“Aren’t You Hot in That?” – My First Summer in Hijab
By Holly Garza
July 14, 2009
As-salamu Alaykum! This just means “peace be upon you” or, in Spanish, “La paz sea con usted”.
Am I hot in my headscarf with covered arms and legs? Yes, I am hot, but I’m not any hotter than you not covering like I do. Honestly, at times I’m even four to six degrees cooler than you.
Now, a few degrees cooler will not make me feel cool in 95 degree weather, but I am not really suffering much more than someone who is not covered. This I know for a fact.
At home I do not dress this way, and when I go out to the back yard with my daughter to hang laundry, boy, does the sun bite and eat at my skin, I get very hot and very itchy very quickly from the sun.
These are some tips I use to avoid the all-feared heat stroke, and you can use them too to stay comfortable in the summer.
1- Stay hydrated. I force myself to drink that water. You have to and besides, it’s great for your skin and hair.
2- Use sunscreen on your face and carry an umbrella to make your own shade. We all know the umbrella makes it at least 2-3 degrees cooler, and you can try staying to the side of the road with trees as well.
What I do to dress Islamically, and stay somewhat comfortable, is to dress in appropriately light and loose clothing whenever I can. Wide-leg pants let the heat out, and a gentle breeze in, every now and then. I admit that I don’t have many of these, but they make all the difference. Currently I am purchasing more for my wardrobe.
Underneath my tanks, or dressy short-sleeved shirts, I like wearing a long-sleeved, super thin, white, or very light-colored, garment. It helps so much in this weather to wear light, breathable fabrics.
I have three main shirts I always wear: a white long-sleeved shirt of super thin material, a grey long-sleeved shirt also of super thin material, or a thin off-white turtleneck. These shirts compliment 90% of my clothing colors and styles and are perfect for the heat.
You are probably thinking long sleeves = HOT. But not really, just try it. The real truth is, light-colored and loose-fitting articles of clothing which reflect heat are much better for keeping cool than bare legs and bare arms. And I don’t know about you, but I burn easily in the sun’s harsh rays.
Honestly, it’s perfect because I cover my skin from sun damage, and because the fabric actually is breathable, I get the random cool breeze. So while its still very warm outside, I’m not burning up or catching a sun burn.
And the best thing is that I can be identified as a Muslim. If it gets very hot for me, I remind myself that even if I take it off, it won’t really make me any less hot. And there is only so much clothing you can remove; I’m not about to go into work wearing a bikini, so why not be an Islamically-dressed woman and proud?
I love for the world to know that I’m Muslim; it’s a huge part of who I am and I love the questions I get because of it. I don’t want to take off my little super thin scarf over two extra degrees of heat. Why should I?
I’ll keep my sleeved, breezy, non sun-burned scarf-wearing self and be happy.