My thoughts on long khimaars

You know, I do like the look of long khimaars.

Our city has a medium sized Somali community and its not infrequent to see Somali women skitting along the street with their long khimaars floating behind them. Ofcourse where I live currently no has zero Somalis and the area of the city I am moving too in June does not really have any either. The government likes to settle them in 1-2 city neighborhoods so they have their own community-regardless of how I feel about that *ahem*…thats how it is, so in those communities long khimaars are without exception the norm.

But, while I admit they are very beautiful, especially the very long ones…they seem to float on the air, flicking color here and there…they just don’t strike me as very practical. Heres why…so the lovely long ones seem so cumbersome…hello…hands…while the short ones-seem to lack the flow, and because they are shorter and have less weight, I can imagine windy conditions could flip it off your head.

Of course I really don’t know and whats funny is that I’m probably the opposite of most western sisters…I am way more comfortable in an overhead overgarment than most are yet in a long khimaar I reckon I would be a hopeless mess. LOL. I guess it boils down to what your used too.

But they are lovely…I currently own 3. One black crepe, hip length one I had made in Saudi, one ankle length Somali style one I picked up in a local Afro-Muslim market, the material its made out of is really cheap and the sewing isnt good, but its long and the color is a spring-y pistachio grey green. It has slits for the hands and the one which I just got from France called a cape cloche, but its still a long khimaar. They come in uber long and sort of long-I got the thigh length “sort of long” style.

Like below…

It’s not constructed like most of the khimaars we are used too, with the seam up the front, these have 2 seams on the side-like around ear level and then cover the chin.

I really have not worn them out too-too much, although yesterday I wore my French cape cloche out…details to follow in next blog post and about a month ago I wore the black Saudi number to the local grocery store and got stared down like I was fresh off a space ship or something. I guess the biggest reason why I don’t feel like I could give with long khimaars is that one always associates long khimaars with skirts and as ive mentioned before…me and skirts dont mesh well. I prefer pants-particularly jeans and the nice thing about overhead overgaments is you can throw it over a scarf, tunic and jeans and be out the door, no hassles, but to me, skirts seem kind of dressy and hassle-y…like what if the wind blows or your playing with your child. The few times I wear skirts I seriously put them over a pair of jeans. hehehe.

Am I weird or something?

So what do you all think of long khimaars, comfort? styles? wearability?

So next up…my day in a long khimaar *muahahaha*


17 thoughts on “My thoughts on long khimaars

  1. Salaam sis. I wear a long khimar but I wear the tie-back polyblend type. 🙂 And yes, they can (and have!) blow over your head in really windy weather. Happened to me once, flipped over my head and I was all ‘Ya Allah’ but alhamdulillah no one was around. 🙂

    Now when I step out and it’s windy I firmly anchor it under one arm. 🙂 My longest one is almost knee length and I love it! I just have to hitch it up when I sit down. I drape it over my wrists when I need my hands free and I like the way it hangs.

    Wish I could find a couple of the somali type; I’m sure there’s a store in Boston that sells them insha’Allah. We have a large Somalian community at my masjid but unfortunately many of the sisters aren’t very talkative.

    ma salaama…

  2. I like long khimars, but unless they have slits for the hands or don’t go past your wrists they really aren’t very practical, at least for me. The long khimars I own are hip length and leave the wrists free; one is mid-thigh length and does cover my hands, but it’s light and short enough to easily expose them when necessary. Alhamdulillah, I haven’t had any trouble with the wind blowing them up over my head.

    @ Umm Aaminah: You can definitely find long Somali-style khimars in Boston. 🙂

  3. Salamz!

    I wear hip-length khimar which I have in black, dark brown and cream. They’re the tie- back type like Umm Aminah’s. I find them useful because, unlike you, I LOVE to wear skirts- and the trouble for me is finding modest enough tops to go with my skirts, so wearing the khimar over them solves the problem nicely. I have a rather full *ahem* busom, so even draping my hijab down further to cover my chest still isn’t modest enough for me, and I still feel self conscious. But with the khimar, your chest is covered and you can wear closer fitting tops underneath because no one sees them. It’s also a boon in warmer weather, because abayas can get so hot, but a khimar over a light, flowy skirt is much cooler. I love abays as well, but find that skirts feel too bunchy underneath, and I often end up wearing my jeans under my abaya instead. But in summer you can really swelter underneath all that black crepe! I know what you mean about longer khimar and the hands problem- but I’ve seen some available online that have slits for hands, and some sisters fasten the bottom of the khimar around each wrist which might be an option.
    I used to live in London where styles like this were ubiquitous, but I live in Los Angeles now, and I don’t see this style here- don’t see black khaleeji style abayas much either for that matter. I notice muslimas tend to adopt a more “western” style of dress- maybe there is the fear of looking too “foreign” or “arab” or like a “terrorist”, whatever, hehe. But I carry on undeterred!

  4. Khimars are great in warmer weather because you don’t get as hot in them as in hijabs, and because they float around you when you walk, you get a nice breeze underneath. In summer, I usually wear them over a shoulder abaya. However, they are no use in cold or windy weather. You cannot really wear a coat or a jacket under them (it’s not really practical and looks funny). And when it’s windy they behave like a sail (unless you tuck the bottom of the fabric under one of your arms to prevent it – which does not look really stylish). If you want to wear long khimars, make arm slits in them, that will make life easier for you.

  5. Salaam alaikum!

    Quite a few sisters here in Morocco wear the khimar, either with or without a niqab. I agree with you that mash’Allah it just looks so gorgeous and graceful, and modest! The way women here will taylor their khimars is that they will be shorter (usually to the wrist) in the front and longer (usually to the back of the knees, or sometimes to mid-calf) in the back so that their hands remain free. They’ll wear them over either a shoulder abaya in the same color as the khimar, or will wear them with a traditional djellaba. In both cases they will always wear pants underneath the abaya/djellaba because women tend to prefer their abayas/djellabas at ankle length so that they do not drag on the ground (in Casablanca especially you DO NOT want your clothes dragging on the ground, ICK! I learned this the hard way of course, lol…I now have quite a few things I need to hem). Insh’Allah in the future I would love to do a post on the variety of women’s fashion here.

  6. I’m with you on skirts. I think even Islamically you have to wear something under them unless you’re very very careful about wind and not showing anything, etc.
    I’ve tried them a few times; Shukr has nice ones that I’ve worn with really long over-the-knee socks, or jeans or other pants under, etc. But I prefer not to wear skirts. But, I’ve had a hard time with overheads, too – I’ve not had enough experience to find them comfortable or practical for me personally.

  7. salam alkum, i did wear khimar for years for reason to cover my full shape properly modest, but i did experience some difficulty , on windy days the khimar was blowing up like a sale and near to expose my thighter shirts under or blow fom my head. Driving the car was bring the proplem that my hand sometimes got stuck under the khimar wihle revers parking. Or holding my children on the hand they sometimes just disapeared under the long khimar ( maybe great at rainy days). Then i swiched to the algerian style khimar who gives me way more comfort and dosent slip up in the tummy region when i push the shopping trolly or simply lift my arms up. and the headband hold its great in place and i can wear it kind of niqab “nose out ” lol 🙂 At my University all wear Hijab western style .. but i ‘m really in love with my algerian style “overhead” khimar. I wish i could find someone who sale them for very tall and big women. They not for sale in Australia and the one from germany was very very expensive once i orderd one online the material was like a rain cape not to wear at all and after 2 min you could see the sweetmarks. I guess i found my style with the algerian khimar overhead, now i just need to find a gerat shop to buy . I really enjoy the picture of the algerian style overhead here on the blog.

    • Sister, have you considered ordering either from Nabira or Bismillah Boutique? Both are in France and have many styles of jelbab you can buy. I prefer Bismillah Boutique as they have the widest sleection and they explain-very well the material used and its weight. My last order frm Bismillah Boutique reached me in ONLY 1 week-finally it seems EMS is working right. LOL…BUT just as word to the wise, if you want a good quality, wearable and comfortable Algerienne style jelbab you will need to pay a higher price. The cheapo ones are made out of either very heavy winter materials whuich works for winter but not year round, OR for lesser qualiuty, kinda blah materials. You should nget either the 200gram microfiber OR caviary. The 200gram microfiber is a bit thicker than caviary but is still very decent and the air goes through it well, or Caviary, which is top of the line and is extremely high quality crepe. Though they can range from 25euro up to 36euro…so be prepared.

      but I do high,y recommend Bismillah Boutique, they sell the El bassira brand…just be sure to get the better quality and yes, more expensive stuff…otherwise it’ll be a waste of money!


  8. I haven’t worn khimars recently but to me they are really practical on hot summer days. I tend to wear the arm gauntlents if Im wearing a shorter sleeve shirt to prevent from it flying up and exposing my arms. The long khimars are beautiful, but anything lower than thigh length becomes bothersome for me. At time i feel like I can’t move especially when Im praying, it get caught up under my legs and I end up nearly choking myself or falling over. I guess Im just hazardous to myslef lol.

    • I have the same problem. Every time I have a longer khimar on while praying I trip over it when getting up from sujud. Or a sister next to me steps on it and pulls my head to the side. Generally, I admire sisters who pray in mosque in their overheads, long khimars or other such extra wide and long garments. I think they just gather the extra fabric before doing sujud to avoid tripping hazards, haha.

    • salaam, sister yaasmin! regarding your statement about the khimars…”been there, done that”…you are sooo funny, alhamdulillah!

  9. I love long khimars, most of mine are made by a sister in the UK and she has them cut shorter at the front and gradually becoming longer towards the back this style is far less cumbersome and very unlikely to blow about in the wind even in a very lightweight crepe material; they also have a tie-back; I cannot stand those without a tie-back as I feel I am being strangled. I do like overheads as well but find them less practical with children, no matter how much of a perfect length they are; with several kids in tow I always end up being tripped by an overhead; also being larger aside from the traditional batwing overheads; I find the long khimar and lightweight abaya look far more covering and modest…

  10. I love them and think they look really great on other people, but they don’t seem to work as well on me. They are great for nursing covers though!

  11. I love all of the photos especially the first one. They look very elegant. A few of my friends wear colourful long khimar but I prefer the length a bit shorter. It always amaze me that you always found good photos like these.

  12. Asalamulakum,
    I like the long khimars because I can where a tank under them in the summer, as long as i remember sleeves. I have 3 or 4 overheads and they always pull back on my underscarf and wont stay up. They drive me bonkers. They are cooler in the summer but I constantly have to fiddle with them. I dont really bother with them in the winter. Not that I venture out much in the winter. We get lots of snow alhumdulillah, and I abhor going out in it.
    The long khimar i have has are slits but I dont really like that so I pin them closed most of the time. anyhoo

  13. Assalamualaikum.
    I can only wear the slit mid calf khimar with slits over shoulder abaya or long dress.
    I find it very stylish,niqab,underscarf abaya can be contrasted with a different color’like black and grey .slits khimar are ideal for all weather specially windy,even coats
    can be worn on top.i made them myself, i sold many of them too, around the world.
    I still does to some friend,it’s a hobby more or less…salaam

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