Going for Hajj? Congrats!
But have you made your packing list too? A major part of your Hajj packing will be your clothing. Ladies, what are you going to wear?
During the pilgrimage you want to be modest and in comfortable clothes that don't distract you from worship. And although white isn't mandatory for women to wear during Hajj, most women still choose to wear it.
When deciding what your Hajj outfit (Ehram) will consist of, there are a number of things to consider. As you will wear the ehram many times, get at least three sets of the outfit you decide on, and extra pairs of socks and underclothes.
Bright Sunlight + White = Recipe for Disaster?
White is a tricky color to wear, so you will have to choose a fabric that will not be so thick that you boil, but that isn't so thin that it's showing your skin. Keep in mind you'll be outdoors much of the time, in the hot Arabian sunlight. Don't risk anything that will be even a bit sheer! Your best bet will be to dress in lightweight white layers that will conceal without being too hot.
Layer white underclothes, white lightweight socks, white thin cotton pants and a t-shirt, a white closed-front jelbab/abaya or long-sleeved loose dress, and a big white hijab that you don't have to fuss over.
Forget about any complicated shayla wrapping, you want something you can quickly put on, in a breathable cotton-blend, and something that will cover your chest too. A waist-length prayer hijab with elastic is a convenient option that covers well in almost every situation.
Whatever hijab you choose, don't forget to wear a white under-scarf cap for hair control. Trust us, you'll need it!
Aside from the clothes, what you wear with them should also be chosen carefully.
Backpacks are great for keeping your things in (be warned though, you will have to walk long distances with that bag, so don't overload it!), but their straps expose the outline of the chest when worn over a hijab. If you must use a backpack, pick a scarf that will cover properly.
Better yet, instead of lugging around a backpack, use a crossover/messenger bag whose strap you can keep under the hijab. You can also keep the bag in front of you that way, which will be more convenient for getting things out of.
Remember, you will not be able to take messenger bags and backpacks into Masjidul Haraam. Your group will probably provide very small bags for you which can be used for that time, and they may be the same bags used to collect stones at Muzdalifah.
Another important choice you will have to make is what shoes you will wear during Hajj. For women to cover their feet is part of hijab, according to almost all the Religious Authorities. This rule still applies during Hajj time.
So flip-flops (unless you plan to wear them with socks!) will not do for women.
If you have sneakers or walking shoes at home already, take those. But it's best not to take something with laces that you'll have to spend time tying, as shoe areas will be crowded and time will be very limited. Wear something you can slip on and off easily, and that will stand up to wet washroom floors when you need to do wudhu somewhere.
Hajj definitely isn't a time to be concerned about looks, so if you find them comfortable, Crocs can be a great choice. Tennis shoes (without laces you need to tie) work well too. If you're buying shoes especially for Hajj, you can get them in white, or since they will get sand and dust on them often, you may consider a grayish-beige color.
If you already own comfortable shoes, by all means go ahead and use them, don't worry about matching.
A Final Note
Looking stylish is not something to be thinking about during Hajj. The preparation we're discussing right now is to ensure sure you're looking modest and feeling comfortable, so you can concentrate on the acts of Hajj and not on your pinching shoes. Yes, you will be getting tired from the huge amount of walking anyway, we will warn you from now. But that's part of the experience!
Stay cool, stay calm, and enjoy the trip of a lifetime.