Expat Life

My first Abaya


**Before I start, This is not meant to annoy of offend anyone before the hate mail starts. These are my honest opinions so please read it all before you decide to comment**

The first time I landed in the Middle East I was shocked, not because of the temperatures or that everything was covered in sand instead of snow, but because everyone dressed so differently to me. Or now that I am on their turf, I dressed differently to THEM. I stuck out like a sore thumb!

In all honesty the women in long flowing black robes intimidated me, I was naive and ignorant to different cultures and why women would choose to cover themselves completely. I thought of what me and my friends would wear on a Saturday night out dancing in the town, I couldn’t imagine myself ever wearing what these Muslim girls did. I grew up in the Northern parts of the UK, away from the large Muslim communities in London, Bradford and Birmingham so it was all new to me.

But after spending the past 7 months of my life in Oman I have a whole new found respect and understanding for the way these women behave and dress. The long black robes are infact called an Abaya and calling them a “black cloak” just doesn’t do them justice at all! They may just look simple but infact there is alot that goes into it – the fabric, the cut, the length, the fit, the details. They really are beautiful once you stop for a minute to appreciate the style. The way these people carry themselves and respect one another is amazing, no one is falling about drunk or too much pasty flesh on show, gag!

With blogs posts from people such as ‘How to live like an Omani Princess’ and Madmoiselle ShoSho’ showing the latest in Abaya chic and how to dress without showing too much flesh or being disrespectful you can’t really go wrong. 

This week I had my brother in town to visit and we decided to take a trip to the Sultan Quaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, it is the most beautiful place I have ever been (I have blogged about it quite a few times already) so I wanted to take him to show him the Mosque in real life. This particular Mosque allows non-Muslim visitors during their set times as long as they are covered up appropriately, traditional dress is not mandatory like some other places of worship.
In an effort to be respectful myself and my brother went shopping for our new clothes. He bought a Dish Dasha, the mens long white robe, and I bought my very first Abaya.

So here I am at the Sultan Quaboos Grand Mosque in my first ever Abaya:

Several Omani people thanked us for making the effort to dress this way so that was lovely that they appreciated it and wanted to take the time to speak to us. 

But incase you have got this far and you are missing the point of the blog post, we are not trying to mock anyone by dressing in this way nor are we trying to be funny – we wanted to be respectful in the Mosque to the Muslims and the Omani people who have treated us so well.

To my surprise I actually enjoy wearing my Abaya and understand so much more now about why women dress in this way, it is not suppresive or a terrible thing to wear at all. It is comfortable, practical and stylish.

And now when I think back to what I used to wear on a Saturday night in the town and how I would behave – I cringe! Who would of thought it would take just 7 months to completely change my outlook on life?! We could all learn something from the Muslim way of life.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) 15/04/2013 at 12:01 PM

    Aww you look soooooooo cute!

    The belt is a chic addition too;)

    • Reply The Duncan Adventures 15/04/2013 at 9:53 PM

      Thank you 🙂 🙂 are you impressed that I am trying the Abaya after I asked you soooo many questions? hee hee.

  • Reply Kristal Schneider 15/04/2013 at 2:34 PM

    You guys look great! I love it. When I was teaching, I sponsored the Muslim Student Association at school. I learned many things from some great kids in that group. Part of their belief is that young men cannot handle the beauty of women, and thus, women should cover themselves. I always thought that was so… respectful. :o)

    • Reply The Duncan Adventures 15/04/2013 at 9:54 PM

      Thanks Kristal. Yes, that is very respectful. I have a whole new appreciation for the way they live their lives, maybe not every aspect but in some bits yes.

  • Reply claire carroll 24/04/2013 at 6:09 PM

    I’ve been curious about wearing an abaya for so long now. there are some really beautiful ones out there 🙂

  • Reply egandhi 05/05/2013 at 4:59 PM

    This is a great post! Definately love the idea that you guys took the time and consideration to do so. I had two tiny questions: 1) how much did the abaya cost approx 2) I’ve always wanted to visit that mosque, driving by it always tickles my curiosity, could you tell when I can go visit? And if there is a guided tour? Thanks a bundle 🙂

  • Reply The Duncan Adventures 05/05/2013 at 5:33 PM

    Hey! Thank you very much 🙂
    1- Well….I went into a shop at Muttrah and the guy asked for 25 rials I was like NO WAY – I like them but I’m probably not going to get that much use out of it. The guy was pretty rude actually but my hubby haggled him down to 8 rials which is much better. These people obviously take advantage of my nievity.
    2- The Grand Mosque is a must see if you are in Muscat, it is so beautiful and free to go and visit which is always a good thing. Women must cover themselves from wrist to ankle and cover their hair. I believe that non-Muslims are able to visit every day apart from a Friday as that is their day of prayer. It must be between the hours of 7am to 11am I believe but someone may correct me on that. I always go around 9.30am before the coach loads of people turn up. I am unsure if there are pre-arranged guided tours but you are free to walk around and there are super helpful people just waiting to answer your questions. There is even an information center who will answer everything you ever wanted to know, what a laugh we had with the guys in there and my stupid questions. I love that everyone is so down to earth and relaxed about it, no one tries to force Islam on you.
    Let me know if you go along, I’d love to heard what you think of it! x

  • Leave a Reply