What is covered under the abaya of the Arabic women?
On the entrance to the one of Dubai nightclub security is checking tourists in colorful shorts and girls in astonishing dresses. It’s hard to see women in traditional Arabic clothes here. Suddenly, security stops two women in traditional black abayas, telling them that they can’t enter the club because of the dress code. Girls put their Louis Vuitton and Chanel bags on the floor, take their abayas off and show their astonishing evening dresses made by the most famous brands. The security guy is simply speechless, and has nothing to say against them…
This is not a funny joke, but a real-life experience. It turns out that the abaya is the way to follow strict rules and observe local traditions. But each woman is able to decide what to wear under the abaya according to her own preferences and budget.
Here’s an interesting fact – sometimes tourists may be sad about a local woman wearing the traditional black abaya. Furthermore, they may think that such woman is not able to wear what she really wants. It looks totally unfair when women, having a lot of money to buy virtually any gown and dress, have no chance to show it in public.
But this is nothing but a mistake and delusion! Try to think why the most famous and luxurious brands from all over the world have their own offices and shops in Arabic countries. Furthermore, women in such countries buy, wear and sell such exclusive things even more often than their European counterparts.
An interesting journalistic story about this topic was made by Katya Kovtunovich. She’s a journalist constantly living in Dubai. She talked with her friends who represent the most luxurious and elite part of the city in order to understand what they have under their nontransparent black abayas.
Arabic women, abayas and Louis Vuitton
First of all, we need to talk about our opinions of Arabic women, because the majority of such opinions is totally wrong.
We are sure that wives of local billionaires have no chance to show their exclusive dresses off because the chic and the beauty of their costume is hidden under the abaya.
If you tell such thing to an Arabic woman, she will just take a relaxed look at you…
“Do you think that we have nobody to show our costumes off?” – ask Shamsa and Lateefah, while talking with Katya. “This is totally wrong! We buy and wear those gowns and dresses in order to have an amazing look at home in front of our family and husband. These are the main people in our lives, and we do care about their opinion. Why would I care about the opinion of a stranger in the street? The most important opinion for me is the opinion of my husband. I want my mother and my daughters to be proud of me. Only they can see me in these expensive clothes because I want to look good for them”.
You may say: “Phah! Looking good for the husband, the mother, and kids a couple of times per week or even month? Are they ready to waste thousands of dollars every month just for their relatives?”
And this is your second mistake…
“If you live in Russia, Germany or France, you may have a brother, and maybe a sister. You have one aunt and one uncle” – continues Lateefah. “We have dozens of relatives from each side. My husband has ten uncles and aunts, while I have the same number of relatives. Each and every of them has their own family and relatives. We have strong relations, and we visit each other much more times than just once per year. We always gather together with our families in order to celebrate birthdays, wedding anniversaries and other important events. If a child has recovered from the illness, it’s a great reason to have a party. Try to think about the number of birthdays, which we have to celebrate every month! Just believe me that we have connections with the same number of people that you do. We are observed and evaluated by more people that you see in Moscow Metro during the day…”
Another mistake is to think that local women waste incredible money to buy new clothes just to show off in front of their friends and relatives. This is another delusion.
Waste, or reasonable price of beauty?
Lateefah continues: “I don’t buy shoes or a dress just because they are expensive and popular. I wear what I really like and what fits me better. It looks strange when a woman wears only Versace and looks 10 years older than her real age. But if I see something that I really like, I will buy it even it’s from Armani, Versace or any economic brand.”
To tell the truth, the rumors about the thoughtless extravagance of Arabic women is really exaggerated. Numerous photos of wardrobes full of Louboutin shoes and stories about fashionistas buying the entire collection of Chanel bags are just exclusions, which confirm the rule. No doubt that some girls can’t control themselves, but the majority of them is really practical and rational during the shopping.
Furthermore, even the most famous wives of local millionaires are not able to do all they want. There’s a story about Misha Maatook from Lebanon who decided to open a second-hand shop in Dubai in order to sell clothes and accessories of the most popular brands. She received a lot of exclusive things from Dolce&Gabbana, Versace, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Local girls were sending their drivers to bring new clothes to the shop in order to return at least a half of the full price.
European fashion in the Arab world
Interestingly, girls in the UAE don’t have a specific “Arabic” fashion. At the beginning the owners of the shop we putting closed dresses and long skirts in the windows of their shops, but they realized that it wasn’t really necessary incredibly soon. Local girls and women want to buy the same things, as women in the USA, France, and Italy. Furthermore, local girls follow fashion trends, subscribe on Instagram accounts of Barneys New York and Harvey Nichols London, acting as an integral part of the world’s fashion society. We have to admire that their sharp faces and giant dark eyes create the astonishing look.
By the way, the majority of shops in Dubai works with the middle class. Girls with unlimited bank accounts prefer to fly for shopping to Europe. And Tax-Free regime is not really the reason. The thing is the psychology. If a wife of a famous businessman enters a shop in Dubai, local managers will try to “push” and sell the most expensive thing. If she comes to a shop in Montenapo in Milan or Rivoli in Paris, she will be served as all other customers in the city. Thus, she is able to find what she really wants without strict control of managers.
Nevertheless, such rich country that has a lot of oil, has to have extremities. Many local wives spend more money than their husbands can earn just to buy Cartier accessories, provoking scandals and even divorces. Even those ladies who can afford virtually everything, confess that they wear expensive diamonds, even if they don’t have anything else on their bodies.
Lateefah laughs: “Yes, we even sleep wearing our diamonds. Why wouldn’t we if it’s not prohibited?”