I have been asked by several expatriates this question, what women wear under Abaya in Saudi Arabia? well there are as many answers to this question as the number of women wearing Abayas in Saudi Arabia. What do they really wear depends upon several factors like weather, mood, fashion, personal preference and blab la. You cannot generalize that women wear that particular dress under Abayas. Normally whatever a woman is wearing under Abaya, no one gets to know about it. This is a positive point for women as they don’t need to think a lot before leaving the house. Well, this is something positive for men as well as they don’t have to wait a lot.
Every woman in Saudi Arabia is obligated to wear abaya irrespective of the religion and country she belongs to. What women really wear under abaya also depends upon the mindset from which she belongs. A more religious girl or woman will be covering her hands with the gloves, will be wearing veil upon her face and wearing full dress under abayas. If they are wearing jeans shirt, it will be fully covered dress so that if some part of abaya gets opened due to wind or while walking, no part of their body is exposed to outsiders. You can easily identify such women in the malls.
Women who are a bit open-minded or some women who belong to western countries wear less covered dress under abaya. If you ask the same question from a taxi driver, what women wear under abaya in Saudi Arabia? They would say, “women in Saudi Arabia don’t wear anything under abaya”. But there is no reality in that. These taxi drivers or like minded people if see bare legs of some women under the abayas as they are wearing shorts, they assume that they don’t wear anything. Some modern women wear skirts, maxis, shorts and capris under their abaya.
Well, I don’t think there is anything wrong in wearing whatever they want to wear under abaya. Let’s say, if a girl is going to gym she is not required to wear full fledge dress under her abaya. She can wear her exercise dress and go there. Wearing abaya is obligated in Saudi Arabia but there is no rule regarding what to wear under the abaya.