Dude, We’re Getting a Deel

There are some things that Mongolia does really, really well. Landscapes, for example. Baby animals. Music. But up there at the top of that list is clothing, which I have made no secret about loving from Day 1.

The Mongol deel is much more attractive than the shitty computer brand that it’s pronounced like. It’s a long traditional jacket that’s been around for a really long time, and depending on the material you make it out of/how many baby lambs you line it with, it can be ridiculously warm. Features include the traditional collar, the clasps, and belt (silk, or leather with a big-ass belt bucket). It doesn’t have pockets, but the belt basically turns the entire top half of your outfit into one giant bag that people pull shit out of, i.e., cookies, snuff, or, just when you think the party is almost over, multiple bottles of vodka.

The deel ranges from the simple and utilitarian, as is frequently worn on a daily basis by herders:

Picture by Matteo Allegro, http://www.privatephotoreview.com/2013/12/mongolian-nomad-herders/
Picture by Matteo Allegro,

To the slightly more involved:
Thanks, Pinterest
Thanks, Pinterest

To the fiendishly ornate:

Picture from http://english.news.mn/content/151133.shtml
Picture from http://english.news.mn/content/151133.shtml

That’s her hair, people.

FUN FACT. Natalie Portman’s get-up in the Star Wars Episodes 1-3 was inspired by the Mongol deel.

Getting a deel has been on our respective list of priorities since we got here. But since dressing like that lady on the left was too much cultural appropriation for our taste and utilitarian deels are a little too…utilitarian… my friend and I elected to get deel-inspired dresses made–the kind that make you go “That girl is seriously overdressed for that frappucino,” as opposed to “That girl has milked a herd of cows, killed two sheep, and had a baby, all before noon.”

So we roped a Mongolian friend of ours into helping us, and behold, our (sort-of) deels!
Deel 1: The Elegant Rain Cloud
Deel 1 features lovely silk reminiscent of a really classy thunderstorm, and some trim pulled out of the air by seamstress.
Deel 1 was a bit of a fight–the Mongolians have a pretty rigid idea of the kind of deel require, and anything outside that realm you have to fight for, but Swiss Friend fought and wound up with this piece of loveliness.

Deel 2: The Midnight Masochist
So named because it is not the silkiest of silks, but whatever, pretty dress.
Deel 2 was the result of a Mongolian friend who gifted me with the silk at Tsaagan Sar and helped me get this made. Said Mongol friend isn’t super happy with the seamstress we went to that time, but if this dress has something wrong with it, I can’t tell. I think it’s awesome.

Deel 3: The Fallen Soldier
This used to be a deel, but Swiss Friend decided she didn’t like the skirt so she chopped it off and turned the whole thing into a jacket.
The silk has pears and swords and flowers, because obviously.

Deel 4: The Pink Monstrosity
After being told in no uncertain terms that my sweetheart neckline was a no-go as a result of my “too-small tits,” I wound up with this monstrosity.
It’s got the color scheme of a four-year-old girl watching Cinderella and tripping balls, but I LOVE IT.

So, there you go! If you were getting a deel, would you go the raincloud or the monstrosity route?


4 thoughts on “Dude, We’re Getting a Deel

  1. I’ve been doing research for a fantasy novel that involves a form of clothing similar to the Mongolian’s deel. Your posting was fascinating, and it has me very curious how much the seamstress charged you for your deel-skirts. If you’d post your response or e-mail me I’d be ever-so grateful. Thanks!

    • They were 35,000-40,000 tugrik, so about 17.5-20 USD to get made. The fabric cost 20-40k tugrik (10-20 USD). Hope that helps!

  2. so deel, pronounced like the dell in rivendell. Outstanding.. I found one at goodwill, couldn’t figure out what it was called.. and the internet was not being helpful (surprise surprise)..
    anyway, thank you very much for the infos!
    hawtness, btw. I particularly enjoy the overall look of the 4 year old’s Cinderella-inspired acid trip.

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