Last Updated: Thu May 12, 2011 00:45 am (KSA) 21:45 pm (GMT)

Blog by Mimi Raad: What’s with Arab women and fashion?

Mimi Raad, stylist and image consultant. (File Photo)
Mimi Raad, stylist and image consultant. (File Photo)

Like all Arab women—correction, like all women—I am having one of those days.

This is one of those days when you think nothing suits you and just feel miserable about it. And then I thought to myself, why not make it a sort of academic style day: I'll wear my Dita frames, a loose shirt style dress by “April, May,” and give it a bright fluorescent touch with my Marc By Marc Jacobs sandals and Balenciaga tote. All day long, inspired by the style, women around me at work, at Al Arabiya studios, sought continuously for advice on what to wear and how to wear issues.

Arab and Mediterranean women—a large number of them—are blessed with great skin and hair, but we have more of a tendency than European ones to have either big hips, or big busts, large pelvis or heavy legs. On my style-help mission for the day, the following women were challenging and, hopefully, the suggested style tips can be an inspiration for women who will identify their own shapes.

Case One: K, who has a pear shaped body, hates her legs and big hips. I advised her to wear a military-style jacket with strong shoulders to flatter her top half and balance out the difference between her top and bottom. A utility-style slouchy silk dress and a layered look (long top under a cropped jacket) will help K to emphasize a small waist.

Case Two: D has an athletic body. She has broad shoulders and a short body with a wide waist. What works for D is to wear brightly colored belt to highlight her waist. She should opt for nude shade, one of the trendiest shades for this season, and team it with bright accessories. Fitted shapes look better on her as long as she emphasizes her waist.

Case Three: G has a big tummy and large chest. She’s completely lost her self-confidence. I convinced her to adopt a Bohemian style; big women don’t have to stick to plain colors. A strong print will break up the silhouette. Layering few different tops is a great trick in case you can’t find pieces that fit perfectly. Fabulous boho-deluxe accessories, like a fringed bag and big bold jewelry (my favorite), will give G that extra shot of confidence.

Case Four: Now F has an apple shaped body, she likes her legs and upper body but hates her wide midsection. Loose dresses around the middle but short enough to show some legs would be the best solution for an apple shape. Bold prints and printed tunic shapes in loose silk will skim her midriff. Jumpsuits can be an option too, as long as they bag over the waist to disguise the stomach.

Case Five: R has a heavy top. She complains she can never wear tight tops. The only dress that works for a top-heavy woman is the Grecian-style dress with some draping that would help balance the body shape. Draped fabrics soften a big bust. Always pick a V-neck and avoid too much volume. Slouchy harem pants are key shape for this season, and they’re great for balancing out the top and bottom in R's case.

No more energy left in me. My five women drained all of it. A power nap will recharge my batteries. Ouff! I am going to take a nap. A nap, after all, is part of Mediterranean and Arab culture!

(Mimi Raad of Al Arabiya can be reached at: mimi.raad@mbc.net)

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