Wear you Abaya with Pride
Women in certain parts of the Middle East, majorly Saudi Arabia and also the Arabian Gulf region have to wear an outer garment known as an abaya at all times. It is a traditional loose, black, floor length garment with long sleeves. It is supposed to be worn by the Muslim women over her regular clothes whenever she wishes to leave her home. It is meant to hide the curves of the woman’s body. They are usually accompanied with other pieces of clothing, such as a hijab which covers the hair and a niqab which covers the face.
History of abayas
For hundreds of years people have been wearing clothing similar to an abaya in the Arabian Peninsula. Often women of high status wore them in the urban centres, before Islam itself. Later on for various religious reasons it was adopted as an indication of modesty and confidentiality.
The abaya also represents a deep respect for culture and a proud tradition. In recent times, there have been a lot of changes in the fabric and also ornamentations have been added to them, making much them more elaborate. This has also led to a debate on cultural fashion vs religious modesty. Nowadays you can even buy these women’s abayas online just like you can buy any other stuff.
What do people wear under an abaya?
Abayas are made of dark fabric, so no one ever will ever be able to see what clothing a woman is wearing underneath it. In some ways it is a good thing as you don’t have to think too much or fuss about what you have to wear when you step outside, which is the case for many women.
In summer often women choose to wear sundresses, tank tops and shorts and even bikinis under their abayas. But if that is the case, you should opt for an abaya model which is of closed type. And in the winter months, which is really cold in those places women stack up appropriately under the abaya. Some women also choose to wear a coat or jacket over the abaya.
Types of abayas
- Shoulder abayas- They cover the body from the shoulder to the feet. A hijab can be worn with it to cover the head.
- Top of the head abayas- They cover the whole body, including the head of the woman.
It depends on the taste of different people to choose the kind of abaya they want to wear. The traditional ones are very simple, without any fancy ornamentation or stitching. But now many stylish abaya designs have come up, with embroidery, tailored cuts and also coloured embellishments. Even though black is the basic colour of an abaya, they are also available in various other colours.
In recent times the younger women are trying to leave the social custom of wearing an abaya behind. They follow the current fashion, wearing jeans and trendy tops. But there are also some who embrace their culture wholeheartedly, wearing their abayas regularly. No matter what there is a different story under each abaya.