The blessed month is finally upon us. After weeks of anticipation and preparation, we all hope to extract from the spiritual treasures bestowed to us during these special days. The focus is primarily on the inner as we struggle for a deeper level of existence, every single day.
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But like it or not, part of that struggle for some of us includes the daily grapple of what to wear. For busy days and nights spent in more than the yearly load of worship, one must take into consideration the wide variety of events, crowds, and elements to dress for. For those of us who work or go to school in the day, head straight to iftar at a friend's place afterwards, then try to catch a few rakats of Taraweeh at our local mosque...it may seem daunting and sometimes impossible to put together an outfit that will translate across the board.
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If the easy way of throwing on an abaya as a cover-up doesn't quite tickle your fancy, fret not. It's not as complicated as it may seem. Sure, maxi dresses and skirts are everywhere and may seem the obvious choice, but their flowy element can lack the structure some of us need when dressing professionally in the am (if this is not a concern, then by all means...think of the maxi as your modern day "abaya" suited for all your Ramadan needs!) If you crave variety or indeed require more structure for work or school, then read on.
Career Muslima: AM to PM Elements
High Waisted, Wide-Leg Pants: Instantly hip and mindful of all prayer positions, this conservative cut will help you cover the full leg (no ankle exposure when sitting!) and eliminate low-riding waistlines, even in your most vulnerable sajdah position. Luckily the look is of-the-moment and readily available in stores these days. Just be sure to wear at least a two to three-inch heel to avoid pooling of fabric at the feet, as well as to give shape to this classically feminine cut (like the Zara pair pictured above. For details on where to find the other items, check out Style By Design's Blog).
The Ladylike Button-Up: Push aside the expected, boyish cotton-woven work shirt. Given current warm temperatures and the high probability of layering in the pm, a top in a flowier fabric - silk, chiffon, or georgette - adds a feminine touch to your structured pants and reduces bulk if you need to layer up for worship later in the day. With the wealth of fun prints and styles available right now, the piece can be easily personalized into a look of choice just for you. Another pro? This type of top typically seems to favor a full, to-the-wrist sleeve (vs. the frustrating three-quarter length we see on most of the more "halal" tunic tops out there) and a derrier-skimming length, perfect for all your holy month needs. Leave it out, tuck it in, or sport my fave - the "half-tuck" (front in, back out) as you need throughout the day.
The Updated Scarf: Whether or not you wear hijab "full-time", the lightweight, gauzy versions frequenting most stores today comes in the perfect size and need NO ironing, making them the perfect item to stash in your am bag if you need a quick cover-up for prayer time. In addition, the modern texture has some serious GRIP...allowing you to focus on your prayer versus whether or not it will slip off your head.
Added Layer for Taraweeh: So you're all covered up from head-to-toe in chic fashion, but still feel a little self-conscious for your eight to twenty rakats? Fear not. Your feminine blouse is the perfect candidate for light layering (as mentioned above), so simply add a duster, cardigan, or blazer in a THIN summery fabric in order to survive most internal mosque temperatures of shoulder-to-shoulder action.
The Clutch: Keep one in your car at all times, and you are empowering yourself to toss essentials from your larger work tote into one of these instant style boosters. The mini-handbag is a hot item available just about everywhere right now, so choose a fun animal print (snake or cheetah anyone?) or a bright solid to keep the added accessory fun, polished and updated.
Jewelry: Where earrings and chokers may get lost in all your modest wear, long necklaces, statement rings, and cuff bracelets should be your very best friends. Again, add on to your night look as needed if it feels a bit much for day.
Ramadan Kareem everyone! Here's to a month filled with blessing, bounty, and a little modest-chic thrown in for good measure!
Saba is the founder and owner of Style By Design, an image consulting firm that helps people work with their own personal PR. Her work includes style and fashion consulting, career image consulting and overall personal design. She has worked with clients from all walks of life, from NBA players to lawyers. Follow her blog at http://www.sbdstyle.blogspot.com/. Follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/sbdimageconsulting