I try, I do really try to dress more modestly. I try not to wear jeans every day, I try to wear shirts and coats long enough to cover my butt. I try to find shirts with sleeves long enough to reach my wrists. And I even try to wear jilbabs...
They just don't look right on me.
What? They don't!
It never fails--if I do wear a jilbab, I inevitably get compliments on my appearance. I've been described as not just looking nice, but "dolled up!" despite the absence of even an ounce of make-up or any attempt to beautify myself. One sister even offered me "Mabrook!" the first time she saw me wear one, which confused me so much I had to ask her "for what?" with a bizarre facial expression of puzzled shock. And the compliments are good... it makes it easier for me to wear the funny-looking jilbab instead of jeans, and is subtle encouragement even though I think I look dumb.
But I have these problems. First of all, I have practically zero budget to spend on clothes. The last items I have bought were underwear, socks (both out of necessity), a pair of pants, and two shirts. The last three items totaled about $10--and I didn't buy them all at once, either. Most recently it was just a shirt that I found for $1. One dollar. I say that to emphasize that I don't really buy clothes that often. And jilbabs are expensive--$30-60. So if in two months I have spent a combined total of maybe $20 (all the aforementioned items) on clothes... that means it would take me about 6 months of saving to be able to afford a jilbab, new.
Another problem with buying a jilbab, is that it's a little difficult to come by my size. Any jilbab I find is always a few inches to short at the hem, and at the sleeves, assuming that it's even big enough around. So if I can find my size, that means it is on the upper end of the price spectrum. And I don't want to wear something that is cheap and poor quality--especially if it is a jilbab which covers everything, shoulders to toes. It should look nice, shouldn't it?
I can't say that it's hard to find jilbabs around here--it is hard to find them in my size--but with how easy it is to buy clothes online, that isn't really excuse. Although, that does add to the expense sometimes, and makes it difficult to be assured of the fit until it arrives.
Now despite all of that, I do own a handful of jilbabs--hand-me-downs, mostly, plus a gift, and one I bought myself at a convention--and that one, of course, is my favorite, and the only one I think actually looks good on me. After all, that's why I bought it! But among the others that I own, none fit particularly well, all are too short at the hem and most in the sleeves as well. A couple are the button-up style which I really don't like, but I wear them anyway, sometimes.
Usually when I wear them, though, it's because I'm going to the masjid, and my other "modest" clothes are dirty. I don't like wearing jilbabs to work, or out in public, I feel like I never can match it with a scarf, but I do sometimes wear them anyway--and get compliments, so strange. When I am wearing these jilbabs I have, I feel uncomfortable and I feel like I am dressed lazily, and not very put-together. I don't really like that feeling, I would rather look neat and professional, but the jilbabs just don't make me feel that way at all--mostly because of the bad fit (and often, the fabric color.)
So while I do try to dress modestly, and I honestly feel more comfortable wearing a dress or skirt over top of my jeans that just a shirt, the jilbab is a style I prefer to stay far away from--since most of those I own makes me very uncomfortable and self-conscious about my appearance. I just wish it weren't such a fight for me.