Fashion styles vary around the world and are based on many factors. These factors can include climate, religion, age, or race and ethnicity. At Design House of Colour, we draw inspiration from around the world in teaching and showcasing our designs. This article is meant to highlight common styles from around the world.
Middle East

A thawb or thobe, dishdasha , kandura, or jalabiyyah in Libya, is an ankle-length Arab garment, usually with long sleeves, similar to a robe. It is commonly worn in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and neighboring Arab countries.

England and West Europe

A miniskirt is a skirt that normally no longer than 4 in below the buttocks. The miniskirt became popular in the 1960’s in London and it is still popular among teenagers and young adults.

United States

Fashion norms have changed greatly from decade to decade. The United States has generally followed and in some cases led trends in the history of Western fashion.

Blue jeans were popularized as work clothes in the 1850s by merchant Levi Strauss, a German immigrant in San Francisco, and adopted by many American teenagers a century later. They are now widely worn on every continent by people of all ages and social classes.


Foot binding or lotus feet was the custom of applying painfully tight binding to the feet of young girls to prevent further growth. The practice originated among the upper-class court in 10th or 11th century then spread and became common among all but the lowest of classes. Foot binding became popular as a means of displaying status (women from wealthy families, who did not need their feet to work, could afford to have them bound) and was correspondingly adopted as a symbol of beauty in Chinese culture.

In the mid-1600’s the Emperor tried and failed to ban the practice. It was not until the early 20th century that foot binding began to die out as a result of anti-foot binding campaigns. Foot binding resulted in lifelong disabilities.


The kimono is a Japanese traditional garment. The word “kimono” literally means “thing to wear” but has come to denote these full-length robes.

Kimonos are T-shaped, straight-lined robes worn so that the hem falls to the ankle, with attached collars and long sleeves. Kimonos are wrapped around the body, always with the left side over the right and secured by a sash tied in the back.

Today, kimonos are most often worn on special occasions. Men wear the kimono most often at weddings, or other formal occasions. Professional sumo wrestlers are often seen in the kimono because they are required to wear traditional Japanese dress whenever appearing in public.


The boubou is one of the names for a flowing wide sleeved robe worn by men in West Africa, The boubou is known by various names, depending on the ethnic group wearing them: agbada (Yoruba, Dagomba), babban riga (Hausa), mbubb (Wolof), k’sa or gandora (Tuareg), darra’a Maghrebi Arabic, or the English term of gown. The female version worn in some communities is also known as an m’boubou.


The kilt is a knee-length skirt-type garment with pleats at the rear, originating in the traditional dress of men and boys in the Scottish Highlands of the 16th century.

Although the kilt is most often worn on formal occasions and at Highland games and sports events, it has also been adapted as an item of fashionable informal male clothing in recent years, returning to its roots as an everyday garment.