There are few places I have been with a more skewed sense of reality than Dubai. From springs and green grass in the desert, to islands built in the sea, basically this is a place where limits only exist when the money has run out. But there is a beauty here. The newest buildings that tickle your mind with creativity, the perfectly turquoise waters that are warmly inviting but cool to touch, and the sand hills that match the camels silhouette. But for myself , one of the most beautiful sites to see in Dubai are the women who make up the small, but regal, Emirati population. Their style and clothes are like none I have ever seen elsewhere, a mix of both religious tradition and modern creativity. Now, there is a disclaimer here; I am no expert on this world of dress, and I am no expert on the religion of Islam. This is simply my general surveillance out of my times spent in Dubai, and of course, could never apply to each and every woman living in the UAE. What this piece is intended to be, is a loving observation (and slight jealousy) of how the Emirati women epitomize glamour, beauty, and class. So pack your camel milk, wrap up your dates, and float with me on a cloud of hubbly bubbly into a small but far from humble world in the middle of the desert…..
First you have to start with the abaya. This long black cloak drapes generously to the ground, with at least a few inches left to glide along the floor. The cloak is wide enough to hide any hint of a persons shape, but don’t let this fool you into thinking it is unflattering. If anything, this extra fabric literally flows around the women, giving off an air of mystique and curiosity that they are literally floating by you. Depending on the occasion or time of day, the abaya will be laced with embroidery, jewels, fabric or sequins. That’s not to say they whipped out the be-dazzler that morning, though nothing is wrong with a be-dazzler. The quality of these embellishments can be seen miles away, and the intricacy, colour, and designs are one way of taking a simple concept of clothing, a black robe, and making it that persons own (as any style lover does).
Details of the abaya, this one embracing some twilight love
More details, how much do you love these sleeves?
Secondly, you find the shaila or hejjab, the head scarf that covers the hair as per tradition. If the abaya has an embellishment, shaila will match it like an 80’s child’s shorts will match their scrunchie. It will be whirled up and set upon what I can only assume is a hair bun, to achieve a height at least a few inches above the head. Whenever I see the height of the shailas, I think to how I like to tease my hair to create body. So I suppose this method is what can been seen as the Emirati’s version of ‘oomph’. Also, while some women who adorn a hejjab will tuck in all their hair, Emirati women will leave a little bang peaking out, revealing their jet black hair. Oh, my jealousy continues!
Thirdly, because style goes beyond clothing, you’ve got to note the accessories! These are essential in completing the look, and again can add creativity and fashion to what can otherwise be a very simple look. Watches, bracelets, handbags, sunglasses and the shoes; these are blinged out and catch your eye like a fish on a hook. I don’t follow ‘high’ fashion by any means, so I cannot tell you if these are the latest Channel bags or Tiffany tennis bracelets. But I have heard that they likely come from the most famous fashion houses, and by all means they look as they could be. Its another element to the Emirati style that is not to be missed.
Perfect example: belt, handbag, earrings, sunglasses, and phone. Its all there and all necessary.
Speaks for itself.
Finally, and this is something I note with my Arab relatives as well as Emirati women, is the makeup. Unashamedly bold and flawless. The half inch black eye liner, rouge stroked cheek, and ruby lips put the final touches to an look that is alluring, classical, modern, traditional, extravagant, and unique.
Note how the lips match perfectly with the "fur".
I love the rainbow effect here, the colour is amazing.
But enough talk, more photos to further showcase the glitz and glam that is the Emirati style….