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Djellaba vs. Kaftan: What's the Difference?

By Harlon Moss & Aimie Carlson || Updated on May 21, 2024
Djellaba is a traditional North African long, loose-fitting robe with a hood, while a kaftan is a long, flowing garment worn in various cultures, often without a hood and more elaborately decorated.

Key Differences

Djellaba is a traditional garment from North Africa, particularly popular in Morocco. It is characterized by its long, loose fit and a hood called a "qob." Djellabas are typically made from wool or cotton and can be worn by both men and women. Kaftan, on the other hand, is a long, flowing garment with wide sleeves, found in various cultures across the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond. Unlike the djellaba, kaftans usually do not have a hood and are often more elaborately decorated with embroidery, beads, or sequins.
Djellaba is usually worn as everyday attire in many North African countries. Its loose fit and hood provide protection from the sun and wind, making it practical for the region's climate. The kaftan, however, is often reserved for special occasions and can be more ornate. Kaftans can be made from a variety of materials, including silk, cotton, and synthetic fabrics, and their designs vary widely depending on the cultural context.
While both garments are long and flowing, the djellaba is more utilitarian with a focus on comfort and practicality. The kaftan, by contrast, is often seen as a more stylish or ceremonial piece, reflecting a blend of cultural influences and personal taste. The kaftan's lack of a hood and its decorative elements distinguish it from the more austere djellaba.
Djellabas are commonly seen in plain, solid colors or simple stripes, emphasizing their everyday use. Kaftans, meanwhile, are frequently adorned with intricate patterns, embroidery, and embellishments, highlighting their role in formal wear or festive occasions.

Comparison Chart


North Africa, particularly Morocco
Middle East, North Africa, various cultures


Yes, features a hood called a "qob"
No hood


Typically plain or with simple stripes
Often elaborately decorated


Wool or cotton
Silk, cotton, synthetic fabrics


Everyday wear
Special occasions, formal wear


Long, loose-fitting
Long, flowing with wide sleeves

Djellaba and Kaftan Definitions


Made from wool or cotton for comfort in various climates.
Djellabas are perfect for the cool evenings in Morocco.


Often made from luxurious materials like silk or decorated with beads.
The kaftan was adorned with intricate embroidery and sequins.


Typically plain or with simple stripes.
His djellaba had subtle stripes along the hem.


Wide sleeves and elaborate designs are common features.
Her kaftan had wide, flowing sleeves and detailed patterns.


A long, loose-fitting robe with a hood from North Africa.
He wore a traditional djellaba to protect himself from the desert sun.


Associated with special occasions and formal wear.
Kaftans are popular attire for festive events and ceremonies.


Can be worn by both men and women.
Both men and women in the market were dressed in djellabas.


A long, flowing garment without a hood, worn in many cultures.
She chose a beautiful kaftan for the wedding celebration.


Practical garment for everyday use.
The djellaba is commonly worn daily in North African countries.


Reflects a blend of cultural influences and personal taste.
Each kaftan design tells a story of cultural heritage and style.


A long, loose, hooded garment with full sleeves, worn especially in Muslim countries.


Variant of caftan.


A loose-fitting, ankle-length hooded robe worn by men in North Africa.


A long tunic worn in the Eastern Mediterranean.


A long dress or shirt similar in style to those worn in the Eastern Mediterranean.


See Caftan.


A woman's dress style that imitates the caftan cloaks worn by men in the Near East


A (cotton or silk) cloak with full sleeves and sash reaching down to the ankles; worn by men in the Levant


Are djellabas worn by both genders?

Yes, djellabas can be worn by both men and women.

What is a djellaba?

A djellaba is a long, loose-fitting robe with a hood, traditionally worn in North Africa.

What materials are djellabas usually made from?

Djellabas are typically made from wool or cotton.

Is the djellaba suitable for hot climates?

Yes, the loose fit and hood of the djellaba make it suitable for hot climates.

Do kaftans have hoods?

No, kaftans generally do not have hoods.

What kind of decorations can be found on kaftans?

Kaftans often feature embroidery, beads, sequins, and intricate patterns.

Can kaftans be worn daily?

While kaftans can be worn daily, they are more commonly reserved for special occasions.

What climate is the djellaba most suited for?

The djellaba is suited for both hot and cool climates due to its design and material.

What occasions are kaftans typically worn for?

Kaftans are often worn for special occasions, such as weddings and festivals.

How does a kaftan differ from a djellaba?

A kaftan is a long, flowing garment often without a hood and more elaborately decorated than a djellaba.

What are the typical features of a kaftan's design?

Kaftans typically have wide sleeves and are elaborately decorated.

Where did the kaftan originate?

The kaftan has origins in the Middle East and North Africa but is worn in various cultures.

How do the materials of a kaftan differ from those of a djellaba?

Kaftans are often made from more luxurious materials like silk, whereas djellabas are made from wool or cotton.

What is the main purpose of a djellaba's hood?

The hood, or "qob," provides protection from the sun and wind.

What is a common use for kaftans outside of special occasions?

Outside of special occasions, kaftans can be used as comfortable, stylish loungewear.

How do the functions of djellabas and kaftans differ?

Djellabas are practical for everyday wear and climate protection, while kaftans are often used for their decorative and ceremonial appeal.

Are djellabas typically plain or decorated?

Djellabas are typically plain or feature simple stripes.

Can a kaftan be worn by men?

Yes, kaftans can be worn by both men and women, depending on the cultural context.

What is the cultural significance of a djellaba?

The djellaba is a traditional garment in North African culture, representing practical everyday wear.

Is the djellaba associated with any particular region?

Yes, the djellaba is closely associated with North Africa, especially Morocco.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Co-written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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