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Saudi Women Are Pushing the Limits of What They Can Wear

  • A small number are forgoing the all-covering abaya cloak
  • New rules for foreign visitors keep Saudi women in gray area
Mashael bin Jaloud in Riyadh on Sept. 24.
Mashael bin Jaloud in Riyadh on Sept. 24.

Photographer: Vivian Nereim/Bloomberg

Updated on

Munira Al Mutairi sometimes wonders what it would be like to leave her house without covering herself in an abaya, the shape-covering cloak that Saudi women wear in public.

“It would be a kind of liberation,” she said at a private residential compound in Riyadh where a group of women were smoking hookah, another taboo. “I don’t want anyone to put conditions on me -- that you’re a woman, you have to be like this, don’t show your face.”