The Cherokee wore clothing made from animal skins before the Europeans introduced cloth to the tribe. Even into the 1800's the men wore the leggings made of deer hide in order to protect their legs from thorns and underbrush. The introduction of the turban indirectly came from the Muslim people. When a Cherokee delegation went to visit the Royal Family of England, the men were thought to be very frightening with their tattooed heads and bodies. It was decided to cover their upper bodies with the English smoking jacket, which became our hunting jacket and cover their heads with a shorter version of the turban of the Muslim house servants of the Royal Family. These introduced styles were well received among the men of the Five Civilized Tribes and continue to be a part of our cultural dress styles.
Today, we are more likely to see a young man dressed in a ribbon shirt and a young lady dressed in the tear dress. These styles are not old, but are used today as the traditional Cherokee dress styles. The tear dress is a dressed up version of a dress from the 1830's. The ribbon shirt was made to simply compliment the tear dress. There is no known significance in color scheme or ribbon adornment.