Tuesday, July 25, 2017

KHALEEJI ABAYAS: Cheap/Affordable Ready-Made Abaya Shopping in Oman

So I am kinda of childishly excited because I bought myself some new (albeit cheap) abayas the other day, which I haven't done in what seems like centuries, and the tailor should be about done with them.

I bought a dark chocolate brown one, and a navy blue one, because I wore those colours a lot before I became a Muslim (I never wore black really). It was cream and brown when other people would do black, or white even. With kids now, white still is tempting but unrealistic, and cream the same. My kids are abaya and dishdasha destroyers.

The brown one is front-open kimono as pictured below. Very simple. I got the tailor to do up the overly long length and sleeves, and add snaps at the wrists so they don't fly open unless I want to wear long sleeves. Which in summer, in Muscat, I do not want. No I do not. I bought it for a little more than 15 omr which amounts to about $40.00 USD ready made, and I paid around $4.00 USD to tailor it.
I may take the time to embellish it somehow. Maybe wooden beads or abalone bits or something, I dunno. Maybe I'll leave it plain. Whatever turns out working best.
I love brown. I also love navy. I knew I needed a navy abaya for a long time. I wanted a super simple one. I knew I would want to embellish it with pearls. My navy one cost 21.000 OMR which is like, $55.00 USD I guess? It is front open, with kimono sleeves, and a ruffle from the shin down. I'll photo them this August I guess. I still need to shop. I haven't shopped for myself in at least a year. I've been too busy or too broke because of paying for my house. I am serious. I bought some shoes and a scarf or two because I had to, and that's been about it. I am excited like a little kid. I used to dress well and now, that claim would make people laugh.

Also, I found some vintage dresses, and I'll be doing more antique and vintage shopping this summer. I am super excited. I am a total cheap-skate but I love the art of couture and designer fashion for sure. That's why I learned how to bead and embroider myself. I still suck at sewing and cutting patterns, alas. I try but I think I also suck at measuring;).
People ask where I find cheap ready-made abayas, and the answer varies. Sometimes Sohar or Seeb have family shopping exhibitions. These have abayas from UAE that are generally out of style and crappily made that are cheap from 8-15 omr (I won't pay more than that for one of them, ever). You can search around though, and find a nice one or two in not so terrible fabric, with maybe just bad snaps or something, and no shayla. I barter well. NO shayla? Give me rial or two off for that. Bad snaps, another half rial. Length too long, another half rial.

I sometimes find abayas at Lulu (Nizwa one mostly) and Mars hypermarket (Barka one). Yeah. Really. But only do this if you know the styles from the tailors ALREADY and what is in style, or you'll end up looking stupid, paying too much, and if you don't know abaya fabrics, never ever do it. Please. You'll save yourself a lot of sweat, and the world a whole lot of ugliness. I've seen good abayas here from 15-25 omr. Don't pay more than 25 omr for an abaya from an Indian grocery store chain please, because the tailors can make you a nice one for less than that, perfectly.

I also know a tailor (he's not great but he's cheap) near the Al Mawaleh vegetable souq who tailors abayas in a week for like only 3 rial an abaya (or less) if you bring all the fabric. He's not perfect so you may not want to bring him your expensive fabrics, and give a little bit more time (like another week) if he screws up your design, but he's okay for basics.

Mutrah souq has one or two shops that sell ready-made abayas. I've bartered some for 15 omr. They are usually 21-45 omr. I sometimes lie and say I have only 15 omr, but am just looking and love it and wish I could buy it. Then they give it to me for what I have. I try not bring a lot of cash into the souq. I can walk to a bank machine if I need more, that way I am not lying too badly. I really do only have like 17 omr in my purse afterall, and I need to 2 omr for like water, and parking right???? :).

Rustaq souq is the same but better, but requires an Arabic speaker and you not to look like a tourist.

Omani women swear by Buraimi abaya souq. It is close to Dubai. It has all the styles that are not quite stylish enough for Dubai but that are totally still awesome in Oman I guess? I dunno. I wear what I like. Anything 4-6 years out of style in terms of pattern or embroidery and beading will be in style again soon if you wear it like you love it, so I have found in Arab countries;). I don't like Buraimi that much though. I never find anything, but the Omani women I go with find armloads they like so it depends I guess on you.

You can also ask random tailor shops. I found one in Seeb Mall, by asking, that let me by the floor samples, and he'd even fit them for me, for 21-25 omr. Same in Barka Souq and Ghubra area. You have to ask. Sometimes you'll find, and it may not even be the shop, but the tailor on shift there.

Next post I do on ready-made abaya shopping, I will include the luxe places or middle value shops I like to browse and shop for treat abayas. I need to visit the stores again though. I haven't been in a while, sorry.

No comments: