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…