This week, my work took me to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where I spent a couple of days in the city of Jeddah to attend a fashion event at the Marina. Contrary to popular assumptions, I really enjoy visiting Saudi Arabia, I find it quite humbling and appreciative of the freedom and cultural exposure I have as a western woman. Also, I love wearing the abaya…
It's really interesting boarding a flight to Saudi Arabia, as soon as you step on to the plane you are welcomed by a sea of eyes starring at you and you can tell they are clearly thinking, is that girl on the right flight? As a British, blonde, white woman, wearing western clothes, lets just say myself and the team of girls I travel with, stand out like a stars in the sky (that simile sounds a little romantic but you get my point). As soon as the airplane touches down on KSA soil, well sand, it's time to get my abaya out from my hand luggage and cover from top to toe.
The one great thing about wearing the abaya is that you can wear anything you like underneath it and no one will see it. I tend to wear leggings and T shirt underneath for comfort and I have even known some women to wear pj's underneath it too! I don't have to wear the shyla to cover my hair all of the time but have to carry it with me incase someone asks me to cover my hair; I usually leave it wrapped over my head or arounds my shoulders and if someone asks me cover up I would have to hide all of my hair. I carry a set of pins too incase I have to cover my face - and because I am not a pro at wrapping the shayla, pinning it is a cheats way to ensure it stays in place.
I have a couple of abayas now as I travel to KSA frequently, you need to ensure that your robes are stylish in order to keep up appearances with the local, very trendy women. The one I am pictured in is from Al Motahajibe in Mirdif City Centre and cost AED800. Accessories are no doubt a very important aspect to the outfit as this is the only chance women get to show case their individual sense of style. Shoes and handbags are they only items you can really see and the local fashion seems to be the bolder the better! When you visit the mall you will see every shade of Celine bag known to man being paraded proudly by women of all ages. As I was attending a private event I added a huge statement necklace to my abaya, to brighten it up and look a little more glitzy. This necklace is a New Look one and cost AED40. I wouldn't typically wear accessories if I was going to be out in public and I also keep my make-up minimal and neutral, not to attract attention.
|New collection launch|
|Statement necklace must-have from New Look|
|The food is Saudi is heavily asian influenced, this fried spicy cod was delicious|
|Group pic with local Saudi girls|
|Lamb Kofta canapese with a mint dip|
|My favourite piece of the night, a little gem green rucksack from New Look|