We help a lot of non-Muslims who are travelling to Muslim majority countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran or Afghanistan for work and/or leisure and need appropriate clothing.
We encourage you to come into the store so we can guide you through our options and show you how to wear them if it's your first time. Our store is open to everyone and we've been assisting travellers like yourself for 15 years!
Here is a guide to what clothing and head covering is appropriate to wear in these countries.
This is a popular choice if the place you are going to is quite conservative and you want to blend in. It's just one piece that covers the entire body except the hands, feet and face.
We have two types: The Classic Abaya and the Classic Buttoned Dress. The Abaya is a closed loose fitting dress that has no shape and is commonly worn by women all over the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia. The Buttoned Dress is also a loose fitting dress but it has a more feminine cut and can be worn open or closed.
Both are suitable in the hotter weather as you won't need to wear any layers underneath. It's made out of microfibre polyester which is thin but not see through.
In the colder weather, you can wear extra layers underneath to keep you warm like skivvies and tights. The Buttoned Dress has an extra advantage as it can also be worn unbuttoned as a long outer coat with a dress or top/ tunic and loose pants/ skirt underneath.
Although commonly worn in the region, you may not like to wear black as it does absorb heat. Microfibre is a polyester too. If you prefer wearing natural fibres in light colours we suggest the Breeze Abaya in linen-viscose blend. It is designed to be worn in hotter weather and is very loose fitting.
Long sleeve maxi dresses:
This is a good choice if you're going to a country that is not too strict with their clothing customs. We have many maxi dresses in different colours to choose from. They come in different materials so you can choose according to how cold or hot the place will be.
Long tunics and loose pants:
This is a good choice if the country you're going to is quite flexible and casual with their clothing customs or if you need to prioritise mobility and practicality e.g. you'll be doing a lot of walking, hiking etc.
We have many long tunics and shirts to choose from. They come in different materials so you can choose according to how cold or hot the place will be.
We have some wide leg pants available too. Alternatively, you could wear your own pants as long as they aren't too tight and preferably fall below your ankle.
The Rectangle scarf: This is a long shawl that can be wrapped around the head. If you want to cover your hair, neck and chest completely, you will need to wear a scarf liner that pulls back your hair, and some scarf pins to keep your scarf in place.
We suggest the Cotton Rayon Shawl. It sits nicely on your head (unlike the chiffon scarves that can be a bit slippery), it's good for both cold and hot weather and is easy to wash.
If you are not required to cover your hair, neck and chest completely but still want to show that you respects their customs, you can just wrap the scarf around your head loosely without any scarf liner or pins.
Clothing customs in these regions are generally a lot more flexible and casual with men. But if you would like to blend in then we suggest our Classic Thobe in white. This is like the traditional white thobe commonly worn by men in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia. They are usually made of thin polyester and have a hard, high and tight collar. Our ones are made of 60% bamboo (like cotton but more durable in the heat) so are more breathable than polyester in the heat. We also made it with a flat collar as the Saudi style can feel uncomfortable and tight if you're not used to it. We've made these changes to make it easier for our Western customers to wear these garments whilst still respecting the traditional customs of the land.
Thobes can be worn on its own or with kofeyye scarves which are thin cotton scarves with a specific pattern in white, white and black, white and red or in different colours. Men are not required to cover their head, this is more of a cultural practice in that region.
We hope this guide helps! If you are travelling with an organisation or through a travel agency, we suggest asking them for clothing guidelines too.
Please note that we have more designs available in store than online, so we recommend that you come in if you can.
Have a question? Feel free to call us any day between 11am-4pm on (03) 9386 6441
The EMAAN Team