Stripes are totally in!

So, I ordered a few hijabs from The Hijab Shop in the UK (my dear country, how I miss you) and I’ll give them a bit of a reviewing here:

Aroub Hijabs – Best invention EVER. They’re all attached into singular pieces so you don’t need pins of any sort. I purchased the Al-Aroub, which is like a shayla attached to an underscarf. I couldn’t figure it out for the freaking life of me at first, and threw it on my bed for later. But, it became later, and I picked it up and slid it on so the length was sort of at the back right of my head. MAN is it comfortable. Slide it on like an underscarf, then flip it over like a normal shayla (around the neck, over the crown of your head), then either pin it (I know, I promised no pins), or fanagle it so you don’t have to. If you fanagle it, you might be playing with it all day. I’ll update later on whether or not I had to play with it through my optics lab. Mine is the pretty navy spotted one, and I really do like the pattern. It looks busy, but its not.

The other Aroub hijab I purchased was the Lubana. I got the solid light blue one AND the blue and white one. Not the best idea I’ve ever had. I like being able to tie it around my neck, but then your neck is exposed (but great for those cold winter days we’ve been having since I can then wrap a winter scarf [Go Chelsea!] around my neck and it doesn’t tug on my hijab). I’ve got a HUGE head. Dunno how my mum did it. But, this isn’t good for large-headed girls. It’s okay for adults, but unless you like the feeling of being vaguely choked throughout the day, I’d leave the Lubana there. The all blue one is more flexible than the white and blue, so that’s a thought. You can leave it undone as well at the bottom, but unless you’re wearing a turtleneck, your neck might show. Tried doing the half over the shoulder thing like the girl in the picture – no dice. Just don’t buy this one.

I also bought two bonnet caps – one black, one brown (I wear a TONNE of brown… didn’t realise). They’re about £1.50 ($3.00 for you Americans), and are brilliant… if you have long hair. I’m blessed with this really cute cropped hairdo right now that hovers over my shoulders… what? Girls who wear hijab DO have hair under there, thanks. I like feeling pretty under my scarf. Okay, so the Cute Cropped Hairdo is not good for the underscarf because it’s about 2 cm too short. If I pretie it and then slide it on, its fine. In fact, better than fine. It’s so comfortable and covers your whole head that you don’t even realise you’re wearing it – not like the lace headbands I usually wear. So, two thumbs up for undercaps thingies!

I’ve seen a few hijabis at uni sporting striped hijabs, and I’ve been jealous – I want in on the stripe phenomenon!! So, the entire reason I shopped at The Hijab Shop was because they had the best striped pashmina hijab I could find. It has a litany of narrow stripes, and it’s COMFORTABLE. It’s large enough to do my favourite way to do pashminas:

Stick it on your head so there’s equal amounts on each side of your face. Gather and pin under the chin as you usually would (don’t use a safety pin like I do or you’ll ruin more scarves than you really want to admit to…like that pretty pink one I got during my shahada… I’m sad about that still). Use a special oval hijab pin if you can find them. So yeah, pull it across on both sides so its rather taut, and flip the the side that’s under the front over the head first. Pull it over the crown of your head, and tuck in at the cheek on the opposite side. Rinse and repeat. I usually put in two pins at the sides of my head, and one on the crown just to keep them in place. You really dont have to if there’s enough friction and you aren’t going to be running or hiking.

Ok, sorry, got sidetracked. So, all in all I’m VERY pleased with The Hijab Shop. They have very quick service… I think I waited a week and got them from the UK to Oregon. Pretty quick shipping. Dunno if they shipped it Royal Mail, but for two underscarves and 4 hijabs… shipping was around £8.50. I’ve found better shipping elsewhere, but they were quick, and it was about 6000 miles. If I buy any more fun stuff from them, I’ll let you know. They carry the Silk Route jilbabs and abayas, so I may buy one when I’ve more money. They are SO cute. I don’t usually wear jilbabs or abayas, so we’ll see how that goes. May wear them to work (it’d be comfy). The abaya I do own is nice. I wear my footy trousers under them, and some sort of raggy tshirt. Brilliant if you don’t want to get dressed and you’re rushing to class!

Ok, I’ve got a lab to finish before lecture at 11, and if I have any hopes of finishing it, I better find my protractor and calculator… wherever that went. Might be under my bed… or in my duvet (that’s where I found it last time… sad, huh?).

Oh, if any of you can find a hijab that matches Chelsea’s garish away kit, please let me know. I mean, I don’t want a violent yellow one, but I’d like something that doesn’t clash. God, it is awful, isn’t it? Bleh.

What am I supposed to wear?!

I’ve got a lot of hits on my blog for hijabing, which kind of surprises me. But, if that’s what all of you are looking for, here are a few tips I’ve kind of lived by:

  1. You just need to be covered. Use your best judgment when it comes to what you decide to wear. I fluctuate between jeans (Levi’s 545s are my favourite), to skirts of some sort (Shukr has the nicest ones I’ve found). Find a long sleeved top. If it doesn’t cover your butt, it doesn’t cover your butt. If you want to wear a jilbab, then do so. If you want to wear an abaya, then do so. They aren’t necessary (some people will say otherwise, and that’s fine if they think that). Depending on who you talk to, they may say they are necessary, and that’s their prerogative.
  2. Pick whatever colours you enjoy, and wear those scarves. I have a few standbys that I like to wear a lot (usually the 1 piece Al-Amira versions that just slip over your head with no pins required… great for lazy uni students who plan their ‘getting ready’ time down to the last minute). I also look and see what the weather is. If it’s going to be 30C outside, you definitely don’t want to be wearing a thick pashmina – go for a silk scarf or a Kuwaiti version. If it’s 3C (like it has been here), wear a pashmina. If it’s raining, for pete sakes, bring a raincoat. Don’t ruin your scarves in the water.
  3. People will most likely go out of their way to be nice to you (at least, that’s what they do for me). Don’t worry about what you look like. Wearing hijab is not just your clothes, but your state of mind as well. Enjoy it 🙂 Just because you’re covered doesn’t mean you have to be meek or quiet – if anything, I’m more self-assured than I used to be.
  4. Don’t forget to cover your neck!!
  5. Having your fringe show isn’t hijab. So please, pin back those extra strands of hair.
  6. Like I said, have fun with it. The internet is your friend, and you’ll be able to import all sorts of fun things.

My favourite website is: http://www.shukronline.com/home.html. They have the nicest skirts and long tops, as well as rather inexpensive, beautiful hijabs. They also have a collection of longer coats. Their clothes are made in Syria, and they have a separate website for the US and the UK.

Another great site is the Modest Clothing Directory. The owner is a revert (like myself), and has posted (most) every possible islamic clothing site she can find. The sites are separated by category, like shirts, pants, skirts, hijabs, jilbabs, etc. There are even a few sites for work out clothes (but I usually just wear black under armour under normal work out clothes, like shorts and a tshirt, with a lycra al-amira hijab).

For swimming, I’ve recommended this site before: Ahiida.com They have the BEST islamic swimsuits out there, hands down. They cover, they fit, they dry quickly, and they don’t drag that much. I love my burqini. Best $200ish purchase I ever made. They shipped from Australia, and I got the order in California the next week. Very impressed with their service.

So I guess that’s everything for now. Today, I wore an olive green corduroy skirt from Shukr, a red long sleeved favourite tee from Gap, my dark red Keens (yeah, I live in Oregon, so sue me), and a black North Face polar fleece. I think I wore a white Kuwaiti hijab. I didn’t exactly match, but I was covered and toasty warm. If you have any ideas of what you usually wear, let me know. I’d love to find out what you usually wear.