Thursday, January 11, 2018

Abaya Fashions in Jeddah

It's been a while since I posted about abaya fashions. When I first moved to KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) back in 2007, pretty much all that was available was a black heavier polyester blend with the differences being in the subtle embellishments and a slight variety of styles.  I would ask for different colors or prints in lightweight cotton or linen or some type of thinner flowy fabrics - but it just didn't exist.

Beige abaya with red and black leaf lace overlay accents

In the ensuing years, abaya fashion has evolved and has grown to include a much wider variety of styles, colors, and fabrics.  Abayas are definitely not just black any more. 

My two favorite places to purchase abayas in Jeddah are Souk al Shatea and Macarona Souk. They generally have sale racks and the abayas are often more reasonably priced than at the malls, although good deals can be had at malls too.  Al Balad also has many affordable abaya shops, but it can be more of a hassle getting there for me since I live farther north and Al Balad is in the south.  

Gray print abaya with colorful floral fabric trim

Black abaya but with bright colorful trim accents

Souk al Shatea not only offers a huge selection of shops that sell affordable abayas, but they also have shops that sell housewares, home decor, clothing, stationary, toys, beauty products, party supplies, tailors, fabrics and notions, etc. 

Navy and white printed abaya in silky fabric

Silky print fabric - I didn't care for the bright colored trim on the cuffs though
Macarona Souk has dozens of shops that sell reasonably priced abayas too, as well as a good selection of excellent tailors if you wish to have a custom made abaya. Surprisingly enough, having an abaya custom made generally costs about the same as buying off the rack. 

Bottom border print fabric

I have seen abayas for as little as 30 SR (about $8 US).  Of course one can spend a small fortune on abayas made of silk with lots of high-end blingy embellishments.  The sale racks in the above photo offer abayas for 100 SR, which is about $26 US.  If they are not on sale, most retail abayas sell for between 200-300 SR ($53 - $80 US). For a garment that is worn every time a woman leaves her home, that's not too bad. 

Black abaya with contrasting baby blue touches
I really enjoy shopping for abayas now.  When it's hotter out, I can wear just a long cooling slip underneath - yes, there is a fabric for undergarments now that is actually cool to the touch. It's nice to have a choice of styles and colors, but I do find that I have 2 or 3 favorite ones which I wear more often.

White fabric blend with green and blue Palestinian style embroidery

Creamy white abaya with print trim
Abayas always come with a matching scarf.  Scarves like the one above, which has matching fabric from the abaya on its ends, tend to weigh it down, pulling and wrapping it tighter around my neck though, which I don't like.

Black abaya with red and blue Palestinian style embroidery details

Belted purple velvet top with black skirt and white floral accents
Hope you enjoy seeing the variety of abayas featured in this post!

Beige abaya with printed trim and fringe on sleeves

White fringed abaya and a green abaya with ruffled sleeves

To see photos of more abayas and how my feelings toward them have evolved, here at a couple of previous posts I wrote on abayas:

The Abaya - Back in Black

Embracing the Abaya


  1. It's so nice to see the variety of abayas available to you now.

  2. I love the variety of patterns and colours!

  3. ...a much different look at life.