Qatari Clothing – I have Questions

The questions I have about the local clothing might not be what you’re expecting. You might think that I am puzzling about the Qatari (and other) women and their various degrees of covering up in public. From head to toe black covering, to hair covered and blue jeans, there is a lot of food for thought.

But here’s the real question….

Below are pictures of what’s currently in the store windows. If I’m going to need to purchase ANY of these items I’m going to be pretty upset.

And warning to the locals who do not appreciate their pictures being taken…If I see you in any of these things – I WILL TAKE YOUR PICTURE!  Consider yourself warned.

(Please excuse the quality of the pictures. Taking pictures in malls is against the rules as written at the entrance of the malls – so I had to do it with my phone and I had to be fast).

I do have one answer about clothing that I’ve been puzzling about. I don’t have pictures but it won’t be hard for you to imagine.  Before the winter clothing started appearing in the shop windows there were some very scandalous articles of clothing. Dresses cut so low and hems so high that even with our western eye if we saw someone wear them in real life we might have a hard time not raising and eyebrow.  And I’m not talking about the odd garment – I’m talking about enough clothing to make me really question where on earth the market is for such clothing. Where, in this country are these garments being worn??

Well I got my answer.  From all places…the Vancouver Sun.  You can read all about it – I was shocked and amazed. (Link below)

One last little tidbit.

There are signs posted right now on one of the round-abouts in Al Khor. Two small bill boards that look like they’re announcing an event, like a carnival or a fair. Well, they are. A friend riding in the car with us told us that these are wedding invitations. This is how it’s done. (Of course we couldn’t read them because they’re only in Arabic). It’s an open invitation for everyone. I started to hyperventilate – “OH!! It’s open?? Can we go?” The thought of seeing a Qatari wedding was so exciting to me.  She burst out laughing. “No, this is only for the men.” ….”The wedding is only for the men?” “Yes”.  Let’s just say that this sent my western head spinning. When I catch my equilibrium I’ll ask some more questions.

By the way – just so you know, if you leave a comment on my blog, I often reply to it. Especially if it’s a question. Unfortunately I don’t think there’s any way for you to be notified that I’ve replied. So please check back. And thanks for your comments.

Here’s the Vancouver Sun article. It’s jaw dropping. Who Drives Haute Couture.


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7 responses to “Qatari Clothing – I have Questions

  1. I saw a similar trend in northern Iraq. Skimpy, skimpy dresses in the stores, and I couldn’t imagine who was buying them. I later found out, when walking through the bazaar. Women wore them with a black turtleneck and jeans underneath. Not the look the designer was going for, I’m sure. lol.

    (and when you leave a comment here, there’s an option to tick a box that emails follow-up comments)

  2. Wealthy people all over the world own a lot of clothing. We have the same expectations here in N.A. of our entertainment industry. As much as there are differences between the American and the Arabic cultures, we really are quite similar. The Canadian nation was built on the beaver pelt industry. It’s still our national animal symbol. Just sayin’!

  3. We know several people who have been to Qatari weddings – I’ve been to one of the more low-key men’s wedding parties, but all of the reports I’ve heard about the women’s wedding parties line up with what the Vancouver Sun article said. I’ll have to tell you some stories when we talk in person!

    As for the winter clothes in stores, remember that (a) it sometimes can get cold enough in the “winter” to necessitate using a heater (although we never have), so warm clothes might be needed for a couple days each year, and (b) people often travel from Qatar to Europe or other more Northern countries in the winter months, and they need to buy winter clothes before they get off the plane!

  4. Nancy Luft

    That makes sense about needing them for traveling……..but it still looks like a Canadian department store.

  5. Anna-Marie

    to learn more about the lifestyle of rich in the middle east, take a read of Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia. Disturbing for sure …
    And yes indeed, with all the travel to the northern hemisphere, gotta have some furs to keep you warm 🙂

  6. Woweeeee… just read the article and am shocked. Shocked! Who knew? What would happen if you got caught taking a picture in the mall?

    • Good question Linda. The answer is nothing. I actually did cross a line while I was focusing on that fur hat. There was a woman there with 2 young girls (all covered) and I was so focused on the hat that I didn’t see that I was getting them in the picture. The mother scowled at me and whisked her girls away from me. I apologized and quickly explained that I was not taking their picture. I don’t know if they spoke english so not sure if that helped. It’s more a matter of respect than law. There are lots of people that ignore the “at least cover your shoulders and knees” guidelines too. I’ve seen really skimpy outfits walking around the grocery store but it’s just not respectful of their culture. And as Honour says “I don’t want parents to feel they have to shield their children’s eyes from me!” Wise girl. No, we’re not here to cause alarm or to challenge their sense modesty. Thanks for the question.

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