One of the most colorful and original items of Mongolian national dress is the traditional head wear. The Mongolian head dresses differ in shape and purpose; there are hats for the young and old, summer and winter, men and women, holidays and ceremonies, and fashionable and everyday hats. Their fashion and trimmings and colors are amazingly varied depending on the sex of the person wearing it, his or her social position, or to whose tribe or nationality they belonged. There are 400 different styles. For example, the cone-shaped top of the hat (blue or red) has 32 stitching symbolizing the unification of 32 Mongolian tribes. During the middle ages, women and men wore summer hats made of plush wet velvet upturned brim and brocaded pointed tops. The hat was crowed with a fanciful knot. In ancient times, it symbolized a power capable of frightening enemies. During the summer, Mongols wore either the hat or flat topped “toortsog” hat consisting of six gores. The toortsog had an upper and a lower part. The upper part was not one piece but was sewn from six separate pieces. Married women were not permitted to wear this hat, only girls and men could wear it. Women's holiday head wear was noted for it is original style and richness of adornment. It consisted of a holiday silk and velvet hat and a complete decorative set for the hair the lower part of the hat was made from velvet and the upper part from red silk. The hair holder was covered with coral, pearl, and mother pearl. The Shanaavch, the temporal adornment with little silver bells, was fixed to the hair holder. The tolgoin boolt was a headdress usually made of silver and studded with a precious stone and semiprecious stones. Women's hats were more fashionable than men's, and the ribbons on them were decorated with turquoise.
The Deel is loose calf-length tunic made of one piece of material. It has long sleeves, a high collar and buttons on the right shoulder. If they are not commercially produced from decorative stones or silver, the deel buttons are narrow strips of cloth tied into intricate knots. Each ethnic group living in Mongolia has its own individual deel style, distinguished by its cut, color and trimming. These distinctions go unnoticed by foreigners but are obvious to Mongolians. Before the Revolution, all social strata in Mongolia had their own manner of dressing. Livestock breeders, for instance, wore yellow deels with a cape thrown over it. There are basically three types of deels, each worn during a particular season. The “Dan Deel” is made of light, thin bright materials and is worn by women during the late spring and summer. The “terleg” is a slightly more padded version and both men and women wear it. The winter deel is a serious, padded tunic lined with sheep skin, or layers of raw cotton. Deels have the same cut whether worn by men or women. Male deels are just wider and in more somber colors. The deel for everyday wear is gray, brown or some other dark color, while the holiday deel is a bright blue, green or scarlet silk with a silk sash of contrasting color several meters long. The sash is not simply an adornment. It also serves as a soft corset facilitating long riders on horse back. A deel has wide, cup-shaped sleeves nicknamed “hooves.” There is a legend that the Manchus introduced this style to make the Mongols the same as their horses. But it is a highly useful feature of the deel protecting the hands from the cold and from injures while doing hard work. The khantaaz is a shorter traditional jacket, often made of silk, which is also buttoned to the side, and usually worn over the deel.
The toes of traditional Mongol boots are upturned, and several explanations have been offered for this unconventional style. If boots had upturned toes pre-1578 when Buddhism was introduced to Mongolia, then this would be an example of religion using indigenous customs, beliefs etc. to support and advance their own religion. Another explanation is that the upturned tip prevents a rider's feet from slipping out of the stirrups. However, it's also true that boots are so thick and rigid that if they were flat, they would be almost impossible to walk in. These hefty boots are still worn in UB and are particularly popular in the countryside. The boots are tall boots made from thick unbending leather called “buligar” and the tops are decorated with leather appliqués. The right and left boots are the same shape. They do not have laces or zippers, making them easy and quick to slip on or off in a hurry. And they can be worn in all seasons with thick felt socks added in winter and removed in summer.