If you live in Qatar and have also visited other countries in the Middle East, and even beyond, you will know that the abaya is a sign of respect, dignity, modesty and an easy and convenient way to hide the body according to Islamic teachings. It is usually a long flowing robe and covers the whole body from the neck to the wrists and then down to the feet. It's usually flowy and loose-fitting, though some of the newer designs may not be that loose. Women often find it a convenient and comfortable attire to wear over their everyday clothes when they go out of their homes.
The abaya, also known as a burka/burkha or jilbab in different parts of the Muslim world, is complemented with a headscarf called a shayla or hijab. This is a scarf that’s tied around the head so no hair is visible. Some women also wear a niqab, which covers both the head and the face. It’s mostly a matter of personal choice or traditions and culture.
The abaya is most often black in colour, although nowadays, you can find different colour variations as well. Since the abaya is the only garment seen on those that wear it, with time, it has evolved into somewhat of a fashion statement as well, with many different designs and variations now available in the market.
Note 1: Before we proceed, it's important to point out here that it's not compulsory to wear the abaya, shayla or hijab in Qatar.
Note 2: Though abayas are mostly used by Muslim women to cover their bodies in Qatar, this does not mean that it can't be worn by expats and non-Muslim women. In fact, you'll see many expats and non-Muslim women choosing to wear abayas in Doha.
Abayas can be made in a range of different fabrics like crepe, chiffon, silk, linen, cotton, polyester, jersey, satin and georgette.
Cotton, polyester, linen, crepe and georgette are great fabrics for the summer and daily wear, so for those hot summer months in Qatar, why not invest in an abaya made from one of these fabrics.
If you're looking for something fancier that you can wear in the evenings or on special occasions during Qatar's hot summer months, then silk, chiffon and satin abayas are your best option because these fabrics give a rich and elegant look and feel.
For the winter, you can opt for the jersey fabric, wool, cashmere or a thick and heavy cotton to keep you warm and cosy for daytime and everyday wear, and for those fancy events and special occasions, a velvet or chamois abaya will give you that special look and feeling. (Iqra)
There is a huge range of different designs, styles and colours for abayas in Qatar, and what you choose mostly depends on your taste and what you're looking for. Some abayas are heavy on embroidery, some have stones embedded in them, some are embossed, some are plain and simple, and when it comes to styles, you'll find lots to choose from. In fact, it won't be wrong to say you'll be spoiled for choice. There are front open abayas, hooded abayas, umbrella abayas, short abayas, cat abayas, flared abayas, batwing Abayas, the classic style and more. (My Batua)
You'll also find abayas that are in the traditional black colour, some that are in light colours which are good for the summer months in Qatar, then there are the different coloured ones (maroon, navy blue, purple, etc.) You're bound to find something you like because there is definitely something for everyone.
There are lots of places where you can buy abayas in Qatar like malls, souqs and standalone shops as well. You will find the latest trends in abayas here so you can pick and choose what you want.
The souqs in Qatar are full of colour and you can find almost anything you're looking for and that includes abayas, too. Here, you can pick and choose different styles, cuts and colours of trendy and classic abayas at reasonable prices, with prices starting at even QR 50 - QR 100 and then going up depending on what you choose, and you can even have your abaya tailormade just the way you want it.
Pro tip: In most of the shops in the Souqs the prices are not fixed, so don't forget to bargain for a better price.
The Tessuti Boutique is an upscale abaya brand that offers a wide range of ready-to-wear abayas for daily wear to casual chic to glamourous evening wear. You can choose from simple to standout pieces made from exquisite fabric and skilled tailoring. You can also get made-to-order abayas.
Moonlight Concept is an abaya boutique that offers distinctive designs, cuts and styles that have the ability to transform the traditional concept of the abaya into a masterpiece.
Almotahajiba is one of Qatar's most well-known abaya brands. It's an upscale and premium fashion brand that offers abayas, jalabiyas, shaylas, and accessories. Almohtajiba has combined the traditional Qatari values and heritage with the contemporary, and come up with abayas that are infused with an international flair and style.
Established in 2007, this abaya retailer offers the latest trends and styles in shop, and if you want, they’ll provide you home delivery as well.
LeCil Abaya Fashion’s philosophy is to embody the authentic Arabic character in all its abaya designs whether they are traditional, classic or modern designs and styles.
Sheikha Style caters to customers who like traditional designs and have unique styles. You'll find exclusive and luxurious abayas, jalabiyas and fashionable accessories at this premium abaya retailer.
Johara Al-Suwaidi is the designer behind the famous Qatari abaya brand Casa Johara. She combines Qatari and Mexican cultures and traditions to design abayas that are unique, elegantly stylish and contemporary.
Harlienz showcases fluid structure-abayas with silks and linen, raw textures, and asymmetrical cuts, styled in an authentic Arabian look that's simple, yet elegant.
Dome Fashionistas" (DOha and roME) is an Italian and Qatari fashion project, started by Fatima and Aimee (AJ) with the aim of blending stylish ideas with traditional lines in a collection of “abayas” for teens, and also adults.
Waad Designs has easy-to-wear unique abayas for all. They have abayas in all shapes and sizes in luxurious and elegant designs.
Do you own an abaya? Will you go and buy one now? Do let us know in our comments section below. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!
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