With a silhouette that flares gradually from the hips to the hemline – however low it may fall — the A-line skirt is a modest fashion choice that flatters almost every figure. With such obvious advantages, you might think that the A-line has been around forever. But while maxi-length flared skirts were standard Edwardian era and made a comeback in the midi- and knee-length skirts of the 1930s and 40s, you may be interested to know that the A-line owes its name to the famous French fashion designer Christian Dior, who made it the centerpiece of his Spring Collection in 1955.
Dior’s A-line was a very specific: a flaring skirt topped by a smooth waistline and leading up to narrow shoulders. Dior was famous for dressing his models in chic little jackets, and his signature A-line outfit followed along these lines, with a small-shouldered jacket which flared slightly at the hip, and covered an even-more-widely flaring skirt.
In 1958 Yves Saint Laurent introduced a variation on the Dior A-line look, which he called his “Trapeze” line. Maintaining Dior’s wide shoulder-to-hemline flare, this collection skimmed past the waist without defining it, creating dresses that – looked at with a modern eye – seem like a comical meeting point between high fashion and maternity wear!
Yves Saint Laurent’s dramatic “Trapese” dresses did not have much impact on the popular market, but soon, less extreme A-line skirts and dresses were everywhere – an on everyone.
A-line skirts are still a popular choice for modern women looking for modest, yet fashionable wardrobe staples – no matter what their body type. With a waist defined by darts or seams, the A-line skirt falls gently over the hips, making it flattering for large-hipped women whose contours are balanced out by the wide hemline. Women who have top-heavy figures like how A-line designs de-emphasize their upper body, suggesting more of an hourglass shape. Finally, slim, small-hipped women also benefit from the A-line look, which adds a touch of curvaceous definition, without giving up on modesty.
Cropped Tank Top
Leafing through the clothing racks at the average department store, women who choose to dress modestly sometimes don’t find much to choose from. Tops are a particular source of trouble, because so many of the available shirts are designed with necklines that reveal too much cleavage.
But there’s good news – a low-cut top can be brought up to standard, so you don’t have to pass it by after all. If you’ve found a shirt that works in terms of its color, fabric, sleeve and hem design, there are plenty of ways to doctor the neckline, so it can become a real asset to your modest wardrobe.
Here are 5 neckline fixes to try:
- Head out to the thrift store and purchase a colorful tank top that harmonizes with the color of the top you want to adjust. Look for something that’s much too small – a children’s tank will do. Then cut out a triangle that can be sewn inside that plunging neckline. You can also attach this add-on coverage with snaps, to allow for different color combinations.
Kosher Casual’s TeeNeck®
- For a more delicate look, a lace-edged triangle will do the trick. This will also dress up a casual top.
- If you don’t have the time or inclination to get out needle and thread, commercially-available neckline extenders known as “TeeNecks” are a great option. Pop these over your head, then wear the shirt you need to fix on top. TeeNecks give you the coverage you need, without adding bulk.
- Layering that low-cut top over another shirt is an obvious way to breach the gap between the fashion designer’s vision and your standards of modesty. If the weather’s cool, layering a full shirt can add cozy comfort. It not, choose a cropped top. Cropped tops are built to stay stably in place, while adding coverage only where it’s needed.
- Sometimes skimpy tank tops – the type you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing in public – can actually serve as a modesty solution. Try wearing a tank top backwards as an under-layer (after removing any tags that might show). This brings the neckline up to where you need it, and turns a low-cut shirt into the basis for an outfit you’ll be happy to wear.
Classic, casual and oh-so comfortable. For me, denim skirts are a wardrobe staple. Not only do they get me out of the house in the morning – looking good – denim skirts get me through the day with style that can be dialed up or down, depending on the occasion.
Notice that I said denim “skirts”, meaning more than one. While some people might dismiss denim skirts as just Levis without the legs, there’s actually a wide range of denim skirt styles out there.
So don’t settle. Instead of choosing just a “generic” denim skirt, make the most of this fashion essential by shopping for designs that look best on your body, and fit your individual fashion style.
Classic Details – Or Not
The classic blue denim work pants created by Levi Strauss have become a symbol of America, and also create a classic template from which to launch your own fashion statement. Pair it with anything from a t-shirt to a cashmere turtleneck, choose an eye-catching belt or let your top skim over the waistband, and you’re in business.
Some women prefer a smooth, pocket-free look, and in this department, denim skirts can also fit the bill. A hidden zipper on the side or in the center of the back make this type of denim skirt the basis of a casual, yet elegant silhouette.
Beyond Blue, Beyond Denim
Denim skirt materials vary, and you can make the most of your outfit by choosing the one that works for you. Heavy denim can be “doctored” with a touch of spandex, or replaced altogether with a stretch twill that provides the denim skirt look, without the bulk. You can also find denim skirts with full spandex waistbands, designed to be hidden under an un-tucked top.
From light to dark blue, to black, to every color of the rainbow – you can find denim skirt styles that “push the fashion envelope” while still giving you the classic, casual look you adore.
Special Style Options
If you – or your daughter – want a kicky alternative to classic, try a ruffle denim skirt, or a tiered cut that takes denim to a new and interesting level.
Denim skirts can also be distinctive on the long and short ends of the scale. Some floor-length denim skirts are built from vertical panels that add style, while flattering fuller figures. If you feel comfortable with a higher hemline, a denim skirt’s everyday appeal allows you the option of pairing it with leggings, colorful tights or – especially in winter – a fabulous pair of boots.
In short (or in long) – denim skirts help you make the most out of what’s already in your closet, by giving you a flexible jumping-off point for fashion, creativity and fun. Enjoy!
Women who choose to dress modestly come from all kinds of backgrounds, and their reasons for dressing modestly vary. Moreover, a commitment to modesty can harmonize with a huge range of styles and personal tastes in fashion. So the question remains: what does it actually mean to dress modestly?
If there’s one “golden rule” that sums up dressing modestly, it’s this: your clothing choice should enhance your attractiveness as a total person, rather than attracting the eye to one particular part of your body.
Think about it – a hemline that’s just a little too short draws eyes downward toward your legs. Heels that are just a little too showy and high can do the same thing for your ankles, even if your knees and lower legs are modestly covered. And of course, an overly-revealing neckline will make your chest the star of the show.
While all of these fashion faux-pas are problematic in terms of the rules of modesty – however we define them – the greater problem is how this type of immodest dressing causes us to be seen as a collection of body parts, rather than a dignified, and attractive human soul.
There’s no question that our clothing choices affect the way the world sees us. That’s why modest dressing is so important – it creates a beautiful “frame” for showcasing the beauty we all hold inside.
“Attractive, Not Attracting” – A Strategy for Teens and Parents
Teaching the benefits of this fashion philosophy to our daughters can be difficult, especially when we don’t want to get into power struggles about modesty. So here’s another shorthand method for determining an outfit’s overall modesty quotient.
Ask your daughter to look into the mirror and answer the following question for herself: Is what I’m wearing “attractive” or “attracting”?
Even without getting into a discussion of specifics (or taking a disciplinary ruler to her shirtsleeve!), most girls recognize that subjective moment when clothing crosses over into impropriety. This little exercise will also help her form a firm foundation of self-respect, knowing that she understands and controls that fine line between wearing an outfit that enhances her beauty and expresses her spirit, and wearing one that advertises her “availability”.
As a modest dresser, I insist on sensible coverage. But I also insist on a look that is feminine, not frumpy. My favorite way to approach this challenge is to accentuate the positive – that is, the naturally attractive curve of the female waist.
Let’s be clear here: I’m not talking about waist-whittling undergarments, or fabrics that cling so tight that they leave nothing to the imagination. Whether you’re choosing a skirt, dress or top, a tailored, waist-skimming treatment of your midriff can add dignity, and even a touch of glamour.
Let’s look at some of the options.
Ruched Waistbands: The Vintage Advantage
Remember those glamorous gals in the Hollywood movies of the 40s and 50s? You don’t have to look like Rita Hayworth to benefit from the way that gently gathered material at the waist creates an instant hourglass shape, while drawing attention away from both the bosom and the hips.
This type of waistband adds a touch of elegance and interest in everything from a full-length dress to a casual skirt or top.
Spandex is a Girl’s Best Friend
Forget full-body spandex – skin-tight leotards and tights are just not my style. But a little spandex goes a long way, especially when it’s hidden at the waistline.
I love the comfort that comes from a spandex waistband. Not only does it allow me to adjust the length of a skirt with just a little tug, it’s designed to be tucked away under a hip-skimming or tailored top. This gives me a look that’s curvaceous… not flirtatious!
High Waisted Comfort
They say that a waist is a terrible thing to mind. Still, I admit: some days, I’d rather dress in a way that leaves my curves to the imagination. For an easy, flowing feeling, try a high-waisted skirt that adds a little swing to your step. This high waisted, mid-calf pencil skirt is ultra-feminine and helps me step out in confidence.