Monday, April 29, 2013

Shhh! Secret Hijabi Tips

Over the years I have worn my hijab, I have discovered tips and tricks that help make life easier. Here are a few tips to help you gals out with your hijab!

1. Safety Pin + Bead = Scarves Without Holes

Don’t you hate it when you get holes in your scarf because of safety pins? Here is a trick to prevent them. You will need a safety pin and a bead. Put the bead through the safety pin, and then use the safety pin. This way your scarf won’t get caught in it.
If you would prefer the easier way out here are the special safety pins to prevent holes.

2. Sleeves

This is probably the best discovery I have ever seen for a hijabi. During the hot summer days, when you want to wear the least amount of layers, opt for sleeves. This also works if you have a dress or shirt with ¾ sleeves. All you do is slip on these sleeves, and you’re good to go! It’s like legwarmers for your arms!

3. Sock Hair Ties
This is a lovely tip I learned from my mother. All you need is a pair of scissors and a knee-high socks, preferably ripped ones, so you don’t waste them. 

You take your scissor and just cut the top elastic part. Taadaa! Your left with a hair tie, that not only can break on you, but also doesn’t hurt your head when you have it on for too long.

4. Extra Pins
I have learned from experience that it is ALWAYS a good idea to have extra pins for your hijab, if you use them. You can either keep them in the coin pocket of your purse, in a small box in your purse, or just wear one in a hidden location.

5. Under Cap

For those who have trouble with their hair sticking out from the front, this is a tip for you. An under cap, also known as bone in Turkish, or bonnet in French, is a great thing to wear under your scarf. This prevents your scarf from sliding and keeps your hair hidden. 
Here is an underscarf in action.

These are just a few tips that I have discovered over the years. Leave a comment below on any tips you have! I would love to get more ideas.

Stay Modest, Stay Stylish!

Gusta Iren for HijabiTopia

Friday, April 26, 2013

Trend Alert: Shirt dresses

We love that the shirtdress is trending right now.  Especially when they are in a breathable cotton to help withstand the heat of hot Texas summers.  The Gap has a million shirtdresses for sale right now.  We saw this navy blue printed sateen shirtdress on our good friend Radwa, and thought she totally rocked it!

We love how she paired this ladybug printed shirtdress with white pants and a white comfijab.  We also dig her brightly colored peep toe wedge sandals.
Thank you Radwa for sharing your pictures and providing us with some style inspiration!  To order your ladybug shirtdress, click here.  For all you savvy shoppers out there, enter GAP30 for an extra 30% off your purchase online.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hijab & Fashion: Where do you draw the line?

Last week, I was interviewed by a hijabi who is filming a documentary on the rise of hijab fashion in the U.S.
She posed many great questions that I wanted to share and discuss with all of you. I tend to get the same type of questions in different interviews from around the world. 

For a hijabi who tries her best to abide by the Islamic rules of dress, there is a very thin line between being fashionable, presentable, elegant and sexy. I hate using the word sexy within the context of hijab, and try to avoid it as much as I possibly can especially in interviews. But unfortunately, I can't seem to find another word that will describe what I'm trying to say better. 

When the interviewer asks for my style tips for hijabis, and for my list of do's and don'ts, guess which item comes on the top of my list? Skinny jeans.

I always advise hijabis to pick their trends wisely and stay away from trends that are 1. not Islamic, 2. not for your body type/age/profession etc. I use the example of skinny jeans over and over again because every other hijabi on the street wears them. Now we know that one of the requirements of Islamic dress is being covered from head to toe, so to speak, but not in extremely tight, or transparent, or body revealing clothing. There is a difference between wearing an outfit With Hijab, and an outfit as a Hijabi, as is shown in the figure below.

The above photo is an example in Turkish. The left diagram is titled With Hijab.
The right diagram is titled Hijabi. 

Now, when I make these statements, I include myself in reminding all of us, trying to correct our actions. I am a fashion designer by profession, but first and foremost I'm a hijabi. If you asked me to name the first thing that comes to my mind about my identity, I would say hijabi. But this does not in anyway make me a scholar on the subject. 

Hijab is fard, an obligation clearly written in the Qur'an, but its practice is subjective. As Muslim women from different parts of the world, who come from different cultures, live in different countries, speak different languages, we all grow up in our own habits. When we wear hijab, we all try our best to fit into society, while at the same time trying to dress the way we want to dress based on our personality, mood, cultural background, etc.

The female interviewer I mentioned had a co-worker who was a Muslim male and posed a question to me as to how I would define an outfit that "catches the attention of the opposite sex" versus an outfit that is presentable, elegant and still Islamic. In other words, he was also wondering how hijabis walk the gray line between sexy and chic.

In my mind when he asked this question, I pictured 2 type of hijabis. For the first time, I had difficulty explaining what I personally would consider as a fashionable and Islamic outfit, and a hijabi who is on the border of trying to be so fashionable that she is gettting too much attention from the opposite sex, and is a victim of unIslamic attire. 

The reason it is hard to explain this topic is because as we have discussed over and over on the blog, hijab is not about an article of clothing but about the "whole package". It's about "aesthetic labor" that includes "bodily management" in how we walk, sit, laugh, eat, and a complete understanding of Islamic etiquette. In my mind, a hijabi who is wearing tight revealing clothes, whose neck, ears, arms or legs are showing, is wearing bright red lipstick, full blown make up, laughs loudly, and curses openly (abreviations and * on social media included) is performing negative aesthetic labor.

Whereas, a hijabi who is fashionably, elegantly dressed in stylish attire, who is wearing minimal (natural, barely there, maybe only skincare) make up, talks and acts according to Islamic etiquette  chooses her words carefully, watches how she sits, walks etc is doing a much better job at representing her Islamic identity.  

On and off our team of writers have debated about adding a section to our blog that consists of photographs of what hijabis wear and should not wear, a section for do's and don'ts we even came up with the title "oh no you didn't!", but since our Islamic community is glocal (global and local), we were worried about these photographs being tracked down to the wearer, even if we blur out the faces, and we do not want to embarass other hijabis or do something un-Islamic. Maybe we can consider it if there is a program for completely making the photographs anonymous, by changing the color of the outfit and maybe print so that it can not be tracked down. Who knows!

Now some of you might say, who are you to judge whose hijab is more appropriate and who is a better Muslim or not? You are right, I am nobody, and I am not trying to judge others. I'm just stating that when we go out there as hijabis we are "visibly Muslim". I love the term "visibly Muslim." This is a term that Professor Emma Tarlo coined, and it explains exactly why we need to watch every move we make as a hijabi. As Nicole Queen says in many of her public speeches, "When we step out the door, in to the public, we are walking PR for Islam, so we have to present Islam in the best possible way we can."

The interviewer also asked me what I would do in a situation when I saw a hijabi in unapropriate clothes, if I would warn them or would I lead by example. My answer is, unless it is a really close friend of mine, or someone that came to me for advice on how to dress, I would never warn them by going up to them and say, "This is not proper hijab!"  As I mentioned above, I am not a scholar.  The way I wear hijab is also subjective, and I have no right to go up to someone I don't know and impose my opinions on what hijab is and should be on to them. However, if I was asked for my opinion, I think I would nicely suggest what would be more appropriate to wear.

 Here is another example from Turkey. In Turkey the long rectangular silk scarves have been a huge trend for the last few years. Whoever came up with this trend, or wore it first, decided to show her neck, and not stabilize her hijab with a pin, thus this trend took off to the point that girls who used to wear proper hijab now wear these type of scarves and show their neck completely, because it is the trendy thing to do. It's so sad! That is just another example of a hijabi becoming a victim of fashion. 
The photo below shows the shawl trend in Turkey, how it should be worn, without showing the neck.

Dear HijabiTopians:  Please, please, please, pick your trends wisely.

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Monday, April 22, 2013

Layering Arm Candy

Layering bracelets is one of the best ways to make a statement. It can make a simple outfit dressier and sophisticated. Here are a few tips to get the perfect arm candy.

Gold OR Silver
It's best to stick to one metallic tone. Besides that, feel free to match similar or contrasting colors.

Mix and Match Texture
Add in chains, ropes, studs, etc. It makes the look more exciting and visibly appealing.

Add in a Timepiece
Don't be afraid to put your watch with your jewelry.

Thin and Stretchy
Not only do thin and stretchy bracelets make less noise, but they are easier to stack. 

Stick To One Arm
Unless you want to look like a jewelry rack from a store, it's best to keep one arm to make the statement. If you really want to wear jewelry on both arms, then wear minimal jewelry on one arm. 

How do you layer your arm candy? Leave a comment below!

Stay Modest, Stay Stylish!

Gusta Iren for HijabiTopia

Monday, April 15, 2013

What's In My Purse?

You can usually tell a woman's life and personality, just by looking into their purse. It's filled with everything they "need". Here is a look into my purse, for inspiration to you all who are looking for ideas on what to carry.
I tend to carry a smaller crossbody, as my everyday purse, but if I am traveling or need a lot of space I carry a bigger one. These are the things I would carry in a smaller purse.

Keys with wallet

I find that small wallets with key chains are the most functional when it comes to small purses. It's a two in one!


Most Phones have functions other than calling or texting. You can use it as a mirror, a compass if you need to find the khibla to pray out in public, as a camera, etc. 

Hand Sanitizer, Tissues, and Wet Wipes 

You never know when you need to clean your hands or blow your nose, but there isn't an accesible bathroom.

Travel Size Prayer Rug

There have been so many times where I have been out with my friends, and prayer time is almost over! If we are out shopping, then we usually go to a fitting room- Macy's and Nordstrom has the best- and pray on our travel size prayer rugs.

Snack and Gum
If you are ever out, and need a quick pick me up, granola bars are the best.

Chapstick and Lotion
If you get chapped lips or dry hands, then these are a must for you. 

Sunglasses can not only be used to protect your eyes from the sun, but also to hide dark under eye circles, if you suffer from them.

I know that this might seem a little odd, but I usually carry socks with me. I like to have them in case I need to try on a pair of shoes in a store, or my feet get cold!

This is what I usually carry around with me. 

Somethings do change once in a while, depending on the purse size and my situation.

Leave a comment below on what you keep in your purse. I would love to get new ideas!

Stay Modest, Stay Stylish!

Gusta Iren fo HijabiTopia

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


We love how spring has finally begun!  Time to break out the bright happy colors!  Right?  Well, this spring, we are in LOVE with the color coral that we see in store windows everywhere.  One of our favorite stores, Zara, has a fabulous hijab-friendly coral option.  Check it out below.

This high-low tunic top/dress is just perfect for spring!  This long and flowy beauty is the perfect length in the back, while also being appropriately long in the front!  It also has long sleeves, so no need to worry about layering.  You may need to wear a tank underneath to adjust for the open neckline.  Pair this with your favorite pair of white pants, thong sandals, and your favorite hijab, and you're good to go!

Get yours today here.  Or visit your local Zara store.

P.S.  If you're not a fav of coral, they have two other colors that may suit your needs.  But just to warn you, they won't be coralicious.  Hehe!

Nazreen Hassan for HijabiTopia

Monday, April 8, 2013

Which sunglasses are the best for your face?

With summer just around the corner, many of you have probably been on the look out for a nice pair of shades. Here is a guide on finding the right pair of sunglasses for your face shape!


Facial Features: Angular face with a strong jaw line, broad forehead and square chin, proportional length and width.

Frames to try: Oval and round frames, glasses with temples that are center set or that connect at the top of the frame, butterfly shaped glasses.

Frames to avoid: Geometric and square shaped frames that accentuate angles of the face, low-set temples or color accents on the bottom of the frames that draw emphasis to the chin.


Facial Features: Mostly balanced proportions, chin is slightly narrower than forehead and cheekbones are high.

Frames to Try: Square, rectangle, and geometric shapes that add angles to soft curves. Most frame shapes work with oval faces.

Frames to Avoid: Frames that are too large for your features

Facial Features: Full cheeks, rounded chin with few angles. Width and length are in same proportions.

Frames to Try: Angular and geometric frames that sharpen facial features, Rectangular and horizontal styles make faces appear longer and thinner, upswept frames that draw attention to top of face, glasses with temples that connect at the top of the frame add length.

Frames to Avoid: small frames that are out of proportion, short frames that accentuate face length.


Facial Features: Board forehead ad wide cheekbones that narrow to a small chin.

Frames to Try: Bottom-heavy frames that add width to lower face, styles with low-set temples to draw attention downward, narrow, round frames that soften the forehead.

Frames to Avoid: Top-heavy styles that draw attention upward, decorative temples that accentuate the broad upper face.

Ray-Ban 'London Wayfarer' 50mm Sunglasses


Facial Features: Narrow at the eye line and the jaw line with a small forehead and chin. Angular features with dramatic cheekbones.

Frames to Try: Upswept styles like cat eye that emphasize the cheekbones, oval frames that maintain balance, rimless styles that allow cheek bones to shine.

Frames to Avoid: Narrow frames that draw attention to narrow eye line.

Facial Features: Narrow forehead and eye line that widen at the cheeks and the chin.

Frames to Try: Semi-rimless frames that accentuate the upper face, top-heavy styles that balance the width of the jaw, frame bottoms that angle inward.

Frames to Avoid: Low-set temples that widen the jaw, narrow frames that are out of proportion.
Facial Features: Narrow shape that's longer than it is wide. Angular features with high cheekbones, a longer nose and tall forehead.

Frames to Try: Tall frames that help create a shorter face, broad glasses with an accented top rim or decorative temple that adds width.

Frames to Avoid: Small frames that are out of proportion, short frames that accentuate face length.

These are just a few tips, but of course there are exceptions. If you try on a pair on sunglasses, and they complement you, go for them!

Stay Modest, Stay Stylish!

Gusta Iren for HijabiTopia