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Modest Women: How Feminism Is Influencing The New Generation of Style Visionaries

Lifestyle

Scrolling through close to one million photos under Instagram's trending hashtag #modestfashion, I expected to see mostly Hijab-clad women, Mormon-style clothing, and Orthodox fashion. Instead, I noticed something different. I saw millennial women, dressed in feminine button downs, beautiful long dresses with cinched waists, and gorgeous designer boots to match their handbags.


Sweeping across the closets of western culture, these were real women I was seeing in the near 1 million photos, all sporting different body types, smiling, and happy in their own skin. According to Who What Wear in January, "searches for "modest fashion" [on PinterestUK] are up 500 percent since the beginning of this year." I took a page from Carrie Bradshaw's book and I wondered: is modern, chic modesty the new IT girl trend?

Kate Hudson attends The 2018 Golden Globe Awards in a polkadot gown. Photo Courtesy of Mirror

One factor that seems to influence most fashion trends is a question of whether or not your identity within the clothing and what you feel it represents.

As an example, I have a proclivity for gorgeous, vivid loafers of all different colors, as they fulfill my need for a simple pop of color that reflects my personality. In the midst of the workweek slump, when I am up to my eyeballs in work and feel at my most vulnerable, my vibrant shoes give me comfort and confidence.

This notion certainly holds true to modest fashion, as people who identify as modest seek out the clothing of modest fashion companies. But what about the other way around? Many modest styles are gearing toward trendy, modern, and attractive styles that fall within many unified standards of acceptable dress. In Hollywood, A-list Celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Kate Hudson, Zendaya, and Beyonce' have all sported less skin on the 2018 red carpets this season in their dare I say conservative, well thought out dress choices that definitely don't compromise fabulous for extra fabric.

Feminism + Modesty

A change is upon us. People are leaning toward the modest notion because they can identify with themselves and the confidence, not to be swept up with the western culture of provocative wear. Actress and Emmy Award winner Mayim Bilalik, known for her role in Big Bang Theory, penned a powerful essay as an op-ed for the New York Times on feminism in the Weinstein era. In it, Mayim noted that the power she felt as a figure in Hollywood many times involved a conscious decision of how she portrayed her body and her dress in order to navigate the harsh, overtly critical landscape that surrounded her. In other words, her modesty was her personal power. In the modern political sphere, it can oftentimes seem incredibly daunting and uncertain, as women have been jumping through the hoops and hurdles of society's laid out expectations for centuries.

C'est Moi Clothing Spring/Summer 2018 Ruffle Midi Dress.

The Future is Now

So, how do we bridge the gap between the “old spinster" stereotypes of the past and the modest fashion icons of the future? For starters, outlets like TheModist.com are gaining popularity, serving up Net-A-Porter vibes and sleek, eye-catching designs. Women of all walks of life now have options, further clearing the notion that longer inseams and lower hemlines are oppressive and defeminizing. Macy's recently announced its collaboration with Verona Collection, the Muslim-founded brand featuring sparking both blame and backlash on social media and online reviews from all over the world:

Lisa Vogl, the brand's founder, said in a press release, “Verona Collection is more than a clothing brand. It's a platform for a community of women to express their personal identity and embrace fashion that makes them feel confident on the inside and outside." Vogl continues to express that her designs are not, in fact, oppressing women of the western world at all, she is not force-feeding any shoppers her hijabs to wear as accessories.

On The Verona Collection website, Lisa states:

“After embracing Islam, she had a stark realization: modest and fashionable clothing were both hard to acquire and difficult to afford. After doing a bit of research, she realized that many other women, both Muslim and non-Muslim, felt the same way."

Thus, her goal is to present options in shopping malls all over the country in an area which was once an empty void to purchase with positivity and inclusivity. Other notable brands that have come out have been Orthodox Jewish and Mormon-inspired designers, boasting fashion-forward designs and affordable basics.

Jen Loch, a Mormon mother of three and founder of Jen clothing, describes her struggles in realizing that modest can be fashionable growing up.

“As I grew up and got married I finally started to understand why modesty was important. I now have a passion for helping young women discover the value of modesty, and that 'modest fashion' doesn't have to be an oxymoron!"

Valentino's Spring Haute Couture, Paris Fashion Week 2018

Wherever your personal style falls in the modest spectrum, we can all ultimately agree that this fashionable niche is on the rise on a global scale. It is not only incredibly fascinating seeing each designer's unique take on their pieces, but it is empowering knowing that we as women with different inherent beliefs can unify under our stylistic standards of our own choosing. The future is now, and we have the ability to resonate our message to the generations to come. My hope as a stylist and designer of essential pieces is for you to evolve and adapt your own wardrobe repertoire in a way that isn't forced. Be bold, be chic, be comfortable, and above all else, be you.

4 min read
Health

Tropism, Mindfulness, and Responding to Your Environment

One of the few things I remember from grade school biology is the concept of tropism. In plain language, tropism is the reaction of a living thing, like a plant, towards a stimulus like sunlight or heat. You've likely seen this before but just didn't recognize it for what it was. If you've ever seen the leaves of a potted plant bending towards a windowpane, that's tropism in action. The plant is bending towards the sunlight.

If you've ever seen the leaves of a potted plant bending towards a windowpane, that's tropism in action.

In our everyday lives, we are all inundated with stimuli throughout the day. The driver in front of us that stalls at the yellow light and zooms through the red light, leaving us behind to wait. Or the customer service rep that leaves us on hold for an ungodly amount of time, only for the call to prematurely drop. There are so many examples both common and unique to our individual lives. The trouble begins when we form the habit of responding to everything — particularly negative stimuli. By doing this, our mental peace is disrupted and diverted making us slaves to whatever happens to happen. Much like the plant bending towards sunlight, we oftentimes react and lean into whatever is happening around us. Now take that concept and multiply it by the number of things that can happen in a day, week, or month. What happens to you mentally with so many emotional pivots?

For me, the result is: Restlessness. Anxiety. Sleepness. Mindless Eating. Everything besides peace of mind.

Much like the plant bending towards sunlight, we oftentimes react and lean into whatever is happening around us.

Earlier this year, something pretty trivial happened to me. I'm sure this has happened to you at some point in your life also. I was walking through a door and, as I always do, glanced back and held the door longer and wider than normal for the person coming behind me. My gracious gesture was met with silence — no thank you, no smile, not even a nod. I remember being so annoyed at this travesty of justice. How dare they not acknowledge me and thank me for holding the door? After all, I didn't have to do it. I know I spent the next few hours thinking about it and probably even texted a few friends so that they could join in on my rant and tell me how right I was to be upset. In hindsight, I should not have allowed this pretty petty thing to occupy my mind and heart, but I did. I let it shake my peace.

I've since taken some classes on mindfulness and what I've learned (and I'm still learning) is the art of being aware — being aware of the present and my feelings. Recognizing when I'm triggered towards annoyance or anger gives me the opportunity to take a step back to understand why and assess whether it deserves my attention and energy. We're all human and having emotions is part of the deal but as mindful adults, it's critically important to choose what you're going to care about and let everything else pass along. There are several tools on the market to help with this but the Headspace app has really helped me in my mindfulness journey. The lessons are guided and coupled with some pretty cute animations.

Recognizing when I'm triggered towards annoyance or anger gives me the opportunity to take a step back to understand why and assess whether it deserves my attention and energy.

Over the course of the next week, I'd like to challenge you to pay more attention to your reactions. How aware are you of how you allow your environment to affect you? Are you highly reactive? Do you ruminate for hours or even days on events that are insignificant in your life? If so, practicing a bit of mindfulness may be the way to go.