A contrarian jilbab

Ever consider why abayaat tend to be a lot more popular than jilbabs?-I’m talking the average jilbab, the kind that you can fairly readily get here in the west…

I’m mostly talking about the kind that comes out of Jordan and Syria which can be rather uncomfortable with their straight, boxy cut and large shoulder pads. Figure in usually the fabric is coarse and scratchy and/or lined with some slick, cheap polyester and its a very uncomfortable wearing experience.The Turkish pardesu, while a definite step up in comfort and style, tend to have their own set of problems…namely…difficulty in getting them, their price-which is normally well above $100 a pop, their lack of diverse range of sizing and if you do find one that fits, they tend to be cut very narrow in the shoulder area and can be uncomfortable if you have anything but the slimmest shape in your upper area. I can understand why abayaat tend to be more popular…even the cheapo, poor quality, nasty crepe ones which seem to predominate here…because, well…they much more comfortable.

I’ve found that overall abayaat MOVE with your body…while most jilbabs seem to just not move and your body has to conform to the garment.

I have one such jilbab, its a corduroy black number from Jordan, has the typical boxy cut and large shoulder pads. I do like it though, because its warm and a bit unique, although I believe it would be a LOT more comfortable to wear if it was’nt made to fit like a football (American) players uniform! Like, I wore it to the Library 2 days ago and after a few hours got a neck area and a headache because I just am not used to the suit-y, boxy, shoulder padded style of garment.  So maybe I’m not the best judge…but I recently decided I need to add something-something to my wardrobe, and here in the US i’m a HUGE fan of Shukr. really, I can NOT say enough fantastic things about them-I used to order from them fairly regularly when I was in University. They fill a much needed niche for modest, simple attire for Muslims that is perfect for everyday life, and especially for those of us who work or are “active”…you know, moms, students, careerwomen, etc. None of that flashy trash, too skinny, short stuff or yucky, was popular in 1999 styles usually sold to the western community. Granted, some of their designs of late were a bit off (i.e. the long sheerish shirts)…but I’m glad to see them coming back what works.

Anywho, since I pretty much solely wear overgarments when outside-and yes, by overgarments I mean… a long garment going from my head OR from my shoulders. I just dont feel comfortable in a tunic and even baggy jeans or a skirt anymore and I just think an overgarment is more in line with the attire required of us as Muslim women. Anyway, so I went to the Shukr jilbab selection and purchased the Shirtdress Jilbab. I’m glad to see Shukr is starting to cater more to the overgarment hejabi crowd because I can remember even 2 years ago when their jilbab selection was 1 or at most 2 a season.

I recieved it really fast and was pleased to find that its utterly unlike any other jilbab Ive worn before (and yes, Ive worn jilbabs quite a bit before my cordoroy number, remember…up until 8 years ago or so, jilbabs were the most common type of overgarment available here in the US!)…hence why I named this post A contrarian jilbab.

First its extremely soft material, I thought the cotton twill would be very thick and coarse, but on the contrary it seems like its a combed twill which gives it a soft, buttery feel and i feel extremely lightweight when on. Its a substantial jilbab by all means but it doesn’t feel like it weights 2-3 kilo when worn!  It fits very well but is neither narrow in the upper body.shoulder area NOR too big and boxy. Its sorta in between. There are NO shoulder pads yet the top portion of the jilbab doesn’t look slumpy or sloppy-like when you try to take shoulder pads out of a jilbab that has them…eegads…I dont recommend that one! It does come with a belt, but you dont have to wear it, the sleeves are the perfect length on me, I like all my sleeves to hit around my knuckle area, but you can flip them up if you like them to come to your wrists. The cut is not boxy, it is a bit straight cut, but does have a touch of an A-line to it. Although its not very notiable, when you walk, you notice as there is more room in the hem than is readily noticable. It buttons all the way to the floor, but the visible buttons hit knee length. Due to its side cut, you can go without buttoning it all the way down and your legs are still covered…although for any walking, you can button down further.

The only real downsides…are I dislike the weird fabric notch thingies at the shoulders, they stick up on me-so i’m gonna get my seamripper and very delicately take them off, they are decoration anyway, and I will need to be careful about washing it, as it is a dyed cotton twill…if I wash it too much, it’ll fade a bit and if I machine dry it, it may shrink a bit, and currently its the perfect size for me, baggy enough to be modest and cover all the parts that should be covered yet close fitting enough to not look too huge on me. So i may need to stick to hand washing in cold water and air drying when I need to wash it.

Personally, i think from here on out, should I want any more jilbabs, I will just buy them from Shukr because they seem to be a lot more comfortable and kinda have more of an abaya fit/feel (like what I’m used too!)…I’m already eyeing that linen Yarmouk jilbab for summer. heh,


here r some quickie snaps with my computer camera…


14 thoughts on “A contrarian jilbab

  1. Assalaamu Aliakum 🙂

    That jilbab is lovely, masha’Allah! I think there’s a misconception out there about Shukr’s clothing being made for shorter people…do you find that to be true? I’ve always wanted to ask somebody who has actually ordered from them 🙂

    Great post!

    • salaams…hmmm…ive actually never heard that. But I could see how if your quite tall you could have issues with length. Like I’m 5ft 4 and maybe a half. Something like this. Its a pretty average height in the US from what Ive read…but I often have problems with length…either items are too short or far too long. As far as Shukr goes…for my height, its really good. I think up to maybe 5ft5-ish like the jilbabs would be fine. The jilbabs all come standard-I think 57 or 58inches which for me, I like as I wear my abayaat that length anyway. If you were quite short you’d need to shorten them. For pants and skirts, anytime I bought them, they were just incredibly long on me. I think a taller sister would have no problems with their skirts or pants. like the pants usually come a good 5 inches longer than I can wear so obv a trip to a tailor is in order. For tunics, most of them hit around knee length on me.

      So basically, really it depends on your height…for jilbabs, you may find them not long enough, for skirts/pants…the length may be ideal…tunics…it depends on the length you like.

      I hope this helps!
      p.s. I do hope thou someday Shukr offers a bespoke service so your items can be altered inhouse upon ordering!

  2. Oh, I am so glad to hear that! Thanks for the detailed reply 🙂

    I’m 5’6 and was nervous about ordering from them, but perhaps now I will 🙂 Their designs are so cute.

    • salaams
      well if its any help…they are UBER GOOD about returns and echanges…probably the best online company about that Ive ever ordered from. They get back to you very fast and your money is returned quickly, and/or the exchange gets to you fast…unlike a LOT of shops which take for ever to do either.

      In the past when I ordered a lot from them, Id say order like 2 pants, 3-4 tunics (I was working then)…maybe some would be too big, too small…i’d just email them, pop them in the mail and within a week and a half-sometimes less, Id have a diff size.

      Like with them, I think u dont need to fear anything-seriously.

  3. Salaamun Alaikum wr wb,
    I hope everything is going well with you inshaAllah 🙂
    I often see iranians wearing a simple, plain manteau…often university students are wearing black ones it seems. It’s basically just a plain manto, with long or nearly-long (3/4 maybe) sleeves, and it’s button up. I would LOVE to have one of these manteau’s but I have no idea where I could find them other than in Iran 😦 Is there any way whatsoever that you know I could get one? It looks a bit like this: http://www.3noqte.com/main/images/stories/ali/manto.jpg
    But that’s seems to be basically a trench coat…now the ones I’m talking about are not trench coat’s because first of all, they’re not heavy weight at all really like trench coats but instead are just normal every-day wear fabric weight, and also they may not have that belt (but that’s not so important) AND may not be double-breasted button up but rather just button up in the middle. But whether they’re double breasted or not doesn’t matter for me, I’d just love to have one! I hope you know what ones I’m talking about, and if you do, please let me know if you know a way I can get one, or even a way (like a pattern) to make one.
    JazakumAllah Khayr,

    • well, right now in Iran everyone is wearing Turkish manteau, I know the styles you mean but I can honestly tell you, most the modest, Iranian made ones are close to non-existant due to the high cost of manufacturing in Iran right now, most places stock Turkish made manteau…they r more expensive but are kinda trendy. Try e-tessettur and hijabplanet, ayzagursoy (google them), they all stock Turkish manteau which r the styles seen in Iran right now.


  4. I see, okay. Thank you! I took a look at the websites you referred me to, but all their manteaus are quite long like I think nearly down to the ankle. That is good too of course, but I was looking for one thats more like knee length. But thank you so much either way! Oh yeah and just curious, do you know farsi?

    • Nope sis, actually they all have knee length ones too. Esp Ayza Gursoy and eTesettur. Ok
      They have a lot which are 3/4th length or knee length.

    • Here sister, here is a direct link to the manteau ayzagursoy has, most are actually knee length. They are exactly the style currently worn in Iran, as I mentioned, the Turkish manteau are whats trendy now. Ok. they also have other brands too. Ok

      • argh the link didnt show up…LOL…but if you go to “apparels” under AyzaGursoy, they have 3 dif pardesu brands, 2 of them have a lotta knee and 3/4th length manteau up and the designs are the same as whats popular in Iran, infact many of them are sold IN Iran. OK

        best of luck

  5. Thank you so much for your help sister, jazakallah! I really do appreciate it, and I dont want to sound picky or anything, but theres a very specific type of the manto’s that they’re not quite like the ones on those websites you showed me (or at least I think they’re not – maybe they are and I just dont realize it).
    They look like this —> http://jadi.civiblog.org/_photos/wear_chador_5.jpg
    I don’t really care about the slit going up on the sides, but something like that ^. The ones in the turkish website still are a little bit more trench coatish if you know what I mean (correct me if I’m wrong).
    Aha! also, like this except in black maybe –> http://www.across-then-up.com/imgs/gallery/8388/8388_17448974604ab356041ae1b.jpg
    It seems the fabric in these mantos in the links have a lighter or just different fabric/feel than the others.

    • Really sister I dont know what to tell you. Let me explain a few things…ok…1, those styles your showing are the made in Iran type of manteau and before they were really cheap and easy to get, but, like over the past say 2 years the prices of everything has gone up in Iran so many places no longer sell the made in Iran type of manteau because the price of the material is very expensive, as a consequence even those styles have become quite expensive lately. Currently everyone is going for the Turkish manteau as they really are now about the same price as the Iranian made ones-like when I went not last summer but the summer before, I was shocked to see very basic, not very good quality, black manteau, knee length for around $50 meanwhile 5 years previously they had been what…10-15-maybe 20?! So the Turkish ones are better quality and the cut and look is ncier on them so most women buy those now adays, also most of the Irani made manteau are now made extremely tight fitting and very short, my last time there it was hard to even find a modest fitting knee length one, forget longer! The women who wear the longer style either a-buy the Turkish style or make their own. It could be that the women your seeing are wearing an older style or made their own or took it to a seamstress.

      2-the turkish ones, the material and cut is very, very good, thats why they r kinda expensive. The material isnt too much different. I can tell you I have 2 black Irani manteau, 1 is knee and 1 is old style calf length and that black material is actually very hot and not very comfortable, cuz its cheap and lasts…right. The Turkish ones really are nicer.When I was last there, most of the good manteau shops sold Turkish manteau with a few Iranian ones sprinkled in.

      I dunno what else to tell ya sis, but I can tell you those Turkish ones, esp like the Kayra brand styles (like what you see on AuzaGursoy) are indeed whats being worn there now. Really. I’m not exaggerating. LOL.

      Sorry, otherwise, dunno what to tell ya. If someone you know is going to Iran ask them to get u one if you dont want a Turkish one. OK.

    • also…the “elegance” line that Ayzagursoy has up now m(I guess they just put it up) is also exactly the current styles in Iran too. Once I have time in the next month, I’ll try to do a post showing styles that r in line with whats currently popular in Iran. OK I’ll try…i’m really busy with Nursing school but en’shallah over winter break.

  6. Hahah thank you for the great explanation, now I understand! Okay, now I think my mind is clear 🙂 thanks! It would be GREAT if you could do a post about the popular manto lines in Iran sometime…I love your blog.
    Well inshallah hame khoob pish bereh baa dars-haaye shoma (not sure if you know farsi, but just saying hope all goes well with your school!).
    keep us in your dua 🙂

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