What do you think of when you think of orthodox fashion? Instinctively, most people would think of loose, long, and frumpy pieces that are a far cry from being trendy. This is especially the case for women who are expected to cover their collarbones, knees, and elbows for modesty. While the perception of unflattering clothes worn by orthodox women may have been true for a long time in most places- times are changing. Little by little, orthodox fashion is becoming high fashion. That is mainly because many clothing brands, both large and small, are designing apparel that is (finally) modern and trendy.
The current trend, which is likely here to stay, didn’t just come out of nowhere. Religious girls and women worldwide kept facing difficulties in finding modest clothes that met their needs. For example, the long denim skirt would have been perfect if it weren’t for the slit in the back. The long white tunic would have been perfect if the fabric could have been thicker to not make it see-through. And the dress would have been perfect if it weren’t for the cut-outs, peep-holes, and low neck/back. These women had to settle for whatever they could find, and make adjustments by layering up when possible. However, that often led to them sticking out like a sore thumb, especially in areas with warmer climates.
Little by little, major retailers started offering a few modest pieces. Orthodox women flocked over by the masses to purchase the goods, which were finally the perfect mix of modest and stylish. They were beginning to wear outfits that actually gave them joy, confidence, and helped make them stand out. The fashion world began to take notice.
Slowly but surely, trendy modest dresses for women began to emerge to much fanfare from orthodox and nonorthodox women alike. There were ensembles popping up that featured unique color blocks and patterns that made the wearers look and feel more majestic. Neutral colored dresses started coming out with long and flowing designs, making the wearer feel like a goddess. Asymmetrical dresses came out, making the wearer feel like the world was her catwalk. Then there were the dresses with romantic themes, bohemian themes, and more. Women began to rediscover themselves through these dresses, and they are continuing to love every second of it.
We’re currently living in great times in terms of fashion. For most women, it is no longer particularly difficult to find a modest dress that is trendy and made with breathable fabrics. When they step out in their modest gear, they can now do so with full confidence, knowing they look absolutely amazing and in style.
People tend to have a lot of misconceptions when it comes to women who choose to dress in modest attire. Even though modest fashionistas don’t necessarily dress to attract attention to themselves, they still can’t escape the judgement that often comes their way.
We decided to run through some of the most common assumptions that are made, and debunk them. Because come on- they’re ridiculous!
Modest Women Are Only Able To Dress In One Way
Not true at all! Granted, the very definition of modesty does vary between individuals across all regions. Even so- there is generally a lot of wiggle room when it comes to different styles of individual pieces, and (obviously) when it comes to accessorizing. Modest clothing in general comes in a lot of varieties, and can easily be made to look fashionable, modern, trendy, and practical.
Women Who Dress Modestly Are Not Proud Of Their Bodies
To the contrary- they are very proud of their bodies, which is exactly why they don’t feel the need to expose it. Of course, modest women are just like everyone else, and may have their own insecurities about certain looks or features on them. However, they don’t generally find themselves suffering in order to stay covered. They discover ways to make it work for them, and rock it.
Modest Women Can’t Dress According To The Weather
Oh yes they absolutely can! It’s not all that difficult to find modest pieces that are airy and breathable for the summer, and pieces of mixed materials that retain body heat for the winter. In the fall and spring, they know how to layer up to stay warm and trendy, without looking frumpy.
Modest Women Don’t Want To Look Sexy
Well, yes and no. No, they don’t want to expose everything in order to be sexy. But that is because they know it comes from within. They wear what makes them feel cool, comfortable, and polished. In turn, that boosts their confidence, which is without a doubt, very intriguing.
Women Who Dress Modestly Are Feminists
Okay maybe, but what does that have to do with anything? There are feminists that bare all in the name of feminism, and there are feminists that cover all in the name of feminism. Women who dress modestly generally do so as a matter of choice and style, sometimes as recommended by their religions, and for their own personal empowerment.
Modest Women Are Prudes
That’s not a fair generalization. Anyone can be a reserved, shy, and naive person without sexual experience. And there are plenty of women who choose to stay covered, but are also very loud, proud, and sexually experienced. One has nothing to do with the other.
What else would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!
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!
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?