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.
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.
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.