Trencoats…a quintessential muhajabaah style.

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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…

(This is a Burberry trenchcoat, but is the exact same style which Target is currently stocking…for a lot less!)

(Trenchcoat style pardesu from E-Tesettur.com.tr)

(Syrian-made trenchcoat jilbab from Sajeda.com)

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!

3) Stick to full length sleeves or wear sleeves if its a 3/4th sleeve…again…its an overgarment…not a teeshirt!

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?

7 thoughts on “Trencoats…a quintessential muhajabaah style.

  1. I love trenchcoats… wish I could wear them year-round! Here’s a tip for the belt that I like which works great with some styles. I have one coat that has large belt loops on the side and might look kind of weird without any belt. Instead of tying it after putting the ends through the belt loops, I just fold each end back around the belt loop and tuck it under the belt so a loose bit of belt hangs down on each side (similar to how you would do if you had a really long belt and wanted to tuck the end underneath). Looping the ends back through keeps it secured at the belt loop on each side without a knot that would look funny or stick out, so the belt does not come out of the loops. Also, this allows you to adjust the tightness of the length of belt that goes across your back to make the waist as loose as desired. It’s also much faster to take the coat on and off since you don’t have to tie and retie the belt all the time. Since different trenchcoat styles have different belt loop placement and belt styles, it’s best to experiment with this when trying on the coat in the store. I think it works best with a long belt.

  2. I remember when I first reverted most sisters did wear trenchcoats as an overgarment, the other options weren’t really cool and were not waterproof so living in the UK were not practical! Asian sisters would wear a trenchcoat which fell exactly in line with the bottom of the kameez of their shalwar kameez, and Arab, revert and other sisters would wear ones that were full length or close to it. I found a really nice full length, microfibre one in a clothes shop near my parents house, they had a whole bunch of them in beige and black and they were onlly £25 I think whereas even in those days, a similar one in a department store would have cost £60-£100. Sadly though I had to get rid of it as it was a double breasted style and really did not suit me

  3. I actually never thought of using my trenchcoat as an overgarment. I have a wonderful 3/4 length one but I always wear an abaya when I go out. Maybe I can suggest it for my daughter. I do rather like the idea of it.

    • asalaamu alaikum…well sis…first time for everything…but yea, before abayaat became a shoulder garment and where readily available in the west…most Muslim women who covered in an overgarment used a trenchcoat…for reaosns I mentioned. Actually that may be a good idea! She could rock a funky knee length trench with wide legged jeans…right now Target has some cute ones and in prints…u can easily remove the lining if necessary also if shes very thin, I saw some lightweight summer-style trenchs at Burlington which were knee length and 3/4th sleeved..that may work too, with sleeves.

  4. Assalaamu alaykum. Yep many moons ago my first overgarment was a black trenchcoat which I seemed to practically live in. I would look with friends at pics of the puffy pleated jilbabs and dream of the day we would own one inshallah, hehe. Since losing weight alhamdulilah I’m in the market for a new trench now inshallah cos my most recent one (a goegeous petrol-blue colour; only wore twice) could quite happily cover myself and my entire family! I like things roomy but it’s pretty ridiculous now.

  5. i love them. cant wear them here in florida too much. on a website that sells vintage/used stuff i managed to get a reversible trench coat that is lylac and then u reverse and it goes to black! i also love the ones from turkey but ive never seen them in my plus size.

  6. I love them too, they’re a must-have unless you’re a full-time overhead wearer! I personally favor the look of long coats, though, like the one from Sajeda but without the belt which I find uneccessary.

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