Traditionally, djellabas are made of wool in different shapes and colours, although nowadays lightweight cotton djellabas have become popular. Among the Berbers, or Imazighen, such as Imilchil in the Atlas Mountains, traditionally the colour of a djellaba indicates the marital status (single or married) of the bearer—a dark brown djellaba indicating bachelorhood. Traditionally, djellabas reached down to the ground but lightweight djellabas are somewhat slimmer and shorter. Men often wear a light-coloured djellaba sometimes along with a red fez hat and soft yellow slippers (balgha, Arabic: بلغه, or babouche) for religious celebrations and weddings.
Almost all djellabas of both styles (male or female) include a baggy hood called a qob (Arabic: قب) that comes to a point at the back. The hood is important for both sexes, as it protects the wearer from the sun, and in earlier times was used as a defence against sand being blown into the wearer's face by strong desert winds. In colder climes, as in the mountains of Morocco and Algeria, it also serves the same function as a winter hat, preventing heat loss through the head and protecting the face from snow and rain. It is not uncommon for the roomy hood to be used as a pocket during times of warm weather; it can fit loaves of bread or bags of groceries.
Traditional djellabas are generally made of two types of material, cotton for summer wear and coarse wool for the winter. The wool is typically obtained from sheep living in the surrounding mountains.