Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Modest Proposal

Monique wrote in with the following: "This is your next challenge, Las F. Help us girls with the modesty requirement look good for a party without the frump." She also provided a website that she indicated meant well, but "the style is lacking big time." So the first thing I did was to check the site out.

How can I put this delicately... Monique, you were absolutely right about the site. You've come to the right place, however, and I have some great ideas for you modest ladies out there. I wanted to say off the bat that different people and religions have different ideas of modesty, so I'll try to hit all of them. And let me tell you, this one was a little tough. There's not a lot out there that doesn't flaunt, if you know what I mean.

Let's say you've found the perfect dress, fits you like it was custom made but, sadly, it is sleeveless. This cocktail dress, from Jones New York, is a great one for modesty - hits below the knee and comes up to the neck, but it needs something extra for the arms. As we've said before, we're not big fans of the shrug. Let me instead suggest a cardigan sweater with some modern, stylish embellishments. The sweater at right is absolutely gorgeous, and available at Nordstrom. It's colorful, and the sequin design is very in this year. Leave the buttons open and go for a short set of pearls around the neck for a fabulous Jackie O finish. The key to keep in mind is that the cardigan is not just a cover up - remember that it should be just as fancy and well-thought-out as your dress was.

Another modest option is to try a Cheongsam, at left. Covers the legs, covers the neck and still is incredibly stylish and modern. They can be somewhat difficult to find if you don't live in an area with ethnic stores. There are plenty of places to buy them online, but these dresses are not very forgiving to those who might have some curvy parts, so your best bet is to go a size bigger and take it to a tailor who can take it in in all the right places. One such website is Good Orient, which I have ordered from in the past and found them to be quite helpful. Additionally the prices, I must add, are an absolute steal for some of their apparel. Some of you may not be able to bear the arms, and for this particular style a wrap that ties in the front may be your lifesaver. There are long-sleeved cheongsams, but I think that's a little too much in one outfit - the designs tend to be busy. I found the wrap at right at, and it's a silk/cashmere blend - very luxurious! I'll warn you, though, if you'll be wearing it all night you might get annoyed at not being able to lift your elbows away from your body, but it's an option. There are many out there, so find the one that suits you best. The beauty of this wrap is that the front is very open, so it will show off the decorative clasps of the dress.

I hope all of this was helpful to you, Monique, and props to you for sticking to your beliefs in a world which would prefer women dress like hookers.