My closet is conspiring against me.

I’m in that awkward phase of in-between — it’s not quite winter enough for a turtleneck, but it’s not warm enough for a maxi dress.  I’m also sick of wearing mommy cardigans embellished with flung spaghetti and overly patterned nursing tops.  My jeans have holes in the knees from crawling around on the floor. I’m missing my old semi-formal work attire.

So my closet is conspiring, and this directly impacts my hijab.  I’m having a bad hijab day.

Wearing the hijab isn’t easy. Especially for the fashion conscious.

I’ve been advised that one should keep a three colour minimum when assembling an outfit. Floral prints or houndstooth should be saved for accent pieces, and when in doubt choose black. When adding a layer to your head, this really complicates things.

I sometime agonize over the colour of my hijab. Recently at a good friend’s wedding, I lucked out when I found a lovely dress and purple sequined pumps to match. But it took me forever to find the right scarf. The dress has deep purple flower accents, do I go with a deep purple solid? No. It’s summer, a purple head screams winter. What about a Turkish floral print? No. There’s way too much going on already on the dress. Black? Maybe, but it’s summer!

Then there are the days that I have to take the colour and patterns of the baby’s clothes and carrier into consideration or risk looking like a circus clown. You can’t even go with the same colour for the entire ensemble — unless you enjoy looking like a giant blueberry, eggplant or banana.

Then depending on the coverage needed, there’s styling to consider.  Are you wearing a turtleneck or a low v-neck?. Do you go with the Spanish hijab? Babushka look? Dupatta? Amira? Kuwaiti Beehive? Or something more funky?

Sometimes it can feel like you need a team of specialists to help research and construct your hijab for the day. Is it windy outside? Raining? Are you headed to the airport and need to minimize pins so you don’t set off the metal detector? Will you be playing frisbee? Dealing with children tugging on just about everything?

Luckily for me, there is yet another article covering the, “ZOMG Western, veiled, Muslim women are fashionable and causing a stir in the Islamic world” trend in the media. This time it’s the LATimes reporting on an emerging hijab stylist in Cali.

Atik has taken the Muslim head scarf, often known as hijab, and turned it into a canvas for her fashion sensibilities, with ideas inspired by designs from Forever 21 and H&M as well as haute couture runways and the pages of Vogue and Elle. Showing her latest design at a mosque was her way of gauging sentiment on scarves that go beyond the limited fashion realm they have thus far inhabited, such as floral and geometric prints or lace and beaded embellishments.

Atik sees the fashion industry’s treatment of the hijab as staid and lackluster. She wants to make the scarves edgier, with fringes, pleats, peacock feathers, animal prints.

Eeee. Really? I love my animal print hijabs — they really shake up a blazer/work pant mix.  But peacocks?  Maybe I’m getting old.

I’m really excited for Marwa Atik.  She’s a young entrepreneur and she’ll go far insha’Allah.  Too bad the article just HAS to compare her with a conservative viewpoint on hijab:

Eiman Sidky, who teaches religious classes at King Fahd mosque in Culver City, is among those who say attempts to beautify the scarf have gone too far. In countries like Egypt, where Sidky spends part of the year, religious scholars complain that women walk down the street adorned as if they were peacocks.

“In the end they do so much with hijab, I don’t think this is the hijab the way God wants it; the turquoise with the yellow with the green,” she said.

Oops. Peacocks again. Just once I’d like an article to be written about a successful Muslim fiashionista without resorting to the arguement that styling your hijab is new, revolutionary, defeating the purpose of modesty, or antithetical to what hijab is supposed to be. We really have to stop positioning the Western hijab against a conservative voice.

Hijab has always been a personal expression, even if you decide to only wear drab browns and blacks. Again people, fashion in the hijab world is nothing new.  Islam in North America continues to define itself — and cultural expression through the hijab is just one way we’re doing it.

Back to the fashion for a moment. They’re very nice, but yeah, I must be getting old:


This just seems like way too much material for me.  I can just imagine getting a face full of hijab every. single. time. I stoop to pick up a dropped toy.  And maybe it’s the baby, but the style is pretty reminiscent of a bib.  Ok, I might be able to get away with a GINORMOUS bow on my hijab (my fav out of the bunch). And the Victorian ruffles are nice, but how often can you wear a Victorian-inspired outfit in a week?  Yes, yes, every day if you’re a vampire.  So how often should you wear ruffles?

Seeing that I can’t stand to have my scarf bunching around my neck, I guess I’m just not fashionable enough.  Ooh, does that make me a conservative?

Image Credit: Vela Scarves

Younger, Westernized Muslim women are seeking out trendy styles, with one Orange County student selling designs inspired by Vogue and Elle. But some critics wonder whether the stylish creations defeat the purpose of modesty.

Advertisements