Shops at the Intersection of Hijab and Happening

Shops at the Intersection of Hijab and Happening

Written by Theresa Corbin
shopping

In my new year post, I mentioned something about being on what seemed like and eternal quest to find a long, denim skirt (that wasn’t super schoolmarm-y). Well I have great news for those of you who are in the same boat as I. I found an awesome site that sells a wide variety of denim skirts … Read on to find out 😉

And I thought to myself. Self!? If you- someone of astounding creativity and resourcefulness (you may insert eye roll here)- are having this problem, what other fabulously stylish, Muslim-American women (Be careful not to roll your eyes too much. They may get stuck.) are also having a hard time finding the clothing that suits their original/American aesthetic and their religious/modesty requirements?

Probably a lot. Over a period of almost 13 years of being a modest Muslimah, I have scowered the earth and the internet looking for covering clothing that also suits my own brand of style. It is a never ending journey. I have even taught myself to piece together sewing patterns to design and sew my own outfits, which is fun and challenging, but I know not everyone has the time, patience, or know-how to do the same.

So, I have compiled a list of the brick and mortar and internet shops (some tailored for Muslims, some not) that sell stuff that can suit the modest, modern Muslimah’s fashion diet.

1. Target

Who knew that one big box store could have so many suitable, stylish scarves? (Other big box shops that sell scarves and more flow-y clothing fall short on variety and quality).

Your first stop in Target is going to be the accessory section. You know, by the purses. They carry a wide array of scarves (at proper hijab proportions) from solid black, if that is your thing, to day-glow pink and everything in between.

While you may not find all of your outfitting needs here, they do offer a wide variety of layering options for the Modest Muslimah. They carry long sleeve shirts, blazers, maxi skirts and maxi dresses that can be paired with their comfy jean jackets, and all is offered at reasonable prices. (Target, you can make my advertising check out to Theresa Corbin at 1983 I Don’t Advertise for Big Box Stores for Free BLVD.)

2. theskirtoutlet.com

This site solved my denim skirt dilemma. But they don’t only have the cutest, long denim skirts. They also have khaki skirts, knits skirts, fancy skirts, casual skirts, maternity skirts, girl’s skirts, and whose its and whats its galore!
And the fact that their brick and mortar shop is located in Eureka, IL is just the ironic cherry on top.

3. eastessence.com

East Essence caters to the Muslimah, so you know you are getting something that won’t be see-through or super clingy. Many moons ago I ordered a gorgeous embroidered abaya from these folks. While it took a long time to ship (2 weeks), the price was so low it would have been insane to pass up ($14).  I expected the quality to be subpar at that price, but it exceeded all expectations.  

The company has a wide variety of offerings for its customers. From the abaya/jilbab crowd to the skirts and tops ladies, everyone will be satisfied with the price and product quality at East Essence.

4. zulily.com

zulily is a daily deal site that offers amazing discounts on fantastic boutique quality apparel and household products. At first glance you may think it is just for kids, but it is so much more. You might have to dig for hijabi approved apparel. But I have personally found gorgeous scarves, pizazzy palazzo pants, multitudes of maxi skirts, brilliant blazers and all from boutiques and name brands at a fraction of the retail cost.

And, no, I am not just saying this because they give you $20 if you refer a friend. I really love this site! Even if you don’t buy something at zulily for yourself, you will probably find something for the home or the kids.

Happy shopping and hijabing!

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Non-Muslims Say The Darndest Things … About Hijab

hijabi-pop-art2Written by Theresa Corbin

My mind was spinning after the Hijabology post from last week. I kept chuckling to myself about some of the comments I get from perfect strangers and people I meet in my life. So, I thought it would be fun to share some of these comments with y’all.

Please feel free to share some of the zany comments/questions you have received / asked. Don’t be shy!

Here is my list from most common to the weirdest comments/questions about hijab, and the responses I wish I could give.

Q: Why you wear dat?

A: See the blog post “Hijabology”

Q: Ain’t you hot in all them clothes?

A: Yes, and you are hot in that tank top. We live in The South. It is 3,052 degrees year round. We are all hot!

Q: Do you have cancer?

A: No, I am trying to quit.

Q: Are you a Amish or something?

A: Don’t be racist.

Q: I like your wife. Is she a nun?

A: Ummmm, a wife and a nun? Seriously?! No. And I grant you permission to speak directly to me. You’re Welcome!

Q: Oh My God, it’s a ghost?

A: BOO!

Q: You look like Mother Teresa.

A: Well, I am a “Teresa”, but I ain’t nobody’s mama.

Q: I SEE you!

A: Good job on learning how to use your eyes! Next, maybe you will learn how to use your manners.

Q: Look, it’s a ninja!

A: Darn! I thought I was in super stealth mode.

Q: Why do they keep letting God D@mn terrorist in my country?

A: I don’t know why they let you in my country to terrorize me with your ignorance.

Q: What are you, like, Jesus?

A: Yes, but it’s pronounced hey-SEUSS.

Q: Wow, what a beautiful scarf!

A: I love you!!!

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Hijabology

Written by Theresa Corbin

I asked myself, “Self, what is the first question (and often the only question) people ask you about your religion?” Then self said, “hijab!”

Photo used under Creative Commons from Ranoush
Photo used under Creative Commons from Ranoush

To be clear, hijab is not a headscarf. Hijab is a standard of modesty for men and women as was revealed by God in the Quran (Quran 24:30-31). But many people use the word hijab to mean the headscarf some Muslim women wear. 

Whatever you call it—hijab, head scarf, garb, head wrap, turban, and some more insulting things which I will not mention here—it is the first thing people notice. I am kinda tired of talking about it, explaining it, defending it. It is not the most important part of Islam or Iman (faith).

But Western attention focuses so much of what it “knows” about Islam on the way Muslim women choose* to dress that it is important to continue to talk about, explain, and defend. *If a woman is wearing a headscarf to please her husband or father, this is not from Islam. 

The day to day questions I receive from perfect strangers about my headscarf can range from innocent and curious to downright mean, but what all the questioning boils down to is: “Why do you wear that?” And my first thought of course is to give a smart-alecky response like: “Oh, I love to wear converse because they give me that I don’t give a crap look that I love so much.”

But then I rein myself in—I know they are referring to the gorgeous accessory I use to cover my hair—and I respond by rote: “For God and Modesty”.

Four little words. That’s all. It sums it up, but falls short.

If I gave the full answer/history/misconceptions to passing strangers, I fear I may be committed or burned at the stake :/ (In the small southern cities in which I have resided, Muslims are scarce. So, the lack of knowledge is understandable, but unfortunately xenophobia is rampant).

So let’s get down to brass tacks with my longer, but still short-ish explanation of the headscarf people inaccurately call hijab.

No! not another definition! Yes, kind reader, another definition.

Hijab  [he JAB] (n)- 1. A style of dress for women and men that expresses modesty and a devotion to God. 2. A word that often is used to mean headscarf which is a cloth that covers the hair, ears, neck, and chest worn in public by Muslim women who wish to please God and be recognized as a believing woman. 3. A piece of cloth that reveals innocent enough ignorance sometimes accompanied by bigotry when worn in public.

To the Western world the hijab/headscarf that some Muslim women wear has a connotation of oppression, male-dominance, female silence, suffering, and subordination. You know, all the dark and shady things that have come to represent The East in The Western psyche.

*Point of contention/personal pet peeve: Islam is not an Eastern religion. Sure it started in The East, just as Judaism and Christianity did, but it is absolutely a world religion. However, the hijab/headscarf is normally tied up in the Western mind with all that is Eastern.

For most Muslims, the scarf and modest clothing represent strength, piety, confidence, a sense of self-worth, and a woman’s right to have full ownership over her own body and not be viewed as a sexual plaything. 

For me, when I first encountered Islam, I was of the Western thinking in regards to women dressing modestly, for no other reason than this was some kind of programming to which I had been subconsciously subjected. However, as a young woman, I knew the crushing insecurity that came along with being put on display at all times, as a subject to be critiqued by all who crossed my path. I knew I was expected to mold my appearance for unattainable approval. And I was crushed my the weight of it all. 

I became increasingly frustrated by the harassment and disrespect I received as an American woman dressed as a typical American woman. I was perceived as available. And was so rarely treated with respect that should be shown to any human being no matter how I acted, or what words I spoke, or what I achieved. Sure, some women enjoy this kind of attention, but it was not for me.

Then I did something weird. I listened. I listened to a Muslim woman answer my very own question of “why do you wear that?”

And the answer was so obvious and attuned to my own nature that I was shocked when she said, “So that I can be recognized as a woman who believes in God and should be respected and not harassed. So that I can be spared the cross hairs of the male gaze. So that I can give consent to who see me and who does not.”

When I found out what hijab was really about, I wanted to allow myself these rights. It took time and a lot of courage, but I finally started observing hijab in 2001, and I LOVE allowing myself this freedom.

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