A couple of years back skinny jeans emerged as the latest must have. Boot cut, flared and wide legged pants were now a thing of the past. All of a sudden I was out of style. Yikes! What just happened? The one article of clothing that was always my saving grace, my bootcut jeans, were no longer fashionable! As if it wasn’t already hard enough being a Hijabi in the US.
I told myself, “Skinny jeans are completely inappropriate Islamic attire right? They are like wearing spandex, the entire form of your legs show. No, not me,” I thought. “You will NEVER see me wearing these…. EVER.”
A few months passed and suddenly Muslim women everywhere became all about the skinnies! What in the name of #%$ is going on here? Girls showed up to the masjid in skinnies, to the mall, even Eid salah. I took a trip to Lebanon and lo and behold, there were skinny jean wearing girls everywhere. Is there something wrong with me? I couldn’t understand how mothers would allow their daughters to wear them or how young women reasoned with themselves that it was appropriate. I was confused, but still I stood strong. I would not be sucked in.
One day while browsing through Facebook I came across a new Hijab Style page which featured an article on “10 Must Haves in every Hijabis Closet” Intrigued, I clicked on the article to find that skinny pants were on that list! I was shocked.
Two years passed by and an explosion of trendy Muslim fashion online stores and websites emerged. Still, the skinny jean prevailed and dominated the fashion industry and the Muslim fashion scene. By chance, I received my first pair of skinnies from a family member and they sat in my closet taunting me. One day, I tried them on out of sheer curiosity. I examined myself in the mirror. No way! “No one needs to see this much of my leg.” I threw them back on the top shelf.
Winter rolled around and man, it was freezing. I decided to try on the skinny jean again so I could see how my favorite winter boots would look over them. I looked in the mirror again as I slipped on a long shirt. “It doesn’t look so bad when I wear it like this,” I thought surprisingly.
I went out that day and didn’t feel as bare as I had expected. Those back of the shelf skinnies became my new favorite. I passed by my favorite store one day at the mall and decided to just try on a pair or two. I found a gray and maroon pair that fit right in my wardrobe, adding some welcome variety. By the time summer rolled around I had acquired several pairs of skinnies in various colors, which I had started wearing on a daily basis with flats or high boots and long, knee length tops.
What had happened to me? I couldn’t understand how they had weaseled their way into my wardrobe and had become my daily choice of attire! I
still don’t. All I can do is admit that I have become a skinny jean wearing hijabi. I feel guilty at times. Have I let fashion cloud my judgment?
I don’t know what happened, but as the years progress, fashion is likely to become more and more questionable for young Muslim women. Next time styles take a turn for the questionable, I pray Allah helps me to stand firm against the follies of fashion.
Christina Elahmar is a newly minted ex-pat living in Luxembourg. She is a homeschooling mom of two, and a former English teacher and writing consultant. Follow her adventures in homeschooling at christinaelahmar.blogspot.com