Balancing cultures, one abaya at a time

Balancing cultures, one abaya at a time

I've always dreamed of seamlessly blending the life I've grown up with the one I desire. Being able to dress modestly while still reflecting my full personality has been a long-standing goal. However, growing up, this presented a challenge. In the West, modesty isn't typically promoted, leaving me feeling uninspired by clothes that reveal more than I would like. But upon rediscovering my love for the elegance and flow of abayas, I realized it's possible to harmonize tradition with modernity.

It was during the past Ramadan that my understanding of modesty, and my relationship with abayas, experienced a profound shift. Wearing my abaya, I felt enveloped in a sense of regality — not just due to the sparkles and charms adorning it (though they certainly played a part), but because I had asserted control over my appearance. I held the ability to reveal or conceal as I saw fit. In this empowerment, I discovered a profound beauty — a sentiment every woman deserves to embrace.

One of my main goals this Ramadan was to wear my abayas comfortably without feeling like I stood out. To achieve this, I decided to integrate abayas into my everyday outfits. Pairing my casual black top and jeans with a more vibrant abaya, shimmering in an ombre blue, elevated my outfit. To maintain cohesion, I opted for a winter hijab shade, complementing the hues of my abaya. Adding VELA's classic woven hijab in Midnight Navy further enhanced my outfit while keeping it cohesive.

Prioritizing comfort, I wrapped my hijab in a style that suited me best, draping effortlessly both in the front and back. Ensuring it stayed in place throughout the day was crucial, which is why I relied on VELA's hijab magnets for their unmatched strength. With a flowy style like mine, it's essential to prevent unwanted movement, and a magnet at the base of my neck provided the necessary stability.

I also contemplated choosing a different colored hijab, such as Storm Grey, to bring out the grey sparkles in my abaya and complement the cooler tones of my outfit. This would have accentuated the overall harmony of my look just as much as Midnight Navy had.

A casual outfit is often elevated by one feature. Whether it's a more embroidered abaya or a hijab color that stands out but also complements the entire look, an outfit is only complete when one feels comfortable in it. Thus, keeping my base as what I would usually wear was something that gave me the strength to adorn such a cultural piece, something that I hope to do time and time again.

Looking ahead, I envision incorporating abayas into future outfits, perhaps pairing them with a black sweater and slacks or even wearing them over sweats. This way, I can seamlessly blend my everyday style with my favorite pieces.

In the end, the strength of women truly shines when we are free to be ourselves, unburdened by societal pressures to conform to a narrow standard of beauty. In the privacy of our homes and within our communities, we find pride and joy in our modesty, forging connections based on mutual respect rather than superficial judgments.

The choice to wear the abaya is a declaration of autonomy, self-expression, and empowerment. Muslim women who embrace modesty find strength in defying societal norms, celebrating their unique beauty that transcends the surface. Modesty, for us, is not a constraint but a source of pride, asserting our individuality in a world that often seeks to standardize and objectify. In doing so, we allow our elegance to bloom, and our inner strength to enter the room first, leaving a permanent mark on the narrative of resilience within modesty.


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