Arabic Language Blog

Abaya Posted by on Dec 9, 2010 in Culture

In a previous post, I wrote about the traditional costumes of Arab men in the Gulf region. In this post, I write about women’s dress. In Gulf countries, women traditionally wear Abaya (العباية) which is a traditional long black over garment. The Abaya often comes with a matching head cover, as shown in the picture below.

Image by Rod Waddington on Flickr

Image by Rod Waddington on Flickr


There are two styles of Abaya, the black one which is used outdoors and the colored ones which are used at home. The materials are different because the home ones are often made of cotton to be relaxing and practical, but the black ones are often made of chiffon or crepe or other non crinkle materials. Women often wear Western style clothes like Jeans and tops, dresses, etc. and wear the Abaya on top.

In the old days, Abays were simple and they were meant to cover the woman’s body in full and give her an appearance of modest. However, nowadays they became very elaborate with embroidery, and sometimes the materials used for them are to some extend revealing.


Famous fashion houses now produce lots of Abayas for the lucrative markets of the Gulf, and it is not uncommon to find Abayas made by international designers. There are numerous fashion shows and specialized shops dedicated to Abayas.

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  1. Becky:

    The abaya in the first picture is beautiful! 🙂

  2. hassan:

    although i am not a extremist i think this is something too much unislamic its really very bad
    i could only make a prayer to allmighty Allah
    to protect all women from the torment of the hell fire
    increase their imaan and make them all be examples to to non muslim women in the world us as the women in the time of phrophet pbuh