Traditional Clothing in Tibetan Culture

Tibetan traditional clothing has a strong connection with the people and the climate of the Tibetan plateau.  They tend to be conservative in their dress, and though some have taken to wearing western clothes, traditional styles still abound, especially in rural and nomadic villages. Each area of Tibet has its own distinct style of clothing. The clothes are influenced by the religion and environment.

There are essentially two different kinds of clothes: those worn for festivals and special occasions and those worn in everyday life. The festival clothes are made from silk or cotton. The everyday clothes used in the winter are made from wool, often produced in Tibet, while everyday clothes used in the summer are made from cotton.

Men and women both wear long sleeves even in hot summer months. Except for the lamas and certain lay persons who shave their heads, the Tibetans wear their hair either long or in a braid wound around their heads and embellished with a complicated pattern of the lesser braid, which makes the whole thing look like some sort of crown.

Different kind of Tibetan dress


Tibetan Chubas are heavy along with capacious robe with wide, elongated sleeves which hang almost to the ground. This is caught up at the waist by a woolen girdle so that its skirts reach only to the knees and its upper folds form an enormous circular pocket around its wearer’s chest. The nomads, on the other hand, generally wear a sheepskin Chuba, hand-sewn and crudely tanned in butter, with the fleece on the inside.


The Tibetan robes are very long. If needed they can be pulled up at the waist and tied with the band. When they are hot, robe wearers can bare their right arm or both arms (sometimes this done to make it more convenient to work in the fields). At night the robe can be used as bedclothes. The long sleeves are commonly tied together. But in big gathering or parties, Tibetans often let the sleeves fly in the wind, like prayer flags or butterflies.


Tibetans love of colors is evident in the way they decorate their clothes and homes. Female aprons, known as “Pangden”, are often adorned with geometric patterns. Pangden only wears by those who got married. Tibetans often wrap a bandanna or shawl around their mouths for protection against windblown sand and dust. Many people go barefoot or wear flip-flops. Rank used to often be indicated by the coloring and patterns on a person’s boots. Children sometimes have portraits of the holy men tucked in their caps.

Tibetan hat

Tibetans often wear a huge conical felt hat, whose shape varies according to the district they come from; sometimes its peak supports a kind of mortarboard from which dangles a thick woolen fringe. In order to prevent their hats being blown away, they attach them to their heads with a long thread. In their left ear, they wear a heavy silver ring decorated with a huge ornament of either coral or turquoise. The costume is not elaborate, although it can get very elaborate on special occasions such as the new year and other celebration events.

Tibetan boots

Tibetan boots have a great variety and a multitude of names. They are divided into three kinds, cowhide, corduroy and pulu. Most boots are made straight without any difference between left and right feet, or between those for men or women’s styles. The colors of Tibetan boots are exquisite. Some of the insteps are embroidered with silk thread into varying designs while others are edged with golden silk thread.

Tibetan Clothing Materials

Wools are predominate Tibetan clothing materials, the finest wools are washed by hand while the coarser material is washed with the feet. The clothes worn by lamas are made by men. A fine, durable material called “Shema” is made from wool and worn by wealthy families. Favored dyes include red from madder or Bhutanese insects, indigo from India, yellow from rhubarb, and dark brown from walnuts.

Another material essentially used by Tibetans is Pulu, Pulu is a traditional Tibetan woolen fabric and the main material for making robes, boots, hats, and other Tibetans garments. Produced for more than 2,000 years, Pulu is fine and thick, soft and smooth. It is made of Tibetan felt and usually white. Sheep wool is the raw ingredient. First, it is fluffed and combed. Then it is twisted into a thread around a spindle using the fingers. It is then woven with a wood shuttle loom into Pulu. Pulu is thick and durable, warm, windproof, and rainproof. Robes made of Pulu are water-repellent.

Traveler guide to traditional Tibetan clothing

We offer very special tours to Tibet with focusing the exposure to Tibetan culture and religion. We can offer a tour, especially for the Tibetan Clothing tours. Contact us if you are interested in our Clothing and culture tours in Tibet.

When you are traveling to Tibet, there is a lot of places you can try the local Traditional cloth, especially during the Tibetan family visit. We can also arrange a special tour guide to help you buy authentic Tibetan clothes in Market in Tibet.

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About Us:

Tibet Universal Tours and Travel is a fully officially licensed international tour operator based in Lhasa, owned and managed by 100% local Tibetans. One of the most respected, longest running and best-reviewed tour operators since 1997.

Over 20 years of experience in the Tibetan travel industry, our team consists of the best and experienced Tibet travel guides that will show you the best that this extraordinary place has to offer, unravel all the undiscovered beauty of Tibet unique culture and tradition in front of you.  Whether a guest is looking to join a Tibet group tour or take a private tailor-made journey, we are the best choice.

Other than the above services, we provide stop over tour services in Nepal, Bhutan, and cities in Mainland China, you can also be booking your Tibet Flight and Tibet Train tickets with us. So, what are you waiting for? Reach us to embark on a trip that will last for a lifetime with Tibet Universal Tours and Travel!!!

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