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Are Skinny Jeans Really Evil? The Redux

April 23, 2010

I was once accused of being ‘one of those people who like to be liked’, and although I disputed it at the time, it is quite possible that it is maybe slightly true. Having provoked some quite strong feelings and possibly upset, I feel a little redux is in order as far as skinny jeans and her sisters are concerned.

As with most things, the problem with skinny jeans is not the jeans themselves, but the thinking of the people who wear them, and what they do to you – and therein lies my beef. I think fashion is a Hole – for some people, a Black Hole, that they are inexorably drawn into, whether or not they like it.

So skinny jeans themselves are only a proxy for every unwilling or unconsidered fashion choice. Fashion, as I said before in ‘Skinny Jeans Are Hip: A Rant’, should primarily be something YOU THE WEARER like and are comfortable in, but which should also to some degree be tempered against the sensibilities of other people.

Let me explain that last with an example, before you allow yourself to be offended: there are certain clothes my mother dislikes me to wear, even though I myself like them, and they are not indecent. I don’t wear them in front of her out of respect for her – and it doesn’t kill me not to – but I have worn them at other times. This is what I mean about respecting sensibilities. Clothes that are, for instance, very revealing or suggestive, might not be appropriate in all contexts, therefore, a person should exercise some common sense in their fashion choices, depending on place and people. This is also similarly true for clothes that are entirely obscuring, but that is a conversation for another day (I promise).

In conclusion: skinny jeans are not intrinsically evil*. Nor are leggings, jeggings, treggings or bleggings. What are objectionable are the mentality, marketing, manipulations and machinations that force people to wear clothes they wouldn’t independently choose, that are contrary to their sense of what a) they like, b) suits them, c) makes them feel comfortable, and d) is healthy.

* Actually, they are somewhat potentially (extrinsically) evil in terms of long-term health risks.

Lastly – Muslims in Skinny Jeans:

A lot of my personal opinion about skinny jeans and her sisters are related to Muslims wearing them. For the Muslims committed to dressing within the bounds of sunnah, I don’t think it is appropriate for you – men or woman, boys or girls – to wear them on their own in public. As a Muslim, you should wear clothes that are loose and obscure your shape: it isn’t enough for them to be opaque. Skinny jeans and leggings are the opposite of this: the whole point is to define and accentuate your figure.

I’ve seen too many Muslim girls, who actually are concerned with staying within the sunnah, wearing these without seeming to realise that it contravenes it. I know when you wear heavy leggings – and more so with jeans – that you feel as dressed as you would in ordinary jeans or trousers, but in terms of how it looks, you might as well be wearing tights – or not wearing them, really.

Skinny jeans under jilbab works quite well, but for my sisters who don’t wear jilbab and still wish to dress correctly according to the sunnah when in public, it might be best to find some looser trousers, coupled with longer tops or dresses. The other problem I always notice in the Prayer Rooms at uni is that girls are often wearing trousers too tight to pray in – if you can’t bend or sit down properly when you’re wearing them, that’s a sign that they’re too tight. Also, when worn with short tops, large areas of your lower back show (and sometimes much more than that, God help us) when you pray, which clearly makes your salah invalid.

And a final reminder for my Muslim sisters and brothers: Allah doesn’t only see you when you’re praying – He sees you the rest of the time, too. It is one of the minor signs of the Day of Judgement that ‘people will be dressed but naked’ – the question you must ask yourself is whether you want to be part of making that more true.

Those signs are warnings. Every Muslim who adds to their truth should be worried, and should do everything they can to avert it. And that means that some fashions are just not for us, no matter what Cosmo or Vogue, Tinky Winky or Milly-Molly-Mandy say.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2010 10:29 pm

    Ah, you are a very respectful woman, Saya. Masha’Allah. There are clothes my husband prefers me not to wear (also not indecent in anyway) but, well, I am so disinclined to fashion that I cannot be bothered to dress better. Also, it’s very good of you to give Muslim leggings wearers the benefit of the doubt. Is it truly possible that one can believe they are fully and appropriately dressed in skintight clothing? Mmm, possibly. But I personally believe that they are telling themselves they are fully dressed because their skin is covered. Also, I don’t buy a shirt or a pair of pants without going into full sajdah to make sure my nethers are totally covered TO MY KNEES and that my pants are loose legged.

    And hey, my English grandmother gave me the Milly Molly Mandy books when I was little. I still have them and think of her as a child when I read them. I’d write more but I’m not home and now everyone wants to know what I’m writing!

  2. April 26, 2010 12:08 am

    Milly Molly Mandy! How awesome. An English grandmother! How even more awesome!

    It’s not really the benefit of the doubt as much as the benefit of experience! Having worn them myself, I can attest to how dressed you feel – many times, I was on the point of going downstairs (i.e. amongst people) in them, when a look at the mirror would stop me. And then I’d have a five-minute long ditherspaz (that is AEONS in dithspaztime) about the extent to which they were like tights (exactly alike, minus feet), and whether I could go down in tights under a dress with high side-slits (I couldn’t), and is wearing tights really different in terms of covering to NOT wearing tights (not really), and whether I felt more covered in these leggings than tights (I did), and God – oh God! – were they REALLY different?

    So if a covering-loving non-confusable person is that confunded* by the blasted things, I can only guess at the kind of ‘eh?’ going on for people who find it harder.

    It’s kind of a funny reverse that I always look for clothes that are the opposite of loose! I’ve discovered that’s the best type of unter-jilbab wear. Ah, jilbab! Makes life so much less complicated. So do shalwar kameez, for in the house.**

    * I meant that.
    ** Ask Noor!

  3. April 26, 2010 1:20 pm

    Ditherspaz? That one is a keeper!

    It’s easy when you have a husband – you can tell by the horrified look on his face when you emerge from getting dressed.

    Also, I think the modesty is sort of fluid, it evolves (hopefully, I guess for some it devolves) over time, often over a lifetime. I see converts or cultural Muslims who are newly practicing going from style to style. Once you start down that path, the natural haya of Islam begins to become your own personal haya and your adab, actions, clothing reflect that.

    At least that is my theory, and so is possibly flawed.

  4. May 3, 2010 4:00 pm

    Well said Saya, the whole point of hijab is not to just cover the head but your body hence why we Muslims dress modestly well we try at least and we can only give them the benefit of the doubt but what really made my heart sink was when I saw a young musilmah wearing hijab but also with see through leggings I thought to myself there’s something seriously wrong with this picture:/does she not realize she’s practically naked Subhanallah I was totally dishearted I was totally and utterly gobbed smacked I wanted to pull her aside and give her some dawah as a fellow muslimah but then her bus came and she got on it…sad thing is these days most ppl don’t know the meaning of modsety i pray Allah guides us, ameen.

    P.S. Sorry for the long reply I just rememberd that outta no where great post though!

    P.P.S. My lil sis wears skinny jeans under her abaya and I think it refelects her own personal style but it rocks hmmm must be a London thing!

    • May 4, 2010 12:07 pm

      The funniest WORSTEST thing I’ve ever seen was one time when I was living in Egypt, and we went to the airport to collect someone. A young woman arrived – beautiful hijab, Egyptian ‘shabaab’ style…and a miniskirt. A REALLY mini miniskirt, I am not kidding. I was just like ‘…? …? … …!?’ Totally blew my mind. I think you’re right – a lot of people don’t know why they’re doing it anymore – some people think hijab is just covering your hair, and nothing more than that.

      Ameen to your du’a.

      PS – don’t be sorry 😀
      PPS – salaams!

      • May 6, 2010 8:55 pm

        Salam Saya, lol im not surprised i saw an old eldery woman from Egypt on Jummah one day in London she was friendly she seemed normal was covered she was having this nice conversation with my mum and after Jummah was over we were going home all of a sudden i see the same woman with a over the knee skirt without her hijab Subhanllah i couldnt belive it…maybe i thought i was wrong but nooooo it was her:( well i suppose everyone has their tests in this dunya….

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