The abaya has been a two edged sword so far.
We hadn't gone anywhere or done anything since we moved here and were heading to the mall shopping one day. I thought, "I've done the ironing and I have a few nice shirts ready to go. I feel like looking nicer than old gym clothes today. I'll dress up." I got on some earrings and cute shorts. Then I realized it was a total waste of my ironing to wear it that day. We were heading into public which means I would have to be covered the entire day. I would just sweat and wrinkle it all up. So I threw on a t-shirt and long pants and off we went. The abaya has completely destroyed any internal drive to try to look good or pick out a nice outfit. And if you know me, that desire was often low anyway.
We had been told the kids will love some of the local food here called shwarmas. Fresh off the boat newbies that we are we decided to give it a go. We called the driver and went to the only place we had noticed where we could probably get some because it had in enormous letters on the side of the building that said "SHWARMA." Pretty safe bet. We went in the family entrance and it was pretty apparent it was a much nicer place than we had bargained for. Luckily Brian was still in a nice button up shirt and slacks from work. The kids were in t-shirts and such but kids sort of get a pass all the time anyway. I however had a neon orange running shirt and super old shorts I had nabbed from someone's salvation army donation box 10 years ago...BUT I also had an abaya. So no one was the wiser I was woefully underdressed for a fancy pants restaurant like that. Plus, families eat in booths and draw a curtain so you are fully isolated from the world. Score one for the abaya!