Since moving to the Middle East, it’s been interesting trying to figure out what to wear here. It is a bit more conservative than I’m used to, not that I was dressing like a hooch before, but I didn’t really give the way I dressed any thought. I’m used to throwing on a t-shirt, some shorts and a pair of sandals or sneakers for most of the year since Texas is hot for most of the year. But moving here, nope. Can’t wear that. If you wear shorts out here, be ready for someone to come up to you and literally tell you that you are dressed inappropriately. It hasn’t happened to me personally, but I know people that this has happened to. I am so nervous that someone might come up to me and say something of a similar nature, that I find myself always second guessing or checking my outfits to make sure I am dressed respectably. I don’t want to not only disrespect the culture, but I definitely don’t want to offend any of my friends by dressing in a way that they might think is unacceptable.
It’s been quite interesting really. I’ve noticed a change in myself. A sort of transformation process. At first, I was afraid that I’d be shunned for accidentally not “thinking” before I left the house and wearing something “wrong”. Then as I got used to it, I found myself almost judging others who proudly wore spaghetti strap tops and daisy dukes or dresses that show their legs. Then I caught myself. Like , really? I’m really sitting here judging someone else? Isn’t that exactly what I was afraid of, and I’m literally doing exactly what I didn’t want. I felt bad that I was judging those people. Then I realized, in essence, I was judging the ‘old me’. The old me who didn’t know any better or wasn’t as informed as I thought I was. So why would I do that to others? Maybe because I felt ashamed that I didn’t know in the first place. That I was living in such a bubble of my own world before, thinking it’s the same everywhere.
What if those people I judged didn’t know anything about the culture and they’re just visiting so that they could learn about the culture? What if they felt a certain way about the customs here and decided, ‘F it, I’m going to wear what I want anyway’? Or what if they were just simply freakin’ hot and couldn’t deal? So I forgave myself for judging and decided to try my best to lead by example. I try to portray what I know to be appropriate, and hopefully this will encourage someone to embrace part of the culture that surrounds them also. It’s not that hard. And It’s not so bad, honestly. In general, it’s best to keep your shoulders covered and to wear loose-fitting clothing. If you are wearing something tight, like your bottoms, then it’s good to have a top long enough to cover your butt. If your top is fitted, then you should definitely wear a shawl to cover. There are an infinite amount of variations you can do that are stylish and still remain within the customs and expectations of the culture out here. I hope that this inspires you to embrace an aspect of whatever culture you’re in.
For now, enjoy this quick look book on how I styled this oversized button up from Topshop. It’s not a men’s shirt, however you very well could just buy a men’s shirt. I would think they’re a bit more boxy, so you’d want to get it taken it. I like my shirts to be new-looking and crisp, but your own choice on fabric is up to you. This top is super versatile too. You can wear it to work, to run errands, to the airport and even as a bathing suit cover up. And it’s super airy, so It’s perfect for the upcoming summer months here in the Middle East.
Let me know what you guys think about the difference in dress codes around the world. How do you style your oversized shirts?
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