“Never underestimate the power of a good belt.”

I’ve seldom come across a belted look that doesn’t come across as chic. Belts just complete an ensemble in a very subtle yet effective way, which makes for particular sartorial interest-something we all aim for. Lately I’ve really been into super-slim belts, I’m not sure whether it’s because it makes me feel a little taller, or slimmer, or maybe even both, but they look so elegant and tie (no pun intended) my entire look together just the way I want it to. I snapped up this set of three belts from Forever New recently on a recent trip to Jo’burg, and I am in love with them all! What makes these ones stand out is that the colours are so versatile. I KNOW I’m going to get fashion miles out of them because the neutral colours they’re in are perfect for the colour trends available right now, and I have a feeling they’re going to follow through for years to come. Black (obviously), white, and rose gold-three of my absolute favourite colours, with a beautifully embossed design, and excellent quality gold hardware make them a winner for me. I already have several outfits in mind for these babies! How would you wear them?


The Ramadhaan Thoub | Caftan

I cannot believe how quickly Ramadhaan has passed by. It seems like just a few days ago that we were preparing for this month, both physically as well as psychologically, and yet here we are, with barely a week to spare before Eid. I had planned to write and publish this post a while back, but spare time in Ramadhaan, as I know you are all aware, is at a premium.

During Ramadhaan tradition has it that we are invited to have iftar with family and friends, and I often find myself in a dilemma of what to wear. Of course, I could just slip on an abaya, but since I like to savour the specialness of a beautiful black abaya on Eid, I like to dress a little more casually, without taking away from the occasion of dressing up to go out. Enter the Ramadhaan thoub, or caftan. There are many options available in the Middle East, but not very much here in a South Africa, unfortunately. I wonder if it is the level of intricacy of the work on the caftans, or the sheer lack of demand for the garments that renders them so scarce here, but I feel like there could definitely be a market for them, should the right styles and designs come our way.

I’ve put together a few looks that I’ve been collecting for some time, which I think work perfectly for this month, in keeping with an Islamic heritage and lifestyle, with a modern twist. I would love to know what you think of these:

I hope you’re having a truly blessed Ramadhaan so far, and will catch up with you soon, in sha Allah!
Love, A’irah

Iftar Palate: Mediterranean Salad

During the month of Ramadhaan, we have a tradition of eating iftar as a big family, so we all gather at my in-laws’ place, aka ‘the big house’ for the evening meal. I’m lucky to have sisters-in-law who refuse to allow me to cook in this month, because I’m raising a small baby as well as studying at the same time. But that still cannot keep me out of the kitchen, and I usually take along something savoury and something sweet to start with and end off the meal.

Ramadhaan brings out the most unhealthy in us, especially in our household where savouries are the order of the day, followed by something slightly more substantial. Unfortunately, come middle of the month, and I’m heartily sick of it all. So…not being able to look at another samoosa for at least a week, I decided to break the rules and go for a salad instead.

I found this somewhat-different-sounding recipe on one of the whatsapp groups I’m on, (the ladies there prepare the most delicious-looking things, and are kind enough to share their secrets!) so I thought this would make a fantastic starter. My adapted Mediterranean Salad is full of exotic flavours, and they come together on the palate in the most wondrous way. The tastes of olives, brinjals, peppers, tomato, feta, herbal mints and corianders, and added to all this the sweetness of dates, all fuse to perform this anomalous sensation in the mouth, which is the best way I can describe it. Served with Greek yoghurt with a sprinkling of arabic Dukkah powder, this makes for a unique and interesting start to the iftar meal.

It’s something very different to what I’m used to, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. Interestingly, I never ate brinjals before because I didn’t care much for the taste, and only recently (as in a few months ago) began eating it after tasting one that was almost-burnt to a crisp. It goes very well in this salad, and is definitely worth a try!

Here’s how to make it:

*Featured image courtesy of S.

Aswad & The Abaya

The abaya holds a special place for me. I could wax lyrical about how it is an expression of my faith, or that it is a symbol of modesty, etc etc. While it is all true, they are not the reasons. I just find it beautiful. I didn’t always feel this way though. I was the type of person who waited for Eid, and then would buy something exclusive, so by deduction, I had about two new abayas a year, which I would wear during the year as well. There were the exceptions, of course, such as a special occasion, or when I travelled abroad to the Middle East, where I treated myself to a few special pieces. Fast-forward to present day, and my abaya collection has steadily grown to one I am pleased to call my own, Alhamdulillah.

I think a black abaya is the most elegant piece of clothing a woman can wear. If you don’t believe me, take a look at Italian haute couturier duo Dolce & Gabbana’s special Ramadan/Eid designs, as an example. While it never needed anyone’s endorsement anyway, it just proved to the world that the abaya is one piece of clothing that is a force on its own to be reckoned with, and it is here to stay.

My own design showcase, Aswad by RDH is my own take on this piece- a celebration of the abaya. Here we allow the world to see the side to women that is so often forgotten-her mind. In sha Allah the collection will be out soon. Stay in touch with me on social media to be in the know!

For now, Ramadhaan Kareem to you all. Have a wonderful, blessed month.