Harem pants

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Daimona

Moderator
harem pants i find look lovely on tall stickly people...on short curvy people (like myself) not so much. i look like a loveseat in harem pants. :(
The trick to make them work for shorter, curvy dancers is to make them less baggy and a bit more narrow. :)
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
Hello Farasha, have you seen this clip of Petite Jamila? It's one of my favorites:

YouTube - Petite Jamilla Veil Dance

:):cool::D
:think: Is she using double veil, or is this just a gigantic half-circle veil?

oh, geez, NOW I want wave harem pants AND matching veils...kind of a coincidence I'm going through all my fabric right now. *glances at the mounding heap of fabric on the couch* I have tons of gorgeous fabric, and I stink at sewing. :(

*sighs, glances at fabric again, and then drools*

A lot of my fabric I originally bought to make veils, but I've gotten to where I like veils longer than 3 yards, so I think I'm going to turn those 3 yard pieces of fabric into harem pants, instead. I wear the chiffon ones under skirts anyway, with matching underwear (just in case), so there shouldn't be a problem. I also have some non-sheer shiny fabric that I did specifically buy for harem pants. I hope my teacher doesn't mind taking on a commission or two (or fifty! XD ).
 
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Shanazel

Super Moderator
Pretty costume, pretty veils, but by one minute I was feeling sick to my stomach dizzy and wondering when the real music was going to start. :think:
 

shiradotnet

New member
For those who like historical notes... historically, harem pants were undergarments, worn underneath the long, full coats (which are often called "Ghawazee coats") and vests. This was an Ottoman style of clothing. The idea of wearing them on their own, without a coat or skirt over them, appears to have arisen in either Europe or North America. This notion was picked up by the mass media of the day, so that by 1920 it became the look that prevailed in animated cartoons, silent movies, newspaper cartoons, etc.

Back in the 1980's, harem pants were a rather common belly dance costume choice in the U.S. We used to wear them under skirts in environments where a slightly more covered look was needed. For example, if dancing outdoors, to ensure we'd still be socially acceptable if a gust of wind should come along and blow our skirts aside. Or, if dancing in a performance for children. Or, if planning to do floor work in a performance. Or, if dancing on a raised stage when the audience would be looking up at us from below and be able to see under the skirt. This all made sense back when we were wearing circle skirts made with 3 panels, leaving the front panel unattached to the others, which resulted in slits all the way up to the belt line on either side of center front. Fashions have changed, and this type of circle skirt is no longer the prevailing look. The FatChance style of costume still includes full harem pants under full skirts.

We'd wear harem pants as an outer garment, without a skirt, as well. They were especially good for stuff like performances with floor work, or balancing swords / trays. They were good for troupe costumes for students, because they were easy to make, didn't require much fabric, and therefore were affordable.

Harem pants have kind of gone out of style in the U.S. The tribal fusion dancers prefer flared pants such as Melodias. The Egyptian-style dancers have migrated to straight skirts made of lycra fabric, because that's what's popular in Egypt now, and harem pants wouldn't work well under those. Still, I think they're fine for troupes and American-style dance performances.
 

LunaXJJ

New member
It depends, sometimes they look nice, sometimes not. Then again, its the same as and belly dance outfit, some look better than others.
 

Greek Bonfire

New member
I have a pair that are rather sheer so I don't wear them alone. I wear them under skirts with high slits and also for more family friendly venues. I've never worn them alone because I prefer long skirts. Depending on the style of the dance and the song, many times they look great. I especially like them on tribal dancers.

For those who like historical notes... historically, harem pants were undergarments, worn underneath the long, full coats (which are often called "Ghawazee coats") and vests. This was an Ottoman style of clothing. The idea of wearing them on their own, without a coat or skirt over them, appears to have arisen in either Europe or North America. This notion was picked up by the mass media of the day, so that by 1920 it became the look that prevailed in animated cartoons, silent movies, newspaper cartoons, etc.

Back in the 1980's, harem pants were a rather common belly dance costume choice in the U.S. We used to wear them under skirts in environments where a slightly more covered look was needed. For example, if dancing outdoors, to ensure we'd still be socially acceptable if a gust of wind should come along and blow our skirts aside. Or, if dancing in a performance for children. Or, if planning to do floor work in a performance. Or, if dancing on a raised stage when the audience would be looking up at us from below and be able to see under the skirt. This all made sense back when we were wearing circle skirts made with 3 panels, leaving the front panel unattached to the others, which resulted in slits all the way up to the belt line on either side of center front. Fashions have changed, and this type of circle skirt is no longer the prevailing look. The FatChance style of costume still includes full harem pants under full skirts.

We'd wear harem pants as an outer garment, without a skirt, as well. They were especially good for stuff like performances with floor work, or balancing swords / trays. They were good for troupe costumes for students, because they were easy to make, didn't require much fabric, and therefore were affordable.

Harem pants have kind of gone out of style in the U.S. The tribal fusion dancers prefer flared pants such as Melodias. The Egyptian-style dancers have migrated to straight skirts made of lycra fabric, because that's what's popular in Egypt now, and harem pants wouldn't work well under those. Still, I think they're fine for troupes and American-style dance performances.
Shira, back in "Ottoman" times, weren't harem pants worn more by men than women? Or were they worn equally by both?
 
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Jane

New member
Shira, back in "Ottoman" times, weren't harem pants worn more by men than women? Or were they worn equally by both?
I do a lot of Ottoman costuming, so I'll bite on that question...

The basic clothing of men and women were very similar, especially earlier on. Men and women both wore pants called shalwar/salvar (sp variations) The earlier Ottoman style pants were very different in design from the later period Ottoman pants. The earlier style was rectangular construction with a large rectangular crotch gusset and a tapered ankle. Persians and Mughals were wearing similar pants. The later period, more European-ized ca. 18th C., looks more like the full "harem" pants that dancers are used to. To my knowledge, the Ottomans didn't wear either style pants under skirts, just the entari (misnamed the Ghawazee coat). The long undershirt (gomlek) was worn hanging over the pants and under the entari or yelek, and can sometimes be mistaken for a skirt hem. I believe it was the dancer Morocco who popularized the full harem pant under skirt look for belly dancers.


Earlier Ottoman silk shalwar with built in socks

Pants with the whole outfit. I make stuff like this.


I have a lot of good books on Ottoman costuming if anyone is interested. I mostly do women's costume from Istanbul in the mid to late 1500s
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
Jane, we gotta get together someday. How far are you from Cody? That's about as close as I usually get to western Montana.

I am very interested in your costuming. Are you SCA, something similar, or just interested in that era of costume?
 

Jane

New member
I actually found belly dance through the SCA. Cody is about five hours from me, a meet-up in Billings might be possible. Next time I'm out that way, I'll let you know :) I'd love to meet forum members!
 
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