For many years like most of this region's cultural expressions, I have been enamoured with Middle Eastern women's fashions. The Middle East is synonymous with modesty, but I dare say it is the kind of modesty that is greatly needed in the West and more importantly, a modesty, which showcases a woman's true beauty without the West's default strategy of objectifying her.
With that said, one of the most fundamental components of Middle Eastern style that makes it so beautiful is the fit- a characteristic that should be the foundation of all style, but sadly is not.
How many times in the West have we seen women squeeze themselves into sizes too small shirts and pants, particularly jeans that come up short at the back?
It is so normal, you would think that is what true style was intended to be. That is until you venture across to the Middle East.
Middle Eastern women wear everything fit to perfection. Of course this is not a stuck on fit. Rather, it is a fit that skims and hides but also accentuates... slightly. Ever so slightly.
The roll of her hips may not be emphasised; neither the heaviness of her bottom or bosom. But her strength and esteem as seen in her profile, core and gait are. Fashion is crafted in such a way that Middle Eastern women glide across the room with a daintiness encapsulating true femininity but not sacrificing a showcase of her strength in presence and conviction of her, religious or cultural identity.
I needed some pants.
So when this moment in time came, I was excited to finally have an 'excuse' to reach out to a tailor. Why a tailor and not a seamstress? Well, to be honest I don't think anyone can do pants like a tailor. No offense ladies.
But in a Middle Eastern region, securing the services of a man to make trousers could be tricky. I needed help.
Sure enough, a friend's husband volunteered to introduce me to his personal tailor.
Picking me up we drove to the tailor located on one of the most enchanting streets I had ever seen. I would later learn that it was lined with mainly tailors and seamstresses.
"Pockets, you need pockets"
Even with a Turkish person assisting me, I, in an effort to make the process easier, had brought a pair of pants that could be used as a pattern to make the new one. It was my best flat front dress pants outside of full of suits and I thought it was pretty fly as it was already.
Presenting it to the tailor, a man who had a permanent smile on his face, accessorised with a couple days old silver and black beard and moustache matching his hair, he advised that I try it on.
Dressed in my fly pants, he immediately began to adjust the length of the pants, indicating it was too long by an inch.
Grateful for his expertise, I indicated through my friend that I wanted a pants made just like this.
Expecting the next part of the process to be the taking of measurements, he surprised me by challenging what my friend had translated to him.
Both men showing signs of slight unease at the possibility of disappointing me, my friend somewhat apprehensively turned to me and asked, "Pockets?"
"What about them?"
The pants that I had brought to be used as a pattern had none.
Looking me up and down, the tailor repeated what he has just said, this time shaking his head in a way indicative of a man who understood his craft even though it was now being practised on a woman.
"He says that you NEED pockets."
Being an inverted pyramid in figure, my hips are very slight in relation to my shoulders.
I didn't realise that pockets would help to disguise this imperfection. Furthermore, that this tailor would so readily pick up on my body's unique characteristic and more importantly seek to advise me on how best to accommodate it.
Again, grateful for his expertise and integrity of craftsmanship, I agreed.
"Are you sure?", confirmed my friend.
"Yes, I trust him," I assured.
Standing with my legs slightly apart and hands away from my body, expecting to be measured, they looked at my quizzically as I stared back in anticipation.
The expression of their look never changed and so after one minute I finally realised that the idea of the tailor measuring me, with or without a pants to use as a pattern was never going to happen. Never.
After confirming material and colour we sat and enjoyed some Turkish tea- they engaging in light banter.
As they engaged in conversation my thoughts were still stuck on the idea of not being measured. Slowly doubts began to creep in, but I was willing to take the risk.
One week later...
I picked up both pants and was eager to try them on.
Trying on the newly made pants, I was spellbound. It was an absolutely perfect fit. If he used the other pants as a pattern, he definitely did so altering whatever imperfections he had found on that pants to make this new one. I have never had a pants fit so perfectly.
The flat front length and fit around my waist and hips were spot on, snug to perfection.
But could it pass the sit test.
So many times pants look flawless while standing, but that ideal image is often demolished as soon as any attempt is made to sit; leaving half of your butt hanging out.
I sat slowly almost scared for my anticipated emotion of disappointment to be realised.
I sat and immediately knew even without the help of a mirror that everything was intact, the pants not seeming to shift off my waist the least bit, hugged my frame without having its length compromised thereby keeping my ankles and soles of my feet hidden.
A few minutes later after cat-walking in front of my full length mirror, I stood shaking my head in amazement at the tailor's craftsmanship as I placed the pants on a hanger saying to myself "And not even with a spawning of the fingers."