A fashion writer has revealed the clever hacks to make your wardrobe more ‘modest’, and explained why the trend turning away from ‘Kardashian-style’ minimal dressing is empowering for the modern woman.
Hafsa Lodi, an American fashion and lifestyle journalist who lives in Dubai, began by creating clothes aimed mainly at Muslim dressers, but has watched her audience broaden to mainstream shoppers as the high street embraces a more demure style.
Speaking to Femail, Hafsa revealed why the outdated ‘sex sells’ mantra promoted by the likes of Madonna and Kim Kardashian under the pretence of ’empowerment’, promotes the message that a woman’s attractiveness is measured by how she flaunts her body.
Hafsa believes the key to empowerment is for women to reject these ‘societal norms’ and ensure their value isn’t attached to their looks or how much they flaunt.
She said: ‘When it comes to fashion trends, women have long been subjugated to the industry’s “sex sells” mantra, which propagates styles that bare skin and accentuate the body.
A fashion writer has revealed the clever hacks to make your wardrobe more ‘modest’ as the trend turns away from ‘Kardashian-style’ minmal dressing, including going for bold shapes and maxi dresses
‘“Underwear as outerwear” has become a trend paraded by celebrities like Madonna and Kim Kardashian – women who are seen as icons of female empowerment.
‘But, their “undressed” styles can send across the message that a woman’s attractiveness is measured by how she flaunts body parts that have traditionally been kept private.
‘When women reject these societal norms, to instead cover their skin, they’re just as empowered. They’re making the profound statement that they own their bodies, that they certainly don’t dress for the viewing pleasure of men or wider society, and that they can still look beautiful and stylish while covering up’.
Hafsa has shared her tips to modest dressing in her book Modesty: A Fashion Paradox, which is released in March.
The book anaylses the paradox of modest dressing, and looks at why showing less can be empowering rather than oppressive.
Sharing her tips with Femail, Hafsa suggests lengthening dresses with jeans, layering corsets and crop tops over white shirts and adding polonecks to strappy dresses.
Personalise strappy dresses
Frequently found on the high street, but fundamentally incompatible with most modesty-conscious consumers, dresses that feature long lengths but have spaghetti straps, halter necks or plunging necklines can become instantly modest with the addition of a long-sleeved, turtleneck top worn underneath.
Lightweight fabrics in grey, black or white make for the most versatile turtlenecks, and are a staple for every modest wardrobe.
Utilise the power suit
Creating impactful statements on the runways of previous seasons, power suits have evolved from their sleek, tailored silhouettes and are more slouchy and relaxed for spring/summer 2020, as evidenced by luxury labels like Chloe, Fendi and Proenza Schouler.
Hafsa Lodi, an American fashion and lifestyle journalist who lives in Dubai, shares her tips
Invest in one slouchy suit from the high street and team it with a graphic t-shirt for a casual, modest look, or close up the buttons and complete the look with a bedazzled waist belt for a dramatic finish.
Add a pussy bow
Re-popularised by Alessandro Michele, creative director of Gucci, blouses and dresses with pussy-bow necklines offer subtle-yet-sufficient coverage for women seeking conservative clothing.
Ideal for work wear wardrobes and equally wearable for more formal occasions, they’re everywhere on the high street – from patterned, geometric designs that appear bold and quirky to solid, sorbet shades that look refined but punchy and all-white versions that exude timeless elegance.
Coverage for corsets
Whoever thought hijabs were intrinsically incompatible with cropped tops and corsets, need look no further than the many modest fashion bloggers on Instagram, who are constantly proving that even articles of clothing that may appear inherently ‘immodest’ can be layered to create an end result that’s covered-up.
Such is the case when they pair cropped tops, corsets or bustier tops over crisp white blouses to achieve looks that are both creative, and ironically conservative.
Hafsa says a boyfriend blazer is an instant ‘modesty-friendly topper’ to a jeans-and-tee ensemble
The boyfriend blazer is your bestie
A trusty boyfriend blazer is an instant modesty-friendly topper to a jeans-and-tee ensemble, which is why boxy blazers, denim jackets, and duster jackets are key garments for millennial modest shoppers. While structured, suit-fabrics work well for the cooler months, linens are the best fabrics for the summer – preferably in polished, pinstriped patterns. Cropped versions go nicely with high-waisted trousers, while longer lengths work well with leggings or jeggings.
Go for lounge wear
The increasingly popular street wear style of wearing tracksuits, athletic wear and lounge wear as ready-to-wear (a whole new fad called ‘athleisure’) is one of the trends most-embraced by modesty-conscious millennials, who can now pair matching joggers and jackets together for a look that’s both skin-covering and in vogue.
Hasla says blouses and dresses with pussy-bow necklines offer subtle-yet-sufficient coverage for women seeking conservative clothing
Lengthen dresses with jeans
Cotton, button-down shirt dresses that end somewhere between the thigh and knee can be easily worked into modest wardrobes. Wear them with denims in the silhouette of your choosing – mom jeans and boyfriend jeans are currently trending – and tuck in one side into the waistband of the jeans for an effortless finish.
Short chiffon dresses with tiers and ruffles can also be paired with straight-legged or skinny jeans for a similar look. Though wearing jeans under dresses may have been deemed topsy-turvy by fashion critics of eras past, it has been championed by fashion editors and street style enthusiasts who aren’t necessarily modesty-conscious, and it’s a pairing that conservative women can easily replicate.
Turn up the volume
Regal and reminiscent of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind, ballgown skirts are making a comeback on the red carpets – Selena Gomez recently opted for a black, high-waisted, floor-sweeping Givenchy skirt with a pink turtleneck at a recent movie premiere, looking both demure and enchanting.
Volume can also be achieved in a modest fashion with exaggerated shoulders and puffy sleeves, both on blouses and dresses, giving the wearer coverage without compromising on style.
Embrace the utility trend
An autumn trend that transitions well into the spring and summer months, utilitarian styles combine loose-fitting tailoring with a military aesthetic.
Modesty: A Fashion Paradox by Hafsa Lodi is published by Neem Tree Press in March and available to pre-order now
The high street is full of options, marked by a marriage of minimalist colours, oversized pockets and bold hardware, appearing on jumpsuits, vests, cargo trousers, shirts and jackets. Utility fashion champions androgynous silhouettes, boxy fits and a fair amount of layering, making it an ideal trend to indulge in if you’re on the hunt for modest clothing.
Opt for wrap dresses
Previously archived as a frumpy, matronly design, the fashion industry is embracing the wrap dress silhouette, which was made iconic by Diane Von Furstenberg in the 70s.
As seen on the runways of Loewe and Valentino, for spring/summer 2020, wrap dresses will be most popular in soft stripes, safari-inspired neutral tones and all-white designs, often times with suit-inspired collars and lapels, and hemlines reaching between the knees and floor.
Modesty: A Fashion Paradox by Hafsa Lodi is published by Neem Tree Press in March and available to pre-order now.