So I was in Uniqlo, on 34th street in NYC, the other day shopping for work getting inspiration for next season and I saw this display of mannequins in full hijab with a sign call out next to it featuring a Muslim designer Hana Tajima– I was like ‘Yo this is hot!’
Modest Clothes for Muslim women
I have never seen anything like this in a major retail chain, pictures yes- but not a full section dedicated to a single Muslim designer.
So, I go look through the clothing and picked out a few items that I liked and started to try them on. I was standing next to an Asian woman trying a tunic on looking in the same mirror. I asked how she liked the clothes and she responded with the same excitement I did.
As I’m trying on the same wrap tunic that she is, I look over at her and she looks nice in it. It drapes her body very nicely.
I look at myself in the mirror and turn my nose up.
It just didn’t fit me right. My excitement started to fade and I took it off.
I tried on another tunic, but again it didn’t fit. It wasn’t wide enough in the hips, the shoulders were off and it didn’t fall the way it did on the display or on the Asian woman standing next to me.
Even though the clothing was clearly for me ‘a Muslim Woman’ it wasn’t for me ‘a black woman with curves’. It’s the space I find myself in often- a part of a larger group that gets segmented into the ‘other’.
Have you ever tried on a tunic that fits your shoulders but doesn’t fit around your hips? Or is tight around your chest but big everywhere else? Too long that it looks frumpy, or the fabric looks great on the rack but when you pick it up it feels cheap?
I run into problems like this all the time. But, what made this time different was that the clothing was clearly for me ‘a Muslim Woman’.
This is a new series all about crushing what’s considered ideal. The ideal body size, the ideal body shape, the ideal way to dress modestly, the ideal way to cover your hair.
Everything I do I believe in self acceptance, whether that’s race, how you practice your religion or how you choose to dress. Stop chasing what is considered the ‘ideal’ and be yourself. One of my favorite quotes of all time:
Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken.
~ Oscar Wilde
The ‘Cover Me Chic’ series will address ways to make clothes that fit you the way they are supposed to and express who you are individually.
I would love to know what you think. Have you ever experienced this?
Leave a comment below.