Fashion and faith: Ahead of Eid Al Fitr, top UAE-based stylists and bloggers offer festive styling tips to celebrate modest clothing – News

Fashion and faith: Ahead of Eid Al Fitr, top UAE-based stylists and bloggers offer festive styling tips to celebrate modest clothing – News

From kaftan or no kaftan, to the right sleeves to pick, to the colours en vogue this season, here’s everything you need to know when putting together the perfect outfit for your celebrations



Marmar Al Hilali is a leading lifestyle and fashion content creator in the UAE (Photo: Petra Sartoris; Jewellery: Korloff Paris)

Marmar Al Hilali is a leading lifestyle and fashion content creator in the UAE (Photo: Petra Sartoris; Jewellery: Korloff Paris)

Published: Thu 13 Apr 2023, 9:46 PM

Last updated: Thu 13 Apr 2023, 10:38 PM

It’s no secret that when you dress better, you feel better. Besides the vanity, what dressing up for yourself also signifies is the time and effort you set aside to prioritise your needs and celebrate yourself through all the highs and lows that life throws your way. So, to dress for you, celebrate you and show you off this Eid Al Fitr, we reached out to the top fashion influencers and stylists in the region to tell us how to get started in figuring out the daunting task of putting together that perfect ‘Eid look’. With these tips and tricks, you can identify the key factors to pay attention to when styling yourself and how to look and feel your best this festive season. So, while you’re out and about this Eid, remember to show up as your best self — brimming with joy and confidence — to mark the true spirit of celebration.

Modest wear’s glory days

While there is no set garment for the occasion, people around the world typically opt for traditional wear, rooted in modesty, to pay respect to the culture. Whether it’s the modernised versions of kaftans, traditional abayas or the classic jalabeya, traditional wear takes centrestage during the festive occasion. However, modest fashion is no longer limited to annual Ramadan capsules or to Muslim consumers, says Lara Elias, a UAE-based stylist who styles a wide range of clientele, including television personalities (Instagram: @laraeliass). “Modest wear earlier, especially for women who wear hijab, was very limited. But now, with the colour mixes and trendy styles, modesty has become popular and attractive even with people outside of the faith,” adds Heba Hammad, a fashion stylist and blogger based in Dubai.

“While sartorial preferences may take new shapes and forms, modest wear will continue to serve as a profoundly unifying force for women who choose to cover their bodies,' says Lara Elias, UAE-based fashion stylist from Lebanon.

“While sartorial preferences may take new shapes and forms, modest wear will continue to serve as a profoundly unifying force for women who choose to cover their bodies,” says Lara Elias, UAE-based fashion stylist from Lebanon.

In recent times, modest fashion has also become one of the most sought-after segments in the fashion industry, with modest wear even being showcased in fashion shows. According to Marmar Al Hilali (Instagram: @themarmar), who’s an Iraqi fashion and lifestyle influencer brought up in the UAE, with brands like Valentino and Chanel creating collections with a special emphasis on modesty, there’s a wider audience for modest wear. “The mainstream attention also means that we get to see modest clothing on the runways, which is a huge step forward,” says Sally Dandashly, a UAE-based fashion stylist and colour analyst. But what truly underlines the boom in modest clothing is the spirit of growth and innovation, says Lara. “While sartorial preferences may take new shapes and forms, modest wear will continue to serve as a profoundly unifying force for women who choose to cover their bodies,” she adds.

How to get started

With modest and traditional wear generally enjoying the spotlight, the options to choose from different designs and materials are vast. This is also why making sartorial decisions based on angular tips offered by expert stylists can make your life all the more easier. “A starter tip I usually offer to my clients is to gather images of styles that you like on social media, magazines, photos here and there and create a moodboard for yourself, which will inspire you to come up with your perfect Eid outfit,” says Sally, who goes by the Instagram handle @stylingby_sal. “Ultimately, each one of us has a different personality, so you can get inspired but don’t copy anyone on social media,” she adds.

What’s also important to consider is the size and scale of the gathering you’ll be attending. “If it’s family or friends gathering, you can go for a smart casual look, wearing a colourful dress with a matching bag and shoes or pants and shirt/top with statement accessories to elaborate the look,” says Heba. Awarded the top 100 bloggers in the UAE, the Egyptian fashion blogger posts daily styling tips, images and reels on her Instagram @stylebyfashi_ to help others discover their individual style.

“Selecting the right eyeliner that spotlights your eyes and a lipstick to complement your skin tone will always be a timeless look,' says Marmar.

“Selecting the right eyeliner that spotlights your eyes and a lipstick to complement your skin tone will always be a timeless look,” says Marmar.

Another innovative technique to get started is to pick out descriptive words for how you want to look and feel in a situation. “For example, for an if

tar reception, you may want to look smart, creative or friendly,” says Lara. You then translate these descriptors to traits in clothing. “‘Smart’ will be neat and polished. ‘Creative’ will be innovative and unusual. ‘Friendly’ will translate to casual and unpretentious.” Finally, you translate the traits into items of clothing. ‘Neat’ and ‘polished’ can be a dress paired with a waist belt, the stylist explains.

Choosing your colours

Based on general consensus amongst the stylists, choosing the right colour scheme can define your look and take your outfit to the next level. “There is a reason why we see the world in colour,” says Sally, who’s studying colour psychology and helps her clients pick out the perfect shades that complement their personality. “Funnily, I don’t believe in colour trends. It’s more important to wear colours that suit your skin tone and personality. Choosing the right shades will instantly give you a youthful glow,” says Sally.

“Choosing the right shades will instantly give you a youthful glow,' says Sally Dandashly, <a href=fashion stylist and colour analyst in the UAE.”/>

“Choosing the right shades will instantly give you a youthful glow,” says Sally Dandashly, fashion stylist and colour analyst in the UAE.

While you shouldn’t limit yourself in terms of which colours you can or cannot wear, a colour analyst can help you choose the right shades and tones of the primary colours to elevate your complexion. “Colours can also help change the mood of your outfit and make you feel comfortable in your skin,” mentions Heba.

Bold colours seem to have taken centrestage this Ramadan, along with feathers, and intricate prints, says Marmar. Adding to that, Lara points out three colours that have defined the trends this Ramadan and will be popular during Eid Al Fitr. “Purple and dark violet symbolises wealth, wisdom, dignity, pride and independence. Yellow represents happiness and joy. Green and turquoise symbolise new life and growth. These colours beautifully encapsulate the spirit of the celebrations,” says Lara.

Once you’re able to choose the right colours, you can also figure out the right makeup for your skin tone. “Identifying your skin tone, skin type and undertone is pivotal to figure out which colours will suit you,” says Heba. “Depending on the occasion, it can help you decide whether to go for a light or a bold makeup look.”

When it comes to picking the right makeup this Eid, Marmar recommends going classic, to enhance your natural beauty without overpowering the look. “Selecting the right eyeliner that brings out your eyes and a lipstick to complement your skin tone will always be a timeless look,” she adds.

Body shape and sleeves

Body shape is another key factor to consider when choosing outfits for a special occasion. But what happens if you aren’t able to identify it? “Though you can always consult a stylist, there is a general tip to consider. Always try to balance out your figure with the outfit, to be on the safe side,” says Sally. “For example, when wearing a loose top paired with loose pants, why not tuck in the top to define your waist? Or if you’re wearing wide-legged pants with a tight top, you can add a blazer while tucking in the top,” she mentions.

The sleeves on the outfit should also complement the body shape, says Heba. “If you’re an apple body shape, you should avoid tight and layered sleeves because it will give you a wide shoulder look. Pear body shape can go for bell sleeves. Puffy sleeves are ideal to balance wider hips. And flutter sleeves will add width and balance to your shoulders,” she adds. “If you have wide shoulders and you’d wish to wear a piece with statement sleeves, pair it with a skirt that has volume or wide-legged pants and don’t forget to define your waist,” says Sally.

“Restyle and rewear is the game here! Fashion should always be fun, so this can be a way for you to get creative,' says Heba Hammad, UAE-<a href=based fashion blogger and stylist from Egypt.”/>

“Restyle and rewear is the game here! Fashion should always be fun, so this can be a way for you to get creative,” says Heba Hammad, UAE-based fashion blogger and stylist from Egypt.

Restyling your existing wardrobe

With the sustainable fashion movement gaining momentum, you no longer have to rush to the mall with every new occasion or buy mindlessly and pile up your clothes in the back of your closet. “Restyle and rewear is the game here! Fashion should always be fun, so this can be a way for you to get creative. Organise your closet, change your shopping habits, purchase statement pieces, and remember, quality over quantity,” says Heba. “As a stylist, I have seen a lot of wardrobes and what’s always shocking to me is that only 20 per cent of the wardrobe is worn by the client,” mentions Sally. “So, why not restyle old pieces for Eid? I believe each piece of clothing has a right to be worn. And this way you’ll be saving the environment plus your wallet.”

Layering your clothes is also an easy way to restyle your old pieces and mix them up to create new styles, says Lara. “You can layer a mesh under a long dress with strappy sandals or layer a vest over a dress in the same family of colours but different prints or vice versa.” Classic pieces in your wardrobe, like an oversized shirt or shirtdress, can also be restyled, the stylist mentions. “You can restyle your shirtdress by opening the lower buttons and team it with wide legged pants or style it with your denims and a trendy bag for an Eid lunch,” says Lara.

To accessorise or not to accessorise

Different people have different preferences when it comes to accessorising, so you can always decide based on your personal dressing style. However, learning about the right accessories that accentuate the outfit can add magic to your look. “Accessories can elevate your normal look to a stylish one,” says Sally. “This Eid, you should open your jewellery box and choose necklaces with different types of wires to layer one on top of the other,” she adds. “Avoid layering the same types of chains to avoid the chaos of tangling.” Stacking jewellery can be a game-changer, the stylist adds. “Stacking up necklaces, bracelets, even rings can help curate a lovely Eid outfit.”

Marmar recommends going with statement jewellery to accessorise for this occasion. “It adds such glamour to the outfit and each person can select pieces that speak to their own style,” says the influencer, who’s also an architect by profession and enjoys designing spaces as much as her personal style. “Personally, I always go for diamonds or a new watch to add an element to my Eid outfit,” she adds.

Heba Hammad

Heba Hammad

On the other hand, Heba advises against over-accessorising. “The less the accessories, the better the look,” she adds. “Especially if you’re wearing a sparkly abaya, matching it with classic heels and bag, small earrings and a bracelet are more than enough. If the outfit has sparkles, the bag and heels shouldn’t.”

Faith and fashion

Lastly, what’s unique to the culturally diverse country we call home is the amalgamation of different nationals that reside in the UAE. When it comes to Ramadan and Eid celebrations, several residents outside of the faith also partake in the fasting practices and celebrate the holy month with a community spirit. If you aren’t Muslim but still enjoy dressing up for Eid celebrations, all you have to do is pick something new. “It could be a new piece, a new bag or even a new style from your existing wardrobe,” says Sally. “Eid is for everyone! It’s the perfect excuse to dress up and feel good about yourself, whether you celebrate it or not.”

Marmar Al Hilali

Marmar Al Hilali

Living in such a diverse country, there are ample ready-to-wear options in stores for anyone who wants to celebrate the culture. “Something as simple as wearing a kimono over a dress can also make you feel like a part of the cultural celebration,” adds Lara. And while these are festive dressing tips, the same guidelines can be applied to your everyday dressing, too. So, kaftan or no kaftan, don’t forget to celebrate you this Eid.

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