Nov 30, 2010

Re-inventing the LBD

The LBD is and always will be a style staple in every fashionista's wardrobe...but have you run out of ways to wear it? Here are some quick and easy styling tips to re-invent your little black dress under your abaya ...

Covering up your legs is a must if you are wearing your LBD under your abaya...I'd choose tights over leggings because leggings can sometimes take away some of the glamour factor and make an LBD look more like a tunic...leggings keep things looking sophisticated...opt for opaque tights in jewel colours, or, make like Cheryl Cole and invest in a pair of statement tights - i.e. tights with bold and interesting patterns!

I'm not talking about the casual skinny leather ones here, I'm talking one-of-a-kind embellished, jewel encrusted, or lacy and frilly pieces, the wider the better. The belt should cinch in the waist and almost look as if it is part of the dress.

Non-abaya wearers have the option of wearing jackets, blazors and full-length capes over their LBDs, but these would look bulky if worn under an abaya. So opt for the mini-versions instead, such as shrugs, boleros and mini-capes. Faux-fur, lace, tassels and fringing, feathers and sequins are all hot at the moment.

Detachable, or tie-around collars are cool at the moment and a subtle way of customizing your LBD. Not a fan? Go for a collar or bib necklace instead. The whole idea is that the collar or bib necklace should look as if it is part of the dress.

URBAN SOUQ's new look!

Popular Middle Eastern trendsetting website Urban Souq, which is based here in Doha, has relaunched itself as a website with an interactive new look - it's like having an online fashion and lifestyle magazine right before your eyes to flick through all day (and night) and enjoy.

I'm totally psyched because the Urban Souq team have given me my very own Hijab Fashion/Style column! Make sure you check it out!

Nov 27, 2010

The New Colour Code

Afraid to make a fashion paux, many of us stick to the same boring old colour palette...for me that's greys, blacks and navies with the odd pop of purple or red here and there. But just because you wear the abaya does not mean you should not make an effort to experiment with colour.

What Marni taught us this season is that the colours we thought would never go together, actually can look really good.

As Marni has shown us, mixing clashing colours can work and can look both stylish and sophisticated...but it is all about choosing the right shades...for example, neon green and pastel pink would be an obvious disasterous guides usually dictate that brights should go with brights, pastels with pastels, jewels with jewls and rich colours with rich. But sometimes you might just find the right subtle shade of pastel pink which goes perfectly with a rich and dark chocolate brown.

Let the clothes speak for themselves...

Terracotta, Cobalt Blue and Light Grey

Blouse: Topshop
Peg leg trousers: Matthew Williamson
Pumps: Forever 21

Dusky Orange, Khaki Green and Chocolate Brown

Blouse: Topshop
Skirt: Junya Watanabe @
Belt: River Island
Boots: Givenchy

Red, Blue and Camel

Cardigan: Miss Selfridge
Blouse: Elizabeth and James @ Netaporter
Peg leg trousers with belt: Miss Selfridge
Boots: Forever 21

Plum, Mustard and Black

Dress: Topshop
Tights: Monsoon
Heels: Kurt Geiger

Burgundy, Chocolate Brown and Dusky Pink

Blouse: Topshop
Trousers: Rag & Bone @ Netaporter
Wedges: Dorothy Perkins

Red, Pink and Cream

Blouse: Harvey Nichols
Peg leg trousers: Miss Selfridge
Heels: Paris Hilton

Yellow, Wine Red and Black

Cardigan: Gucci
Dress: Alice + Olivia @ Netaporter
Leggings: Miss Selfridge
Shoe boots: Nine West

Nov 20, 2010

This Season's Hottest Shoes

These are the season's hottest designer heels worn on the dainty (and not so dainty) feet of glamorous celebs which you have to have peeking out from underneath your abayas...and if your budget doesn't stretch that far, there are some great designer lookalikes on the high street!

Christian Louboutin "Clou Noeud" studded bow heels

YSL "Palais" cutout/strappy suede pumps

Christian Louboutin "Canon" ruffled shoe-boots

S/S 2011 sneak-peek! Balenciaga high-heeled brogues

Nov 18, 2010

Trend Alert! Join the Country Club!

Call it military, call it utility, call it equestrian, but I think this whole look can be summed up in two words: country club. I'm talking about the recurring A/W trend which sees the fashion world layering up in chunky knits, tweeds, wools, leathers and furs in ensembles not much different from those you see posh English people, who usually live in old manors and own giant farms, wearing.

When I think of the country club look, I think of soon-to-be-princess and wife of Prince William, Kate Middleton. So, if you want to pull of the country club look, keep Kate as your inspiration rather than the folks of British comedy Last of the Summer Wine. The muted colour palette of olives, khakis, beiges, browns and burgundys must be used wisely to avoid looking drab as well as to avoid dressing like the typical English farmer or even worse, my grandpa (granny chic is in but unfortunately the grandpa look is not cool...well at least not yet).

So what are we talking about here? Think checked and plaid button up shirts, flower prints, woolen and tweed skirts, woolen capes, jumpers and cardigans, shearling coats and waistcoats, fur/shearling trimmed leather boots and also touches of leather and faux fur.

The country club look was all over A/W 2010 catwalks - Dior, Hermes, Rag & Bone, Marc Jacobs, Pringle of Scotland, Oscar de la Renta, Dries van Noten, Burberry Prorsum, Kenzo, Fendi, Michael Kors, Maxmara and Topshop Unique. And each fashion house put their own unique twists on the look.

I think Dior summed up what I am talking about perfectly! No doubt about it the outfits sported by the Dior models had a masculine feeling, but feminine accessories and makeup took away the harshness and made them look softer. This look screams English gentleman!

The chunky knits and waistcoats were a little English farmer but the bowler hats and capes added a more sophisticated, Sherlock Holmes feeling to the look.

Oscar de la Renta's take on the look was a little more military but the use of fur adds a touch of luxury. The palette was mainly khakis and greens.


There were two main looks at Rag & Bone going on: one was military/hunter and the other was highlander/farmer.

Aside from the, erm, interesting animal ears and moose/deer antlers, the look at Topshop Unique was, how can I say it, unique. It made me think of girl scouts (i.e. Brownies) brandishing hunting rifles.

How to join the country club

  1. Now that winter has finally hit Doha, jumpers and cardigans are now possible! Wear a jumper or cardigan belted over a floral skirt or maxi dress with some vintage-style lace up boots with a chunky heel for the perfect ladylike country club look.
  2. Avoid looking drab by mixing up your colour palette...wearing all brown, all grey or all khaki will look, quite frankly, boring. So stick to only one piece of khaki clothing and mix things up by adding burgundys, navys, creams and beiges.
  3. Afraid the look is too masculine? Then add some sparkly jewellery - drop earrings, bracelets and rings - a la the models at Dior.
  4. Accessories? It's all about fur/shearling trimmed bags and boots, as well as slouchy leather satchels and box-like totes, brown and tan coloured leather belts, and utility style and vintage style leather boots with chunky heels.
  5. This look is versatile - it can be done for casual, office and evening wear - how? If you're looking for something casual, try the look mentioned in (1) or go for a cardigan worn open over a checked shirt teamed with khaki coloured skinny jeans. For an office-worthy look, opt for a utility style dress belted over opaque tights, and again some lace up boots with chunky heels. What about evening? Look smart and sophisticated in a waistcoat worn over a pair of tweed or woolen tapered trousers or pencil skirt. If the weather's chilly you may want to wear a light knit under that waistcoat.

My Picks

Nov 15, 2010

Frocks of the Season!

If you're going for a spot of Eid or Christmas shopping and you're at odds over what kind of dress to buy for this party season, look out for these 3 dress styles which are the hottest dress trends of the moment and totally wearable under your abaya...

If you're not a big fan of your arms like me, sheer sleeves are the perfect way to cover them up while still looking sophisticated and chic. What's also great about this dress trend is that it's sexy but in a subtle way. Sheer fashion is big this winter, and there are loads of LBDs with sheer sleeves out there, but be different and opt for a sheer sleeved dress in rich jewel tones. My favs have to be the sheer sleeved dresses by Doha-based label Toujouri.

Kourtney Kardashian

Amanda Palmer (left) in Toujouri

My Picks

I've seen too many celebs wearing one-shouldered lace dresses I can't count them! Lace is another big A/W 2010 trend, but a one shouldered lace dress combines two trends in one: the lace trend and the asymmetric look. Opt for a body con style dress or for a vintage-inspired 1920s style flapper/cocktail dress.

Kristen Stewart in Valentino

 My Picks

Blouses and dresses with Peter Pan collars are everywhere at the moment and fashion darlings Kelly Osbourne and Alexa Chung can't get enough of them...they're very 1960s and reminiscent of Twiggy and also at the same time, there's something very girly and innocent about them (probably due to the fact they're the type of collars you find on baby girls' dresses!)

Kelly Osbourne

My Picks

Don't forget, whatever dress trend you go for, if you're wearing it under your abaya you will need a faithful pair of matching leggings or tights to go with it to keep those pins covered!

Eid Mubarak everyone!

Nov 9, 2010

Your A/W 2010 Accessories Report

Without trying to sound like a white girl talking gangster, every girl needs her bling and especially every abaya-wearing girl. Ever thought of the PBA - yes, the Plain Black Abaya ... no one wears them plain anymore but just like a LBD the PBA can make the perfect style statement with the addition of glamorific accessories like these...

The Bib Necklace

The word "bib" always makes me think of babies spitting out food everywhere so I like to call them collar necklaces! Olivia Palermo is a big fan of them and they really are an item of jewellery which can transform a LBD or plain tee and skinny jeans into a completely new outfit. Look for bib necklaces embellished with big jewels, big beads or embroidered flowers and opt for those with a ribbon instead of a chain for a more feminine finish.

Gold Nuggets

I've been seeing big gold statement rings everywhere...I'm talking about gold rings with raw, bold cuts which when worn almost look as if you're wearing a nugget of gold on your finger. You're trying to make a statement here so only wear one of these rings and try to keep your other fingers ring-less. Paint your nails black and you've got rocking hands!


One feathered accessory at a time please...unless you want to look like a peacock or Pocahontas! Celebs from Kylie to Diana Vickers have been sporting YSL and Camilla Skovgaard feather-trimmed heels and other plumed accessories like feather earrings, necklaces, headbands, small bags and clutches. This trend is better suited for the evening.

Friendship Bracelets

Celebs are obsessed with Links of London's multi-coloured, multi-row "luxury" friendship bracelets, as modelled by Cat Deeley. And there are loads of high street versions as well as your more traditional thin string friendship bracelets, some woven with beads, and designer versions are woven with gold and silver plated logos a la Guess and Bulgari. Even better? Get creative and go old school by making your own! The more you have piled up on your wrist, the merrier. I wouldn't advise this for glam wear ... keep them casual a la Amanda Seyfried.


These are the perfect subtle additions to an abaya, headscarf, and even your handbag...they should have a vintage/antique look to them with gemstones, pearls or crystals...think of the sort of brooches worn by royalty. Look for brooches in rich jewel tones...bright brooches can look tacky.

Chakra-Inspired Beads

Big in Hollywood right now is stacking your arms with Chakra-style beads and layering Chakra-inspired necklaces, as worn by Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love. According to Hindu belief certain precious stones and gems hold beneficial spiritual and healing powers which one can harness by wearing them. Take inspiration by looking for string bracelets and necklaces with small beads and an oriental/tribal look to them and layer them up!

Cocktail Rings

Just as with the brooches, the focus is on vintage/antique style cocktail rings, the larger the better, but sticking to classic 1920s style cuts in which the ring's center is a large precious stone or gem set in gold or silver and embedded with smaller gems, crystals or pearls surrounding it. Wearing a cocktail ring on every finger is an option!

Braided Gold

Call it braided gold, woven gold or snakes chain, interlocked gold pieces are hot. The look to be channelled here is 1920s glamour rather than Grecian/Roman goddess. Think Coco Chanel and keep your braided gold to one piece for the ultimate statement.