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Read about national dresses for Bhutanese men and women and national dress code of Kingdom of Bhutan.

National Dress of Bhutan

‘Gho’ is the national dress for men in Bhutan. It is a long robe hoisted up until it is knee-length. The hoisted cloth is held in place with a woven cloth belt called ‘Kera’ wound tightly around the waist. The hoisted up cloth forms a large pouch, in which certain items could be kept such as the traditional bowl and betel nut. National dress for Bhutanese women is ‘Kira’. Kira looks like an apron. It is generally made of fine woven fabric, is adorned with traditional patterns and is mostly worn in bright colors. The intricately woven Kiras enhance the beauty and the graceful manners of the women of Bhutan and compliment their dark looks perfectly. Women wear ‘Kira’ over a blouse called ‘Wonju’. Kira is a floor-length rectangular piece of cloth wrapped around the body and held from the shoulders by broach-like hooks called 'Koma'.

Women also use ‘Kera’ to fasten Kiras around the waist. Women also wear ‘Toego’ along with Kiras, which are short and open jacket-like garments. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal introduced national dresses for men and women during the 17th century in an attempt to lend a unique identity to the people of Bhutan. All Bhutanese citizens are required to observe the national dress code, known as Driglam Namzha, while in public during daylight hours. All Bhutanese have to wear their national dress in government offices, schools and all formal occasions. It was always customary to wear it but since 1990, it has been the law of the land and police may fine any Bhutanese who is not wearing official national dress in public. The law is said to be an effort to preserve and promote Bhutan’s cultural heritage.

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