Feel the burn…and a hot pink abaya!

Yah, quite a subject huh…who ever heard of a hot pink abaya and feeling what burn?

Well, until yesterday I never quite fathomed the possibility of seeing a hot pink abaya here in KSA, until that is, when I rambled into a very, very expensive abaya boutique in a local mall and wandered over to their selection of colored abayaat (of which, I’d been lusting over…LOL) and there I did, indeed spy a HOT PINK ABAYA! I did a double take, mouth dropped and as the sales man rushed over hoping to make a sale, I said something stupid like…”what da heck is that!? nuuuuh, uuuuuuuuuh“, ah, how American my colloquialisms be.

anyway, its a really, really cute abaya and I wanted to take a picture of it, but being that the shop is a chain, I was told…no way, not ever, no way, no how. If it had been on sale OR if I actually wore shades of pink or red, I could have justified the purchase, but no.

But, if anyone really, truly wants a neon, hot pink, traffic stopping abaya…lemme know!

(same abaya but in lilac)

…and I feel like I’m currently roasting in my own juices…my pores are open, I’m nice and sweaty and my fingers are sliding across the keys…(pls pardon any typos…blame the 43c degree heat…YAH IT IS  109F OUT…RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND!)

AND…to add to the insanity, my son INSISTS upon playing outside on the balcony with his friends…which means I can not shut the doors and turn on our super GCC, super sophisticated air conditioners. LOL

But, the heat has snuck up on us, just 2 weeks ago it was topping out at 90-95F. Yesterday evening, as I stepped off the compound shuttle near the post office the heat and humidity hit me, it really hit me and I could not breath for a second and then all of a sudden, I felt like my body was on fire under the intense, bright sun and blue, clear sky. I had on a linen tunic, jeans, sandals (everyone here wears sandals! even women who wear gloves, they do, indeed wear sandals!), black cotton shaylah and my forsan batwing overhead. After going through 4 months of realative coolness, my body had un-adjusted to the “fry an egg on my kitchen floor at 12 noon” temperatures that predominate here in the spring, summer and fall. AND, its become humid. Its gone from fairly mild to warm and very, very dry to hair frizzing, looked like you stepped out of a shower 5 minutes ago, water vapor in the air, your lungs are warm-feeling every time you inhale sort of humidity.

…and it’ll ONLY get hotter and even more humid…ah…the delights that await!


19 thoughts on “Feel the burn…and a hot pink abaya!

  1. Wowza, hot pink! I would definitely wear a pink jilbab out, but probably not a hot pink one. Although it sounds like it would be an amazing party dress. 🙂

  2. well it has snaps down the front and the can have it made as closed front with just 2 snaps at the neckline. Its a chain boutique, so it lacks the personalizations possible at the smaller, independent shops and boutiques…

    • . The fabric is a really nice, substantial and weighty Japanese crepe. Its not thin or anything, its quite thick and heavy, but is deceptively airy as the weave lets in a lot of air, plus it doesnt show the body as well because it is substantial and is suitable for all-year round wearing, even in summer.

      And because its from a very upscale boutique (where their regular black and trendy abayaat are usually 1,000 sr and up!!!! )the quality is really, really top notch but the price comparatively isnt too bad.

      I have an ordering option up on my website, fyi… more details are there too.

  3. I looked up japanese crepe and there are a few kinds; cotton,cotton-rayon and silk. So is this cotton or silk? This abaya looks like a jilbab to me.

    • well, its definetly not silk-as silk abayaat are really, really expensive and obviously not cotton as who would wear really wear a cotton abaya? esp here in KSA neither is it cotton/rayon as thats what some hejabs are made out of.

      I think your kind of confused as to what the term Japanese crepe means and even what crepe is. First off, crepe is the general term for the polyester based fabrics which are used for abayaat, overheads and other related items. There are many, many, many varieties all of which have differences, some subtle, some major…some are really expensive, some are cheap. For example Kuwaiti crepe, Saloona crepe, Forsan crepe and Japanese and Korean crepes are all called “crepe” but they all differ quite a lot! Kuwaiti crepe is paper thin and is not durable, and its like sheeting material, forsan is heavier and has a texture to it, Japanese crepe varies, some are very fine, thin yet durable with a smooth surface while others are thicker with a texture. Japanese crepe is considered one of the best crepes for an abaya or a chador, for example. It tends to be quite expensive, there are Korean crepes and Chinese crepes which are considered “knock-offs” and are cheaper.

      So its just crepe…but a high quality Japanese crepe used for abayaat.

      Now you mention another modern quandry, what makes a jilbab and what makes an abaya? Back in the day-like 10 yrs ago, for example…a jilbab looked like a coat, usually had buttons, you know, like a trench or something similar-ish while an abaya 10 yrs ago was similar to the bisht style of today or the abaya ra’as…as the sleeved, shoulder abaya was not common outside of KSA and even then, they wore a jilbab-like garment from the shoulders they wore such things.

      Now adays, people are calling jilbabs abayaat and abayaat jilbabs. but, to me… a jilbab will always remain an overgarment which resembles a coat/manteau with shoulder pads, buttons down the front and a more detailed styling with tucks and shaping. Like the Jordanian jilbabs or the Iranian manteau. While a abaya is more free-flowing, doesnt have buttons and lacks the tucks, shaping and details.

      This is indeed an abaya…not just for those reasons but also because its next to impossible to get a jilbab here in KSA, unless you happen upon a Turkish pardesu in an imports store or something. forget it. Also, there is indeed a market for abayaat in colors as many, many Saudi women go abroad to live or study and many continue with abaya when abroad, although very very few wear the full black abaya and shaylah when outside of the country, they prefer colored abayaat and colored shaylahs.

      Does this explain it? Obviously I’m not a crepe expert and I can’t speak Arabic or Urdu so I can’t grill the shop keepers…so i’m going by what I know from before I came here and bits gleaned here and there while here.

      p.s. I realize you got your tidbit of info from an online website, and unfortunately Ive found that quite a bit of whats online-dept. on what its about really is not…A)authoritative B)Accurate OR C) Accurate in some situations. Unfortunately most people who write the info I just read about crepes do not know anything about abayaat, overgarments and the crepes used for them.
      The closest I came to some sort of mini-accuracy, on some levels was this wikipedia article-ofcourse…wikipedia is NOT authoritative, but its an OK starting point.

      • I’m with you; I always think of “jilbabs” as the coat-like garments, and “abayas” as the dresses/robes. I greatly prefer jilbabs over abayas, but I think they are harder to find everywhere you go (except maybe, as you said, in Turkey, Iran, or Jordan).

  4. I guess… i do! It looks great! I like lilac rather than pink, or very gentle pink- almost peach or beige .. i’ll contact you about it 😀 It’s great for wearing when outside the GCC!!!

  5. Hmm why not wear a cotton abaya? I for one am on the lookout for cotton jilbabs as summer is approaching and polyester is hot.

    • well sister, for several reasons.
      First off, cotton really is not a very good fabric for an overgarment and is not very durable, not does it keep its shape easily plus the colors on cotton material tend to fade easily, in sun or heat. Also, cotton, while thin just gets wet when you perspire, it does not stay dry, nor does sweat evaporate very quickly when cotton material is soaked with perspiration. So, particularly in the climate here which is currently 115 during the day and its ONLY May, and its extremely humid. you’r soaking wet from the water vapor in the air and burning hot within moments of walking out the door.

      Secondly, not all polyester is hot. I often need to reassure sisters who are new to Saudi abayaat-esp the good quality kind, that just because crepe is polyester, does NOT mean its hot and you’ll melt and sweat to death.
      As mentioned before, there are many diff types of crepe used in abayaat.

      Some are prefered for cooler weather wearing, some are prefered for hot weather and some are good year round.
      The cooler weather crepes tend to be quite thick and warm feeling, they do indeed keep in the heat as most women here just wear a hoodie with an abaya when out, or a sweater and their abaya when out in winter. No coat…so the abaya sort of keeps them warm. Those are not worn the rest of the year as you’d melt into a puddle. The warmer weather crepes…like saloona-for example are sublime in this heat. The weave is very open so air flows right through, yet its obviously opaque. Its also light as a feather. There are other similar summer weight crepes out there. Here come the hot weather, all the shops start producing abayaat in the summer crepes.
      Then you have the year-round crepes…like this Japanese crepe or like forsan which are neither thick, nor thin and do not keep in body heat or sweat but arent as light and breezy as saloona, for example. They are just suitable for all-year wearing. Heat, cold, sand storm, torrential downpour, whatever.

      The nice thing about the crepes used in the good quality abayaat here is that they are very well suited to the climate. they don’t fade, dont stretch out and get wonky from wear, they retain their shape and fit, they air dry in a snap, if you sweat a bucket of water, your abaya dries quickly so your abaya isnt sopping wet (though your jeans and teeshirt might be. LOL)

      okay? I do hope that explains things for you.

    • well sis, it does look to be exceptional quality, but again, with cotton…its indeed a gamble. I have several cototn tunics from Shukr and Shukr is known for impeccable quality and unforunately, even though they cost a pretty penny, they have faded in some areas from wear and from the sun and from washing, and they get a bit wonky in areas after awhile. Hence, I started to buy only linen or modal fabric tunics as both fabrics keep their shape and colors better. Although linen fades too, its not so noticable.
      They put polyester in it to help it keep its shape.

      But sis, its up to you. if you like it, buy it, if not…don’t. But personally, if I was spending the equivalent of $120 I’d want something which would be very durable and longer lasting with better fabric integrity. Id buy a linen abaya in a heartbeat…and I do have one-its back in the US in a box and its 7 years old! (though its a jilbab actually) or a summer weight or high quality year-round crepe abaya or jilbab.
      Its just, they last better.

  6. hot pink? is that even legal? i live in riyadh and once ran into an expat who was wearing a tailor-made olive drab abaya with matching hijab. i said, hey, i’m pretty sure your abaya has to be black. she said no, it can be any color but most choose black. no, here, in riyadh, i’ve never seen anything but black. i myself purchased a few new abayas on a trip to jeddah and they have pretty designs on them but i was told by someone that the muttawa will stop me. that hasn’t happened. i still wear the pretty abayas. they’re mostly black. so do you know? are other colors really allowed?

    • LOL, actually sis there is no actual “law” anywhere that says you have wear black and only black. The whole black thing is more a cultural thing than religious. Now you are supposed to dress modestly when out and about and in certain areas like Riyadh women should cover their heads when out, Muslim or not. But color is not specified.

      But, on two occasions I have gone out in colorful outfits and once in a long light blue tunic over a denim skirt with a black shaylah on and I did not get even any looks from the haia or men…BUT, it was the local WOMEN who were bothersome. I got a boatload of contemptuous glares and weird comments thrown my way. I think because I wasn’t “blending” in…it was somehow dishonorable. Or something like that.

      But the colored abayaat which are sold in some stores are usually purchased by local women before going abroad for vacation or for school…as most of them dont wear the black abayaat when outside of the country.

      Personally, Id wear the lilac one I got around in a heart beat, but I am not looking forward to being told off and glared at by random women. So, I’ll wait.

      p.s…as a side note on the color thing. In my area which is the EP, there are many women, esp the Somali women, the Sudanese women and sometimes Syrian women who go out in Navy, Olive, Tan or whatever else overgarments or jilbabs and noone stops them. And there is a HUGE sign in the main entrance at a local mall which specifies the female dress code BUT, color is NOT specified. They are more concerned with whether a woman is going out in an item of clothing which covers her body. Color doesnt matter. But again, in this region, probably a muted tone is best…like grey, olive, navy, tan, etc…verses sky blue, hot pink, bright yellow, etc. LOL

      so I don’t ur jeddawi abayaat should cause you any problems.

  7. Wow, it’s really pretty! I love that lilac one. Ecrater still isn’t working for me. I think it could be my browser or something…I’ll try using a different one and see…because I noticed several websites I used to visit aren’t working since we got this new computer…I think the problem is on my end… 😦

  8. Of course, in the UAE women will sometimes wear a plain abaya over a fancy, showier abaya, for example, if they are going to a wedding. Women frequently leave their abayas on at weddings. I never actually wore two abayas myself, but that’s because I never had an abaya that flashy!

  9. Salaam wa’alaykum,

    I live in England and have been looking for an overhead abaya for absolutely ages now!! I jus cant seem to find one that my husband likes, as he doesnt like the flimsy easily blown in the wind ones!! I found this one…


    and i like it very much alhamdulillah the style is exactly what im looking for, the only problem is its kuwaiti crepe, now i have no idea how thick or thin kuwaiti crepe is but as i searched online to find out i came across your blog and thought maybe you could help me out insha’Allah!!! Do you think it would be sufficient enough as usually i wear another jilbab underneath my abayas anyway… If i dnt find something suitable i’l have to end up weaing an uncomfortable khimar that i own, but do not like but my husband insists that i wear it!! Alhamdulillah i dont mind wearing it but id like something that i can atleast be comfortable in insha’Allah!!!

    • salaams, well sis…you’r kinda heck outta luck when it comes to this…LOL…as all abayaat are made in lightweight crepes…otherwise your neck would snap from the excess weight. ya know. ofcourse some fabrics are better than others, if you are going to the Gulf…I suggest trying to find an overhead in either quality forsan or quality internet material…both are thicker crepes…suitable for cooler weather. Kuwaiti crepe is about the cheapest, thinnest crepe out there…its incredibly thin and even when worn for a shoulder abaya is really just NOT suitable as if clings to the body. You may be in luck with al0-hediya…she sells REAL Kuwait style overheads…the material is very thin, but it glides, it doesnt stick…also the center seaming where the 2 pieces of material are joined help to keep ot further from the body.

      I think though wearing ANOTHER jilbab.abaya or even a long khimaar under an overhead would be incredibly excessive, needless and uncomfortable…cuz the overhead IS the outter garment…like a shoulder jilbab or abaya would be the outter garment…why double up? Ive never seen this anywhere in the Gulf…women there get lightweight crepe overheads (if they wear them) usually a thicker one for winter and a thinner one…like saloona for the summer…and just wear jeans and a teeshirt, tank top or if very old fashioned…a long dress or skirt…

      Best of luck.

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