"In the abaya's shadow, her elegance blooms, a silhouette of strength in quiet rooms."
An Ode to my Abaya
It was during the last Ramadan that my perception of modesty, and abayas themselves, underwent a transformation. As I wore my abaya, a sense of regality enveloped me, not solely because of the sparkles and charms my abaya held (though they played their part), but because I had taken charge of my appearance. I held the power over what I wished to reveal and what I chose to conceal. In that empowerment, I found beauty – a sentiment every woman deserves to experience.
As Ramadan came to a close, I resolved to continue this journey of empowerment. I approached it cautiously, aware that I was venturing into uncharted territory. My inspiration was kindled by VELA’s abaya collection, an embodiment of beauty through modesty that seamlessly integrated into everyday life.
I began my journey gradually, remaining within the familiar all-black outfits, a staple for many Arab women. Pairing black jeans with a matching top was a simple, everyday ensemble. Yet, when layered with a black abaya, it transformed into a statement of elegance and security. I would often elevate the look with a colorful woven scarf or experiment with new hijab styles, bolstered by the confidence that the abaya granted me.
To further elevate my future looks, I envisioned incorporating VELA’s black curve abaya. Its unique yet subtle design perfectly blended casual with culture. While the transition was exciting, it was also a touch intimidating. But I reframed those thoughts in my mind – not as fear, but as a new beginning.
On days when a bit more design is desired, I would turn to VELA's Navy Sediment Abaya, paired with a complementing chocolate hijab. This would allow me to showcase the intricate designs without overshadowing my individuality.
Elevating Everyday Style
As exemplified by Mariam Kudsi on Instagram, who effortlessly elevated an every day tank and blue jean outfit with VELA’s woven dark moss hijab and green curve abaya, favorites of mine, to add flair to my everyday wear, demonstrating that modesty could be chic and trendy.
One of my absolute favorite abayas is VELA’s Terracotta Sediment Abaya. As an avid fan of all things pink, it thrilled me to find an abaya that complemented most of my outfits. I envisioned pairing it effortlessly with a casual white tee and blue jeans, selecting a hijab that either matched the abaya or provided a delightful contrast. Whether it is Spice Vanilla to stand out or Terra Crepe Chiffon to harmonize, the possibilities are endless.
Simple yet impactful changes included experimenting with different jeans, transitioning casual outfits into more modest ensembles. Black or blue denim, when paired with a bright top and a black abaya, added a touch of elegance for me. Staying near to my comfort zone, I kept my main outfit within dark shades, while using my abaya as the pop of color!
With time, I grew more comfortable with this new chapter, delving into the world of maxi dresses. While inherently modest, I wanted to explore how I could seamlessly integrate them with abayas. Maxi dresses, known for their flowing designs, harmonized beautifully with the inherent modesty of abayas, offering a canvas for my personal style to shine.
Maxi dresses' versatility, available in various styles, colors, and patterns, unleashed my creativity. Whether I opted for a solid-colored dress and a more detailed abaya, or one a dress adorned with floral prints complimented by a simple abaya, the abaya consistently infused an extra layer of elegance and sophistication into my ensembles.
Nevertheless, It was the selection of accessories that breathed life into these outfits, turning them into expressions of my unique identity. On certain days, I indulged in the art of layering necklaces, weaving a captivating tapestry of self-expression, most often wearing my name necklace, a staple in most muslim girls' jewelry collections. On other occasions, I embraced a more delicate and minimalist approach, adorning myself with just a single, meticulously chosen ring. These subtle nuances in my choice of accessories allowed my personal style to radiate even more brilliantly.
As more days unfolded, I learned that the beauty of abayas lies in their unparalleled versatility. On days where I was more inclined to dress up, I would pair my abaya with heels with a bit of height to them, embracing the majesty of a maxi dress. Other times, when I craved a more understated elegance, I'd select kitten heels that harmonized with my jeans and top, creating a seamless fusion of modesty and style. Then there were those casual, carefree days when sneakers, be they my trusty Adidas Sambas or dainty ballet flats, seemed just right—a more relaxed vibe that effortlessly complemented the timeless allure of abayas.
Through these fashion choices, my abayas emerged as the true chameleons of my wardrobe, effortlessly adapting to every mood, occasion, and ensemble, a testament to their timeless and versatile allure.
Empowerment Through Modesty: Celebrating Individuality and Defying Norms
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 homogenize 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.