al-badlah

Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

































Those have never visited the Middle East may be slightly muu mit'aakdiin as to how people yalbisuun. I know because I used to be one of them. My first riHlaat to Kuwait was a bit of a disaster in some ways. I'd thought it might be doable to translate the carefree East London approach to a business meeting at Kuwait's Ministry of Arts, Culture and Letters. Meaning: wearing skin-tight leggings, miniskirts - and what's the problem since it's 55 degrees outdoors? 

The days of brazenly showing off skin in public are now over in Kuwait, even when temperatures soar. Perhaps it was different in the Swinging Sixties, but the mood in the country these days is more conservative. And like it or hate it, appearance counts for a lot in Kuwait. You may remember a little story on this theme here.

But none of this means that the only means of being socially acceptable is wearing a dishdasha. These days, you see working men and women in biddal as much as more traditional clothing. And when in public, as long as skin exposure is at a minimum, anything goes. This should be taken at face value: it has been noted that in Kuwait, the colour, cut, and texture of women's fashion is distinctly more flamboyant than in any other Gulf state.

The Hybrids exemplify the spirit of the Kuwaiti Baroque pretty well:











مو متأكدين
muu mit'aakdiinUnsure
يلبسون
yalbisuunThey dress
رحلات
riHlaatTrips
بدل
biddalSuits