For some women, modest dressing is a must due to their religious beliefs. However, there’s a growing number of ladies who simply want to practice it because of their personal preferences or desire to express themselves in a new way. But, whatever may be the motivation behind your decision to dress modestly, it’s safe to say that this can prove to be a challenge at times.
One problem with modest dressing is it seems like a lot of women’s clothes in retail stores these days are too revealing. The bottom’s too tight and/or short, the neckline is set too low, or there are cutouts in erogenous zones. Another issue that many women encounter is how what’s presented as modest in the market is often boxy or resembling a sack, and somewhat uncomfortable.
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How to Use Current Wardrobe for Modest Dressing
Here’s the thing, modesty is not about following strict rules. Modesty is all about discretion. Therefore, you don’t have to set out and shop for what’s obviously considered modest. You can make what you currently have in your closet work and find ways to make your clothes more conservative as your preference dictates. Here are a few ways you can do just that.
1. Pair Short with Long
One of the easiest ways to make standard fashion pieces more modest is by overlapping something short with something long. Say, your top is cropped, wear a long, high-waisted skirt or pants to conceal what a cropped top normally reveals. High-waisted fashion is all the rage these days, and it’s universally flattering.
Another long and short pairing that works is wearing a long-sleeved top under a sleeveless one. This is a styling trick that you can use through the changing seasons.
2. Turn Short Dresses into Tops
If you have a few short dresses in your wardrobe, these can serve you well in your shift to modest dressing. A short denim dress, for instance, can easily be paired with maxi skirts. Just tuck it in and create a new feminine silhouette for it.
Or, if you’re quite statuesque, a short dress can be turned into a tunic that goes beautifully with wide-legged linen pants.
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3. Pair Casual Pullovers with Dainty Midi or Maxi Skirts, or Even Sexy Slip Dresses
Give your pullovers a more polished vibe by pairing them with structured midi or maxi skirts. And to give your pullovers a less athletic vibe, tear off the elastic band at the waist to provide them with a more relaxed fit.
You can also make sexy slip dresses more modest by concealing the revealing top with a pullover. Knitted pullovers or sweaters are simply perfect, especially if they hug your figure a bit.
4. Wear a Scarf or Shawl to Conceal Deep Necklines
You don’t have to be French to rock a scarf often, but you can look like a chic French woman by doing so to conceal your decolletage. If you have shirts or blouses that dip a bit low at the chest for your comfort, you can take care of this problem by wearing a scarf.
Try different scarf-tying techniques to hide a revealing neckline. The basic loop will do an excellent job. But if you want to look a bit more fashionable. Wear the scarf like a sash. Fold a large square scarf into a triangle, drape it over one shoulder and diagonally across your torso, and tie (or pin with a jewelled brooch) the two ends of the triangle by the side of your waist. This will conceal all kinds of revealing necklines effectively and fashionably.
5. Wear a Crisp White Blouse Under a Bandeau Dress or Top
Bandeau dresses and tops are clothing pieces that a lot of women have from weddings and even high school formals. Don’t throw them out because not only can you dress these down a bit and make them more appropriate for less formal functions, but you can also make them more modest.
Just pair them with a crisp, white, cotton blouse. The white blouse will provide the outfit with the necessary coverage. And while it’s a classy piece, it can likewise tone down the fanciness of luxurious fabrics such as taffeta or silk.
6. Wear Opaque Black Tights with Something Short
For hardcore modern dressers, opaque black tights or leggings don’t provide that much coverage, but if you’re a bit more liberal and you just don’t want to show skin, black tights and leggings are excellent solutions. Wear these under everything short — mini skirts, shorts, and mini dresses.
Stylists also say that these pieces are also ideal for pairing with sweater dresses, double knits, and stretchy fabrics. Plus, if you want to create a truly polished look for any outfit that you wear tights with, choose your footwear well. For extra height and a slimmer silhouette, wear leg-hugging high-heeled boots or pumps.
7. Wear Long Button-Down Dresses with Skinny Jeans
For modest streetwear, tone down how skinny jeans show off your curves by pairing these with a long button-down dress. You have the option to wear a loose and plain shirt with this ensemble and let the dress work as a coat or like this African tribal women’s denim dress that you close at the front with a sash.
Or you can simply button the dress down to the waist and let the bottom part loose and open. Either way, you’ll make the jeans look less sexy, and overall, you’ll also feel more comfortable because the dress can also conceal a bunch of other “sins.”
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Hopefully, these tips help in making modest dressing so much easier for you. Indeed, modest fashion is not mainstream — actually, it’s deemed counter-cultural, but if you believe that it’s what’s right for you, go for it. Fortunately, you can take matters into your own hands and transform most clothing items into modest pieces.
Also, don’t stress over it. Remember that there are different contexts to modest dressing (for example, a mini dress for a place of worship may not be seen as decent, but it’s modest when worn at the beach). Take these into consideration, any time you feel like covering up a bit more or becoming fashionably modest.
Ethiopian-born and Dubai-based fashion designer Feiruza Mudessir discovered her curiosity to mix the traditional with contemporary at a young age, and this has become the trademark of her designs for Finchitua today. With her unique style standpoint, she served the VIP Color Forecast Panel 2017 for Al Jazeera Paints Company and VIP Color Forecast Panel 2019 for Asian Paints Berger. Ms. Mudessir is a shortlisted nominee for the prestigious Fashion Scout London 2018.