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Bismillah ar-rahman ar-raheem
It seems like most Hejab-related blogs have posted about trenchcoats as being an ideal wardrobe staple of the covering Muslimah…I wont argue with that one. I agree…but few go beyond that statement.
I dont know if most of my readers know this, but back in the day (think pre-1980’s)…there was no such thing as trendy abayaahs, or Rue 21 hijab or tunics and jeans and a scarf, or Jordanian jilbabs…there was…overhead abayaat from the Gulf countries (the ORIGINAL abaya!) and the trenchcoat…and the few Muslim women who covered but did not wear “cultural” clothing which fullfilled the requirements of hejab, like shalwar kameese or the chador or the baju kurung…these women who did cover tended to adopt the raincoat/trenchcoat as a cover-all, overgarment with no specific cultural hangups or ties or annotations. It was just a shapeless coat thrown over a teeshirt and jeans, with a scarf tied under the chin. Like what many non-chador wearing Iranian women adopted around the Revolutionary era as a show of a renewed religious persuasion.
From there…the style of wearing a raincoat/trenchcoat with a scarf trickled down and became popular in Turkey, Jordan, Syria and around the Muslim world as a pared down, simple form of hejab which complied with religious rulings yet had none of the cultural baggage which may have been associated with a traditional form of hejab.
So the humble trenchcoat basically spawned the beginning of the modern style of overgarments which muhajabaah and munaqabaah sisters around the world favor.
There are several aspects of trenchcoats which I really like…such as, they are readily available…go to any Target, Walmart, Macy’s, Burlington Coat factory come Fall or Spring and they always have a selection of trenchcoats. Some are ofcourse more suited to cooler weather wearing or are cut much too short and slender fitting to be modest but overall, you can generally find a decent, modest knee or ankle length trenchcoat which will carry you from season to season….you can always buy a Fall season trenchcoat and remove the lining to make it worthy even for summer wearings if you so choose!
For example, I was at Burlington Coat Factory this afternoon buying my son a new winter coat, bookbag and hat. Granted its still in the mid 70’s-80’sf here during the day but fall is coming, slowly but surely and soon we will need sweaters and jackets and then coats…I meandered over to the ladies coat area and saw several racks of knee and ankle length trenchcoats in various colors, fits and fabrics…and prices. I ended up picking up a 3/4th London Fog trenchcoat in “truffle”…it has a zip-out flannel lining so can be worn even in chilly weather (if layered over a sweater) or worn with the lining zipped out for spring and fall weather. I felt for the price it was an excellent value and would not only work as a lightweight winter jacket (unless its blizzarding and 20f!) over an abaya or whatever, but also worn over a teeshirt and jeans as a regular manteau in less nippy conditions.
I had a similar one about 10 years ago which I ripped the lining out and wore it year-around…the thing lasted me a good 5 years of constant wear. mash’Allah. I obviously plan to keep the regular lining and the zip-out flannel lining on this one as I intend for it to do double duty, as mentioned above.
Its this one…which btw, I found the exact trenchcoat on the London Fog website!
Here are a few more I found around the web which I like as well…
So now…some tips on buying and co-opting that Trench as a quintessential muhajabaah wardrobe staple!
1) Buy it a size larger than your usual body size…because as should be obvious, its an overgarment! Not an undergarment. It should be loose and modest enough to be worn over your jeans and teeshirt or skirt and sweater. For it to fullfill the requirements of hejab…it must cover the curves annd fit modestly.
2) Try for a longer, more modest length…Because…well, its pointless to wear a trench as your overgarment if it JUST skims the hips and exposes everything! Its not a teeshirt…its a coat!
4) Nix the belt OR tie it very loosely so its merely an accent, while not accentuating curves! Ive seen some Jodanian and Syrian munaqabaah sisters with jilbabs with matching belts and they all wore them very loosely, not snugly to nip in the waist and accentuate hips…but just as a mere accessory….so its possible!
Do any of you have any favorite trenchcoat-as jilbab styles?