Are black abayaahs mandatory to wear?

See, I’ve started to wonder whether a woman here in KSA HAS to always wear a black abayaah or at bare minimum something deemed an “overgarment” when out in public? I am curious about this now and then. And, a part of me reckons not…thats it is more “de rigueur” from the cultural/societal standpoint and not really “required” from the law saying so and mutawwah stopping you if you don’t viewpoint.

So, hmmm. Yesterday morning I went to one of the huge local malls to kill 2 hours with my son…you know, walk around, oogle over priced jalabeeya and designer clothing, get some coffee, cake and veg out. That sorta thing and I saw…for the first time since I arrived, quite a lot of women NOT wear overgarments.

First I saw some Egyptian woman in long tunics (knee length) over skirts and baggy jeans with big hijabs, then I saw some Indonesian nannies wearing similar attired while walking around with their families and charges and I saw some non-Muslim women in butt length long sleeved shirts and loose pants.

(taken from Shukr)

Hmmmmmmmm…now, I wonder whether anyone stopped them? I know the mutawwah generally don’t bother people in the malls during the daytime (where as in the evenings they are out) so would it be possible to wear the type of attire I wore in the US, here, during the day at the mall? Maybe like dig out some of my long Shukr tunics, pair one with a long denim skirt, wear a black shaylah and half-niqab and shlep around the mall? Hmmmmmm

Because, I’ll be frank…the black black black black is REALLY grating on my nerves…EVERYONE wears black…even though the abayaat are quite gorgeous and creative and some are straight up spectacular…I would love to see some other colors or designs being worn!

Hmmm…I’ll let you all know whether I do this…and the reaction I get. I am kicking myself for NOT bringing even 1 of my Jordanian jilbabs or Iranian manteau along!

4 thoughts on “Are black abayaahs mandatory to wear?

  1. I don’t want to offer you any mis-informed advice that could cause you trouble, but I am 100% in support of your desire to wear something un-black. Black is nice, but feeling like you are wearing the same thing every single day is not.

  2. The ‘Shukr picture is what I wear when I get tired of Abaya/jilbab or when it’s really hot out. I call it the Abaya “silhouette”, it has the same shape of the abaya or jilbab, can still be an overgarment but is just changes the look a bit. I’m interested to hear how your adventure goes.

  3. If you venture out in color make sure to report back! I’d love to hear how it went! I can imagine that it gets old fast to wear the same colour all the time.

  4. I too am very interested to hear how it goes if you do it! I agree, black is nice, but as you said feeling like you’re wearing the same thing everyday isn’t.

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