A Blend Of Fashion And Modesty

Every religion has its dress code. The Islamic tradition requires the women of its community to be modest in their dress. As such, the abaya and the hijab define a Muslim woman’s attire. Although the abaya is an example of conservative clothing, it need not lack luster. Modern designs and styles have made it possible for women to showcase their personal styles without showing any disregard for their beliefs and religion.

For those of you unaware of what an abaya is, it is a long-sleeve, loose-fitting robe designed to be worn over regular clothing. It resembles a caftan in its design. It is paired with a head scarf called a hijab. This cloak-like garment has different names depending on the country such as ‘Burqa’ in South Asia and a ‘Chador’ in Iran.

Color options

Traditionally, all abayas were made in black colored fabrics. Black is still the preferred color in most Muslim countries; however, they are also available in an array of other colors as long as they do not attract unnecessary attention. Women prefer earthy tones over bold colors. Along with solid colors, women have also started experimenting with printed fabrics.

Fit and Style

The abaya must cover the entire length of the arm. Thus, although designers cannot do much with the length, they are tailoring sleeves in different shapes. They are also available in a range of basic and luxurious designs. While most are made in a straight fit from top to bottom, a few are more fitted at the higher and lower waist. They either come stitched in that style or feature a separate sash or belt that fits tight around the waist. There are designs with high collars and a flare fit too.

Fabric Choices

They are made in a variety of light fabrics such as cotton, crepe, georgette silk, chiffon and rayon. Silk and chiffon give the best looks owing to the rich and luxuriant fabrics. You can choose one that offers the highest level of comfort.

Embellishments and Embroidery

Modern style abayas also set themselves apart from traditional designs by means of the accents they feature. Embroidered cloaks are becoming increasing popular in Islamic and non-Islamic countries. Simple embroidery is done along the sleeves and around the neck. A few also features embroidered designs along the seams and the edges. Jeweled embellishments and sequins look elegant and impressive against the backdrop of solid colors. Others also feature lace embellishments and sashes.

Experimenting with the Hijab

Another way to spice up your abaya outfit without compromising on modesty is to play with the style and design of the hijab. You can buy a range of hijabs in solid colors and printed fabrics and pair them stylishly with your abaya. You can add some bling with a jeweled pin or a broche. You can also tie the hijab in different styles.

The industry for abaya fashions has indeed matured over the years. There are haute couture abaya designs too available exclusively at designer stores. Often they are made in a single piece; the designs are unique and not repeated especially for women belonging to the elite classes. Many designers show case their designs at fashion shows in different parts of the world.

Hijab Fashion

Women can enjoy hijab fashion within the Islamic law. Hijab fashion may vary by fabric, seasonal styles and accessories. It is instructed in the Quran for muslim women, that they must cover their heads and chest. This way the Quran establishes hijab.

It is usually the scarf or veil that a woman adores on her head, neck and chest. Not only it identifies a woman as Muslim but also protects her from sexual harassment.

Traditionally, hijab style is similar to wearing a pashmina shawl. It usually consists of an under-scarf and a scarf. There are varieties of fabrics, colors and prints that are used to complement hijab fashion, and it is worn with different methods of wrapping. While looking for a hijab you can go for underscarves that complement the outer veil. It is your liking for colors and print that is reflected in the scarves. In hijab fashion, the colors of the scarves are also determined by seasons or the occasion. Many hijabs are adorned with pins to hold fabric in place. In order to drape the fabric, you can use a plain scarf and fold it over in such a way that the scarf points downward on your back. It should not be folded in half; rather it should be folded in about one-third.

Now it should be wrapped evenly over your head and pinned together under chin. Then pull it from one side over and across your opposite side. Pull it now gently over your back-head. Use a pin to hold it in place at the crown of your head. The front corner should be pulled up to your left shoulder and hold in place with the help of a pin. For those who prefer patterned fabric, they should pin one front side to the shoulder when the scarf is draped over the head. Thereafter the other side of the scarf should be pulled up to your opposite cheek. Using a decorative pin, it should be clipped in place.

Different Muslim societies have different laws of hijab. Under Saudi Law that is rather rigid in following Islamic law, women are required to wear hijab, full black cloaks and face veils with two slits for eyes. In other less rigid countries, women are neither forced to nor banned from wearing hijab. Due to this reason, in Jordan this attire is used more as a hijab fashion than a religious obligation.

The Reason for Muslim Women Wearing Jilbabs

The main reason for wearing Jilbabs (also knows as Abayas in the Middle Eastern countries) as a Muslim woman is that it is a commandment of Allah (God) as can be seen by the following verse from the Quran:

“O Prophet (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw over them their cloaks (veils). That in the least so that they be recognised and not be molested.” (Surah Ahzaab, Verse 59).

Islam is a way of life for the Muslim man or woman, they are supposed to follow the commandment of Allah, Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was an example to mankind and that they are should follow the way shown by him, this is everything from how to sleep, how to eat, what to wear, how to get married and everything else that a person needs to know to live a healthy and fulfilling life as a Muslim.

There are many different sects within Islam, who all interpret Islam differently according to their understanding of the Quran and Hadith (the sayings and actions of the prophet Muhammad). This has led to some Muslims appearing more Islamic than others. The toughest stance by Muslim scholars for women’s dress, is for the whole body to be covered with loose clothing and the face covered with a Niqab and even the eyes should be covered with a veil. The softest stance is for a Muslim woman to wear a loose Jilbab or clothing with a headscarf.

The way a Muslim woman is identified is by her wearing the Jilbab and Hijab (a headscarf), whilst other Muslim women may choose not to wear Islamic clothing but are practicing Islam as they deem practical or suitable to them, which according to Islam is very sinful. This can be seen by the following saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):

“Many women are clothed but naked in reality. Such women will never enter paradise nor will they smell its fragrance.”

Wearing a Jilbab or Abaya isn’t easy for a Muslim woman, especially in the West due to the stares and verbal abuse that they sometimes have to suffer. It is also hard for those women who decide to start practicing Islam and start wearing the Jilbab, whilst the rest of their family wear western clothing, as they are usually ridiculed or even asked not wear such clothing that some class as backwards.

Guide to the Jilbab Size Chart

About the Jilbab

Just what is a jilbab? Basically, it is a collective term for all loose fitting and lengthy clothing items that Moslem women wear. But unlike the other clothing pieces worn by the Moslem women, this jilbab is basically a form of a coat that is meant to be worn over the clothes so that the Islamic requirement for wearing the hijab will be met automatically.

However, in Indonesia, the meaning of the Jilbab gets to vary slightly from its traditional meaning. In this country, the jilbab is known simply as a head scarf. This head scarf may or may not have a visor on it, which is a value added feature meant to help in protecting the skin on the face from the harsh sun.

The jilbab is known by many names. It may be called the jilbaab. Others call it the manteau, which is French for mantle. Still others call it the jubbah.

About the Jilbab Size Chart

The jilbab size chart is basically meant to serve as a guide for Moslem women as to how they are going to choose the right jilbab product for them. The jilbab size chart has two forms. One form is the chart which actually lists the various jilbab sizes a Moslem goods store currently has. Another is a diagram which lists all the elements in a jilbab in great detail, which will guide both the Moslem woman and the tailor in coming up with the best sized jilbab.

The jilbab size chart has four basic elements. These are the length, the sleeves, the bust, and the hips of the jilbab. The length refers to the measurement taken from the middle of the shoulders up to the woman’s heel. The measurement for the sleeves, on the other hand, are taken from the shoulders up to the wrist. The bust measurement is taken around the bust up to the fullest point, with the tape measure going under the arms. For the hips, the tailor measures around the fullest or the largest part of the hip. All these elements would be shown on jilbab size charts, and knowledge of all these is important in coming up with the best sized jilbab for a Moslem woman.

Just some tips: make sure that the jilbab has some size allowances so that it will be comfortable to wear. The most advisable is an allowance of at least 5 cms for every measurement. It may also be a good idea if one could fit the jilbab before actually buying it.

Dazzling Muslim Wear

A lot of women might be reluctant to put on Muslim wear, namely because it is considered rigid, boring, gloomy, and also hinders daily activities. Well I say we throw all these stereotypes out the window because it isn’t true. Muslim wear allows women to flaunt their gorgeous appearance and exhibit their inner beauty, all this while not forgetting the moslem elements which plays an important part in Muslim fashion. With the diverse selection of Muslim fashion nowadays, Muslim women can easily match their wardrobe with their needs, style and personality. The rules of Muslim wear would not hinder Muslim women to express their creativity and look stylish, instead it would instill a sense of modesty.

First and foremost, since it is Muslim wear we’re talking about here, the clothing itself must fulfill the requirements and rules set by the religion. Make sure it properly covers the body and isn’t too racy or provocative. Also remember to choose the right material; thin, see-through material is a big no-no and avoid clothes that are too tight. Material choice is also important for comfort. The ideal material would be a flexible, thick, yet strong cloth such as silk, cotton, or viscose. With the correct material and fabulous design, you will look exceptionally stunning while also not forgetting the comfort factor.

The choice of clothing ought to also suit it’s purpose. For relaxing use at home, find something simple and light. On the other hand, festive events such as parties might be paired with more crowded and luxurious designs along with a handful of accessories here and there. For the more formal work environment, choose softer colours to infuse a sense of elegance. But of course, colours are important.

Different colours would send out different messages and affect the whole clothing package. An often misconception is an outlook that states Muslim fashion only consists of basic and dark colours such as black, brown or dark blue. Well I must say that this is outdated, do not hesitate to mix and match bright colours and also experiment on the contrast of the hijab to the clothing. For the hijab, there are a lot of various types nowadays that can be used to enhance your beauty and complements your clothing.