The Qatari Woman Fashion - Abayas

Trip Start Oct 25, 2012
Trip End Nov 07, 2012

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Where I stayed
Movenpick Hotel Al Aziziyah Doha
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Qatar  ,
Thursday, November 1, 2012


Most Conservative and religious Qatari women are covered from head to toe in black. They wear a plain abaya, abayat raas and nikab.(see glossary below)

Of course I have seen these ladies while in Doha many times in public bathrooms removing or uncovering, grooming and taking out their make-up kit to freshen up. They have angel faces, and many of them have their hair dyed, and well hair-do.
I had a totally different picture at first thinking that under the abaya what ladies wear are long colourful dresses with no style or design at all. How wrong I was! The first lady I saw was in her tiny pair of jeans and an expensive blouse, laden in crystals.

Abayas come in every cut and design conceivable nowadays and they are worn as a form of liberation and not a form of oppression as many might think.
There are abayas for different occasions just like with the Western-style fashion. For the daytime abayas are usually plain or might have simple designs. You can even get sporty abayas!
More elaborate with different cuts and intricate designs are those worn in the evenings. For special occasions like holidays or weddings these abayas look like black gowns, laden with diamonds, Swarovski crystals, lace or leather, denim, even fur-abayas with everything one can imagine!

Many young Qatari women are pursuing higher studies and careers in fashion design: one graduate is now working in Paris for Valentino. They are setting up their own abaya businesses and are opening their own boutiques.

The next time you see a Qatari woman who is fully covered, by all means do not assume that she has no idea about fashion and style. She more than likely has better taste in fashion and style than you!


Abaya: The traditional black, long and long-sleeved garment Qatari women wear on top of their clothes when they go outside the home.

Abayat raas: A traditional black over-dress similar to a cape which covers the whole body, has sleeves and a section which goes over half the head, usually worn by older women or more conservative and religious women.

Nikab: The vail they have on the face

Sheila: A long, rectangular, black headscarf worn wrapped around the head.

Thobe: The flowing white dress worn by men.
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derrick241 on

I saw the girls and women in Iran, not all wore the 'ninja' clothes, most just wanted to talk to us, but were very shy to do so, most were very pretty, they certainly werent what I expected or was told about Iranian women

The 'uniform' I saw with most young girls was jeans, a lose to and a head scarf that only just covered their head,

I liked the Iranian people, its a shame that the religious nuts seem to get their way

rossport on

thanks for the update Popi and its a pity they are not honest here about their clothes here in Australia they State it is a religious dress and they can't be seen by any one other than their husband and they are trying to get the authorities to allow them to be photographed with the full covering on so they can't remove it for religious reasons.

derrick241 on

They dont even do that in their home country, they have to have a ful facial photograph in their passport or any ID, they may wear a head scarf though

mmbcross on

No matter how fashionable they are underneath, it's still a male imposition. I bet if they ever relaxed the laws, 90% of the younger girls would choose not to wear an abaya.

derrick241 on

Hi Martin
ah, the ninjas over the road from me still wear the get up, I think its a personal choice, among the older people, dont like change

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