Turkmen Traditional Clothing
Traditional clothing in Turkmenistan is distinguished by its brightly colored and intricately embroidered designs. The clothing is heavily influenced by the country’s nomadic heritage and reflects its rich cultural heritage. Some of the most common types of traditional Turkmen clothing include:
Dress Code in Turkmenistan
Turkmen people are known for being the most conservative in their dress, within other Central Asians. It is considered inappropriate for men to wear shorts, while women are advised to wear long dresses or skirts and cover their arms. Traditional dress is still widely worn in the country, not just for tourist or festive occasions.
For women, the typical outfit includes a long dress called a koynek that is nearly floor-length and embroidered around the neck. Balak pants are worn underneath, with only the bottom border showing. Men typically wear loose blue trousers, a white shirt, and a heavy silk jacket with red and gold stripes. Both men and women wear headgear, with women often braiding their hair or covering it with a scarf, and men wearing fluffy wool hats called telpek that denote their tribe.
Although some younger Turkmen prefer Western-style clothing, traditional dress is still common, particularly among women. Some individuals wear a mix of traditional and Western clothing, but many still consider Western clothes inappropriate. In addition the country encourages a return to traditional dress.
A type of jacket worn by women the Koynek is typically made from brightly coloured fabric and is decorated with intricate needlework, beads, and other embellishments. For women koynek is often paired with a long skirt and head scarf. Koynek is worn by Turkmen women are long dresses of silk or velvet, descending to the ankle, most often a burgundy color, though deep blue and green are favored.
A type of coat worn by both men and women, the Chapan is made from heavy fabric and is often decorated with intricate embroidery and braid work. It is typically worn over the Ak-Khalat and is a symbol of status and wealth.
Takhya / Kalpak
An embroidered Turkmen skull cap “Takuya” is a standard part of the uniform at school and university for both girls and boys. Younger schoolgirls have their hair tied with two fluffy white pom-poms. While married women wear a high Kalpak, usually adorned with jewel and pattern stitching.
A Sheepskin hat called Telpek is designed in a way that keeps the warm temperature in the cold winters and keeps the head cool in the hot deserts.
Jewelry is valued as both an amulet and a sign of social status. It can be worn by men, women and even loved horses, and is traditionally made from silver. Turkmen jewelry usually contains inserts of precious stones purported to hold magical properties and to include images of insects and animals, regarded as a link between man and nature.