Step-by-Step Guide: How to Wear an Abaya Properly

The abaya, a graceful and modest garment worn by women in various cultures, holds a special place in the world of fashion. Whether you’re new to wearing an abaya or looking for a refresher on the proper way to style it, this step-by-step guide will help you achieve an elegant and sophisticated look.

1. Choose the Right Abaya

Before we dive into the wearing process, it’s essential to have the right abaya for you. Consider the following factors when choosing your abaya:

1.1. Size and Length

Select an abaya that fits your body comfortably and modestly. Ensure that the length is appropriate, typically reaching your ankles. An abaya that is too tight may restrict movement, while one that is too long may become a tripping hazard.

1.2. Fabric and Season

Choose a fabric that suits the season and occasion. Lightweight fabrics like chiffon and crepe are ideal for warmer weather, as they provide breathability and comfort. On the other hand, heavier fabrics like wool or velvet are perfect for colder months, providing warmth and coziness.

1.3. Color and Style

Pick a color that complements your skin tone and personal style. While the traditional black abaya is a classic choice, modern abayas come in a plethora of colors and styles, allowing you to express your individuality and fashion preferences.

2. Wear Appropriate Undergarments

Before donning your abaya, ensure that you’re wearing appropriate undergarments that provide comfort and modesty. Consider wearing full-length sleeves and loose-fitting pants or a skirt to maintain the modesty of the abaya’s silhouette. The right undergarments can enhance the overall look and feel of your abaya ensemble.

3. Style Your Hair and Accessories

3.1. Hair

Style your hair in a way that complements your abaya. Many women choose to wear their hair up in a bun or a ponytail to keep it neatly tucked under the abaya. This not only ensures a polished look but also keeps your hair from interfering with the graceful drape of the abaya.

3.2. Hijab or Scarf

If your abaya has an open front, complement it with a hijab or a scarf that matches or contrasts beautifully with the color of your abaya. Style the hijab in your preferred way, ensuring it covers your hair and neck with elegance and modesty. The hijab adds a touch of sophistication and cultural significance to your abaya attire.

3.3. Accessories

Choose accessories that enhance your overall look without being overpowering. Simple earrings, bracelets, or a necklace can add a touch of elegance to your ensemble. However, be mindful of not over-accessorizing, as the abaya is a statement piece in itself and should remain the focal point of your outfit.

4. Step-by-Step Guide to Wearing an Abaya

4.1. Step into the Abaya

Begin by stepping into the abaya as you would with any dress. Gently lift the abaya over your legs and ensure that it drapes gracefully around your body.

4.2. Pull the Abaya Over Your Shoulders

Pull the abaya over your shoulders, allowing it to drape gracefully over your frame. Ensure that the neckline is positioned correctly and lies flat against your shoulders without bunching.

4.3. Align the Sleeves

Position the sleeves so that they are comfortable and cover your arms adequately. The sleeves of the abaya are an essential part of its elegance, and they should provide a comfortable fit without feeling too tight or restrictive.

4.4. Fasten the Closure

If your abaya has buttons, snaps, or a zipper, fasten the closure to secure the abaya in place. Make sure it’s not too tight to restrict movement, but also not too loose that it looks unflattering. The closure should provide a modest yet comfortable fit.

4.5. Optional: Cinch with a Belt

Some abayas come with a belt or sash that can be used to cinch the waist and add a touch of definition to the silhouette. This step is optional and depends on personal preference and the style of the abaya. Experiment with different belt styles to see which complements your figure and enhances the overall look.

4.6. Arrange the Hijab

If you’re wearing a hijab or scarf, arrange it neatly around your face and shoulders. Ensure that it covers your hair and neck in a modest and stylish manner. The hijab is an integral part of the abaya ensemble, and its arrangement should complement the overall look without being too overwhelming.

5. Consider Layering

For added elegance and style, consider layering your abaya with a complementary cloak or kimono-style outerwear. This layering technique can elevate your overall look and add a touch of individuality. Opt for outerwear that complements the color and style of your abaya, and experiment with different lengths and textures for a truly unique and sophisticated appearance.

6. Be Mindful of Your Footwear

Choose footwear that complements your abaya and the occasion. Closed-toe flats, sandals, or heels can all pair beautifully with an abaya, depending on the formality of the event and your personal comfort. Consider the length of your abaya when selecting footwear to ensure that the hem does not drag on the ground and get damaged.

7. Walk Confidently

The final step in wearing an abaya properly is to walk with confidence and grace. Embrace the elegance of the garment and carry yourself with poise. A well-fitted and carefully styled abaya exudes confidence and sophistication, making you stand out in any crowd.

8. Maintenance and Care

To ensure that your abaya remains in excellent condition, follow the care and maintenance tips outlined in our previous article “Abaya Care and Maintenance: Tips for Long-Lasting Wear.” Proper care not only preserves the fabric and color but also extends the life of your abaya, allowing you to enjoy its beauty and significance for years to come.


Wearing an abaya is not just about putting on a garment; it’s an expression of modesty, culture, and personal style. The abaya is a timeless and cherished garment that transcends cultures, and wearing it properly ensures that its beauty and significance shine through with every step you take. With attention to detail and a touch of personal flair, your abaya ensemble will leave a lasting impression and make you feel truly empowered as a woman embracing the grace and elegance of this classic attire.

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