worn by men in the Middle East is called the gambaz in Lebanon. It is usual to see it in Lebanon today but it is more popular in Syria, Jordan and other neighboring countries.

In Lebanon, the gambaz is more the costume of the Beduin than of the peasant mountaineer who prefers the freedom and warmth of the sherwal.

Many variations of the basic style are possible but essentially the gambaz resembles a nightshirt. The gambaz may be open all the way down the front like a dressing gown, or it may be slit from the neck only part way to the waist. In the latter case it would be slit up from the hemline at either side or at the center front to facilitate walking. Braid and braid covered buttons are used as fastenings on the gambaz.

Traditional material for the gambaz is a specially woven fine striped mercerized cotton. Plain cream colored silk or broadcloth also are popular for summer wear while pin striped wool is a winter choice.

Dark blue, grey and brown are favorite winter colors. The garment is always made with long sleeves. It is quite often belted. Some sects wear a gambaz of gabani cloth. In Egypt this garment is called the galibeyeh.

It is becoming popular to wear a western style suit coat made to match the gambaz, but the more authentic overcoat is the abaya, or the shorter Beduin jubbe. A shirt and the libas are worn under the gambaz. The kaffia and agal or the tarboush is the headdress.

Pictured on the left are a group of young Lebanese students of the American University of Beirut who have dressed in native costume to perform an exhibition of their national folk dance, the dabbke. Their leader wears an embroidered kubran, a sherwal and the kaffia and agal headdress. The dancer next to him wears a brocade gambaz, belted, and covered by a western suit coat. Variations of sherwals and different ways of wearing the kaffia are noted on the dancers.


Dabbke Dancers


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