ReflectionsNew fashion & being cramped veiling, flirting [Archives:2005/838/Opinion]

May 2 2005

By Yahya Al-Olfi
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During the past week or so I received a letter explaining that women these days exaggerate on how they look to the extent of buying the latest fashion in black outer garments ( The Baldo) which is a similarity to a long overcoat but lighter and top-veiling strung-cloth (Nigab, Birqu or Lithma) the latest in fashion now for the so-called Baldo (from French paletot) is called “Zahrat Al Khaleeg” meaning ” The Flower of the Gulf” It is of course- still black but with a lighter material almost sheer having the cuff of the sleeves wider with webbed like holes all over the cuff making it see -through and attractive.

This apparently has stolen the eyes of most women with its difference and its “new look” making it more open for all to see which makes us think , probably if not certainly women have become tired of being accustomed to the completely black old fashioned unattractive garment that they want some kind of change which makes black garment sales profitable leading to all kind of designs like the French style 18th century Baldo slender at the waist and widening down with a flow covering the feet in addition to wide slender cuffs with sewn beads to make it more attractive and rich, along with a top veil more luring (as many express the new fashion “Nigab”). It is interesting to find that the once upon a time two piece black garment that was produced by the Turks as long skirts with long winged tops called “Sharshaff” and brought to Yemen by the Turks at the time they were occupying Yemen has by time run a revolution leading to its new fashion look today.

However, as most of us know the garment was made to hide the women's' feminine look, not to make them a source of attraction to men as is meant in Islam for the protection of women and not otherwise. Are we by this stretching the limits without realizing it or is it a question of profit?

Women, in general think of their own beauty whether inside their homes or outside within the community, without realizing the consequences in overreacting on how they should look, but as we come to logic we tend to have an answer to all our problems: so long as it is long-sleeved, not tight or figured and not sheer then you're all safe girls .As for the color, there's no beating black.

Feeling cramped:

The City of Sana'a is a crowded place where residences are entitled to a breath of clear fresh air and despite the unique architecture, artistic and diversity in Yemeni homes, we have come to notice the lack of space separating one house from another ignoring the essential fact of having a garden which plays a positive role in the environment as well as in the family itself.

In the Yemeni City, the scarcity of gardens that neighbor homes has declined that many people – especially men favor building houses on top of their gardens leaving no space whatsoever except for the entrance and if anyone capable of more space they'd rather have it a garage instead of a garden. When passing by, one realizes the cramped situation the community looks like, due to the lack of fresh air.

A house-to-house situation lacking privacy that gives an impression that the city itself has become naturally overpopulated which on the contrary is just a lack of sense and consideration towards either others or ourselves. Most Yemenis, still can't grab the fact that having a large or spacious garden is a luxury and a safe haven for their children just as the house is for shelter, the result however is leading their children to play in the streets risking their lives in traffic accidents, and leaving their wives in a stressful mood. After a hard day's work, all are in need of fresh air and a calm scenery but instead do end up in front of the TV sending them to claustrophobia and a nagging mood to go to the park which is unfortunately to some, either expensive or overcrowded.

For Yemeni streets in the city to be somewhat breathtaking, we need more trees and greenery. Think of every home having a garden: the air would be fresher, kids would be safer playing in their own gardens, women would have a place to relax and enjoy while husbands would become free from their wives' stress.