March 22, 2011

I have a newly diagnosed disorder....

Alhamdulillah I was born too late to fall prey to the "goth steampunk" look. I woulda fallen HARD. Just sayin' :-)
A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I've just been diagnosed with a disorder which, unfortunately, has been a problem for me for quite some time. It's called "fashion schizophrenia" and I am afraid I have a fatal case. :-D

My entire life, no one has EVER accused me of being "fashion forward". After a very unfortunate 80's inspired teenage era I moved straight into a straight jeans and t-shirt phase. Oh wait, before that, while in college, I did try to look more fashionable. I bought a track suit. You know, the shiny, noisy ones made out of some kinda of synthetic material, in multi colors, the kind still sported by old dudes out walking in the mall? Hmm. In my defense they were ALL the rage back in the early 90s.

Mine was white with lime green and purple. Possibly some black to perk it up. lol. I wore with it a shirt that had cacti made out of sequins. I still remember it (with convulsions of guilt mingled with disbelief!). It appears I either dressed oh no, over-the-top or just tried to be as unobtrusive as possible. Anyway I do have a picture of me in this fine suit.

I would even be willing to scan it and post it here but our scanner is on the fritz. Oh and I had a fake butt on as well. Yes, dear readers, I did. A fake bottom. False behind. Whatever you wanna call it. I saw one advertised in a magazine. Much to my chagrin, this baby didn't have back. :-D I was bottom-challenged and it was a sore point with me. So much that I parted with about $50 of my hard earned dollars and bought this... this foam monstrosity.

I even wore it. Once. In the unfortunate track suit photo mentioned above. Alhamdulillah I had the good sense to realize it was ridiculous but allowed my then-boyfriend (the boys' eventual father, my soon-to-be husband) to snap a pic for "posterity". (Haha, posterity for my posterior. Funny!) Or more likely, to remind me to never experiment with color again!!!!

OK so after the disastrous attempt to be colorful and stylish, I did the "I don't care how I dress" phase, the jeans and t-shirt Jeanna. Comfy stretchy jeans and men's t-shirts, to be exact. Oh my.  After that, when I had a job that demanded dressing up, I morphed into "old lady at 25" with sensible slacks and polyblend tops. Yes top, not shirts. In my defense, my sensibly-dressing MIL bought my work wardrobe for me, as I didn't have the funds. Still shuddering...

Then came my entrance into the world or dressing more like a woman and one who isn't having a psychadelic flashback to some groovy time. :-) I lost some weight (quite a bit, I was very sick prior to dialysis) and realized that a) I was actually a woman b) I didn't have to have a perfect anything to look nicer and c) I could somewhat rely on my own sense of style.

Well don't you know c is the one that came back to bite me on the butt? Because of my well-earned distrust of my fashion sense (don't you know that term was an oxymoron for me? lol) I had lost all faith in my ability to put together an outfit. So if I found one thing I liked, that wasn't obnoxious, I wanted to buy it in every color. This is the Dialysis Diva phase btw. :-) Not so diva but better...

I wore jeans that fit and had found a longer, a-line, cap sleeved tshirt made by Hanes her Way at Wal-Mart. I bought a grey one. Ahhh the comfort, the fit, the love... I then proceeded to buy a navy, a red, a black and a white. Yeah, I did. And I pretty much just wore those. :-) I had a few other things I would vary it with but this was indeed my daily uniform. Dear Readers, I felt pretty for the first time in a looooong time. Not just capable or dependable or acceptable but pretty.

This is also called my "Sporty Spice" stage. I bought alot of sporty knits, any top with a stripe was game for me, and paired with a long denim skirt or similar.

And all it took was a $7 t-shirt. :-))  But I digress... Oh this is gonna be a long post, I can feel it. You know, it's cathartic to get rid of all this shame that's been building in me for years. I'm actually surprised no one in my family did an intervention. Well one friend did she forced lovingly encouraged me to buy a couple of dressier sandals, more fitted tops, a dress or two. I acqueisced but never felt comfortable in them.

OK sorry back on track. So after the dialysis stage I kinda settled into my style; understated, comfy but feminine. Not racy, not sexy, but definitely not as modest as I dress now. So let's just skip ahead to now, which is actually the entire reason I started this post!

This is when my fashion schizophrenia really manifested itself. Before, I couldn't settle on any one (horrible) look. Now I can hop from abaya to shalwar kameez to long jean skirt and cotton top. I like pretty shoes and nice purses but my favorite footwear continues to be my men's leather sandals which I would happily wear everyday if this crazy weather here would cooperate! Comfort is my queen but I as long as it feels good and is modestly-fitting I can go crazy!

I have some jalabiyya that are decked out in sequins and fringe, a couple of very sophisticated abayaat that make me feel like an Arabian princess, shalwar kameez ranging from daily wear cotton to a bridal-type in rusty red and gold. I'll glame it up for 'Eid or I am happy to wear my "old faithful", a black abaya, my first abaya ever, gifted to me by a sweet sister. It has a scissor hole in the hem from a Muslim Scouts meeting (my fault, not a child's lol) and I have to re-sew the underarm seams periodically. Hands down my favorite abaya EVER. Not stylish at ALL.

You all know by now my predilection for the tie-back, polyblend khimars. Now I've added a couple of overhead abayaat to the mix. I'm learning how to wear them gracefully but the idea of them is uber-appealing. :-)

Now that I'm married to a Tunisian Arab he has less appreciation for my "eclectic" fashion sense. :-) Masha'Allah my husband is very plain and I am usually very plain as well, happy as a lark in my plain abaya and khimar.

But sometimes... the fashion schizophrenia flares up and I long, just for a day, to be the Arabian Princess or the Indian Rani or even the Funky American Revert. Just for a day... :-) 

I feel guilty when I see my closetful of clothes. Correction, closet FULL of clothes. Most of them unworn now, feeling unloved, unneeded. :-D I still have affection for them but no opportunity to wear them. In my home, I'm a busy mama and I don't have the time or the reason to wear something nice. Outside of my home, I dress modestly which for my husband means on abaya and which for me generally means abaya. (I feel some other things are very modest but have worn abaya so long, by my own accord, and now as a means to please my husband, that I wouldn't change.)

Any of you out there fellow fashion faux-pas-ers? :-)


Mona Z said...

Oh man, this post was funny! I'm sure we were all guilty of weird looks that were all the rage at the time. I myself know I rocked the folded jeans and 2 pairs of socks with wannabe Keds.

Umm Aaminah said...

Mona, oh no! You reminded me of a whole other chapter! ;-) Turn the bottom of your pants leg in tight, then fold, fold, fold! It was a godsend for shorties like me. lol I remember the double-socks too. Oh me oh my!

I did at one time own a Madonna-inspired single handed fingerless lace glove. Complete with finger loop to hold it on your hand. Gotta love it!

Halima said...


I have loads of shalwar khameez as well, a legacy of my years spent living in a very Indo-Pak area of London- I love the colours and ease of them, and they were so cheap! You could get a whole outfit for about 25 dollars. My husband, despite being Algerian, really does like them- but like you I wear abaya, and so I save them for indoors now.
Before reverting my style was mostly boho- long, peasant skirts, ethnic tops and jewelry, scarves and shawls- so after reverting the clothes pretty much stayed the same, but the scarves migrated onto my head, hehe!

Angelle said...

Stop! You're killing me with laughter! I don't know where to start.

Who but you would say that accents of black "perk something up?" Fake behind? I thought those were just for Mardi Gras.

As for your present wardrobe, while I can't go for men's sandals (no!no!no!) and/or the abaya, I think shalwar kameez are sweet, feminine, modest, and comfy.

Thanks for the smiles, Hon.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

I was a shopoholic before Islam. I had no problem dropping five figures on a dress, and spending $500 on jeans. Plus my job gave me all the sample sizes from the mannequins cuz I was a zero when they changed the season. You would think this would save one from some fashion fiascos, but no... Some things just don't look good on everyone no matter the trend. I remember loving acid-washed jeans and pairing them with beige leather ankle boots, a little shrunken motorcycle jacket, and a pearl necklace. It wasn't the most hideous look ever... but it wasn't me. I am kind of the "club monaco" girl in dresses or cigarette trousers and black leggings. Trying to have some kind of street attitude was silly. I wasn't very "street". When I went a little more broke and travelled the world more as a convert, I discovered my individual style can be achieved in high end or thrift store just the same. And through style experiments discovered I look best in black abayas and that I like niqab. I still long to have more "attitude" but I am more classically styled and have to accept that.

And about that great pre-Islam wardrobe? What happened to it you might wonder? I aunctioned it off, thrifted it, gifted it, except for pieces that meant alot to me, to afford a new life, alhamdulilah. My old closet bought me alot of happines.

HijabiMommy said...

LOL at the fake derrière! Oh no you didn't!

You had me laughing so hard!

I've always worn shalwar kameez so I feel the most comfortable in them. On the rare days that I wear jeans or skirts, I can't wait to get home and change into some shalwar kameez. Or my pj's!

Hehe, thanks for the laughs!

Umm Aaminah said...

OPNO, what a fashionista you are! I would have thought that about you from your posts. Always classy and high-end masha'Allah. :-)

HijabiMommy, all my family and friends have enjoyed the "fake rear" story to no end! I looked like a sway backed old mare in it. Really it was just too funny... but mostly cuz I was so serious when I bought it. LOL

Speaking of shalwar kameez, I love my simple ones. There is nothing so light or comfy in the world I think for a modest muslimah in a hot climate. My time in India improved IMMENSELY once I got a few suits made. Oh ordering clothing overseas... that's a whole other post in itself!

Aishah said...

I remember the track suits, I had several in some very odd colors and wore them constantly! I was pretty young then though, not yet a teen, and they were so comfy(noisy though).

I went through so many different phases. I tried to go for dressy looks but that didn't really work because I never felt comfortable.

Really comfort is most important for me, now I wear nothing but shalwar kameez. Comfort and style in one easy package! I wear the abaya when we are out in public, but in functions(nikah/valima) since here they are usually pretty gender segregated I take the abaya off once we are there, and keep the dupatta wrapped. I still stick out because just about everybody else drapes the dupattas fashionably.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Umm Aaminah: not anymore , lol believe me. I am lucky now to have one nice evening dress in the closet. I wish someone had taught me to save when I was young.

I laughed so hard at the fake butt one too. I always wished I didn't have a butt lol.