Orthodox Jewish clothing for men is quite distinct from that of many others. The yarmulke (Yiddish, kippah in Hebrew) is made of cloth, often velvet or of crocheted or knitted material, and is worn by Orthodox Jews as a reminder that God is constantly above them. Wearing a head covering is not a Biblical requirement, but their use has been mentioned by the rabbis of the Talmudic era, and has been a strong custom for hundreds of years. Wearing a yarmulke has taken on the force of law. Wearing covering on the head is also mentioned in the Talmud. Jewish law states that a man is required to cover his head while praying, as well.
The type of yarmulke worn can signify what particular movement the wearer adheres to. Knitted yarmulkes tend to be worn by Modern Orthodox Jews and Hareidi, or Ulta-Orthodox Jews tend to wear large, black velvet ones.
Jewish mens clothing doesn't stop at the yarmulke, though. Jewish clothing for men also includes something called tzitzit, which are specially knotted fringes worn on special four cornered garments called a tallit. Wearing tzitzit is a direct commandment from the Torah, and is mentioned in Numbers 15:38 as well as Deuteronomy 22:12. There are various traditions on how exactly the knots are tied, and in more recent years, techelet has been added many of the tzitzit that Orthodox Jews wear. Techelet is a color dye which the Torah requires to be added to the tzitzit, but the tradition of what this dye was and how to find it was lost until recently. Jewish mens clothing can vary from community to community, but traditionally, the yarmulke and the tzitzit with always be a part of the picture.
Hasidic Jewish clothing
Hasidic Jewish clothing includes all of the above, though most Hasidic men don't wear the techelet. They commonly wear black jackets, pants, shoes and white shirts, with no tie. Hasidic Jewish clothing also includes various types of hats. The size and style of hat signify which sect of Hasidism the man belongs to. On Shabbat, many Hasidim wear a streimel, which is a fur-lined, round hat.
Jewish clothing for men is, indeed, quite distinct from those of other cultures and religious. Orthodox Jewish clothing for men is tied strongly to tradition, custom and of course, the Torah.
If you have a question, on Orthodox Jewish Matters, and need an answer Please Email your questions, Chava will answer your questions with insight and wit.