All American women have to make fashion-conscious decisions every time they get dressed. With various factors including personal preference, religion, shape, age and work rules influencing their choice, they have to decide how they’re going to look before they walk out of the door.
Previously, women were influenced by celebrities who bared as much flesh as possible (take Bella Hadid at Cannes earlier this year, for example) but now, more are turning towards a more modest way of dressing. Seeking inspiration from the impeccably dressed but never exposed Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, many women are now covering up. In Hadid’s case, if you’ve got it flaunt it, but even those women who do have figures to flaunt are still choosing to opt for “modest fashion”.
Modest Fashion in Western-Style Clothing
The reasons for dressing modestly can vary, with many women complying with laws and religious traditions. Catholics, conservative Protestants, Mormons, Orthodox Jews and Muslims are amongst these but some women simply don’t want to walk around exposing as much skin as possible, regardless of how warm it is outside.
A number of retailers (like www.MadisonLosAngeles.com), designers and bloggers are now introducing modest clothing lines that appeal to a wide range of women. Utilizing Western-style clothing, which includes tops, skirts, dresses, sweaters, layering pieces, and even swimwear, modest fashion has been made trendy, removing the frumpy stigma that followed it before.
All of these fashionistas who are supporting modest fashion come from a variety of different backgrounds, religions and cultures. However, they’ve all got one thing in common – they’re using the Internet and social media to showcase their modest styles. They’re channeling their passion into others who are looking for inspiration and into those who perhaps didn’t feel as though dressing modestly could be fashionable.
As their followers grow and the sales continue to rise for this style of clothing, it’s clear that not all women want to wear tight figure-hugging dresses or expose their midriffs. However, for the popularity of this trend to continue growing, it’s important that the designs make women want to wear them.
A Growing Fall Fashion Trend
Measuring how large a market modest fashion is is difficult. According to Commerce Department statistics, in 2015, the girls-and-women apparel market was worth $179 billion and modest fashion was a small niche within this. So small, in fact, that it wasn’t even a measured trend within these statistics, in America at least.
However, $266 billion was spent on clothing and footwear by Muslims around the world in 2013. This is based on a report produced by Thomson Reuters who also suggested that by 2019 the figure would rise to a whopping $484 billion. So, with this amount of power in the fashion world, there’s no wonder why fashion designers have started to take note of the Muslim fashion market.
Previously, Muslim women found themselves restricted with their choice as many deemed that they weren’t fashion-conscious. And, whilst some of them aren’t, there are a lot of them who are. Speaking about the myths surrounding Muslim women and fashion, Remona Aly says that even though the stereotypical color of their outfits is black this isn’t a religious requirement. Instead, black is used by many Muslim women in a bid to avoid attracting the attention that they find in some countries. She also goes on to say that many Muslims enjoy wearing colors and patterns that don’t fit into this stereotype.
A Widespread Phenomenon
It isn’t just the Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge who’s admired for her modesty as others also admire Oliva Palermo and Ivanka Trump, who, after marrying an Orthodox Jew, converted to Judaism. Then there’s Mary-Kate and Ashley, the Olsen twins, who are now renowned designers, creating over-sized clothing that’s loosely fitted and with some dresses and layering pieces that reach down the ankles.
All of these celebrities are ones that you won’t see sporting clothing that’s revealing, and it is this that empowers others to follow suit as they can see that these people won’t be objectified as a sex symbol. And alongside the couture fashion houses that have been selling to Middle Eastern women for years, there are now a number of high-street retailers and A-list designers who are taking note of this growing market.
Mango, Zara, Monique Lhuillier, Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger and DKNY are just some of those who are noting the Islamic month of Ramadan with one-off collections that feature modest fashions. Last year, H&M also featured a hijab in one of their video advertisements, with Dolce & Gabbana releasing their own collection of hijabs in January of this year.
Covering Up Can Be Fashionable!
Don’t be mistaken in thinking that dressing modestly is unfashionable. Gap has proven that this season with their wide range of layering pieces from sweaters and cardigan to vest and jackets. Just about every woman can agree that their new arrivals are to-die-for and perfect for fall weather. Stay tuned for tips on how to put on layers, which fall trends you need to try and where to get layering pieces without breaking the bank!
* Images above from Gap.com