Archives for posts with tag: Clothing

I have just returned from New Zealand where I spent most of my time in typical Kiwi attire, shorts and t-shirts (not jandals though, I’m not that Kiwi). When we jumped off the plane in Doha we’d noted things had hotted up, and that was at 6am. After a nap back in our air conditioned apartment we got ready to venture out.

Hubby: “Why are you wearing jeans?”
Me:        “What else should I be wearing?”
Hubby: “But it’s hot out, why aren’t you wearing shorts?”
Me:        “They don’t cover my knees”
Hubby: “Oh…”

In that moment was the realisation that our trip to New Zealand was the last time he’d see my pasty white pins in the light of day.

Thus leads me to my clothing conundrum. I packed my life into a suitcase and moved continents (again), and now most of what I packed is inappropriate. Tops may expose too much shoulder or arm. Skirts do not cover my knees. A v-neck may be a little too risqué. That fitted top or dress is too tight. Layering doesn’t work because you melt in the heat, and the heat is yet to come. Who knew I dressed so scandalously?

I’d describe my clothing style as ‘lazy’. I hate shopping, throw outfits together from the ‘what’s clean and doesn’t require ironing’ pile, and prefer to wear flat shoes to enhance my ability to walk while demonstrating a key attribute, my lack of height.

But what’s a girl to do when she doesn’t want to offend? I have cardigans and scarves to utilise when need be, but they just add extra bulk that you don’t require when even the gentle sea breeze is hot.

So I went shopping. I. WENT. SHOPPING. (Detect the anger, no no, of course there’s not online shopping as an option – it may never get delivered!). We actually went to Villagio which all Kiwi’s will know and hate because of that fire, so I should really not be seen as supporting it, but I digress.

Shopping is a unique experience here. You’ll find all of your favourite(?!?) UK shops in a Venetian style mall which spans such a large area my shopping fatigue quickly sets in. The shops are styled with mannequins of the latest fashion, but the latest fashion is rarely appropriate – think hot pants, singlets/vests, and dresses that are too short, too tight, and missing half the back (yes, that’s just one dress), all paired with ridiculously high heels I’ll never be able to walk in.

After hours of failing at shopping we stumbled across Marks & Spencers and decided to give them a shot, just in case. There it was, glowing, LINEN, COTTON, breathable materials! They weren’t too tight, too short, or too hot. Sure, they’re not cutting edge fashion, but at least I won’t offend anyone by baring my knees.

But back to my style, now it’s loose trousers (or as Hubby terms me, MC Hammer), light cotton t-shirts or linen tops, and below-the-knee linen skirts. We shopped up a storm!



My family gave me the freedom to be what I wanted to be, to do what I was interested in, and to find my own way. They provided me alcohol in my teenage years; and I never abused it. They expected me to go to university, but I chose what I wanted to do. In that way, their expectations were quite low, providing I stayed within the unwritten moral line.

Now I’m in the Middle East, where family expectations are very different. One of the first things I am often asked is ‘Are you here with your family?’ ‘How many children?’, when I say none, they respond saying ‘Soon! Insha’Alla’ (God willing).

The traditional dress (abaya (cloak), niqab (veil)) intrigues me, having never been in a heavily Islamic setting before. Some women try to gently rebel, while still within the bounds of conformity, by showing some hair, or wearing bright colours that are just visible, and who would throw their abaya off as soon as they travel overseas.

However, others cannot, due to the family they come from. They are expected to cover their faces, to cover their bodies, some even when in their own home. Some can only be free from this coverage in their own bedroom. Even if they were to travel elsewhere, they must follow tradition.

I am not questioning the tradition nor passing judgment as some women have said they like to wear it and feel more comfortable when doing so, but I am questioning if I had been brought up in this environment, would I continue to conform as an adult? Or would I rebel, go my separate way, but perhaps risk losing everything I have ever known?

I will never have to find out, and I am thankful that my family is accepting of my choices.