Modest fashion: ‘I feel confident and comfortable’


Bloggers wearing modest fashion

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Jodie Marriott-Baker / Asha Mohamud

Floor-length dresses, wide-leg trousers and oversized jumpers.

That’s not our Christmas wish list – we’re talking about modest fashion.

If you haven’t heard of the term it’s all about covering up in a way that is still on trend. Dressing modestly but fashionably is already popular with young Muslim women but it’s not exclusive to people of any one religion or belief.

And right now it’s having a moment.

Asha Mohamud, 21, is a modest blogger and model with over 27,000 followers on Instagram. She tells Radio 1 Newsbeat: “Modest fashion is becoming more inclusive.”

“I feel like women are now dressing not to be sexy for men – but to feel sexy for themselves.”

“Maybe that’s no longer a push-up bra – instead it’s a two piece suit”.

Fashion blogger Jodie Marriott-Baker says social media and changing attitudes are why people are enjoying covering up in the name of fashion.

“It’s no longer seen as ‎a trend that older people wear,” she tells Newsbeat.

“Fashion influencers on Instagram have made it look more wearable and accessible for ‎everyone.”

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Jodie Marriott-Baker thinks modest fashion works for smart and casual occasions

And it’s not just bloggers that have noticed the change.

John Lewis’ recent retail report shows shoppers are now favouring “longer lengths and looser fitting styles” over “restrictive, tight-fitting clothing”.

This year the store saw sales of midi dresses go up by 152% as well as a 33% increase in the sale of ankle-length trousers.

And it’s not unique to John Lewis, other retailers have noticed a modest fashion boom as well – both ASOS and M&S have modest ranges.

Remember THAT Zara dress? The one that broke the internet? Lots of bloggers say it’s also an example of modest fashion due to its long, loose shape.

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The dress even has its own Instagram account

Asha, who is Muslim, believes “modest fashion is different for every person”.

“I’ve worn short skirts that people wouldn’t consider modest, but I’ve worn it in a different way, by putting loose fit trousers underneath.”

“Modest fashion is so much more than being Muslim. It’s no longer attached to a religion. It’s a new trend.”

Jodie defines modest fashion as “timeless, chic and oversized – yet flattering”.‎

“‎Winter is a great time of year for it – you can stay warm but still wear dresses and skirts ‎and feel feminine.”‎

Unlike some skimpy summer clothes, Jodie says that part of the appeal of modest fashion is that it can be re-worn throughout the seasons.

“I can wear a midi dress in the summer when it’s hot and I want something cool and floaty. And then I’ll wear it again in autumn and winter, but layer it with a jumper and tights”.

‎”I feel confident and most importantly comfortable. I know no matter how much I ‎eat you’ll never be able to see my food baby.”‎‎

It’s become such a big deal that there’s a UK model agency dedicated to models who only wear modest fashion.

Shammie Hammouda, who runs Umma Models, thinks 2020 will be the year modest fashion really breaks through to the mainstream.

She started the business a year ago with just four clients, but now represents more than 60.

“You see people that practice modesty every single day but you don’t see that represented in the media. I’m hoping it becomes the norm,” she says.

Modest fashion has been around for years, Shammie tells Newsbeat.

“If we go back to Britain in about the 1950s ‎modest fashion was the norm. Everyone had longer hem lines and long sleeves.”

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Long hemlines were fashionable in the 1950’s

But as much as some of us are loving midis and maxis, there is still no shortage of online retailers promoting products that could be considered as skimpy or sheer.

Jodie doesn’t believe these differences in styles are new.

“I think fashion is a lot more accessible now and shops offer a bigger range of different trends”.‎

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