Sunday,18 November, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1357, (17 - 23 August 2017)
Sunday,18 November, 2018
Issue 1357, (17 - 23 August 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Fashionably veiled for summer

Many veiled women want to look fabulous and be comfortable while hanging out on the beach this summer, says Ghada Abdel-Kader

photo: Ahmed Abu Khalifa

“Last year, the fashion was for slim women’s wear, but not this year when the trend is for clothes that are much looser. The new trends are for clothes in layers that are puffed and fluffy,” said Somaya Nabil, an Egyptian fashion designer specialising in clothes for veiled women. Nabil is also new talent, and has only been working for almost a year in the world of fashion.

According to Nabil, for veiled woman going swimming at the beach this summer the best option is a “Sharia swimsuit” totally covering up the body and in accordance with Islamic Sharia law and values. Such a swimsuit consists of two or three pieces, a swim cap or hood, and an outfit that has a high neck, long sleeves, top and pants. “The length of the swimsuit depends on a woman’s height. Overall, it gives an elegant, modern look,” Nabil says.

“The material should be a durable, waterproof fabric that is non-clinging in water. It should provide protection against UV rays from the sun, be breathable and not stick to the body when out of the water. Moreover, swimsuits are no longer in the traditional shapes or in only one colour.”

Dark colours like dark blue or black are more fitting for those who are slightly overweight, as they can slim down the body, Nabil says. But swimsuits in bright colours like fuchsia with frills and trims are also in fashion this year.

For the beach, veiled women can wear cover-up made of chiffon or lace as a simple and stylish beach outfit. Some women may simply want to spend time sitting on the beach with their families and may have no intention of swimming. In that case, Nabil says, they may wear shirts or blouses made of cotton in soft and light colours.

Suitable footwear for the beach includes open-toed beach sandals, flip-flops and aqua water shoes. Accessories include sunglasses, wide-brim straw sun hats, and hats decorated with flowers in beige and brown colours, she says. Straw totes and handbags in phosphoric colours are fashionable.

For appropriate evening attire during beach vacations, Nabil says that veiled women may often attend indoor or outdoor dinner or cocktail parties, sometimes on the beach, and for these there is a need for something practical. “Don’t try to walk in the sand wearing heels,” she says. “Choose something that won’t just dig into the beach.”

The latest hijab and headscarf fabrics include cashmere, cotton with tassels or crimp-frayed edges, and delicate khaleeji (Gulf) lace shawls in different shapes and sizes. “These can be worn in the day and at night,” Nabil says.

Headscarves made of a beautiful blend of lace and cotton with scattered patterns of pearls, rhinestones and small stars are also chic and can be worn in the evenings.

Turbans are easy and fast to wear, and they can be perfect for the beach with swimwear. Many women do not know how to wrap turbans properly, however, and the readymade ones may not be well-shaped. “I don’t recommend them for daily use. Veiled women can wear turbans, of course, but then they will also need to cover their necks,” Nabil says.  


photo: Ahmed Abu Khalifa

Fashionable hijab colours are matt and pastel. Off-white is a dominant colour. Silk, satin and chiffon veils are appropriate for use with evening gowns. Bonnets are also important to be worn with the hijab, acting as a protective layer and allowing the hair to breathe. They are suitable for everyday use and ideal for high temperatures. Such bonnet caps or under-scarves, small pieces of fabric used to cover the head under the hijab, are made of soft and stretchy cotton materials.  There are also different styles, shapes and colours, and women can choose the most suitable for their hijab.  

“They help the scarf to stay in place, and they are non-slip. They are also useful for providing full coverage, especially if the hijab itself is made of a transparent fabric. But avoid putting on a bonnet if the hair is wet, as this can encourage dandruff,” Nabil says.

“Plain, loose, pinless hijabs in a single soft colour or a mix of two colours and not embellished or decorated are the latest fashions,” Nabil adds. “The unadorned look is trendy this summer, and patterned, floral print, stripped, or multi-coloured veils are démodé.”

Blouses may be stripped, and coiled ribbon collar necklaces and rope belts are fashionable. Sleeves cut off the shoulder are chic. Wide-legs trouser and pants are fashionable, as are ripped jeans. Floral-print jeans and rolled cuff pants with shimmering crystals and studs are also very stylish.

Veiled women can wear jeans as casual wear. “I wear them myself, and I have added a denim lining to torn jeans from other old pairs of jeans I had. I cut out patches from old jeans, pinned them to the inside of the jeans and sewed them in. They look great,” Nabil comments.  


photo: Ahmed Abu Khalifa

1990s-inspired wrap skirts, detachable straps and long wrap-arounds are also stylish for evening wear, as are floral prints in different shapes, sizes and colour variations. They can add a soft and elegant vibe to any look. The new soft, fluffy and lightweight fabrics are also perfect for summer, and include crepe, cotton and cotton blended with other fabrics like linen and viscose.

White and off-white are dominant colours. There are also lighter shades of different colours and various yellow colour variations like lemon, canary and mustard. All of these are stylish, Nabil says. Cashmere is also trending. Black is still in vogue. Blouses and veils in handwoven fabrics with pearls can be very stylish.

Belts are also back this summer, worn around the waist to emphasise the waistline.  Belts can also be layered over blouses, dresses, pants or skirts.

Pleated skirts and ribbon-tie belts woven into the waistband are fashionable, though skinny, wide-chain, large and buckle belts are also trendy.

“Belts are not appropriate for an apple body shape or for any woman with large hips, but they can be perfect for thin and medium body shapes,” Nabil says. She adds that shoes and bags are main accessories for veiled women, making the perfect match for a stunning look. Rope-strap sandals or high heels are stylish.

Brooches and pins are an excellent way to accessorise and add that final touch that can complete any look. Brooches crafted from gold, silver, bronze, steel, copper and brass are very fashionable at the moment, even if they are made by branded names. “They can add charm to any feminine outfit,” Nabil concluded.

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