Many modest dressers can’t help but entertain the idea of wearing bathing suits or short sundresses as they pack their bags for vacations to tropical climates. They might also dream of wearing a little something that looks romantic and dramatic that falls off the shoulder for different destinations in Europe. So what do modest dressers do? Try to pick outfits that will still go with the overall theme of the setting. Maybe something turquoise to match with the blue waters, or neutral colors to match with stone walls. Or even floral prints to match with the scenery. But that’s not all that should be kept in mind for modest dressers as they pack.
When visiting areas that include holy sites, religious institutions/neighborhoods, or simply a lot of locals that observe certain customs and traditions, it’s important to respect those observances and keep them in mind to not offend anyone. You must look into what the people of that area consider to be revealing, and try to respect it to the best of your capability. Why? Because there are many areas where visitors that are deemed immodestly dressed could simply be refused entry. In most cases, they are generally more forgiving to people who are visibly tourists, but you never know.
There are some general, universal rules to dressing modestly, for men and women alike. Men are expected to wear clean, pressed long pants. Women are generally advised to wear clothing that goes below the knees and elbows, and refrain from wearing tight garments. It doesn’t matter if it technically covers the skin. Long see-through garments are also obviously a major no-no, unless it’s as a layering piece.
Also, keep a lightweight scarf or shawl handy, in case you go through or visit a religious site. You may need it to cover your neck, shoulders, or your hair. In some cases, ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods would go as far as posting signs along their outer perimeters. They request visitors to respect their observances and be suitably dressed before they enter. It’s the best way to ensure you don’t get “that look.”
Do you recommend any other tips to be respectfully modest while vacationing? Let us know in the comments!
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.
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?