The Art of Wearing Hijab Part 3: Casual Styles
As the days of February advance, so does our talk of The Art of Wearing Hijab.
One may think that casual styles might as well be the easiest of options for a Muslimah when in truth, this is not only the hardest and trickiest, but also the most challenging when it comes to fulfilling the sacred concept of Hijab as it is related in the Holy Qur’an.
We very often see Muslimahs dressed in mainstream styles and we some tend to whisper: What was she thinking wearing this? That is not Hijab! And I don’t know about others, but to me there is nothing more frustrating than a Muslimah presenting (consciously or unconsciously) a very wrong image of Hijab. I don’t say a Muslimah can’t wear pants or skirts, but it is all about WHAT KIND of pants or skirts that are considered for proper Hijab.
In follow up to the concepts that we last talked about concerning abayas and the simplified styles similar to that of day dresses, we now move onto to skirts. What is a skirt? And what are the different types and cuts that make a skirt?
A skirt is a tube- or cone-shaped, non-bifurcated lower body clothing that falls from the waist or hips to cover all or part of the legs.
The hemline of a skirt can vary from micro to floor-length, and this may vary according to cultural perceptions of modesty and aesthetics in addition to that of the wearer’s personal taste. The latter can often be influenced by such factors as fashion and social context.
The following is the description to the main skirt cuts:
1. A-Line: They fit tightly at the waist, emphasizing hips and thighs but further down they flare, just like the shape of a letter ‘A’. Godet, Gypsy and the Paneled skirt are major variations of this style.
2. Straight skirts: Whereas A-line skirts expand from the waist to hemline, Straight skirts maintain the same width from the waistline all the way down to the hem.
3. Wrap skirt: This type of skirt is primarily just a rectangular piece of fabric, which you wrap around your waist. Wraps are suitable for both thinner and curvier women because the fabric is looser. Variants include the Sarong, Kilt-skirt and Combo Skirt.
4. Circular skirt: The reason that this style is named thus is because the hemline creates a perfect circle. From this cut come the Ballerina skirt, Dirndl skirt, Poodle skirt, Maxi skirt and many other styles.
Hint: I highly recommend researching the images of the mentioned skirts if not the rest too.
So, from among all the very different and tempting kind of skirts, which one should a Muslimah be considering? A true Muslimah, presenting a true image of Hijab, should ignore any skirt that would be hugging or emphasizing her hips, bump or any curves. Pencil skirts, straight skirts and even mermaid skirts are definite no-no’s for Hijab. Wrap skirts; Pleated Skirts even A-Symmetric/Handkerchief skirts are all good choices as long as the cut is wide. Never the less, think of A-Line and Circular skirts as your best friends, in all of their forms. Love them, buy them and wear them confidently! You should also consider wearing leggings under skirts, as it is highly advised for supportive modesty- especially against surprising winds.
Just as skirts give you peace of mind when it comes to modesty, pairing tops can be an easy task with quite a variety of options. Basically, all tops are tolerable since the derrière is already “safe” and curves are all concealed. I do recommend chemise for formal/serious looks and sweaters for a more sporty prestige. And should you choose a stretch material top, do consider wearing a jacket or bolero on top to cover up hugged details.
Hint: Although Maxi skirts were last year’s top-trend, they are considered eternally in-trend cuts. Don’t hesitate buying various colors and designs to add into your wardrobe. Also, consider buying Ballerina skirts, as they are now the trend of the year.
Finally, after covering the easy part comes the tricky option: Trousers!
What are trousers? Trousers (known as pants in North America and Australia) are a clothing item that covers the legs from the waist to the ankles, covering the legs in two separate tube-shaped pieces of clothing.
Different types of leg-cuts
Just like skirts, trousers come in all sorts of types and cuts. The trick is knowing which options suits a Muslimah lady. Options in leg cuts can be very helpful. They are summarized as follows:
1. Tight/Skinny: A close fit throughout the leg.
2. Straight Leg Jeans: Traditional cuts with a straight narrow leg that does not flare at the ankles.
3. Boot Cut or Bootleg: Cut to skim the thigh with a slightly flared lower leg.
4. Flared Leg: Trousers narrow at the knee, and an extra wide flare at the leg. This type is most common on low-rise pants.
5. Slouch Jeans: They are wide in the legs.
6. Tapered Leg: Pants narrow towards the ankle.
7. Capri: A leg cut that usually ends just below the knee or at mid-calf.
8. Stove Pipe: As the name implies, an over-sized straight leg cut.
9. Cropped: Trousers can be cropped any length from the mid-calf to the knee. Ankle Length-Cut are also available just above the ankle.
10. Gaucho: Super wide at below the knees, Gaucho pants may be a passing fancy, but they sure are fun and can look great paired with the right boots.
11. Cuffed: A Fold at the end of the legs. Not strictly a leg cut, but a common finish, sometimes added by the designer and sometimes by the user of the jeans for a personal touch.
12. Palazzos: They are generally loose in fitting and are best suited to lean women.
With so many categories, either by the general cut or the leg-cut, what would a Muslimah be looking for as appropriate for proper Hijab. Again, one should be turning away from any cut that hugs the curves or thighs of the lower body, and should be long enough to cover the ankles, as they are included in the concept of coverage. Stay away from straight legged and skinny pants. Sadly, these items are widely being used by Muslimahs despite the fact that they overwhelmingly flatter not only the legs, but also the lower body part in whole: hips, booty, thighs … The whole package really SHOWS! Even bootleg pants are not a 100% safe choice since they hug out the knees.
Ladies, do avoid those and make friends with flared, slouch, cargo and gaucho pants. With the right tops you can get a perfect Islamic yet trendy look. For “intimate friends,” Palazzos, Juppe Culottes and Harem (or Ali Baba pants) can be the best of choices. These now come in all sorts of materials and prints (Cotton, Polyester, silk, denim…). And to any of these choices, cotton and silk tops can be the best items paired, just remember to keep the latter no shorter than your derrière to maintain decent coverage. In addition, you can throw a nice good’ol blazer/sweat jacket on top . . . and don’t forget to accessorize by using your color wheel analysis for proper mix-and-match results.