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Ayeesha's Experiences

#10: The English Burqa

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This idea translates the concept of perfect coverage as understood in Afghanistan and Pakistan to the English High Street, for anyone who enjoys anonymity, luxury and a sense of drama. It’s easy; all it needs is a sense of adventure and courage.

Look up ‘cloak’ on Ebay and you will have a surprise. Almost gone are the black clerical cloaks, the lovely but lamented nurses capes and the rather close fitting and restrictive creations of the 1980s. In their place are pages and pages of the most beautiful cloaks, mostly Chinese but none the worse for that, in all colours of the rainbow, all velvet, hooded, all satin or silk lined throughout, all floor length (or even longer!) and beautiful to look at and even better to wear. Buy one.

If you look for chiffon scarves these days, you will find overgrown handkerchiefs but also really big creations (well over a metre square, mostly beautifully patterned, soft materials and – very important for our purpose – easy to see through. Buy one.

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Now take your cloak to your sewing machine and sew up the front – all the way but not so far up that you can’t push your head through the neck; it is now, to all intents and purposes, a poncho which brushes the floor, and encloses and hides hands and everything else except for your head.

Yes, you’ve guessed what happens next. You get the scarf and tie it over your head and face, knotting it at chin or nape, and then put your cloak on. Pull the hood up so that it frames your face – or where your face would be it the scarf didn’t veil it so well. Let the skirt of your cloak fall back to cover your feet. You are now totally enclosed and hidden in the most beautiful silk or satin, with soft chiffon covering your face. Behold – the English burqa.

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Next update: Overhead Abaya


This is a blog about veiling
attire written by various
authors under the nom de
plume of Ayeesha

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