A Mongol deel is the traditional clothing commonly worn for many centuries among the Mongols and other nomadic tribes of Central Asia, including various Turkic peoples, and can be made from cotton, silk, or brocade. It is still commonly worn outside major towns, and especially by herders.
In urban areas, deels are mostly only worn by elder people, or on festive occasions. The deel appears similar to a caftan or an old European folded tunic. Deels typically reach to the wearers knees and fan out at the bottom and are commonly blue, olive, or burgundy, though there are deels of most colors.
The deel looks like a big overcoat when not worn. Instead of buttoning together in the middle, the sides are pulled against the wearers body, right flap close to the body with the left covering.
On the right side of the wearer are typically 5 or 6 clasps to hold the top flap in place. There is one clasp below the armpit, three at the shoulder, and either one or two at the neckline.
A deel is usually worn with a large belt, usually made of silk. The area between the flaps and above the belt creates a large pocket in which Mongolians keep many things, Mongolian men will occasionally even carry entire handles of vodka in their deel. Though there is no major difference in material or outline between male and female deels, females tend to wear the 'pocket' closer, while males may have both larger pockets, looser fit, and wider sleeves.
Deel design varies among cultures and ethnic groups. For instance Mongol deel design is little different from Buryat deel design. Deels are designed for different occasions and environments. For example there are deels for ceremony like wedding and holiday and deels for daily chores. Deels for special occasions have their outer layer made of silk while the deels for chores are usually made up of cotton and other relatively inexpensive material.
Deels seen in the country typically have darker colors than those seen in the cities. This could be due to cost of dyes, but probably shows the greater use of deels used in the countryside. Countryside Mongolians have two types of deels: one for the cold and another for warmer weather. Cold weather deels have more layers on the material and long sleeves that cover the wearers hands, and may fall lower on the wearer's legs.
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