Liberated in Fashion: How I Can Express Myself In All Modesty

By Sara Gahnem

Both men and women have always considered fashion as a means of expressing their personal style or identity. People won’t ever have an issue with that, but the moment a woman decides to express herself through modest fashion, a number of eyebrows get raised.

It’s strange to be living in a world where if a woman decides to wear a bikini to the beach, it’s a sign of her liberty and personal choice but if she decides to wear a burkini, it automatically becomes associated with oppression.

It was back when I was in my early teens that I realised how modest clothes made me feel so much more comfortable, stylish and confident. Which is why I opted for modest fashion at ayoung age. Obviously this was not an easy decision as I struggled a lot at times. I was bothered with people’s stares or awkwardness around me. Eventually, it all ended as soon as I stopped caring about what others thought and focused more on myself.

Today, I am a strong, independent and most importantly, a happy Muslimah, who is not only extremely passionate about the latest fashion trends and styles, but who also adopts them wholeheartedly, in my own modest ways.

So yes, I can wear anything that I want and no, I am not being forced by any male member of my family to dress the way that I do. But the question that remains unanswered is, how exactly do I express my personality with modest outfits? As mentioned earlier, I always keep my eyes on the latest fashion trends and I’m never afraid to try them on. All I have to do is be creative when deciding how to wear these styles.

When everyone was wearing mini skirts, I wore one too except that I wore leggings under mine. I even tried the slip dress trend, the only difference was that I chose one in an opaque white fabric instead of a sheer one and layered under it with a black turtleneck.  You cannot imagine how good it looked.

The good thing is that these days there are so many amazing brands that bring the most beautiful modest outfits like palazzo pants, boyfriend jeans, and tunics., all these items are not just modest but also look extremely stylish; they should be your modest fashion must-haves.

You should never feel that modesty is about wearing unattractive clothes or not looking good. I particularly enjoy wearing hijabs to match my mood and personality. For instance, when wearing vibrant coloured hijabs, I feel like my true self and benevolent, positive, cheerful nature really pops out. And on days when I’m not feeling too energetic, I go with neutral coloured hijabs like greys, browns or blacks.

I also feel that ever since I decided to dress modestly, I’ve been able to focus more on myself, which has made me so much happier. The time and energy that was earlier being wasted, was now spent on more productive activities. I guess that dressing modestly has the same effect on me as yoga has on most people; it leaves me happy, relaxed, spiritual and bursting with a positive energy.

The words ‘modest fashion’ mean different things to different women. For some, it’s just about covering their shoulders and knees, for others it’s about covering their hair with a hijab and for others, it just might be about covering everything except her eyes.

But no matter what a woman’s definition of modesty is, she can choose to do it with a respect for her religion along with her love for fashion. And the world needs to be mature enough to respect every woman, no matter how she decides to dress.

About the author

Sarah is a hijabista and a fashion consultant who is passionate about the modest fashion scene. Apart from keeping up with the latest hijab trends, she happily shares her path towards creativity and self-expression.