The 10 Stuff I Brought to be Fashionable in Saudi Arabia

Woman wearing fashionable abaya

I got a project in Saudi Arabia, and I am set to fly next week. This time, I’m determined to not waste my energy or money by taking a lot of unnecessary items along with me.

As soon as I moved into Jeddah three decades back, I took 2 enormous pieces of the bag full of so several things, that turns out, I did not require. I needed all — clothes, makeup, shoes, and hair things. But I wound up purchasing a whole new wardrobe while I was there anyhow. This was on account of the simple fact that there is nothing better to perform at Jeddah compared to store, the material I discovered in stores had been more to my taste compared to the stuff that I see in the States (and of course match better), along with the material that I took was in expectation of a lifestyle which didn’t stick out.

As soon as I moved back, I still ended up needing to leave behind the majority of the things I’d brought along with me. Even a lot of things got given to Allied refugees — and that I ended up spending so much cash in bag fees I literally for the day refuse to consider doing it. So this time around, I will be clever. I am just taking things I understand I will want — such as Cuban java and shameful long-sleeve tops. I am aware that I will buy anything I want (along with a lot of things I do not) once I am there, so there is no point in me lugging things straight back into the Middle East.

Thus, with no further ado, here are the ten principles which are moving with me into the Middle East — and will likely go with me anywhere.

1. Leggings

One thing: layers. Plus they look good using the abaya — which, if you’re not familiar with the expression, is essentially a duster that women need to use in public places in Saudi. I like them mainly because I could wear them beneath the extended skirts I must use to get the job done. I hate wearing jeans of any length because I hate the feeling of my thighs touching (I must wear trousers to sleep for precisely exactly the exact identical reason). These are an essential component of the struggle against chub rub. And in case it is cold within the workplace or outdoors, they’ll additionally serve the additional use of keeping me warm. Leggings are only a lovely, multifunctional present from paradise.

2. Crew neck pliers

To start with, they are super small. The only thing smaller than the usual crew neck is really a turtleneck — that I adore, but isn’t a really frequent appearance in hot climates. A team neck is quite far on trend this year, and I have also learned a v-neck appears weird having an abaya. And so, I am taking various crew necks I can possibly wear by themselves or layered with leggings and an abaya to really head out. Ain’t nothing much more timeless, cool, and trendy compared to leggings with a crew neck and an open abaya.

3. Long-sleeve black tops

My job uniform is allegedly a long-sleeve shirt using a loose, ankle-length skirt. A pal of mine that knows the drill since she used too to teach English in a Foundation Program explained that since the university I will be teaching is really, very conservative (although by Saudi criteria), she guesses everybody would be wearing blackhead. In certain circles, much color is seemingly too stark — even when the location you will operate is entirely gender-segregated. However, whatever, I do not even care, since I adore black. You may never go wrong with black. Black is consistent that the brand new black.

4. Maxi gowns

Though everything is essentially gender-segregated from Saudi, there are a number of men and women who think a girl wearing trousers is Islamically prohibited. Paradoxically, these folks are largely ex-pats, and that I really don’t know if my roommates will probably undoubtedly soon likely be among these. So far as I know, it is assumed to be 1-2 girls with US, UK, Canadian, or Australian passports. So just if they’re somewhat more conservatively inclined, I am carrying a maxi dress with me personally which I could layer under or over distinct bits to create unique looks. I intend on purchasing whatever I want, but I would love to get a couple of foundations covered upon birth, you understand.

5. Knits

Same term as previously: layers. I adore a great knit; they are a lifesaver when it gets chilly at night in the summer weather. Additionally, it’s not as though that I could put a coat at the top (or beneath) that an abaya. It’s possible to use a few layers beneath a fine blouse, and if you throw an abaya on it, you do not seem bulky. There is nothing about that mix of polyester and cotton which functions to keep you warm without enlarging your own body dimensions.

It is the exact identical reason I am also carrying a fleece — despite my own public hatred of artificial fabrics. Fleece is a fantastic thing in dryer climates, including in the humid areas of Miami, in which you require breathable fabrics.


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6. The basic abaya

Rather than my own cool abayas — of that, I have a few. I had not even anticipated carrying my simple abaya into Saudi, however, my buddy who I said before told me the ex-pat girls are actually not to the trendy abayas and use inexpensive, older ones all of the time. Here is actually the polar opposite of everything I had been expecting since I adore abayas, and that I was really excited to put them all the time. She also, at precisely exactly the exact identical vein, advised me abayas are not permitted on the job!

Cue despair — I am leaving my adorable floral custom-made one in your home. I must try on another two to determine if both of these close (I constantly wore mine available from Doha) since I have the impression an open abaya will not fly in a lot of circles at Riyadh. Jeddah possibly, however not Riyadh.

7. Exercise trousers

However, not any tops. I intend on obtaining a gym membership the moment I land. Exercise trousers are expensive anywhere, but I envision particularly so in Saudi. Somehow I do not think activewear will be especially widely affordable or available among the planet’s most obese nations. So I will package several pairs to carry with me considering that clothes dryers are not something from the Gulf, I am going to do laundry a week simply to be sure I’ve pants to workout.

8. Baking soda

I have super sensitive skin, and also that I do not expect to gain access to clothing drier, therefore baking soda is far much more than only a fantastic fabric softener option — it is a requirement. I also know I need to know this at the moment, however, I do not know whether the water from Riyadh is desalinated (such as in Jeddah) or routine aged processed groundwater. When it’s in reality desalinated, baking soda is a must for your laundry.

Additionally, it will take a lot of other things also, such as deodorization (recall the gym trousers?). And for whatever reason, baking soda isn’t available in numerous sizes at each supermarket as if you’d anticipate. I’ve zero ideas why.

9. Cuban java

I do not get nostalgic when I am overseas, since the longest I have been off up until today was like five weeks. However, I always, always, always consider my java along with me. It is a flavor of home which is readily transportable and weighs next to nothing whatsoever. Much to my pleasure, what I’d wrongly assumed as Cuban coffee manufacturers were Italian stove-top coffee manufacturers (lol) — that are easily available all around the world! Therefore, I could choose my vacuum filled with grounds together with me and only purchase the stove-top coffee maker once I arrive. Voila, a taste of the home. Plus they continue forever because they are vacuum-sealed.

10. Burt’s Bees Baby Oil

The warmth in Miami right now is in the ’80s. Meaning that if you step foot out in the atmosphere, it seems like a good mass. It is literally tough to breathe. As soon as I checked the weather Riyadh, the humidity stated 15 percent. I’d state my skin would be on the other side generally, I frankly don’t even understand how having dwelt just in humid of ponds (Doha is around the shore too).

So, I am bracing myself to my own skin to go just a tiny cray upon birth. I’ve got friends who reside in Riyadh that yank from the oils. I understand folks who put vaseline in their face. But since I am allergic to the majority of goods available on the current marketplace, I am taking my obviously sourced infant oil and expect it continues long enough till I guess a brand fresh, locally sourced, skincare regimen.


Moving is stressful. Leaving your nearest and dearest support is stressful. Finding a visa for Saudi Arabia is extremely stressful. The hassle of moving your furniture to your new place is a nightmare (but was lucky to find the help from professionals who are excellent in the transfer of furniture in Jeddah (or نقل عفش بجدة in Arabic).

So every one of these things collectively is giving me a great deal of pressure recently. But I am determined to concentrate just on energy. I am aware that everything is exactly what you make of this, and I am determined to get the most from the movement.

I will have many new experiences this season. Lugging around a garbage bunch of clothes I’ll never use isn’t likely to be among these.