Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer Wear



It is getting hot outside on the top half of the earth and one of our sisters (Elizabeth) asked what are good/comfy things to wear for summer.

So here are my physiological reasons for wearing abaya (beyond religious ones, which are of course the most important :-P)

I am mostly talking about abayaat that are loose, not fitted close to the body and that have sleeves that are open at the bottom (not closed at the wrist). Also watch the fabric because some abayaat are definitely made for cooler weather.

A-line is a good shape for hot weather because it lets the air flow

  • The open bottom and sleeves will create a breeze when you walk that allows your sweat to actually do its job to cool you down, even when there isn't a breeze outside. Mini skirts and blue jeans will not do this for you.
  • When you wear tight clothes, your sweat does not do anything to cool you off, you just get wet and sticky.
  • The loose abaya actually makes it to where your body is walking around in the shade.
  • There is a reason why shade is cooler than out in the direct sun. The ambient temperature of the air does affect your body, but your body is strongly affected by the ultra violet (UV) and infrared light that hits your skin. The energy of these photons causes the cells in your body to heat up (that is why UV rays cause burns and cancer) by exciting them to higher energy levels which increases your body temperature as well as the temperature of your skin. The more skin you cover, the more you protect your cells from this energy.
  • As a bonus, you wont get as dehydrated, lol. Because the abaya is helping you to use your sweat productively, you will sweat less meaning you will loose less water during the day (a bonus for those of us who are fasting during the summer months!).
Now some reasons for why covering in general is not necessarily more hot than being naked in the sun
  • The above reasons are good for this as well (using your sweat productively, portable shade, etc.)
  • Also, your body slowly adjusts to what you are wearing outside. If you are usually naked outside and you all of the sudden throw on more clothes, your body will struggle to regulate its temperature with these new conditions (this is why women you do not usually cover will feel hot if they temporarily wear abaya). It is age old wisdom (from my great grandma lol) that if you wear your coat when it is hot outside, you will get cold easier. My mother use to tell me NOT to wear my jacket until it got really cold outside so that my body wouldn't adjust. That way I wouldn't be too cold when I was INSIDE the house.
  • Same rules apply here as in the jacket case. Your body will adjust to where you are no more hot or cold than anyone else. I use to never get cold. We kept our house at 63F all year round and I wore t-shirts and shorts all of the time, but now 63F is wickedly cold for me since my body is trained. Now I have to wear sweat pants and sweaters with my tshirt and shorts. (also amazingly I sweat less than I did before, lol)
  • There is no such thing as "hot blooded" and "cold blooded" people. It is all about what you condition your body to do :-)
  • Another added benefit is that you will spend less money on electricity, lol. You wont need to keep your house as cold during the summer months because your body is ready for it.
Tips for those of you who are thinking about starting to cover:
  • If you are able, try starting when the weather is cooler and then just continue to wear the longer clothes as the weather starts to change. This will give your body time to adjust slowly. (I know that advice is a little late in coming, but inshaAllah it will be helpful for someone! :-D)


InkBlotsBlueAbayas said...

I can agree that looser clothes is way cooler than tight clothes. I never noticed it till I tried last summer to wear hijab appropriate clothing (no scarf though). In some senses, it was much cooler than shorts and a tight tank. More comfortable by far. No fabric sticking to you is a big plus. The maxi dress is a great invention for hot weather. You basically are wearing an abaya lol. And jeans have to be the warmest article of clothing ever created. Once it gets warm out I never wear them. I switch to linen wide leg pants.

I think has some linen abayas. Those might be nice for all you abaya wearing ladies :)

*JetLagged* said...

Asslaamu Alaikum,

Nice post, sis :) I agree, its infinitely cooler to wear an abaya than layers of other clothes.

Anonymous said...

My problem is that for the moment, the only item of clothing I have that is long enough to cover my legs completely - besides a VERY eye-catching but loose-fitting pink skirt - are jeans. Men's Levi's, to be precise. The 36 inch inseam is JUST BARELY enough. So, you can even do jeans in the summer - I've been doing it for several years now. But no, they can't be tight. But yeah, I just had a shalwar patiala custom made (which will have to be slightly altered because they made the leg opening too wide at the bottom), and asked them to send me the kameez material to sew up myself because it would just be too complicated to explain to them what I want done. The patiala is very comfy in general - highly recommend this solution, even if I had to buy two sets of material to accommodate my height.

hannah said...


I think it would be great if other sisters could suggest some online shops in the US that sell clothing that is good for the summer!! Sometimes even with the 'islamic stores', the fabric isn't so great for summer, or it is toooo thin, and you end up needing to wear an undershirt (not fun in hot weather!).

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

I also find that lighter colors do make a difference, particularly if you will be spending a lot of time in sunlight.
I haven't had to worry about this in Portland yet because we've had a very cool spring so far. I've still been wearing hoodies out almost every day.
My parents are the opposite of yours Ever. We kept the thermostat at 80 in the summer and 62 in the winter. Definitely made for cheaper utility bills :-)

Noor said...

Asalam Alaykum, I always like to tie wet hair up when its hot it just makes me feel a bit cooler, lol.

InkBlotsBlueAbayas said...

a nude bra will solve most semi see-through issues in regards to tunics. Sometimes its not that they're see-through but its the combating colors between the tone of your skin and your bra that makes it appear to be see-through. The tone of your skin just affects the way the color looks since its behind a fabric that is somewhat transluscent. skin tone bra will fix it unless its really see through...then you'll have issues :)

And NEVER wear a white bra or white underwear with a white top/pant. You will see it. Nude ladies, pick nude LOL

maybe I will do a post on this subject :)

Peanutts said...

Salaam :) I wear abaya and I live in the hot tropics :) , at home i wear normal everyday clothes but even then I found wearing loose cotton shirts and tunics keeps you cooler than tshirts .AS for abaya , a lot of my freinds comment whether my black abaya makes me hot , it actually doesnt , as long as the abaya is made of a loose , very light material it keeps me cool ,I have also discovered a very cooling scarf , malaysians call them tudung, and they are made of very soft matierial ,sometimes i even forget its there , very comfortable.

Rubber said...

give them some space too the is important. i think you manage well but i just thought id say that. you wrote you cant live with your brother. that is what made me write this.i have same probs like urs so...

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