You can leave the Dhahran Tower dressed conservatively. Loose clothing: long dress, not low cut, that goes to the ankles and sleeves that are 3/4 length or long sleeve or with a jacket or loose pants and a loose, but not low cut, blouse that covers your hips and elbows 3/4 or long sleeves or with a jacket.
Or you can wear an abaya, what ever you are comfortable with.
Pat1703, Pat - vPainter answered your question in the prior post.
In other words, No - she doesn't have to wear an abaya. There are a few women that wear conservative, loose covering clothing outside the camp. But in my judgement, they are a distinct minority - somewhere on the order of 5% or fewer. The vast majority of expat women choose to wear an abaya when outside of Aramco (or other expat) compounds.
What we have observed - the wives and teens are not wearing an abaya in the tower or on the grounds (we go out frequently with the dog). But once heading outside tower property (unless heading to Dhahran camp) the wives we have talked to say "it's just easier to put the abaya on and go. draws less attention and you can wear whatever you are most comfortable with underneath." None of wives I have talked to are overly bothered by it - can be warm mind you...When we went to buy our abayas we wore long black skirt and shirt to mall. There are a couple abaya shops right inside Saco World entrance.
Hi all, We are moving to KSA in October and as a woman I am nervous about what to expect!! How are you all finding life there? Is it hard to get used to? especially having to wear the Abaya? Can you buy cotton Abaya there? Niamh
I've never seen Cotton Abayas here in Saudi. I think they would stick to your clothes too much. The best material for abayas is Japanese Silk, but mostly you will find synthetic materials. In the summer months, you'll find very thin, light abayas, and in the winter time, you'll find thicker, heavier materials. There are tons of abaya shops, so you can have fun shopping for a new abaya.
I love wearing abaya because I can wear pajamas when I go out of the house if I want!