Kirgiz costumes: garments of a romantic nomadic tribe
Kirgiz women mostly like red and usually wear short clothes, sometimes one-piece dresses. The shirts are loose with stand-up collars. The clothes are simple, but made of dainty and high quality cloth. There are silver buttons on the neck. The dresses are made into cylinders with the top bound at the waist and the bottom lined with furs. The undergarments have large collars that can be seen under the wide collars of the waistcoats. And there are still black overcoats with large collars that are lined with wool in the winter.
Kirgiz women wear red velour round caps, one of which is called Tae Xi, with muffles on the top. Other one is called Ailiqike and is inlaid with adornments and embroidery. When wearing these caps, they also wear bonnets inside. Kaerpake, which is preferred in the winter, is made of feathers with a fringe on top. The cap is made of cloth while the two sides of the cap have plackets, and the top is usually white. The last two kinds of caps are old and seldom worn anymore. The women's headwear is complex. First, they braid pigtails with embroidered pieces of clothes. Then, round silver pennies are tied to the bottom of the pigtails. Finally, every two tails are tied together with bead chains. The women like to dress up and wear jade bracelets and rings.
Kirgiz men prefer embroidered short clothes with stand-up collars, embroidered necklines, tight wristbands and silver buttons. The undergarments are mostly white with embroidery. The waistcoats, which are also called Jiajia, are similar to the women's but in black, grey or blue. When they go out, they usually wear overcoats without collars called Tuokeqiekeman, while some wear fur coats called Yiqieke.
The men do not have beards and hair. If a man is an only son, he can keep four small round or semicircle areas of hair in the front, back, right and left part of his head until he is ten years old. Afterwards, he must shave it all off.
The men's caps are made of red cloth, in addition to other colors. The tops of the caps have a velour fringe decorated with beads. In the winter, fur caps are preferred.