What’s really under the abaya?

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Abayas

If you ask anyone to describe what a Saudi woman wears, most likely they will say a long, black garment. Technically, that answer is correct. Saudi women are required to wear an abaya, or robe-like garment when they are in public. With that being said, just because women wear abayas in public, doesn’t mean that they aren’t stylish. Sure, sometime it is convenient to throw on an abaya over a pair of leggings or pajamas, but  the reality is that most women dress nicely under their abayas.  But one thing is for sure- many people from the West all have one question in common-

What do women wear under their abayas?

There are several answers to this question, actually. Most women dress for the occasion they are planning on attending. If they are headed to school, they may be wearing a long, black skirt with long sleeve shirt. My students wear scrubs and lab coats under their abayas. If women are going to a party, they may wear something more fancy or dressy.

Recently, I attended a wedding. I asked the guests if they would be willing to pose for a photo to reveal what women wear underneath their abayas. We posed for two shots, one with our abayas on and one showing what we were wearing to the event. There was a mix of Western and Eastern women at this particular wedding. Some women bought their dresses at local shops, however some went the extra mile and had them custom made.

Now, please allow me to show you what women wear underneath their abaya.

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Salaam,

KC

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