How Do I Choose the Best Women's Jilbab?

Lainie Petersen

When choosing a women's jilbab, you should pay attention to the climate in which the garment will be worn, the size and length of the jilbab, and the materials from which the garment is made. Other things to think about include the standards of the community in which you will be wearing the jilbab as well as your own personal preferences. Price is also a factor, and it is often a good idea to compare prices on women's jilbabs in local shops as well as online.

The size and length of a jilbab should be considered when selecting a woman's jilbab.
The size and length of a jilbab should be considered when selecting a woman's jilbab.

A women's jilbab is a long, loose garment that typically buttons down the front. It is often worn by Muslim women or women living in Muslim countries in accordance with Islamic modesty standards, which require women to dress in a way that covers their bodies and does not highlight any aspect of their figures. Jilbabs are usually worn over clothing while their wearers are in a public place or are interacting with men to whom they are not related.

The climate in which a jilbab will be worn should be considered when selecting a woman's jilbab.
The climate in which a jilbab will be worn should be considered when selecting a woman's jilbab.

When selecting a women's jilbab, think about the context in which you will be wearing it. The fabric should be suited to the weather in which you will wear the jilbab, but it should also be sturdy enough to hold its shape and not violate local customs regarding women's modesty. Many manufacturers make women's jilbabs in a variety of fabrics, including denim for a more casual look as well as more formal, pinstriped fabric for wearing to the office. Some jilbabs are also designed as formal wear and are made from expensive fabrics with ornate trim.

Another consideration is fit and coverage. As the jilbab is intended to protect a woman's modesty, you should be sure that it is not too tight or form fitting. On the other hand, because the garment is intended to almost reach the floor, you should pay attention to its length so that it isn't too long. If you are purchasing a women's jilbab for someone who is relatively short, you should select a jilbab cut for petite women or be prepared to have it tailored.

The price of a jilbab will vary according to its quality and materials. In some places, such as some areas of the United States, it can be difficult to find stores that sell Islamic clothing. Women in these areas may have to purchase at least some of their wardrobes online. If this is your situation, take the time to compare prices on similar garments offered by different merchants so as to find the best price.

Not all Muslimas choose to wear a headscarf or veil, but many do.
Not all Muslimas choose to wear a headscarf or veil, but many do.

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Discussion Comments


I have several different jilbabs for different seasons, sort of like an outer coat. My summer jilbab is made of thin breathable fabric. My winter jilbab is thick and warm. This works great. In fact, I'm thinking of making or buying a jilbab with wool for winter so that I don't have to wear an additional coat on top of my current one.


@Pippinwhite-- That's an unfortunate and narrow-minded comment. Different cultures have different traditions and wear different clothing. Just because something doesn't suit our culture or tradition doesn't mean that it's ugly and evil. I think we need to respect other people's beliefs. A jilbab can look professional and many women wear them to work all of the world.

Some Muslim women in the West find the jilbab itself a distraction and choose to simply wear a headscarf and loose clothing. Either way though, it's their choice and not up for discussion.

If your argument were to hold true, then we shouldn't allow any person to wear any piece of clothing that's required by their faith. So the Amish women shouldn't cover their head either and Jewish men shouldn't wear a kippah. Do you see where that argument leads?


The most difficult thing about jilbab and abaya shopping is finding something that is both chic and modest. Some jilbabs actually don't qualify for all rules of modesty. They do hide most of the body well, but sometimes accentuate the top portion of the body or the arms. A jilbab needs to be a little bit loose all around. It shouldn't be loose only in some parts and then tight in others. The whole point of wearing a jilbab is to hide the body from strangers.

Unfortunately, the jilbabs I see that fit modesty rules come in limited styles and colors.


@Pippinwhite -- I have to say your average muumuu is about as attractive. When I visited Saudi Arabia, I wore one, just to minimize the stares and gropes. I wore one in a lighter color because of the heat, but it was also a very lightweight fabric. I wore hijab, too -- again, to minimize the crap.

Like you said, if women choose to wear these, it's none of my business. But in the West, we don't ask visitors to adhere to any dress code -- unless you're in a house of worship where a certain code is respected. But in general, tourists wear what they want. I met some wonderful people in Saudi Arabia, and I feel great pity for them. I'd never go back, though.


I'd say fabric and length would be the most important considerations. In the Middle East, I'd say a lightweight fabric would be the most useful fabric for a jilbab. It's worn over other clothing, so a woman might have warmer clothes on underneath.

A pinstripe jilbab for the office? What the heck does it matter? These garments are meant to cover up, period. They look like zip up house dresses old ladies wear. If women want to wear them, fine, but why bother trying to make them look "professional"? You can't. I'd save my money and buy a button-up housecoat. Cheaper and not a bit uglier.

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