Modesty to Me: Presenting Alexa Dudley

This article is really special to me because it re-assures that Modesty is beyond age, race or religion. Alexa Sue-Anne Dudley is a young and bubbly Pre-Med from the States and is a hardcore Modest Fashionista !

“Modesty to me does not mean compromising on style but on the contrary means choosing style. It is an opportunity to step outside the box and challenge norms to be chic.”

Modesty according to Alexa, means choosing to conceal rather than reveal. It means dressing in a way that covers her body and suits her convictions. It means clothing herself so that she is separate from society. It is she choosing to let others focus on more important aspects of her than her body.

“I developed this understanding of Modesty when I was 17 years old. I was not always a modest fashionista, I was once a cheerleader. I wanted to dress the part of society and a young high school girl. One day in prayer with God I felt convicted and drawn to understand for myself why women in my faith dress modestly. I went at
this with a pure heart and out of curiosity. I read in scripture about how it is pleasing to God for me to conceal my body. I read the scriptures I had heard my whole life for myself with a focused effort to understand. I learned that God had guidelines for me to live my best life. I learned it is an abomination unto God to adorn myself in Men’s apparel. Yes, I have always been an Apostolic young lady and I had read these scriptures previously but it was not until that day that I truly understood. I had to decide for myself because I loved God more than anything else in the
world I was willing to please him even in how I choose to dress. It was not an immediate change but a journey to modesty. I begin to fall in love with the challenge and the opportunity it gave me to witness to others about my faith and my King Jesus. I love modest fashion and I will always love it because I love my king”, says Alexa.

When being asked if Modesty for her is religion-centric or a personal choice, Alexa explained, “Modesty is connected to my faith but it is not the sole reason I chose this lifestyle. Women in the Apostolic faith do dress conservatively wearing long skirts and long blouses but not because we are required to, but because we want to please God. It was and will always be a personal choice for me. It is about saying to God I want to please you in every aspect of my life. I want to live holy as you are holy. My body is a temple of you and I want to dress it as so. I believe I would want to dress this way regardless of my faith. If I was forced to adorn this way, it would not be freedom. If I was forced to dress this way it would defeat my purpose of choosing to be set apart.”

“EVERYDAY. Every single day I am criticized, judged and gossiped about for
dressing/advocating for modest fashion.”

Alexa spoke her heart out on criticism and ways to handle it. “I am a modest fashionista on a college campus and you would not believe the things I experience. I get that I look different but that does not make me weird. It does not equate me to being inadequate. Generally, it is because people are making false assumptions about me. I’ve been called overzealous, a prude, a crazy evangelical, interesting, loud, too religious….

“It used to get me down way more because I allowed it to. I would cry and say that’s it, I’m done blogging but God would convict me. I share my lifestyle because I love it and because when I started there were few Apostolic Modest Fashion Bloggers. Furthermore, there are so many Apostolic girls in college who face this same oppression and I need to be an example.

“When things like this happen I take a little bit to feel sad and then I pray about how to respond. The answer God gives to me is always LOVE. So that is what I try to show them. Depending on the severity of the issue I may also block the individual on Instagram. At the end of the day, I have to decide if it’s worth it to put myself out there on my blog as and it has always been yes. I believe it will always be yes because God is the reason I live and breathe each day. I want to honor him in my dress, my actions and through my speech. If I am criticized for that… so be it.”

On being asked if she promotes Modesty, Alexa exclaimed, “Oh my goodness yes! I promote Modesty every single day. I believe it is the reason I do what I
do. I want to work to break down the bad rep it gets. I advocate on Instagram, my blog, youtube and in my brand collaborations. Perhaps the simplest way and the biggest way I propagate Modesty is by walking around on my college campus dressed modestly. I stand out and it causes people to think about it. I advertise that you don’t have to compromise style to be modest. I go about it enthusiastically but I never condone others if this is not something they want to choose.”

“I like to combine casual and dressy. I like street style. I love sneakers with skirts and heels with T-shirts… It is my philosophy that you can spend less on clothes but shoes and bags are investment pieces.”

“Anywhere I go I am always looking out for modest finds but I, of course, have my go-to places. I love and adore Skirt Society at SkirtSociety.com because they don’t compromise style for coverage. They were the first brand collaboration I was offered and their label is what makes up most of my closet. I am very fortunate for the opportunity I had to work as their blog contributor and promote their clothes when I did. If anyone is looking for something modest without comprising on style this is the place to go. I also really like Sarah Lauren Company and The Modest Poppy. These are online stores focused on modesty so there is not any awkward adding of layers I have to do to wear their items. As far as brick and mortar locations, I like Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Ross, Banana Republic, and Old Navy. I get a lot of skirts from Old Navy, a lot of the basics from Ross, church/business clothes from Banana Republic and I shop the sales at the other two department stores. I think shopping for modest attire is a challenge and that is what makes it fun. When I find something like a staple piece or a statement piece I consider it an investment-then I keep it forever.”

Talking of Alexa’s favourite fashion pieces, the fashionista flaunts her own style. “Well, I am always wearing either a skirt or a dress so that would have to be included. I have kind of a passion for being the most unusual in a room so I like “spicy” choices. I like anything that I think no one else would wear. I never want to show up somewhere and someone else be there with my same outfit on.
I like to combine casual and dressy. I like street style. I love sneakers with skirts and heels with T-shirts. I love a good tulle skirt or any spicy skirts. I also adore a classic pencil skirt. I think those make up my most favorite looks + a great bag and some fabulous shoes. I like pops of bright color but I am obsessed with nudes, black, and navy!! An all-black dress for me is the ultimate with a spicy shoe! “

“Some see modest fashion as spending less on what you put on, others see it as women-only wearing skirts, some as covering every ounce of skin, or some see wearing a hair covering as modesty. My point is not everyone is at the same place as you or has the same convictions as you. Be kind, be respectful and love one another.”

As a message to her fellow women, Alexa says that Modesty is a journey so do not compare yourself to others. It is not what society makes it out to be as restrictive and oppression for women-it is quite the opposite, it is freedom. If you choose
modesty, let your interpretation guide you but do not force it on others.

“There is not one big rule book about what constitutes you being more holy than your sister. God calls us to not compare ourselves among ourselves and to love one another.
Finally celebrate others in the modest fashion industry, do not isolate or get jealous of their success. Just because one woman is doing the same thing as you doesn’t mean you can’t both be successful. Support other women! Get inspired by other women! Compliment other women and praise them for their success! Go outside of your faith and community to support other modest fashionistas. Make cross-cultural connections! There are not only Apostolic women who choose modesty but also Muslim women, Jewish women, and LSD women. (+ some who just choose modesty but do not choose faith).”

Please follow Alexa’s modest fashion journey at @1998miss on instagram and through her blog at 1998miss.com  for some spicy modest fashion ideas !

Modesty to Me: Farah Amin Khan

Director of the renowned Super International School and a PhD holder in Leadership, Farha Amin Khan is breaking the glass ceiling in the city of Kanpur. She is one of the very few females in the city leading such a huge institution and popularising the hijab for the good.

The word ‘Modesty’ for Farha  means humility, respect and covering in terms of clothing as well as in conduct.

“I developed the true understanding of modesty when my daughter was almost 7 years old. I realized that I should be a role model for her. I should exhibit modesty in my clothes and conduct so that she will grow into a graceful, respectable lady.”

Farha considers being modest to be a personal choice. “Some people do connect it with religion but for me it is a ‘calling’ from within, irrespective of one’s religion.”

On being asked if she ever felt that she was being judged or criticized for being modest, Farha said there had been numerous such occasions. “Unfortunately in our country, modesty is equated with lack of education and exposure. People start treating you differently.

I did lose my cool many times but then I realized that that’s not the right reaction on my part. I had to represent myself as a modest person who is pleasant and educated. I think patience is the key to deal with such situations.”

Farha hopes to inspire young girls around her and propagate the idea of Modesty. She wears modest clothes to school and wishes to set an example in front of the younger generations that anything can be achieved while remaining modest.

“We modest women have a huge responsibility of making sure that if we are wearing an abaya or a hijab, we must make sure that it looks presentable. The abaya and hijab should be neat and ironed to begin with. We must respect our modesty first before expecting others to respect it,” Farha pointed out correctly.

Farha shops online for her modest dressing needs and sometimes tries to self-design her clothes. She says that till a few years back, it was very difficult to find modest clothes in the market but now all the popular and mass market brands are producing modest clothes due to their huge demand.

Farha’s favourite attire is a loose fitted salwar suit with a matching hijab. She loves wearing long shrugs as well.

“Being modest does not make you backward. Don’t be afraid that if you dress up modestly, you will not be able to hang out with a certain group or you won’t be able to visit certain places. Modesty makes a woman beautiful and brings out the best in her. Dressing up modestly gives me the most liberating feeling. I feel like I can face any challenge with confidence.”

Farha is an example of how monumental changes in the society begin at the ground level. As the world today moves towards acceptance and the fashion industry towards modesty, women like Farha trigger these movements in the masses.

Modesty to Me: Presenting Franka Soeria.

“ Try to be like a cat with nine lives….” says the witted co-founder of Modest Fashion Weeks, #Markamarie & Think Fashion, Franka Soeria.

Intrigued by music and writing at a young age, Franka entered the world of Modest Fashion as a designer, stylist and became a Global Fashion Networker.

To Franka, Modesty means being Modest from the inside and outside. It’s not just about the look, but how you contribute to the world for the greater good.

“I developed this understanding after my journey both in mainstream fashion and modest fashion. Modest Fashion is great, but sometimes we tend to get stuck in visual translation.. Modesty is more than that- it’s a way of life”, says Franka.

Franka considers Modesty to be a personal choice. “I had my time when i didn’t wear modest fashion, but I did feel more comfortable wearing covered clothes, long before when I started wearing hijab.”

 On being asked if she ever felt that she was being judged for being modest, Franka turned out to be no exception. “I have been judged not only because of wearing modest clothes but also because I am Asian. I think people react like that because they don’t know who I am at first. By the time I start to speak is usually when they realize that I am not the girl they think I am.”

Franka doesn’t believe in propagating modesty. “Much before we did Modest Fashion Weeks, modest fashion was already everywhere. So we just collect people with same interests to celebrate modesty and help them to be recognized more and have more achievements. That’s what we do.”

Franka is a minimalist when it comes to dressing. She shops everywhere possible but what she buys has to be reusable and flexible enough to be worn in multiple ways.

“I am a supporter of ‘Re-wear Your Clothes’ idea. I have my own style.  A long chiffon scarf & white sneakers- that’s what I mostly wear when I go around. I minimize my time to think what to wear basically. I don’t wear branded stuff- its part of my personal branding.

My black scarves, white sneakers, sling bag and sometimes a black dress makes up my favourite attire. I am a ‘behind the scene’ woman, I wear stuff that can make me act and move fast.”

Franka’s take on modesty is simple and practical. When ‘who you are’ becomes more important than ‘how you look’ is when the real beauty comes out.

Franka says, “It is best to accept who you are and embrace it. Never do something because you are pressurised to do it. 

Don’t just dream to be somebody, make efforts for it. Start small and constantly move forward. Don’t listen to the negative voices.

Try to be like a cat with 9 lives. Dont hesitate to rise again after falling multiple times.

As long as you are trying to be a good person, you will always be great.”

Modesty to Me : Presenting Fatima Mukhtar.

Taking the ‘Modesty to Me’ movement forward, I have been speaking with a lot of women around us, understanding their take on Modesty and sharing their life experiences. This month, we present to you the story of Fatima Mukhtar.

Living in the suburbs of Houston, United States and parenting her three kids, Fatima is an imminent influencer in the modest fashion industry and writes a blog on the subject by the name of ‘Modestly Speaking’.

Fatima believes that modesty has an external and internal component, and according to her, the internal drives the external. To be modest in nature means to be humble in the way you behave and express yourselves. This in turn, drives modesty in one’s attire.  “My definition of modest fashion is a style in which one wears clothing that does not immediately scream ‘look at me!’ but when you are in public, your style speaks of your personality – subtle and sophisticated. Modesty has been instilled in me since I was a teenager. I never felt the need to show more skin because I don’t believe that equates to being fashionable.”

Fatima’s modesty is rooted in faith. She dresses the way she does to please Allah. She says that it is a personal choice, as she doesn’t believe that modesty is an indicator of one’s adherence to religion.

Talking of moments when she felt that she was being judged for being modest, Fatima remembered her times at the beach. “Anyone who has worn a modest bathing suit to the beach knows there is some sort of judgement passed. Fortunately for me, it’s usually just unwanted stares. I’m usually enjoying the water too much to care.”

Fatima shares modest fashion ideas through her blog Modestly Speaking. The idea behind the blog is that it is absolutely possible to dress fashionably AND modestly for all of life’s moments – whether it’s the gym, the beach, or a gala. Living in the United States she shops primarily at mainstream brands there. She has also found a few modest brands and stores where she can find unique pieces once in a while. Finding suitable modest clothing for hot weather is the only challenge she faces.

You can find Fatima in ravishing dresses, jump suits and wonderfully matched separates on her blog, however, the blogger prefers a long sleeve t-shirt and jeans for her day to day living. “I have young kids so I want to wear clothes that are comfortable and easy to move around with them. I do love a good midi skirt, right above the ankle to show off my shoes!”

When asked if she would like to convey any message to her fellow women, Fatima said, ”Modesty is empowering. When you dress according to your own ideals and style, you are conveying a message that you are beyond any fleeting trend. You can also focus more on what you are doing instead of what you look like.”

Practise what you preach as they say, Fatima believes in herself, her faith & her values and it reflects in what she does & how she does it. Find her on Instagram @modestly.speaking and get inspired to dress modestly ever after !

Modesty to Me

Modesty implies humility. For me, it is not only about clothing, it goes much deep. It means following modesty in behavior, speech, mannerism & lifestyle.  I happened to develop this understanding and love for the concept of modesty a few years back when I decided to become a hijabi.

There are certain religions or cultures of which Modesty, is an indispensable part. It is preached, explained or forced upon the young ones in the form of habits that they grow up with. However, as adults, we all have the choice to weigh things rationally and decide for ourselves. Being modest is a personal choice in my case.

There have been many such incidents where I was judged / criticized for being modest especially when I was travelling. The airport security checks sometimes become a tense & tedious affair because of my abaya.  I go through it with a smile and patience because I honestly don’t care how they perceive me or my appearance.

Dressing up modestly instils in me the feelings of liberation, freedom & self-realization & boosts the spirit of womanhood. It gives me the confidence to conceal my body and reveal my mind to the world.

I wouldn’t propagate modesty, but I would definitely motivate my fellow women to continue with their modest beliefs and shed all fears and doubts about it. They should embrace their choice of modest lifestyle, start dreaming big and turn them into reality. Before coming up with my own brand, it used to be a struggle to find pieces that would suit my modest clothing needs. I would visit International brands as well as the local boutiques but whatever I felt like wearing was sleeveless, short, clingy or had a deep neckline. I had to mix and match and layer in order to stay trendy while being a code abiding Muslimah at heart. However, thanks to the global Modest Fashion Movement for so many Modest Fashion brands, boutiques and online stores those understand the need of today’s modest women and cater to them.

I mostly wear my own brand The Hijab Lee now as its creations are a reflection of my thoughts, creativity and rebellion. The designs are trendy, quirky yet elegant just like our contemporary women. My modest fashion pieces are something that is trendy & chic yet respects my beliefs and makes me feel empowered. It could be anything between a maxi dress, wide legged pants, oversized jackets or an abaya matched with a trendy bag, right footwear and some jewellery.  Comfort is the key.

I would like to congratulate my fellow women for being brave enough to be different, for revolutionizing the societal standards and breaking the stereotypes. We are lucky to be a part of this revolution where the world is becoming more inclusive and modesty has made its place in it. Being modest does not stop you from achieving your dreams. Just be strong, confident, bring out your inner beauty and conquer the world!

Hello !

The Hijab Lee is an Indian International luxury fashion brand that believes in the co-existence of ethics & fashion. The brand creates globally applaudable attires in trendy colors & contemporary silhouettes for today’s progressive female youth. Its creations are a unique amalgamation of the traditional Indian hand embroideries & the current fashion trends. The magnificent hand-embroideries are turned into modern pieces of art by creative manipulations.

The Hijab Lee celebrates the Female-Power and aims to empower, uplift and encourage women to believe in their beauty beyond skin and body.  With its exuberant, trend-driven designs, THL beckons our young women to be covered & confident, to chase their dreams and not let their modesty come in the way.

Live your Femininity!

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