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.
Some women love it when the mercury drops, because it gives them a chance to wear those heavy-duty sweaters that only come out of the closet during the coldest months of the year.
I make my clothing decisions based on both modesty, and on my personal fashion sense. Personally, I feel prettier when my clothes offer a sleek, feminine line. And guess what? Despite the red-carpet images sold to us by Madison Avenue and Hollywood – shivering celebrities in barely-there evening gowns come to mind – we women can dress fashionably in winter… and stay warm!
Women’s Tunic Top – Short Front Long Back
Let’s go from the bottom up. Modest dressers can stay toasty by relying on three-quarter and long-sleeved shell tops. These items – which, during the summer months, help bridge the gap between an outfit’s too-low necklines or too-short sleeves, and our desired coverage level – do double-duty in winter. Not only do they keep us cozy and warm, they can also add a fashionable dash of color.
When choosing what to go on top of that first layer, I like to reach for something with a graceful, interesting shape – like an unbalanced hemline or mullet cut tunic. Both these tops look great over a boot-length skirt.
Loose Knit Cardigan with Pockets
Topping it Off
There are lots of fashion-conscious options for top layers (not to be confused with outerwear; see below) in winter. From open-front cardigans to belted sweaters, they give me a modestly feminine shape, while keeping me warm.
Of course, winter weather requires a winter coat. But if you’re like me, while you don’t want to freeze, you don’t want to look like the Michelin Man, either. High-tech fabrics like Thinsulate keep the bulk down, so making belted outerwear a pretty option. So ladies, remember: whatever the forecast, think fashion!
We all have them. Those casual tops and bottoms that screamed “buy me” in the store, but – once purchased – never seem to make their way out of the closet. Dressing in layers is a great way to re-think your personal clothing inventory and make the most of what you have.
In addition to its value for rescuing under-used articles of clothing, layering is a great fashion strategy, allowing you to add interest, a dash of color, and create an entirely new look that is totally “you”.
Sleevies® 3/4 Sleeve Extensions
From the overly-generous scoop of a low-necked tee, to the skirt that rides up, to the clingy materials that highlight those love handles, there are lots of reasons that some clothes just can’t make it on their own. Rather than throwing out or donating, experiment with layered dressing strategies that accentuate each garment’s best, most attractive characteristic.
Let’s say you bought a shirt because the color goes perfectly with a hard-to-match skirt. If the shirt rides up, don’t give up! Save the situation by layering on a contrasting vest, or adding an underlayer. Many women swear by the “hippies” – a flexible layering solution that bridges the gap like a wide belt, providing coverage without adding bulk.
Layers can also come to the rescue when trying to accommodate our changing bodies. As the years go by, women who were once happy to step out in short sleeves may find that a little more coverage makes them feel more confident. Again, there’s no need for a new wardrobe. Layer your favorite tops over a sleek shell underlayer – or add “sleevie” extensions – to give your old garments a new lease on life. Along with underlayer shells (short-sleeved, long-sleeved and cropped), sleevies and hippies, other garments that can widen your layering options include:
- The cropped top or half tee– a midriff-exposing layer, meant to be worn under a longer shirt. Half tees can be found in a variety of decorative necklines that add interest to any outfit.
- Tee-necks – sometimes referred to as a “dickie”, these garments provide coverage under shirts that expose too much of the chest.
- The pencil skirt – adds length to a tunic dress or a too-short skirt. Available in almost every color, pencil skirts complement an outfit, without making too obvious a statement.
The Fashion Advantage
Layering is a great way to re-work what’s in your closet, but remember – layering is also a creative and fashionable way to dress! Choose a color scheme, and experiment with garments that you never wore together before. Shuffle up the shapes, so that each individual article of clothing can be seen. When layering, choose just one particularly interesting item to highlight – a cropped jacket, or a fabulous scarf – rather than having lots of loud layers competing for attention.
But most of all, have fun! Dressing in layers is an individual statement. So forget the rules, and enjoy building a do-it-yourself look of your very own.
Shopping for modest clothing with a buddy isn’t just fun—it could save your wardrobe. You could be one layering shirt or modest accessory away from total fashion disaster, but not if your trusty shopping buddy is there with you.
Most of us know that it’s helpful to have a friend when we hit the mall. For example, I’m a hemming-and-hawing shopper, so I need my sister with me to give me the push to actually buy something. And a good SB (Shopping Buddy)—will always answer honestly when you ask, “Does this look good on me?”
But shopping for modest clothing is extra tricky. Often, we modest dressers are creating outfits of our own design. We see an amazing sleeveless dress, just perfect for [insert name of occasion, or just day of the week, here] and we decide to “modest-ize it” by pairing it with a layering shirt underneath. Or, hmmm….would it look better with a cute cardigan on top? SB to the rescue. And because that sleeveless dress was meant to be, well, sleeveless, we’re never quite sure if the colors coordinate, if we’re “pulling off” the look. But your SB—she’ll tell you if you’re rockin’ it…or not.
Long Tank Top
Then there’s the adorable V-neck sweater with a plunging neckline. Would the black tank top look better underneath? Or the white tank top? Your SB can help you decide.
There are more and more websites out there that cater to the modest dresser. You can buy an adorable sweater without a plunging neckline. Or an amazing dress with sleeves. But we don’t want to confine ourselves to only “modest clothing” stores, wonderful as they are. We want the freedom to buy clothing from any store in the world and turn it into something we can wear, modestly and confidently.
So we stock up on bolero jackets, tank tops, cardigans and layering shirts of all shapes and sizes, to create our own “modestly modern” wardrobe. A good SB helps you find those perfect layering pieces, or a hey-I-never-would-have-thought-of-that-but-it-looks-amazing outfit.
Saving your wardrobe, one tank top at a time.
What about you? Are you a go-it-alone shopper? Or do you believe, like I do, that two shopping heads are better than one?
Quick—how many types of sleeve lengths can you name? If you can only come up with “short” and “long,” it’s time to update your slee-vocuabulary. Worn as layering shirts, shell tops or on their own, you can play around with different sleeve lengths to expand your wardrobe options.
Walk into many stores today, especially stores that specialize in modest clothing, and it’s like the Baskin Robbins of sleeve lengths. So many choices!
Let’s take a look, starting with the shortest and working our way down the arm.
- Sleeveless. This is your classic spaghetti strap shirt. Not overly modest, but it can work beautifully as a layering shirt, like underneath a V-neck sweater. Spice up your sleeveless shirt collection with the addition of a Bolero SleeveOn® mini shrug. The bolero is a comfortable, light accessory to cover those arms and shoulders without sacrificing style. A long tank top is also a perfect addition to your sleeveless wardrobe and looks great under a shrug or cardigan.
- Cap sleeve. Ahhh, cap sleeve shirts bring me back to my youth. Those cute little shirts with fluttery sleeves that j-u-u-u-st cover the shoulder! But cap sleeves don’t jive with a more modest wardrobe. For modest fashionistias, try wearing your cap sleeve shirt as a shell top under a jacket. Or, whip out your oh-so-fashionable-and-functional bolero to cover up your arms while letting your shirt sparkle.
- Short. The classic length, usually ending right below your shoulder. But no reason to write them off because you like something covering your arm. A classic short-sleeve shirt can have infinite uses: It can play shell top to a jacket, or layering shirt over a long sleeve shirt (play around with different colors and shades if you’re feeling bold.) With a short sleeve shirt, the bolero can function as an over-the-shirt jacket, or an under-the-shirt layering shirt. In the summer, when you want as few layers as possible, Sleevies® come to your rescue. A pair of Sleevies® under your short sleeve shirt creates a modest sleeve length.
- Right above the elbow. Eureka! My personal favorite, especially for summer. It covers the arm between the shoulder and elbow, but stops right above the elbow. A modest look that lets you stay cool.
- ¾ length. Different stores and different manufacturers have differing ideas about what makes a shirt “3/4 length,” so you definitely want to try it before you buy it. A shirt of this length could end anywhere from right below the elbow to right above the wrist. Go for the below the elbow length if you want the right fit. Modest and so super-easy, 3/4 length shirts are a must-have for your shirt wardrobe.
- Long. The other classic length, which comes down to your wrist. (Tall shoppers beware: Make sure the sleeve covers your wrist. I have had one too many occurrences of buying a long sleeve shirt without trying it on and seeing that it ends just above my wrist, a fashion no-no.) A fitted long sleeve top coordinates with any skirt and is an easy, modest fashion choice.
What are your favorite sleeve lengths? Do you prefer the ease of a simple long or 3/4-length sleeve, or do you love to layer?
A while ago I wrote about how I love wearing my clothing layered to stay warm and stylish in the winter. But now, as I’m slowly changing over my closet from winter to summer clothing, I’m beginning to remember that much of my summer clothing has short sleeves or a low-cut top, styles that are designed to balance well with the summer heat, but that leave me feeling rather exposed. In summers past I used to pair a trusty black (or white) cardigan with nearly every shirt…but I’ve realized over time that I’m covering up my colorful wardrobe and that none of my summer clothing is getting the attention it deserves.
Before and After Sleevies
Fortunately, I’ve found multiple solutions that I think will enhance my summer wardrobe in ways that I never thought possible. The layering clothes that I’m most excited about are Sleevies®. At first glance, Sleevies remind me of legwarmers for my arms, but without the bulkiness or bunchy style of those ’80s staples. Instead, Sleevies are made from cotton and Lycra, so they cover your arm without sliding down or making you too hot. With Sleevies, I’ve been able to resurrect several short-sleeved shirts from my wardrobe, and I’ve even purchased a few more because I know that I can wear them without covering them up or overheating with a full long-sleeved shirt underneath.
Another great item I’ve found which enables me to wear my clothing layered in the summer is a cropped ¾ sleeve layering tee, which as its name suggests, makes it look like I’m wearing a full shirt underneath an outfit, when really, I’m only wearing the top of a shirt. There are 3 major benefits of this type of layering clothing. Firstly, I can cover my arms and my chest modestly and stylishly without having to add a full extra shirt on a hot summer day. Secondly, (and I hope you don’t mind me being a bit personal), is that wearing a cropped shirt often allows me to get two uses out of my top shirt before needing to wash it. Finally, wearing a cropped shirt prevents the bulk that often results when I wear 2 full shirts, so that I can look stylish without looking like I’ve gained 5 pounds.
I know that these fantastic finds will make it possible for me to enjoy the look of layered clothing all summer and to purchase clothing that I would otherwise never consider because of its lack of modesty. I truly love being able to shop in ‘regular’ stores while knowing that I can gently adjust my clothing to become more modest, without compromising on style. In fact, if you ask me, wearing my clothing layered just gives me even more of an opportunity to express myself!