Modern Algerians wear a mix of traditional and European clothing. Traditionally, men wear white woolen cloaks, called the gandoura, over a cotton shirt. Sometimes, they also wear linen or wool burnous over the shoulders. Women are draped head to foot in the haik, worn over loose pants that gather at the ankle.
Algerian fashion reflects styles imported from the Arab, Mediterranean and African countries. Islamic law requires that women dress modestly, but it does not prevent them from dressing flamboyantly and elegantly, favoring colorful fabrics and bright patterns with intricate decoration.
Although some Algerians wear European and Westernized clothing, especially younger generations, Algerian clothing is well-suited to the environment, which is why designers focus on updating traditional outfits rather than replacing them with Western costumes. Algerian fashion designers incorporate traditional elements into modern designs, reflected in the cut, color, design or pattern. Traditional wear varies based on region. The women of Algiers wear the karakou, which is a dress that is worn with pants and a velvet jacket embroidered in gold and silver, while the women of West Algeria wear the blousa, a full-length dress made of lace with sequins across the chest.
Clothing can also reflect social status. Some men adorn their burnous with fancy embroidery, to convey wealth.