Modest fashion, is it a trend? And how do I match it with jewelry? Discover all you need to know about this global megatrend.
Image: The Modist
Modest fashion is related to religion. Although, perhaps it is fairer to say that it has its roots within religious cultures. Whatever your feelings about religion, and I for one am not religious at all, but whatever the feeling, it is interesting this expanding movement within fashion has started. The main religious cultures that are involved in this trend are all Abrahamic faiths - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
These main religions may be where it all started but of course, many other religions and spiritual beliefs have ideas about clothing. However, these three mainstream religions all have a strong preference for covering up, for modesty each in their own way. A Jewish fashion designer focussing on modest fashion, with her faith in mind, has a very different look than her Islamic sisters in places like Dubai or the Gulf states. The modesty has everything to do with covering up, but shouldn’t be mistaken for just plain clothing.
Dolce & Gabbana, Miss England Sara Iftikhar, Instagram young wealthy Saudi woman wearing Van Cleef & Arpels
First of all, for some, it may be a trend. If you are like me, born in a Western country like the Netherlands, without a strong religious background, you might look at the outfits and think; I love this or even; I already dress ‘’modest’ on so many days, not because I want to be modest specifically, but just because it’s comfortable or elegant or I have a business meeting.
And for many people, this might be the case, but it’s also true that when it becomes a search term, a search category, or when social media influencers are followed in large numbers and collaborations between big brands and niche groups, influencers and designers are occurring more and more, it’s noteworthy, gaining attention of the media and therefore an on-trend phenomenon.
Big brands picking up the signs, producing lines for Ramadan such as Mango and DKNY. H&M took up a collection of Modest fashion items and there are brands such as Uniqlo pairing with Islamic designer Hana Tajima creating a complete collection for modest fashion lovers with an Islamic background. But many love the look and are picking it up without being Muslim.
Jewelry by Dolce & Gabbana, Ring by de Grisogono _Allegra Collection and rose-chain pendants by Amen
For many, it is a way of combining a choice of wanting to cover-up -as part of their religious culture- and a love of fashion. The trend isn’t easy to capture. For everyone, it may be something different, but the common factor is that nudity, exposing too much skin, decolletage and short skirts etc are avoided. There are YouTubers and other influencers that show how to use fun and fashionable clothing from any brand by adapting it to their own style. Very useful for those who love to shop at mainstream high street stores such as H&M, Zara, Topshop, and so many others.
First of all, I thought, when I heard about this trend ( ps. watch Buzzfeed’s Follow This on Netflix, series 3 has a topic on Modest Fashion) that the jewelry had to be modest and rather plain, even with religious expressions. But again, for some within the Christian religious groups, this might work perfectly, but others love to match their hijabs with big earrings and a high heel. A glamorous look! So to sum it up, any kind of jewelry is good. As long as it isn’t insulting a religion or playing with symbols that aren’t appreciated within a certain culture.
The Modist is an e-commerce website filled with Modest Fashion and accessories like these earrings by Erickson Beamon
Perhaps it has everything to do with the natural flow of fashion trends, but at this moment, Victorian-inspired dresses are very much on-trend. They are anything but sexy, in my opinion, and do cover up almost the entire body. Trends in fashion are almost always influenced by culture, art, politics, awareness of today’s challenges, how we respond to hope and fear within a community, country or culture. In its own way, who knows, the #metoo movement might have even some kind of influence on this trend.
Dress by Oscar de la Renta, Mango's collection pre-Ramadan 2016 and Instagrammer Maria Idrissi who was picked up by H&M
Everyone who is embracing modest fashion in whatever way, claims that it’s not about oppression but about choice. The women either want to strongly commit to their religion and are proud to show this in how they dress, but with a sense of fashion or they just love to play with fashion within the rules that are defined in their religion. For others, it may be about true modesty without a religious background, but simply because one desires to dress professionally or for the love of beautiful clothing.
Brands that fit the brand perfectly are Max Mara, Jil Sander, Oscar de la Renta, to name some Western worldwide famous names. But of course, there are many wonderful designers from the Arab world and from any corner and with all kinds of backgrounds that fit this category.
Jewish fashionable modest fashion outfits
Bracelet by Messika, earrings by Maria Tash
As with anything, as soon as companies start to see that what is considered a niche could turn out to be big business, they will throw their best marketing strategies at it and that is something that is happening right now. When the English iconic Marks & Spencer, the place where the Brits buy their knickers and jumpers, decided to include the online search category Modest Outfits, it wasn’t just a try-out. Big brands are smelling the potential of the big business.
It’s nice to see, even if it may be just a very commercial move for some, that finally, we are opening up to diversity. We are all people, whether we are girls loving girls, or boys loving boys, whether we were born in the wrong body, or don’t feel sexual at all. Whether we are Chinese, or Russian, whether our roots were in Somalia or Brazil. And beliefs, religions, spirituality creates perhaps much controversy and diversion, but in a way, by embracing instead of rejecting what others believe, through the language of fashion and beauty and why not; jewelry, we pave the way towards a more harmonious, kinder and all-embracing world?
Outfit by Madiyah al-Sharqi, ring by Lydia Courteille, earrings by Daniela Villegas and outfits by Marks & Spencer
Necklace in silver by Tiffany and necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra
As this modest fashion culture is so diverse, it’s fair to say that anything goes. Perhaps one could say that jewelry allows the person, more so with this kind of clothing or thoughts behind the clothing, to express themselves. A woman can opt for a simple elegant outfit, but show her wild side too, which in a way we all have, with jewelry. Wearing an eccentric brand or piece in either fashion jewelry or fine jewelry. Or show even more her faith by combining jewelry with religious pieces. Go for colors, or wear earrings to match the hijab, hat, scarf, or just for fun. Long necklaces suit all kinds of clothing, but more so; turtlenecks, long dresses, blouses, t-shirts and so on. So in this blog, I have chosen to show you some of the very diverse types of outfits and people and what they wear. Have fun! So modest and not always but sometimes modest girls, what is the look you absolutely loved? For me, loving a little drama and glamour at times it may just be this look that captured me! I would wear my hair free from scarfs and other garments, but nonetheless, how stunning is this image?
photo credit: the Modist