For the local Tajik, the dress can indicate where a person is from, plus additional
information about the individual. However, for the tourist these subtle differences
will likely be missed. There are many commonalities across the people though as
most women wear a loose-fitting dress and pants while men tend to wear loose-fitting
shirts and pants with boots. Both men and women also tend to wear various styles
of hats. Beyond these generalities, the specifics move in numerous directions as
colors and styles vary.
Today the traditional dress is still worn in many villages and at many important
events and celebrations, but many young people and city-dwellers have turned away
from this traditional dress in favor of more western-styled clothing. Although western-styled
clothing is now the norm in many places, the people generally still cover up as
the people are primarily Muslim and many people cover their elbows and knees.
Despite this somewhat conservative dress, for many people it is due to social norms
and weather, not religion. Due to a long period under Soviet rule and their banning
of religion, most rules and restrictions dictated by Islam have fallen into the
past, although some are still followed quite closely, especially by more conservative
Muslims. So wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts is acceptable, although you
may get some strange looks. However, if in Mosques long pants must be worn, women
must cover their hair, and everyone should have their shoulders and knees covered.
Elsewhere, only the most devout Muslims feel required to cover their hair, although
in some areas there is a small religious resurgence.