So you’re determined to be modest. You want your clothes to be lovely, yet reliably provide coverage no matter what fool things you do.
After all, it’s not like any of us… squat or get on our knees to play with our children or clean up messes, bend over or reach up to get things off the lowest or highest shelf, trot across streets to make it in time…
It doesn’t matter what we do, we don’t live in dressing rooms. We need clothes that fit us and won’t let us down. And mainstream fit isn’t quite right for us, typically. Sometimes yes, and sometimes no, in some ways it’s right and in others no way, José.
It also depends on the standards of modesty you adhere to. Some Christian and Jewish women fit their clothes similarly to mainstream women, with considerably more coverage, while there are Muslim ladies who keep their clothing loose and flowing so that the outlines of their bodies cannot be seen. I believe most of us prefer our clothing not too fitted, as being against the spirit of the law if not the letter of it.
In any case, proper fit is the first step towards banishing frumpiness and sloppiness. The first step is taking your measurements.
This is an all inclusive series of measurements you might need for buying online, having clothes made for you or having items tailored(they typically take their own measurements however.) It includes what you’d need for hats, shoes, boots, collared shirts and blazers. Also handy for thrifting, at times. This is just an idea of some measurements that could be handy, depending on what you need.
This is a set of typical measurements for shopping online, a very useful and necessary skill.
For mainstream sizes, they typically allow two inches(ish) more than your measurement as “ease”; that is, room to get into a garment and move around. I’m sure we all know of the ladies who have to lie down to zip up their jeans! They’re experiencing a garment with no ease.
Of course, you know this, but none of your clothes should be tight, bulging, hurting or too small whatever. Being a plus size modest fashionista particularly is not easy, but I do not care if you can cover up the part that reveals how tight they are; get rid of those clothes! After all, you’re a child of God, yes? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob never called you to wear clothes that hurt you. Let them go, girl.
Now, you might think that more ease makes something more modest. But besides this being the train to frumpytown, it depends on what it is. Leggings with too much ease are just baggy and look sad under your skirt. Jeans with too much ease will keep sliding down. (Relaxed fit have a bit more ease through the lower hips and legs, not the waist.) Unless your shirt has a high neckline, more ease will make it less modest- it will slide down in front and off your shoulder. I find it works best to focus on ease in the right areas as well as focusing on how different layers are eased rather than just going bigger.
For instance, you do always want your shoulders well fitted. There’s no call for your shoulder seams to be too big or too small, or moving around like the dancers on Soul Train. Everything hangs from the shoulders. But your bust and belly can be significantly flowier without losing anything from the fit of the garment, if that’s how it is built.
This shirt clearly fits the shoulders and arms, yet is loose and flowy around the torso. I particularly like the tucking in and high waist, although the jeans are too tight for my taste.
Again, with your skirt, your waist must be fitted nicely to avoid slip-sliding, hurting you or just falling down at services(am I the only one who has those dreams? Hmmm.) But the rest of the skirt, depending on construction, is much more forgiving of extra allowance.
Another thing that modest ladies often benefit from is stylish layering, which becomes significantly more difficult when the bottom layer is grossly oversized and bunching up in the sleeves of the cardigan or jacket.
The top layers still ought to be properly sized in terms of your shoulders and the length of your arms; looking like you’re a child in your mama’s clothes is no way to go through life. To inspire respect and confidence, have comfortable, well styled, properly fitted clothes.
Audrey from Putting Me Together demonstrates the difference fit can make:
Another thing is belting and tucking in. Many modest women believe that drawing attention to their waist is immodest. I find that belting and tucking in make a woman look put together, just as they do men. I certainly recommend not tucking in too tightly; I love a little elastic in the back of my jeans or skirt to accommodate tucking of different types of material, from button down shirts to chunky sweaters. I also prefer longer tops, of course, in general, and that works well for tucking as it leaves some blousiness.
Belting an outfit is often considered as a waist emphasiser, but I ask you to consider it, and tucking, as giving your outfits horizontal lines at a place of your choice. You certainly can emphasise your waist with a belt, but if you don’t wish to, simply wear it loosely and pin it if necessary(usually not necessary.) Both assist with a proper fit and a solid look.
Check out these lovely hijabis with belted outfits:
You can see how they are using the belts loosely and for fashion rather than sexual attractiveness.
Here are some who have tucked in their tops:
This lady looks very clean and put together, less loose and flowing but still very modest.
Here is a fashionable, modest young woman who demonstrates a lovely tuck and belting as well as colour play, picking up the colours from her print.
Again, a clean, put-together look with beautiful colour play, a modest tuck and just a lovely look.
Another thing you might also notice is that they all have clothes that fit them. Even when their clothes seem puffy or blousy, you can look at the wrists and see that they were designed that way.
One last thing: find a good tailor in your area and treasure them. It is rare to find off-the-rack clothing the fits the way it ought; best to buy a bit large and have them tailor down to fit you. This may not always be possible, but do it with the most important pieces in your wardrobe: button-down shirts, which often fit awkwardly, if you wear them at all; your blazers; your going out dress and services outfits; your jackets and trousers or jeans. Anything you’re uncomfortable in should either go to the tailor or be donated. Fortunately, most tailors don’t charge an arm and a leg, but we’re not all made of money. (If you are, hello! My name is Deborah Israel…)
I hope this has been helpful! What are some other questions you have about fitting clothes?