Friday, December 11, 2009
The abaya "cloak" is an overgarment popularly worn by women in the middle east. It is the traditional form of jubah, or Islamic dress, for many countries of the Arabian peninsula such as Saudi Arabia or United Arab Emirates, where it is the national dress.
Traditional abaya are black and may be either a large square of fabric draped from the shoulders or head or a long caftan. The abaya covers the whole body except the face, feet, and hands. It can be worn with the niqab, a face veil covering all but the eyes. Some women choose to wear long black gloves, so their hands are covered as well.
Abayat are known by various names but serve the same purpose, which is to cover. Contemporary models are usually caftans, cut from light, flowing fabrics like crepe, georgette, and chiffon. Styles differ from region to region: some abayat have embroidery on black material while others are brightly coloured and have different forms of artwork across them.