Although I had gawffed at them as being rather unsightly and looking slightly akin to-as other sisters have said…like a child playing with an adults shirt and keeping their head inside the neckline-after all, I’m a rather hardcore fan of the more traditional batwing abaya.Until I saw this rather neat sleeved overhead with a different style of cuffs. The cuffs are snug to the arm and give the abaya a puffed sleeve sort of a look. Very trendy. I got it for dirt cheap and had it taken in a bit under the arms so its not quite so boxy and has more of an A-line fit (another of my qualms with most sleeved overheads is the boxy look) and its in this rather nice mustaqbal crepe. Usually I prefer forsan or saloona for overheads as Ive found mustaqbal can be a bit static-prone but sofar this abaya has not raised any static havoc at all… and I’m actually surprised to say this, its quite comfortable, very cool and lightweight. Infact since I got it two weeks ago ive worn it almost every time Ive gone out. of course I put elastic in the head area so it stays on my head like glue. hehehehhe.
Ive come to understand why most overhead wearing local women wear the sleeved variety. They are definitely a bit easier to wear than the traditional batwings. You can carry your purse easier and you can carry packages, kidlets, groceries, whatever without much worrying about tripping over the extra fabric. You can go out in less clothing under it – if the overhead is sewn up the front (which mine is) as its closer fitting to the body, so less chance of something being exposed. Although I love the look of the batwing overheads, they truly are elegant and beautiful and can feel wonderful to wear, they do have a few downsides…namely the extra fabric which can make doing certain things a bit difficult.
But anyway, overall, Ive come to like the sleeved overhead I got.
Here is some quickie pics to show the cuffs.
Also Ive come to the decision that upon returning to the US I shall continue or try atleast to wear the overhead frequently when going out. First because I’ve become very accustomed to them (so much so that when I go out in a shoulder abaya, I actually feel really strange and uncomfortable!) and I feel that they are a more superior form of covering and I love how they cover all, no hassle, no whatever. But, I do know that in most areas outside of this region, the overhead can look a bit scary, but I think I will try to wear the sleeved style as its more of a hybrid and its not as big, voluminous and maybe…erm, “scary” to the average person. And we will be living in a suburb of a large, diverse city so I dont think I’ll have many problems, after all, before coming here I almost exclusively wore overgarments anyway and I preferred the bigger styles as well. Also I do know some sisters who wear niqab and overheads and they don’t get anything out of the ordinary from their wearing them. (obviously though, en’shallah once I am working again I will stick to professional looking shoulder abayaat and jilbab suits, but outside of work…I can wear what I choose, en’shallah)
What do you all think?
On a side note…before I continue with the rest of my post…check this hair flower out! Its a new style from UAE, its actually a hair scrunchie hair flower! This one isnt too big, but Ive seen some which are rather massive! LOL…
I was thinking about other styles of sleeved overhead overgarments and the Egyptian isdaal popped to mind. Actually I had one, a year and a half ago when I was in Graduate school I bought one from an online LEGIT Egyptian site as I wanted something like a batwing but more-erm, “modern” and the Isdaal looked like a lovely option, plus it was useful to keep in my bag to pop on for salaat , after all, my department was a whole 2 blocks from the masjid! LOL, alhamdullah, I’d usually just walk to the masjid to pray.
But, when I got it, I admit that I was disappointed with it. I was used to the traditional batwing and I assumed the Isdaal would have the same cut, but just with attached sleeves or something. But, it doesnt. The Isdaal has this different cut where the head potion is literally cut out of the fabric (so the design is not a huge square or big T) and the Isdaal doesnt stay on your head by its own weight-like the Gulf style batwings and sleeved overheads. It has to be pinned to an underscarf/headscarf to stay on. Plus, the one I got was shaped in a weird baggy way which made the hem rather narrow, so I had to open it up and give it a slit, but it sort of ruined the look. Needless to say, I didnt keep it for long, it just didnt hang right.
It was like this…
Although I do know sisters who love the Isdaal and they hang good on them, on me…nah. Plus, I like mine to stay put via its own weight and the elastic trick…which you can’t add elastic to the Isdaal.
But, one perk to Isdaals is you can get them in colors sometimes… I could totally dig a sleeved overhead in grey or brown.
But, check out this picture of an Egyptian girl with an Isdaal…it flows really well and seems to be very A-line, see I could dig that one. Hmmm…
What do you all think of the Egyptian Isdaals? Do any of you wear them?
There is a similar style popular in Iran now called by many names…chador-e melli, chador-e Lubnani, Chador-e Daneshjoo…I wont go into all the name differences,as Ive done posts on them before, but they are basically a regular chador cut into so there are sleeves. Actually I could not, for the life of me, figure out how one made a chador-e melli from a regular chador…UNTIL I found several patterns online! LOL. If anyone wants to make your own, let me know and I will share the patterns, they are obviously in Farsi and you have to know 1-how to make a regular, traditional chador or have 1-2 on hand you can cut up and play around with. I ended up cutting up some sheets and made a mock one, I was going to try to have a abaya shop here replicate it in crepe…BUT, upon trying to explain the concept…gave up, and seriously, the tailors here do NOT comprehend other styles of covering than, that which they are used to making on a daily basis. LOL.
One reason why they have become so popular is not so much the ease of wearing them because they are a cheaper alternative to the traditional manteau (coat) and chador…as they come ready made and Ive heard they are much cheaper and are closed up the front, so no need of a manteau…just pop over jeans, teeshirt and scarf and voila…
But anyway, here are some examples…
There are several different versions but all are similar to below pictures; They have elastic on the inside to keep it on the head better and it fits and flows like a traditional chador, but no hassles of holding it closed and wrapping it around oneself, which is why it remains most popular with students and those who work.
And the style has trickled down to be popular for house and prayer wear…they are even being touted as good for working out and being active. Which, btw, I do agree, its really hard serving tea to guests in a traditional house chador…I think these would make life easier in that regard!