A new abaya style from the Gulf…

Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem.

I generally dont pay a huge amount of attention to all the latest trends for abayaat coming out of the Gulf countries as its generally difficult to see the trends as they come about if your NOT living in a Gulf country (and they are constantly coming out with new styles!) as usually we start seeing the trends a bit after they have already been around for awhile. Granted, having the ability to see new trends via blog posts and company websites help…but still…you may not even be able to get (or afford) an abaya which is the latest in trendyness. i.e. when we were getting ready to leave Saudi the jersey abayaat were JUST coming in so I got to see how they started as just abayaat with jersey sleeves to abayaat which were all jersey to the Grecian drape styles. Ofcourse I am unsure what are the hottest styles now…being that i’m back in the frigid NE USA.

but, I digress…Ive noticed here and there that there is a new (or new to us) abaya style which is like a regular abaya but tapers down to pants. Sort of like a pantsuit/jumpsuit combo.

i.e. this style from UAE-Joory abaya

I could see how the style worn for a special occasion with heels may indeed be quite suitable and very very unique, but for daily wear…I dunno…I’m not quite sold on the idea as my overgarment being combined with pants…frankly, one reason why I *LOVE* abayaat and jilbabs is I can literally throw them over my jeans and a teeshirt and be out the door. I am not saying this style wouldn’t be convenient…but it may perhaps be too “fussy”.

Now, because I know someone will NOT read the entire post…but will just ignore all the text and see the pictures and then ask the inevitable question.. “sister, please where can I buy this abaya? my sisters wedding is next week and I must have it!” (LOL)…frankly…ukhtee, i’m not 100% sure…, if your in the gulf you can probably have the style made by an abaya shop or buy one off the rack.

But,

The *only* relatively easy to get a hold of variant of this design is this one from the UAE-based shop called “Online Abaya”…its their “Jeans abaya“…which incidently isnt made of denim…LOL. Now, Ive ordered from them before so they are legit. If this style tickles your fancy your best bet may be just inquiring with them…

(Jeans Abaya from Online Abaya UAE)

 

I’d like some input…what do you all think about this abaya style? Yea or Nea?

 

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Overhead abayaat gracefully…

OLD SCHOOL HIJABI HAS MOVED TO ITS OWN DOMAIN! THIS BLOG WILL NO LONGER BE UPDATED AT THIS ADDRESS…TO SEE THE NEW BLOG AND TO INTERACT WITH OLD SCHOOL HIJABI, GO TO WWW.OLDSCHOOLHIJABI.COM

Ramadhan Mobarek sisters…how is it going for you all? For some reason by 4pm my brain turns to mush! I have been wanting to update this blog now for a few days but everytime I sit down to do it, I feel sapped of all energy. LOL. regardless, I will try to get out the posts I have been meaning to get out and I’m also going to be doing a review for a US based hejab company over the weekend so I’m excited about that!~ *woot! woot*

Anyway, those who have read this blog for a long time know I have a thing for overhead overgarments…be they overhead abayaat or the French overhead jelbabs…I really think they are both awesome and find the overhead abayaat especially elegant.

But…they are not alway easy to wear, particularly if your clueless about how to wear them and think if you just pop one on your head and stick a pin in, that you will miraculously rock one. LOL. I know…I sound mean…but I know several western sisters who try to wear them but always have problems with them and then wonder why…like they slide or get in their way. Ive worn them enough in my life to know you cant just pop one on, and instantly feel at home in it! So they do take some expertise and knowledge. Ive found certain cuts, fabrics and styles are more comfortable than others.

Anyway…I’ve posted a lot about them and will below put up a few of my previous posts relating to them. For comfort reasons I have elastic in all of mine and all of mine are from Saudi, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon and Iran. I find the Bahraini and Kuwaiti ones the most comfortable as the head area is wider which I find more suitable to wearing with elastic but, call me old fashioned but I like the traditional square batwing with the internal seams! I have my old standbys from Saudi that I wore daily while over there, and the Iranian and Lebanese ones which are good too, but a bit too baggy and lacking in the drape, weight and elegance the Gulf ones possess…yes…a garment can be a huge square and have a stylish look!

This post was prompted by the sister who runs the blog Muslimah in Solace where they mentions buying an overhead and having a hard time with it.

Anyway…here are some tips/tricks Ive learnt over the years through wearing them, lived in the Gulf and watching sisters who have worn them since childhood verrryyyy closly… (lol, that sounds weird, but really, mimicking those who “know” often provides the best education)

1) NO PINS!

Please…your asking for a ripped abaya ra’as if you do cuz if you sit down, stand up or move and dont know how to do so in an overhead AND you have a pin in…RIIIIPPPPPPP…..or at minimum…head yank syndrome…not cool!

2) PUT ELASTIC in the abaya ra’as…yes Iranian chador wearers started the trend and its frankly a good idea!  If worse comes to worse and you move wrong the thing will just come off your head, nothing will rip…the elastic will help to keep it on and you can push a stroller, do grocery shopping, pick up a crazy child, buy food, eat food…even go down a water slide and the thing will stay on. Trust me…I know this!!! LOL

3) RIGHT WEIGHT…yes…the best overheads have a good cut and weight to the fabric. I’m not talking super thick, hot fabric which makes tyou roast and gives yopu a headache…but a properly made, high quality overhead does have some weight to it, as traditionally they are just rested on the head and then slide around as worn…anything which is made of a material with no weight-i.e. some cheapo, super thin fabric (unless its the traditional Kuwaiti abaya ra’as which is made in a semi-sheer georgette like crepe-yes its thin, but due to the internal seams has weight…so…voila!)…then they will be harder to control. I’m talking mostly about the more updated, Saudi style ones which have the curved hem and no internal seaming for weight. You either need the internal seam with the light fabrics or something with a bit more weight if there is no internal seam.

Oh…if your confused…like whats in internal seam… its this style…i.e. the old school abaya ra’as style where the thing is curved from the inside via seams around knee-level.

4) MOVE RIGHT…you can be very active in an overhead-contrary to popular belief…but you just have to know “their language”…like you dont just plop down and  randomly stand up…there is a method of gathering the fabric for sitting and standing back up. I have read online some western sisters do not want to do this for fear of showing the clothing they have on under it or showing the body, but guess what…in the Gulf…the women have no problems gathering their abayaat up around themselves for sitting, praying or standing…thats just what you do and you dont show the body when doing that anyway.

For example…in Saudi many of the abaya ra’as wearing women will walk holding a portion of their abaya in their hand to keep it up off the ground in the front. In Bahrain the women will literally wrap their abaya ra’as around themselves, tucking excess fabric under their arms…in Iraq and Kuwait they leave it open, over a house dress but pinch it slightly closed in the front, but otherwise…its open and blowing in the breeze.

Thats just how its done…

5) Wear the right stuff under.

Again, contrary to popular belief amongst some Muslim women in the west…you dont layer 10 things under your abaya ra’as…in the Gulf most women wear either jeans and a tunic or teeshirt OR a long, loose house jalabeeya…depending on conservativism and location and style of abaya ra’as, Obviously…an open traditional Kuwaiti abaya ra’as requires a bit more clothing on under than a modern, closed, Saudi one. In the Kuwaiti or Bahraini (or Iraqi) open style ones you need a long jalabeeya or atleast a knee or calf length tunic and jeans to cover everything incase it opens while walking (obviously youd hold it shut while walking…LOL)…the modern Saudi ones are basically like a shoulder abaya but go up over the head so you can get away with a teeshirt and jeans and a scarf.

…If the wind blows and you dont want your form shown…what they do in the Gulf is hold it away from themselves in the front a little bit. Voila.. no hassles.

May I also add that you dont have to be a niqabi to wear an overhead…again, here in the US Ive noticed its usually niqabis who wear them, but in the Gulf…women who do and do not wear niqab wear the abaya ra’as…and personally ive had some sisters come up to me – esp at the masjid I attend, asking why I wear them but dont wear niqab. LOL…well, overhead abaya doesnt necessarily equal niqabi…one can wear niqab and a shoulder abaya and vise versa…so…obviously non-niqabis can wear the overhead too. Personally I wear mine a lot like the British Bahraini TV hostess Zahra Al-Alawi with the colored scarves under the overhead…which I think look really nice and kinda more “friendly” and “unique”.

Previous related posts…

1) Putting elastic in an overhead abaya.

2) Overheads in KSA and my take on them

Product Review: Kuwaiti niqabs from AmAllys Fashions

asalaamu alaikum wr wb sisters!

 

You all know I don’t really wear niqab…although I have worn it off and on over the past decade I do not consider myself a niqabi. But since I do have experience with niqab, I’m not too shabby at figuring out whats a decent, comfortable and BREATHABLE niqab and whats utter trash and not worth a penny!

NE way., I wanted to give a shout out to sister Ameera over in Ohio who has just started running a business brining authentic and high quality abayaat, niqabs and other items from Kuwait. The items she is selling is the stuff which Kuwaiti women wear, its not poor quality, excessively gaudy or made in poor fabrics for the export market, but real Kuwaiti attire. Much like when I lived in Saudi and ran Arabian Threads, I never sold the junk from the 5riyal shops or places geared towards foreigner workers…but the shops actual Saudi’s purchased from.  Yes, you can tell the difference in quality and design!

Anyway, she sent me a very fabulous all cotton mesh, traditional Kuwaiti niqab. I tried it on a bit and walked around outside and felt the air flowing against my face.

In a nutshell…its a very good, traditional style, cotton niqab. The eyeveil panel is HUGE and frankly, if you removed the face covering part can easily be a boushiyyah/gatwa. The face cover is attached to the soft, wide headband with elastic (handy, I saw some niqabs in Saudi with that feature) and the face veil itself is 2 layers of cotton mesh.  My glasses didnt fog up and the eye opening is quite ample and wide annnddd the ends of the niqab are rolled under and finished!  MOst Saudi and Gulf everyday niqabs (Not from expensive boutiques) that I remember from Saudi do not have finished edges…only the expensive, boutique niqabs did, so this was a surprise to me.

Overall, if your in the market for an actual breathable, summer worthy niqab look her up!

Shes on Ebay and has a small shop online. AmAllys Boutique.  She has a lot of stuff which I am droooooooooooooling over. mash’Allah.

Here are som e pictures I snapped of the niqab outside. This really reminds me of a very comfy gatwah I had which I had purchased in Bahrain but sadly…gave away before leaving 😦