I Love My Leggings!

Whether heading out to the store, jogging through neighborhood, or striding into an important business meeting, women who choose a modest lifestyle have got it covered.  And more and more, modest, yet fashion-conscious women are choosing leggings to complete outfits that are characterized by just the right balance between “coverage” and “cool.”

Leggings offer comfort, confidence and an amazing variety of modest fashion options. Under a skirt, tunic or dress, leggings of different lengths

Long Black Leggings

Long Black Leggings

are a smooth, breathable layer that provides a snug sense of support – without the struggle or “snag” of traditional tights or pantyhose.  At the same time, leggings bridge the gap between those body contours we want to see, and those we think should be kept under wraps.

Adding leggings to your wardrobe is a great way to bridge the seasons in style.  Paired with boots or funky socks, leggings provide colorful layering options that allow you to extend the usefulness of a summer outfit into the fall. When spring rolls around, just ditch the socks for a pair of sandals, throw a kicky scarf around your neck, and you’re in business.

Leggings are also a natural choice for modest exercise clothing. They give you the easy-going mobility you need to stay covered – and forget about how you look – while you concentrate on reaching your personal best.  Leggings keep you feeling strong, too; an athletic, sporty silhouette can be a great motivator – whatever your workout routine.

Perhaps the best thing about leggings is the variety of modest fashion choices you can make. Coordinated with the color of your top, it’s easy to use leggings to create a sleek, top-to-bottom look that de-emphasizes your legs and draws attention to your dazzling smile. But modest clothing doesn’t equal dressing demure – with the huge variety of colors and patterns out there, leggings also stand front and center, offering a playful, yet modest fashion statement.

 

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Sleevies

Mind the Gap – Layering Solutions for Fun and Fashion

We all have them.  Those casual tops and bottoms that screamed “buy me” in the store, but – once purchased – never seem to make their way out of the closet.  Dressing in layers is a great way to re-think your personal clothing inventory and make the most of what you have.

In addition to its value for rescuing under-used articles of clothing, layering is a great fashion strategy, allowing you to add interest, a dash of color, and create an entirely new look that is totally “you”.

Why Not?

From the overly-generous scoop of a low-necked tee, to the skirt that rides up, to the clingy materials that highlight those love handles, there are lots of reasons that some clothes just can’t make it on their own.  Rather than throwing out or donating, experiment with layered dressing strategies that accentuate each garment’s best, most attractive characteristic.

Let’s say you bought a shirt because the color goes perfectly with a hard-to-match skirt.  If the shirt rides up, don’t give up!  Save the situation by layering on a contrasting vest, or adding an underlayer.  Many women swear by the “hippies” – a flexible layering solution that bridges the gap like a wide belt, providing coverage without adding bulk.

Layers can also come to the rescue when trying to accommodate our changing bodies.  As the years go by, women who were once happy to step out in short sleeves may find that a little more coverage makes them feel more confident.  Again, there’s no need for a new wardrobe.  Layer your favorite tops over a sleek shell underlayer – or add “sleevie” extensions – to give your old garments a new lease on life.

Along with underlayer shells (short-sleeved, long-sleeved and cropped), sleevies and hippies, other garments that can widen your layering options include:

·                  The cropped top  or half tee– a midriff-exposing layer, meant to be worn under a longer shirt. Half tees can be found in a variety of decorative necklines that add interest to any outfit.

·                  Tee-necks – sometimes referred to as a “dickie”, these garments provide coverage under shirts that expose too much of the chest.

·                  The pencil skirt – adds length to a tunic dress or a too-short skirt. Available in almost every color, pencil skirts complement an outfit, without making too obvious a statement.

The Fashion Advantage

Layering is a great way to re-work what’s in your closet, but remember – layering is also a creative and fashionable way to dress!  Choose a color scheme, and experiment with garments that you never wore together before.  Shuffle up the shapes, so that each individual article of clothing can be seen. When layering, choose just one particularly interesting item to highlight – a cropped jacket, or a fabulous scarf – rather than having lots of loud layers competing for attention.

But most of all, have fun!  Dressing in layers is an individual statement. So forget the rules, and enjoy building a do-it-yourself look of your very own.

 

 

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Modesty – Its Kids’ Stuff

Modesty – It’s Kids’ Stuff

Well, the data is in, and it confirms what so many of us already knew.  So why aren’t children’s clothing designers – especially the ones who design outfits for our little girls – paying attention?

A team of social psychologists recently published an academic study about how clothing choices affect how children are perceived by adults.  According to the study, when children dress in “sexualized” clothing – a general category that includes skin-revealing cuts, as well as garments decorated with provocative images or text – adults are significantly less likely to believe these children to be intelligent, competent, or responsible.

The Numbers Show…

In the study, 162 male and female volunteers from an American liberal arts college were shown one of three images of the same fifth-grade girl, manipulated by computer software so that her clothing was either childlike, somewhat sexualized, or definitely sexualized.  In each case, the child was also described in terms of her level of accomplishment – either average, or above average.

No surprise:  When participants in the experiment were presented with the image in highly sexualized clothing and the girl was described as “above average”, the response – as reflected in the answers given to a set of standard questions – was: You must be joking.

Teach Kids to Dress for Respect

 Most adults understand that they have to dress appropriately if they want to be taken seriously. But for kids, what constitutes “appropriate” is never clearly defined, and this can have serious social consequences.

 

Full A-line Skirt with Elastic Waist

Full A-line Skirt with Elastic Waist

Even the most responsible parents can be uncomfortable about exerting authority over clothing choices that – in many cases – haven’t truly crossed the line.  After all, if parents are seen as obsessing about a hemline that’s too short, or a shirt that shows a little too much shoulder, children are likely to dig in their heels, and insist on just those outfits that push parental buttons.

But if we want children to respect our values, we have to clearly define what those values are. This includes listening to your child, and coming to a workable agreement about what it means to dress appropriately, within mutually-acceptable limits of modesty.

From Worst-case Scenario to Best Results

Modest dressing is often presented to children in terms of avoiding danger. We all want to keep our children safe, and it is unfortunately true that too-provocative clothing may in some instances invite dangerous, inappropriate attention.

But one of the best ways we can protect children is to teach children about the powerful, emotional impact that our clothing choices can have.  Scientific research has confirmed that it’s possible to dress – not just for success – but for respect.

 

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Staying Ahead of the (Summer Camp) Pack

I admit it. When I heard about moms in New York City spending thousands of dollars to hire professional organizers to pack their children’s camp trunks, I was shocked.  I was also jealous.

Successful packing for sleep-away camp – whether the little darling’s adventure lasts one week or two months – requires more than just working through the camp’s checklist.  The trick is to balance the camp’s directives against your child’s very real needs to cover up, yet look cool in all weather conditions.  All this, without the availability of a private laundress (er, that would be you).

First Things First

Before you begin, use a laundry pen to mark every single item that’s going to camp – from socks to soap dish – with your child’s name. Sew-on or iron-on labels are also an option, but only for parents organized enough to order them in time to be available on packing day (Did I mention I was jealous those New York moms?).

Basics that Mix and (More or Less) Match

Children contend with all kinds of situations while they’re at camp, so flexibility is key to successful packing. Limit stand-alone outfits, and instead, choose simple tops and bottoms in colors that work together in a wide variety of combinations.  Prepare your camper for the inevitable changes in the weather by packing items that can be layered on during the chilly morning hours, then peeled off as temperatures rise.

A lightweight fleece under a rain poncho will help your kid weather any storm, and will also save the packing room that would be taken up by a dedicated raincoat.  And for super hot, sunny days, remember, less is not always more.  Pack long-sleeved shirts, long pants or skirts made out of light, breathable materials.  You may also want to look into clothing and swimwear  that has sun protection built right into the fabric. Such items – formerly sold only in specialty camping stores – are now easy to find, and not that expensive.

Speaking of swimming, if your child is going to be down at the lake every day, a single bathing suit is simply not enough.  There’s nothing more unpleasant than suiting up for swimming in something not quite dry.  Encourage your children to wear modest swim suits that keep their upper arms and thighs covered and protect them from the sun.  Modest swimwearis a fashion statement, and a time-saver; some kids use their modest swimsuit as a wardrobe basic, both in the water and on land.Swim/Running Skirt with Leggings_

Color Me Happy

It’s not so long ago that the term “camp shirt” referred to a straight-cut, conservative cotton blouse with a spread collar and buttons.  Indeed, this kind of shirt is still in demand for school uniforms.  But when camp time rolls around, children want to “make the scene” and meet new people while wearing fun fashions that expresses who they are – or who they would like to be.

I’m not suggesting children should be 100% free to choose their own camp wardrobe. But letting your camper pick out a few splashy T-shirts is more than just a clothing investment.  It’s an investment in your child’s confidence, and ultimately, the success of his or her camping experience. Just think of that when all the packing’s done, and the bus is pulling away…

 

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The A-Line Skirt History – Still A+ After All These Years

With a silhouette that flares gradually from the hips to the hemline – however low it may fall — the A-line skirt is a modest fashion choice that flatters almost every figure.  With such obvious advantages, you might think that the A-line has been around forever.  But while maxi-length flared skirts were standard Edwardian era and made a comeback in the midi- and knee-length skirts of the 1930s and 40s, you may be interested to know that the A-line owes its name to the famous French fashion designer Christian Dior, who made it the centerpiece of his Spring Collection in 1955.

Dior’s A-line was a very specific: a flaring skirt topped by a smooth waistline and leading up to narrow shoulders. Dior was famous for dressing his models in chic little jackets, and his signature A-line outfit followed along these lines, with a small-shouldered jacket which flared slightly at the hip, and covered an even-more-widely flaring skirt.

In 1958 Yves Saint Laurent introduced a variation on the Dior A-line look, which he called his “Trapeze” line.  Maintaining Dior’s wide shoulder-to-hemline flare, this collection skimmed past the waist without defining it, creating dresses that – looked at with a modern eye – seem like a comical meeting point between high fashion and maternity wear!

Yves Saint Laurent’s dramatic “Trapese” dresses did not have much impact on the popular market, but soon, less extreme A-line skirts and dresses were everywhere – an on everyone.

1958-trapese-2-yves-saint-laurent

A-line skirts  are still a popular choice for modern women looking for modest, yet fashionable wardrobe staples – no matter what their body type. With a waist defined by darts or seams, the A-line skirt falls gently over the hips, making it flattering for large-hipped women whose contours are balanced out by the wide hemline.  Women who have top-heavy figures like how A-line designs de-emphasize their upper body, suggesting more of an hourglass shape.   Finally, slim, small-hipped women also benefit from the A-line look, which adds a touch of curvaceous definition, without giving up on modesty.

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Sports Skirts: Exercising Modestly

Working out while dressing modestly? It can be done! A sports skirt with attached black leggings, yoga pants and long-sleeve workout shirts are coming to the rescue!

Workout clothing is usually associated with lots of bare skin. But perhaps the idea of “modest workout clothes” conjures an image of running on a treadmill in a long, floral robe. Fret not—there is a happy medium! A wide range of stylish and oh-so-functional workout clothing is available for the modest dresser. If you haven’t tried an athletic skirt, you are missing out!Running_Skirt_with_Leggings

As modest clothing evolves, it has started to cover (ha!) all aspects of our lives. Modest clothing extends beyond longer skirts and shorter V’s. Women want to dress modestly not just for the office or a night out, but when they run, jog, climb and stretch.

Lots of great products are on the market now, solving the problem of how to exercise in something other than a tank top and biker shorts.

For example: the athletic skirt. This is generally a skirt/pants combo, giving you the comfort and flexibility of workout pants, while modestly covering you in a skirt of the same stretchy fabric. Athletic skirts that are slightly A-line give you room to move and—just as important—look super cute! And because the athletic skirt looks like a regular skirt, you can wear it to run an errand without drawing strange looks. Also a must-have: A crewneck workout shirt that extends to your elbows or wrists, made out that awesome keep-you-cool material.
Sports Skirt A-Line

Yoga pants are another great option. Generally, yoga pants are slightly looser and not as form-fitting as regular black leggings, but still allow you to move and stretch. Yoga pants or leggings can also easily be worn under a comfortable knit skirt. Exercise easily, without compromising your high fashion standards.

black yoga pants

I have found that these athletic skirts have actually changed my life. I no longer have to fashion my own uncomfortable skirt + pants combo, or sit out an activity because I can’t find a way to dress appropriately. These easy-fitting, stylish, covered-up options allow me to participate in any exercise activity—indoors or out—that my heart desires.

Sports skirts and modest sports shirts go beyond fulfilling my desire to dress modestly—they allow me to participate fully in all of life’s great adventures.

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Modest Clothing Shopping: Don’t Do It Alone

Shopping for modest clothing with a buddy isn’t just fun—it could save your wardrobe. You could be one layering shirt or modest accessory away from total fashion disaster, but not if your trusty shopping buddy is there with you.

Most of us know that it’s helpful to have a friend when we hit the mall. For example, I’m a hemming-and-hawing shopper, so I need my sister with me to give me the push to actually buy something. And a good SB (Shopping Buddy)—will always answer honestly when you ask, “Does this look good on me?”

But shopping for modest clothing is extra tricky. Often, we modest dressers are creating outfits of our own design. We see an amazing sleeveless dress, just perfect for [insert name of occasion, or just day of the week, here] and we decide to “modest-ize it” by pairing it with a layering shirt underneath. Or, hmmm….would it look better with a cute cardigan on top? SB to the rescue. And because that sleeveless dress was meant to be, well, sleeveless, we’re never quite sure if the colors coordinate, if we’re “pulling off” the look. But your SB—she’ll tell you if you’re rockin’ it…or not.

Then there’s the adorable V-neck sweater with a plunging neckline. Would the black tank top look better underneath? Or the white tank top? Your SB can help you decide.

Long Tank Top

Long Tank Top

There are more and more websites out there that cater to the modest dresser. You can buy an adorable sweater without a plunging neckline. Or an amazing dress with sleeves. But we don’t want to confine ourselves to only “modest clothing” stores, wonderful as they are. We want the freedom to buy clothing from any store in the world and turn it into something we can wear, modestly and confidently.

So we stock up on bolero jackets, tank tops, cardigans and layering shirts of all shapes and sizes, to create our own “modestly modern” wardrobe. A good SB helps you find those perfect layering pieces, or a hey-I-never-would-have-thought-of-that-but-it-looks-amazing outfit.

Saving your wardrobe, one tank top at a time.

What about you? Are you a go-it-alone shopper? Or do you believe, like I do, that two shopping heads are better than one?

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Sleeve Lengths: The Long, Short and 3/4 of It

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.

1. 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. SleeveOn_Sleeve_extension_triple_smallThe 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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?

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Modest Clothing For Kids (Or; How to Be Modest AND Matching!)

You want to dress your little ones in cute, modest clothing. Your kids just want to dress themselves. Encourage their independence AND guarantee a matching, modest outfit. We’ll tell you how.mismatched_clothing

To pretty much guarantee your children can pick out their own clothes all by themselves AND look presentable and modest, I have two words for you: Neutral bottoms.

This is a great trick I discovered years ago. With plain bottoms—knee-length denim skirts or jeans are a great example—your kids can spice it up with colorful tops, but still coordinate. (Though my daughter does have an interesting habit of pairing neutrals with neutrals. “If I wear a brown skirt, I should wear a brown shirt.” Yes, if you are dressing up like dirt.)

Tips for Easy Self-Dressing

1. Avoid “outfits.” Stay away from any skirt+ shirt or pants + shirt combo. I dislike “outfits” because the colors and patterns are designed to look good only together, so you can’t pair them with a different top or bottom. This is limiting! I protest! And it’s a morning fashion disaster waiting to happen, because you just know one of the pieces will be AWOL. (Tip: It was used as a blanket for a stuffed animal, fell behind your child’s bed when they were “cleaning up” and is serving as the local community center for a population of dust bunnies.)

2. Knee-length denim skirts. Many schools require modest length skirts for girls. Or maybe you just hate the child-in-a-miniskirt look. Either way, there are plenty of knee-length denim skirts (or longer lengths) to choose from. Denim, truly, is a girl’s best friend—it goes with anything, and during the colder months, it looks great with a cute pair of leggings underneath.

3. Sport skirts. For a change from denim and a softer feel, go for a versatile and functional knee-length “sport” skirt. Sport skirts are made of a soft knit material and move easily. In shades of blues, brown, black or gray, your daughter can pair it with a brightly colored shirt and be ready for an action-packed day.

4. Jeans. Like the denim skirt, a good pair of jeans is a must-have for boys. It’s easy to coordinate with shirts and very comfortable. A dark wash of jeans could even be appropriate for a more formal occasion. (Really! Try pairing a dark pair of jeans with a button-down shirt and see how debonair he looks. Sunglasses not included.)

What are your tried and true kid-dressing tips?

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Holiday Presents: To Have and to Clothe

The gifting season is upon us, and with it, the endless list-making and hand-wringing as you try to find that perfect gift for all the special someones in your life.

Clothing is always a popular gift option. But also a tricky one—is the size right? What about the style? Can it be returned easily? Does he/she have this already? And if your special someone prefers modest clothing, it can get even trickier.

First, some easy advice: Increase your chances of success by skipping over the entire printed-seasonal-designs section. NO reindeer sweaters, NO dreidel cardigans. Even for little kids. Please, let’s respect their fashion integrity, even at a young age.

So you want to find modest clothing that’s fresh and functional. I mean are you really going to buy another necktie? Or pair of gloves? Come on. Get your giftees something they can really use, day in and day out. A gift that will elicit the sought-after, “Oh, that’s JUST what I needed!” reaction.

(But keep the receipt. Just in case.)

Five clothing gifts that are 99 percent guaranteed to make the clothes-lovers in your life happy:

1. A pretty flowing cardigan. Fashionable (check), modest, (check), functional (check) and fairly easy to figure out what size to get. Remember that the giftee will probably wear this over another article of clothing, so don’t get it too small or tight.

2. A silk scarf. I once received a beautiful silk scarf as an end-of-year present from a student, and it’s one of my favorite items of clothing. A silk scarf is a versatile, fashionable item that can be used to cover hair, folded in a headband style or worn around your neck. A multifunctional, well-made gift is always welcome.

3. Sleevies®. Spice up a friend of family member’s wardrobe with a set of Sleevies. Your giftee can mix and match Sleevies® with a simple t-shirt to create dozens of modest wardrobe options. Go for the always popular black and white Sleevies®, or a colorful set for the truly daring fashionista in your life.

4. Pajamas! How many of us are using ratty old t-shirts and old pants we’ve had since college as pajamas? Treat your family—and yourself—to a cozy pair of new pajamas that actually match!

5. NFGC (Never Fail Gift Certificate). Yes, a present you picked out yourself and lovingly watched the store clerk wrap is always preferable. But let’s face it—there are those picky people in our lives that no matter what we do, it’s too small, too dark, wrong color, soooo not their style or it’s all those things AND they already own it. So you can never go wrong with a heartfelt gift certificate as well—watch their eyes light up with excitement at having FREE MONEY to spend however they like!

So good luck with your holiday gift shopping. Let us know how it goes! And please, share your clothing gift ideas with us!

(And if anyone wants to know what to get for me, I’m still wearing a ratty old t-shirt and pajama pants to bed every night….)

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