Clothing has long played a significant role in Judaism, reflecting religious identification, social status, emotional state and even the Jews’ relation with the outside world.

The Torah says little about clothing. Without explanation, it prohibits blending wool and linen in a garment, in the same verse forbidding “mixing” different seeds and species of cattle.

"'Keep my decrees. "'Do not mate different kinds of animals. "'Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. "'Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.” Leviticus 19:19.

It also requires Jews to put fringes on the corners of a four-pointed garment both as a way of identifying the Jew and reminder reminding the Jew to observe the mitzvot.

“The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord your God.’” Numbers 15:37-41.

Although no specific costume was ever mandated by Jewish law, and no universal Jewish costume ever evolved, certain dress codes have been clearly identified with the Jewish people throughout the ages. These codes were impacted by the geography and historical setting in which the costume developed. Yet, in the confines of a given society and the bounds of limited time, Jews could still be identified by certain particularities of their dress, which were often a combination of local dress with one or two sartorial elements that they carried with them throughout time.


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