Friday, April 29, 2011

The Abaya

This cloak, which covers the entire length of the body, is the common daily dressing (in public places) for women in Saudi Arabia and in most Gulf countries in general. Traditionally black in colour, it is amazing to find that many women wear abayas of varying colours these days. It is worn with a veil and in some cases with a face veil or 'niqab'.

It is interesting to visit the biggest malls on a weekend, as these are usually full of customers. Even if the colour of the dark fabric escapes your eye, you would be caught by the way Saudi women move around gracefully in their stylish and classy abayas. You might also be shocked to see that some young girls (most probably in their late teens) have an audacious way of wearing their abayas. Some practically leave the front open so that you can see their awesome outfits beneath. On a few occasions, I have noticed some teens who tied the edge of their abayas around their waists, leaving their legs clad in tight jeans under the scrutiny of curious passers-by.

There are even more stories that women would tell you about the abaya; especially the expatriate women who were never used to wearing them in the first place. Some have gotten used to it as a covering that they have lost their taste for fashion. A few have reported going out wearing their pyjamas underneath their abayas! While some expatriate women have gotten used to wearing the abaya and even liking it, some women still find it difficult to adjust. In particular, they find it uncomfortable when they are jogging or when temperatures are high.

Whatever be the case, the abaya has been worn for many years by women, and it still remains the proper dressing for muslims. With fashion and modernism, this cloak which was traditionally simple and made as a covering for women, has undergone several modifications to suit the desire of the ever fashion-hunting women.


  1. I think what needs to be added in this article to have more substance is to state the reasons why women wear abays other than the fact that this is mandated by law. just give a little perspective on Islam and how do you think you feel on this view as an expatriate living in Saudi. :)

  2. Thank you for your comment. What you are saying is indeed true. Hopefully, I will get to write about this in a future post; that is, if I won't be going out on exit anytime soon.


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