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What Is An Abaya? The Ultimate Guide For The Modern Modest Woman

For anyone who’s new to the modest revolution, you may be prompted to ask, “what is an abaya” as you navigate the wonderful world of fashion modesty. The meaning of abaya can vary to a great degree depending on whom you ask—this is mainly because to explain the meaning of abaya is to explain both cultural implications and fashion choices. While some women choose to wear the long and flowy piece to abide by certain religious obligations, some don the abaya to define their modest fashion sense.   

If you want to find out more about the definition of abaya, read on!


1. What is an abaya: a cultural symbol

If you turn to a religious woman and ask her, “What is the meaning of abaya?”, she will likely tell you that it’s a common religious garb worn in Saudi Arabia, some regions of the Middle East, and around the Arabian Gulf area. They can be paired with other elements of Islamic clothing, which includes a hijab to cover the woman’s hair or perhaps a veil that can keep the face covered up.

What Is An Abaya
Shop The Look: Black Red Open Abaya  | Shop other Abayas

In order to explain the meaning of abaya properly, it’s important to define the abaya as typically long-sleeved with a looser and more relaxed fit to conceal inappropriate curves. It is normally worn as an outer layer, with flowing lengths in traditionally black colour. Today, there are various sleeve lengths and designs as well as bursts of colour in different shades, but the meaning of the abaya remains—that it is meant to cover up a woman and to maintain her modesty in public. 

What Is An Abaya
Shop The Look: Navy Blue Floral Abaya | Shop other Abayas

What is an abaya in modern times? You can find a wide variety of styles out in the market today. An open abaya, for instance, can keep you covered while still helping you wear whatever you want to underneath! It keeps your unique personality and fashion sense intact while providing you with a way to drape a fabulous layer on top of your regular day-to-day get-up. Pieces like this Rachel Abaya can even be styled for any occasion, whether you’re at the groceries buying essentials or you want to keep warm inside a chilly office space.
What Is An Abaya

Shop The Look: Rachel Abaya | Shop other Abayas


2. The definition of abaya: a way to class up special occasions

One of the best ways to explain the meaning of an abaya is to show the fabulous ways you can add a touch of elegance to any outfit with a single piece. At first glance, an abaya may seem like your average simple garb for Plain Janes, but with the wide variety of designs to choose from, it’s impossible not to define an abaya in terms of special occasion wear.

What Is Abaya
Shop The Look: White Abaya Dress | Shop other Abayas

What is an abaya for evening wear? You can take your pick from pieces adorned with gemstones, sequins, beads, crystals, and other embellishments, as well as those with vibrant embroidery and delicate lace. There are different tailored cuts and sleeve designs as well. Some have unique necklines, while some have ruffles and frills that run down the front. Some even have frills on the hemlines combined with a variety of colours that will definitely be a perfect fit no matter what your special occasion may be.

What Is An Abaya

Shop The Look: Pearl Abaya Ecru | Shop other Abayas

This Pearl Abaya Ecru features loose batwing sleeves in a timeless black colour, adorned with faux white pearls that instantly elevate any look. You’ll certainly feel like royalty as you bask in being the Bell of the ball wherever you head off to! 

What is Abaya

Shop The Look: Black Lace Open Abaya | Shop other Abayas


3. The meaning of abaya in modesty: staying covered and comfy

The definition of abayas doesn’t just refer to the physical aspect of appearance. When we talk about what the meaning of abayas is, it’s also all about keeping yourself comfortable and aptly covered at the same time. After all, what’s the use of sticking to modest wear when you can’t keep yourself comfortable in them? 

In a way, wearing abayas can be a badge of modesty. It conceals inappropriate curves, but because it’s not form-fitting, it makes for extremely comfortable wear no matter what the weather. The ultra-comfy fabrics are usually made to either keep things breezy during scorching hot summers or to keep you layered up and toasty when the unpredictable UK weather strikes. 

What Is An Abaya
Shop The Look: Cotton Linen Abaya Beige | Shop other Abayas

This abaya, for example, is the perfect way to keep cool during summer seasons. With its comfortable cotton and linen fabric, it is the best way to embody the meaning of the abaya when it comes to clothing comfort.

what is an abaya
Shop The Look: Black Abaya with Embroidered Red Flowers | Shop other Abayas



4. What is the meaning of abaya: an everyday closet staple

Of course, no definition of the abaya will be complete without addressing how it can be worn as an everyday piece. There’s nothing more admirable than a modern modest woman who knows her worth and is oozing with confidence, and the everyday abaya can help you do just that. While the fit is loose and more relaxed, it still flatters silhouettes in a variety of ways, with options to wear matching belts and tied sashes to emphasize your waist. You can pair it with anything underneath from denims to dresses, and you can strut your stuff both at work or on romantic date nights. 

What Is An Abaya
Shop The Look: Red Open Abaya Belt | Shop other Abayas

This Brown Gold Embroidered Abaya is the perfect example of how to class it up with casual everyday wear while still breathing some life into boring regular clothes. The minimalist design of this beige piece takes things up a notch with its ruffles around the cuffs, ideal for elevating your daily wear at just the right amount. Don’t forget to complete the look with a cute handbag and some killer heels (or comfy flats!) and you’re good to go.

What Is Abaya

Shop The Look: Brown Gold Embroidered Abaya | Shop other Abayas

So, what is the meaning of the abaya? It’s not enough to restrict the definition of abayas into a limited box—it’s a cultural, practical, and fashionable piece that’s worthy of being a closet staple for every modest woman. Shop for your next faves over at FERADJE and discover the many ways you can figure out what an abaya is on your own!


By Catherine Dellosa
8 July 2020


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