Everything You Need to Know About Abaya

Everything You Need to Know About Abaya

Muslim women can wear the abaya to reconnect with their cultural heritage. Abayas are traditional garments exclusively worn by women in several Muslim-majority countries. It is not just a piece of clothing but a symbol of modesty, cultural heritage, and personal style. This flowing robe-like garment has a rich history and continues to evolve in design and significance. In this blog, we will explore everything you need to know about abayas, from their origins and types to the materials used in their making and their role as a symbol of modesty. Whether you're a fashion enthusiast, a cultural explorer, or simply curious about this iconic garment, join us as we delve into the world of abayas.

What is an abaya?

The abaya is a full-length, loose-fitting garment worn by women in various Muslim cultures to maintain modesty. It is usually made from lightweight fabrics like chiffon, crepe, or cotton and covers the entire body except for the hands, feet, and face. It is commonly worn over regular clothing and can be worn with a hijab or headscarf for additional coverage. Throughout history and culture, the abaya has been known by many names, including the Kaftan, Djellaba, Gallabiyah, and Umaniya. Some people assume that wearing an abaya makes them outdated or less modern, but this is not true. The abaya is no longer just a dark-colored garment. While modesty should be your ultimate goal when wearing an abaya, it is entirely up to you to make it stylish.

Types of Abayas:

1. Traditional Abayas: 

These have long sleeves that extend down to the wrists. They also have a high neckline that covers the face, with only an uncovered area around the eyes to allow for clear vision. Traditional abayas are available in a variety of colors and styles, including those with embroidery.  Traditional abayas follow classic designs and are displayed in a simple yet elegant manner. These abayas often feature straight-cut silhouettes, long sleeves, and minimal embellishments, reflecting cultural norms and traditions.

2. Modest and Modern Abayas:

There has been a growing trend towards more modern and fashion-forward abaya designs. These abayas may incorporate trendy elements such as asymmetrical cuts, statement sleeves, and bold prints, catering to the diverse tastes of modern women while still maintaining modesty.

Materials used in making abayas

Abayas are made of lightweight and breathable fabrics that offer comfort and ease of movement. Common materials used in making abayas include:

Chiffon is known for its delicate and sheer texture; chiffon abayas are lightweight and flowy, perfect for warm weather. Crepe fabric offers a slightly heavier drape and a matte finish, making it suitable for casual and formal occasions. Cotton abayas are prized for their softness and breathability, making them ideal for everyday wear, particularly in hot climates.

An Abaya Is Worn as a Modesty Badge:

In many Muslim-majority cultures, wearing an abaya is more than just a fashion choice; it is a reflection of one's commitment to modesty and faith. By covering the body in loose-fitting garments, women express their devotion to Islamic principles of modesty and humility. The abaya serves as a symbol of cultural identity and religious observance, uniting women across diverse backgrounds and traditions.

Difference between a hijab and an abaya:

They serve various functions and cover different areas of the body. Muslim women wear both the hijab and the abaya as forms of modest attire, but the hijab is a headscarf covering the hair, neck, and chest while leaving the face and hands exposed. In contrast, the abaya is a full-length garment that covers the entire body except for the hands, feet, and face. While the hijab covers the head and upper body, the abaya offers additional modesty by concealing the entire figure.


The abaya is not just a garment but a representation of tradition, faith, and cultural identity. It has come a long way from its modest beginnings to its contemporary interpretations. It still transforms, mirroring the changing preferences and tastes of Muslim women worldwide. Whether worn as modest everyday attire or for fashion, the abaya remains a timeless and iconic garment, bridging the gap between tradition and modernity. By understanding its significance and embracing its versatility, we can appreciate the beauty and diversity of this beloved garment for generations to come.