The United Arab Emirates may be one of the most cosmopolitan countries globally, but it is still a Muslim country. As such, there’s a particular level of modesty expected from the way residents dress, especially among the locals.
However, the women of the UAE have never let that stop them from dressing their best. The modest dresses UAE women wear prove sartorial excellence does not depend on showing skin. They also show that modest dresses can come in a wide range of silhouettes and that long, flowy, and covered do not mean boring.
Below are four bestselling designers the UAE woman can rely on for luxurious, modest-wear clothing.
1. Homa Q
This is fashion designer Homa Qamar’s eponymous high-fashion brand. The Dubai-based fashion house specializes in providing luxury modest-wear to clients from all over the Middle east. Homa Q excels in their clever use of fabrics, colors, cuts, patterns, and high-level draping techniques to create their stunningly regal silhouettes.
Their three-piece and four-piece tonal abaya sets make for excellent wardrobe staples for daytime wear. Made with lightweight, non-stretchy fabrics, abaya sets come with either a dress or a top and pant set innerwear, and some come with a matching sheila.
Abayas take center stage, of course, with their delicate pearl or beadwork detailing, opulent embroidered patterns, and subtle embellishments.
The abaya sets come in neutral colors, and the range of designs means there’s an abaya set for everything the modern woman may have planned for her day, such as shopping and coffee dates with friends. The more opulent pieces you can reserve for business meetings and important functions.
Aside from abaya sets, Homa Q also has wedding abayas and long dresses. These are luxurious, regal, and effortlessly elegant like their abaya sets.
Endemage is the brainchild of Omani fashion designer Lubna Al Zakwani and her sibling Nadia. Endemage embodies an East-meets-West aesthetic, creating fashion-forward pieces inspired by the founders’ Omani roots and celebrated by the brand’s international clientele.
For instance, their 2017 autumn/winter collection took inspiration from traditional Omani menswear. Specifically, the pieces were inspired by the silhouette of the long Arabic robe, dishdasha, and the elaborate detailing of the traditional Omani turban, mussar.
Endemage’s abaya collection is exceptional. It is exciting, too, with Endemage’s fashion-forward design aesthetic making itself known in some surprising details.
One of the most notable pieces in their abaya lineup is the open-front cotton wrap abaya. It is constructed like other abayas, but the long puff sleeves with elasticized cuffs give it a more modern silhouette. Likewise, the wraparound lace detail at the bottom is an unexpected touch.
Meanwhile, their linen organza abaya provides ample coverage, but the light and delicate material ensures you will not get too warm underneath. The slightly translucent fabric also means the dress underneath can visually contrast with the abaya. The highlight, however, is the lettuce-trimming at the sleeves’ edge and the buttons adorning the sleeves’ sides.
Another noteworthy piece is the trench abaya. Only the back flap detailing, the folded sleeve edges, and the fabric’s unique shade provide relief from the abaya’s austere simplicity.
Oun is a study in contrast. Their modest wear is for the UAE woman who wants to stand out even as she conforms to society’s expectations of refinement and modesty.
The Royal Atlas striped crystal abaya with sheila perfectly represents the brand’s design aesthetic. This black abaya is a bold statement piece that challenges the traditional abaya silhouette.
Instead of long, flowy sleeves, this abaya has elbow-length, puff sleeves piped in white. This minor change drastically changes the abaya’s shape, making it effortlessly modern and audaciously contemporary without losing its primary characteristic of modesty.
The Sophie silk dress in white is another extraordinary piece by Oun. It cannot be any more modest, suitably covering the wearer from the neck and down to the ankles. The arms are also entirely covered with sleeves that end at the cuff.
However, the way the dress is constructed elevates it beyond classic modest wear. The high neck, the ruching at the collar, the slim, straight-cut silhouette, the bishop sleeves, and the unique texture and sheen of the silk fabric lend the dress an undeniably cosmopolitan, sophisticated vibe.
4. Noor Al Bahrani
Noor Al Bahrani is a luxury clothing brand by Omani designer Noor Anwar Al Bahrani. They specialize in the ethereal, dreamy, and whimsical, designed to emphasize a woman’s grace and femininity.
A standout among Noor Al Bahrani’s modest-wear collection is the Isla embellished kaftan. Its full wide sleeves and the light and flowy fabric will make you feel like you’re floating and clothed in air.
However, the visual stunner is the waterfall pattern of oversized gold sequins adorning the kaftan from the V-neck down the front until somewhere about the knees. Repeating the theme are the smaller dots of golden sequins artfully placed all over the kaftan front, back, and sleeves.
Modest and stylish are not mutually exclusive, as modest dressing in the UAE demonstrates.
If you are looking for modest dresses or something different from your usual style, give the above luxury modest-wear designer brands a try.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.