While we were all minding our own business, reminding ourselves the beauty of dressing modestly and searching for strictly air conditioned summer activities, a mini online war broke out. Best of all it’s all based on the crucial, but apparently controversial topic of modest clothing. An article appeared on forward.com by Michelle Honig, citing the critical and necessary stand modest women must take against the layering top or ‘shell’ as it is often referred to.
Michelle Honig strongly stated that “It makes everyone’s arms (including fit women) look like ten-pounds of sausage meat stuffed into a five-pound casing”. After looking down at my arm to make sure I was not offending anyone with my meat sausages…I continued reading and felt, oh gosh, that is some serious hostility. Michelle goes on to provide a history lesson about the ever-popular brand of layering tops, KikiRiki, and how the essence of the company and their goals have no trace of modesty. While I understand the importance of the origin of the things we wear, especially when our fashion choices make a big statement about our modest values, I still felt it was over bearing. Needless to say, the layering top provides a real solution to women who choose to show less skin but still want to wear more than a high collared, buttoned striped shirt!
Apparently, I was not the only who felt attacked by this article because suddenly there were multiple writers and bloggers who were beginning to respond to this layering top boycott. After reading a few of these, on both sides of the argument, it felt like regular, yet silly, internet fodder. Then an article came across the screen and one paragraph caught my attention, Daniella Levy writes:
“But there’s a reason why I often find myself layering my clothes, and it’s very simple: I don’t have a choice. The women’s fashion industry seems to be built on the rule that a certain percentage of skin needs to be showing no matter what. When 3/4-length sleeves are in fashion — necklines plunge. When long skirts are in fashion — so are sleeveless tops. And if God forbid, by some accident, fashion designers find themselves offering a piece that has both 3/4-length sleeves and a decent neckline — you can bet your (modest) britches that they’ll cut out the entire back. In a final act of desperation, they might even snip those hideous slits into the side, just to fill the skin-showing quota.”
That’s exactly it.
Women who choose to dress modestly today are left with very little choice and so they make the best out of it. It may be an easy backup, but it’s definitely not a response to a male ordained set of guidelines. Any women that dresses modestly can assure you that adding an extra layer under most of your shirts is their choice and it is not one they take lightly.
How do you use your layering top? Is it a ‘must have’ for you or a ‘have no choice’ wardrobe piece?
Being well known in Hollywood or in the entertainment business comes with a harsh price, having expectations placed on you to be and look a very specific way. That is why women (specifically women for this post) that do choose to cover up and stay ‘modest’ deserve a great deal of encouragement and recognition.
Identifying these women as leaders and example of courage and leadership is only fair because they are simply working harder than any of us to go against the grain and keep their clothing modest. The women chosen in this post were chosen for more than just their actual clothing, they are all beautiful and carry themselves modestly and without the typical flashy Hollywood persona, we have come to know.
- Adele – a class act that is famous for her silly personality and classy disposition. Her modesty comes through in her behavior more than her physical clothing, even though her wardrobe is quite modesty. The added element of her love for her body type, despite many critiques, makes her a great candidate for a top modest and wholesome celebrity.
- Mayim Bialik – famous for her role in Blossom and the more recent Big, Bang Theory, Mayim has always portrayed herself with the utmost respect and this came from the roles she plays on the screen and the way she dresses off the screen. Her commitment to her values is obviously a priority all the while maintaining her brains and her value as an actor in Hollywood.
- Kate Middleton – the epitome of class and style. Kate holds an honorable position that has years of heritage and tradition, although that alone is not a reason to go against the modern fashion styles of her companions and dress more provocatively. And yet, her style is always modest and always beautiful.
- Audrey Hepburn – the ever iconic and ultimately remembered for her tasteful modesty and humility, was the ultimate example of modesty. Audrey Hepburn, quoted once as saying that the most distasteful thing she ever did on camera was let her Tabby, named Cat, out of a cab into the rainy streets of New York!
- Zooey Deschanel – known for her nerdy and bubbly persona, she rocks the alt-indie scene and carries the hit show New Girl with a great deal of modesty and charm. Usually seen in flowy skirts and high-collared shirts, which add to her seemingly down to earth approach to stardom. Another character that known more for her modest presence rather than her wardrobe alone. She is a perfect pick for this list.
In a world where celebrities and reality TV stars are stripping off their clothes at any possible opportunity, it’s really refreshing to see people choosing to behave differently. Although dressing modestly in a layman’s world may seem nerdy, in the world of celebrities it can often be seen as rebellious. Despite that, choosing modest clothing and choosing to keep covered, can often be more revealing, forcing people to look past externalities and understand each other based on internal characteristics.
Who are your favorite famous personalities that keep modest and manage to stay in the groove?
Does being modest mean you have to feel like the black sheep at the beach? The beach is notoriously known as a THE place to get down to your skivvies. In fact, when it is hot and you are dying to jump into the ocean or a lake, the last thing you want to worry about is how to stay modest!
And yet, many women do have the desire to remain modest at the beach. Beyond the need to stay covered, wearing cotton into the water, at the beach or pool just does not work. Once your shirt is wet and you sit down in the sand, that is it, you are doomed to feel like you are carrying around a sandbox. At the pool getting in and out with soaked clothing is like pulling a whale out with you! Having the ability to wear something comfortable, light, modest and fast drying is crucial for the modest and fashion forward woman that still wants to cool off.
Finding a modest bathing suit in nylon, spandex or lycra is ideal. This way you can enjoy swimming without clingy material, laying in the sand and brushing it off and most important, fast drying! Investing in a modest swimsuit can make the difference between a boxed in, air-conditioned summer and a sunny, adventurous one!
What have you been wearing to the beach to stay modest, yet fashionable?
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”.
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.
Kosher Casual’s Modest Exercise Skirt
Working out while dressing modestly? It can be done! A sports skirt with attached black leggings, yoga pants and long-sleeve workout shirts are coming to the rescue!
Workout clothing is usually associated with lots of bare skin. But perhaps the idea of “modest workout clothes” conjures an image of running on a treadmill in a long, floral robe. Fret not—there is a happy medium! A wide range of stylish and oh-so-functional workout clothing is available for the modest dresser. If you haven’t tried an athletic skirt, you are missing out!
As modest clothing evolves, it has started to cover (ha!) all aspects of our lives. Modest clothing extends beyond longer skirts and shorter V’s. Women want to dress modestly not just for the office or a night out, but when they run, jog, climb and stretch.
Slight A-line Sports Skirt
Lots of great products are on the market now, solving the problem of how to exercise in something other than a tank top and biker shorts.
For example: the athletic skirt. This is generally a skirt/pants combo, giving you the comfort and flexibility of workout pants, while modestly covering you in a skirt of the same stretchy fabric. Athletic skirts that are slightly A-line give you room to move and—just as important—look super cute! And because the athletic skirt looks like a regular skirt, you can wear it to run an errand without drawing strange looks. Also a must-have: A crewneck workout shirt that extends to your elbows or wrists, made out that awesome keep-you-cool material.
Loose Fitting Yoga Pants
Yoga pants are another great option. Generally, yoga pants are slightly looser and not as form-fitting as regular black leggings, but still allow you to move and stretch. Yoga pants or leggings can also easily be worn under a comfortable knit skirt. Exercise easily, without compromising your high fashion standards.
I have found that these athletic skirts have actually changed my life. I no longer have to fashion my own uncomfortable skirt + pants combo, or sit out an activity because I can’t find a way to dress appropriately. These easy-fitting, stylish, covered-up options allow me to participate in any exercise activity—indoors or out—that my heart desires.
Sports skirts and modest sports shirts go beyond fulfilling my desire to dress modestly—they allow me to participate fully in all of life’s great adventures.