Modest fashion is not one staple look as people may think. A lot of the times people associate modest fashion with the traditional Arab attires as the only one look modest fashion could be.
Growing up, the only thing I associated with being Muslim enough or modest enough was a black abaya, because of what was portrayed, not only in movies, but the people around me.
Stereotypical Muslim attire being embedded in my head right from a young age did not help matters at all. I had this idea that if I couldn’t wear a black abaya then I couldn’t be modest at all. Which made me shy away from modest and Islamic fashion in general.
I was a lover of fashion and I needed to express that in every way possible.
But the truth is modesty can look however you want it to, I know that now. The whole idea of modest fashion is being consciously covered to a certain degree, and though for us Muslims, it is usually for religious reasons, there are a lot of other people who choose to dress modestly for several other reasons.
Looking at it this way made me realise something, the only difference between modest fashion and the rest of the world is how much skin is shown or covered. It might have taken a little while to unlearn all of the stereotypes, but that really made me realize modest fashion can look however I want it to, it can be green, or brown or pink or blue, oh, how I love royal blue.
The point is, just because you need to cover up your body, does not mean you cannot express yourself and your fashion sense through it. With modesty being a necessity in our religion, we definitely try to translate it in our appearances and that’s okay, but that doesn’t mean we all have to look the same for it to be right.
We all have our styles and different personalities, which I believe should be expressed through fashion.
Modest fashion simply means being covered. To what degree? You decide for yourself, but it doesn’t mean boring, it doesn’t mean ugly, and it definitely does not mean tacky. You don’t have to choose between looking modest or fashionable, the two can coexist.
I understand however, how it can be a bit of a challenge bridging together those two, but once you start to see it as just the normal type of fashion, only you choose to keep covered, you start to really get creative with your looks and begin to feel a lot more free with expressing style.
With all that being said, here are a few practical tips you could incorporate that will help you spice up your modest fashion style.
Okay, literally every muslim girl/hijabi should have this art on lock down. Mastering this will make your life a whole lot easier, considering most of the trendy clothes that are out there are not exactly the most modest.
Therefore, once you’ve mastered layering, you will be able to actually put together outfits with whatever pieces you have. Mixing together clothing items actually give you an edgy look.
Layering is not only used in the modest fashion world, but it is something most style conscious people incorporate in their outfits because it looks fashionable. When it comes to layering, there is a lot to consider, the fabric, texture, color, form and sizes. All these are things to mix and match, when putting together an outfit. You can mix up your colors, or mix up your pattern or textures.
Layering in the basic sense means wearing a clothing over another clothing, that clothing can be a jacket over a dress, or a kimono over your camisole to help you keep modest. Sometimes just throwing a scarf around your neck makes a whole lot of difference in your outfit.
2. Color blocking
As mentioned in the previous tip, layering is key when it comes to putting together an outfit and mixing colors is one way of layering. Color blocking, really takes your outfit to the next level when done right. A lot of people think you have to be clashing bold colors in order for you to be color blocking, but the truth is, it doesn’t have to be bold colors and they don’t have to be clashing, they can be colors that complement, shades of the same color or even black with a splash of color.
In terms of mixing bold colors, it is always better to not mix more than three bold colors in one outfit, you can mix up several shades of a color, but once it gets past three bold colors, you begin to look like a walking bag of skittles, we don’t want that. #stayclassy
3. The basics
As a muslim girl, you need to have basics such as plain body hug tops, plain t-shirts, plain kimonos, just basic plain clothing. In as much as you want to look fly and fabulous at all times, as someone who mixes clothing pieces a lot, you will be surprised just how handy some basic pieces would be.
When it comes to looking fashionable, too much is actually just too much, you cannot wear a lot of fabrics, a lot of colors and lot of patterns and not expect to look like a hobo.
Therefore, as you put together your outfit throw in some basic pieces here and there and it will just make everything look chic.
4. Proportions: When putting together an outfit, for us muslims our concern is to make sure skin is not showing and clothes are not too tight. Which means we tend to go a little baggy with our cloth options.
There is nothing wrong with going baggy, I for one think it looks so cute, not to mention, it is actually a trend right now. However, one thing you can’t ignore while doing this is proportion. Everything has proportions in life, and once the proportion is off, it looks wrong.
This is the reason, so many girls don’t like wearing baggy clothes, because they think it looks off, but trust me once you start getting into it, you get the hang of it in no time.
The proportions to consider here when putting together an outfit is; either you go big on top and small at the bottom, or small on top and big at the bottom. By this I mean, if you choose to wear baggy and loose trouser/skirt, then your top shouldn’t be oversized.
Sometimes you might wear a tight top that shows off your body a bit, in that case you can throw on a kimono or a jacket or a shirt. That way, your proportions still look right and you stay modest, by layering on the top. If you go with big on top, that is wearing an oversized top, make sure your bottom (trouser/skirt) is smaller (your actual size), that way you look really classy.
Now this might just be the most important tip on this post, because hunnay, without this, there is no magical garment to wear and look fabulous. Whether you are showing skin or not showing skin this is essential in looking fashionable.
Think about it, have you ever seen someone with the same body type as you wear an outfit and they look bomb, but then when you try on the same outfit, you are just not feeling it anymore? That’s probably because they wore it more confidently than you did. It’s all in the way you carry yourself, and that’s just me keeping it 100%.
The magic truly is in you, you give the clothes power, you make it look good. Having good posture goes a long way, when you walk, walk with your head high up, shoulders back.
Slouching is not good posture, try to avoid that. Good posture really helps boost your confidence, even if you don’t feel confident just pretend you do, look it and act it. There is a study that shows one can improve their self confidence through practicing good posture, so why not just try it. The reality is no one knows you are not confident until you show them or tell them, so just pretend, until you get the part.
Hauwa Sami is a modest fashion enthusiast, who advocates for muslim women’s fashion. Her love for fashion is what prompted her to start her own modest fashion clothing line. She’s all about helping muslim girls find the beauty in covering up, which is why she designed an entire magazine called; ‘The mslimahs style guide’ which you can download for free HERE