Hello Chictopians ? This is my first entry for this style blog. I’ve been a silent observer (read: salivating stalker!!) of Chictopia for years now, but have been terribly lazy about starting up my own blog – which I have really, realy, really wanted to do for a long time! I love dressing up (clothes, accessories, hair, makeup – the works!) and Chictopia is like my lifeline.
A little bit about me, before we go into the outfit I’m talking about today: I’m a 30-year-old living in Dubai. I’m a communications expert by profession. By nature, I’m a fun-loving, thrill-seeking, highly energetic, slightly quirky, easily excited chica. I love making things: little crafty bits, my own clothes, new friends, awesome … but most of all: love to my husband ;) Yep, been married for 7 years and loving it! I also love dancing to desi music, reading, smoking shisha. Oh, and I’m a professionally trained photographer, DJ and hair-dresser, and a self-taught cook and makeup artist.
Lol … now I sound like a pilot. (You know the joke, yeah? - How do you know your date with a pilot is half-voer? It’s when he says “Enough about me. Let’stalk about my plane!”) So I’ll elocute on my love for clothes another time. Let’s move on to what I’m wearing here.
This is my classic work look: an abaya. I live in the United Arab Emirates and this is the traditional dress for the Emarati girls. Actually, for most Gulf states: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait etc. I myself have grown up in the Arab region: 13 years in Saudi Arabia and now 10 years in the UAE (with a few in between in my hometown Karachi) but never wore the Abaya. We left Saudi (where it’ a MUST for all women to wear the abaya) when I was 13, so I wasn’t old enough to have the Abaya rule forced on me. When I came to Dubai, I saw plenty of abayas … but I also saw plenty of mini-skirts. That’s what I love about Dubai: it’s such a melting pot. You have mosques and discos, hijabs and mini-skirts right next to each other!
Even though I’m muslim, I come from a very broad-minded family, so I never wore an abaya or covered my head. On the contrary, I muck about in regular western outfits all the time. My office/formal wardrobe consists of quite a lot of slim cut pants suits and some very sexy skirt suits. (I have a great story about acquiring a whole new work wardrobe in Bangkok!! But not now.) This wardrobe seemed to work well for me while I was working in the private sector, but then I started a government job. All of a sudden, I was surrounded by ‘locals’ (Emarati nationals). I stuck to my skirts and pant suits for a while, but then I started hearing gossip about the gossip about my supposedly tight pants and shorts skirts. LOL! If anyone expects me to change the way I am just because of what people say, then they have another think coming. So the ‘tight’ pants and the skirts stayed. Then came Ramadan – about 6 months into this new government job of mine. For those of you who don’t know, Ramadan is the Holiest month for Muslims. We fast all month and then celebrate Eid at the end of 30 days. Kinda like Lent with Christmas at the end!
Ramadan is a time for reflection, repentance and worship. For a lot of “risque” dressing muslim girls, its also a time to tone down the wardrobe. You see a lot of full sleeves and long scarves come out. Somebody somewhere in my office had a brilliant brainwave: wouldn’t it be a great idea if we gifted an abaya gift voucher to all the non-abaya wearing ladies in the office? Wouldn’t it be a greater idea if they told them that if they used the voucher, they’d have to wear an abaya in the office? Sly. Very sly.
Now, I wasn’t gonna be conned into changing my dressing up habits, but I can never say no to freebies, so I took the voucher and decided to play it by ear. Frnakly speaking, the abaya has always intrigues me as a sensuous garment. The way the Eamrati girls wear it issimply amazing. They look like angels floating on a cloud. Overly made up angels with too much makeup and too-big bouffants, sometimes – but angels nonetheless =D
So I went to the shop that the voucher was for, I picked me up an abayaand I gave it a test run. Three years later, I own 15 abayas and wear them to work everyday. Not just to work, but I am increasingly wearing them outside the office as well. Don’t get me wrong: my pants and skirts still come out. But there are days when I am so glad to have my abayas, because nothing else would do.
So what is it about the abaya that got me hooked? What’s the whole idea behind the abaya anyway? I will save that for my next post with some more abaya pictures.
The abaya in this picture – btw – has been designed and sewn by me. I love making my own clothes and that’s partly the reason why I have 15 abayas in my closet ;)
Until next time: Ma3’Salamah Habeebtiz!