Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem
Just recently I was contemplating how I was going to get back in shape once I get back home (jogging outside in Algeria is so not an option), and I started thinking about how I was going to need to do some shopping for modest clothes before I start. It is taking some thought to figure out how I will retain my modesty, when a two piece jilbab just won’t cut it for the activity I’m doing. For horseback riding (one of my favorite things to do!) I will need either looser trousers and a tunic, or perhaps a plain plaid button up shirt and a divided riding skirt. For swimming I will need the ever-conrtoversial burkini, though maybe with some of my own modifications to make the skirt-y bits longer. For running and biking, loose trousers and a tunic, and probably a comfy jersey scarf.
Anyhow, just thinking about shopping for all of this gives me a little bit of stress. It throws me back to my early hijabi days where I was trying as best I could to transition my wardrobe, but every time I went into a store I felt like I was just floundering in the dark. I felt like I had no personal style and I wasn’t modest enough, stuck forever in this weird middle place where I literally just looked like a sack of potatoes every day. You read it right—sack of potatoes.
So that is why, today, I wanted to share with y’all some tips from my nearly three years of experience in shopping for modest clothes. This is for anyone who is just starting out on their modesty journey, perhaps someone completely new to Islam, or someone just new to covering. I hope these can help, and somewhat ease the stress of the new hijabi shopping experience for you.
Plan ahead. This can include a lot of things, but what I am really referring to here is to sit down, look at what you already have, and make a plan of what you really need, what colors match what you already have, etc. I would highly recommend that you do this seasonally, at least once for the summer, and once for the winter, but you can go for all four if you want. That way, you are making sure that you are getting things that you really need, and that you will be using immediately.
This reminds me a bit of the idea of a capsule wardrobe. If any of you aren’t familiar with that, a capsul wardrobe is basically having one small set of clothes (i.e. 23 pieces or something) for each season. At the end of the season some get recycled into next season, like a winter cardigan can probably hang on through spring as well, and the rest get stored away as the next capsule comes out.
Now, I’m not saying you can only have a certain number of things in your closet at one time, but the whole point of the capsule wardrobe is to be mindful about what you are buying. It is about buying only what you need for the season you are in, mindfully recycling clothes through seasons, getting as much use out of them as possible before buying new things, and some even take it to being mindful about the quality of the garments you are buying as well as the ethics behind who is making them.
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