ressing modestly can become a chore when you just can’t find clothing that meets your needs.
Muslim women everywhere are all too familiar with the unwarranted extra level of stress when trying to find clothes that meet our personal modesty requirements. Is this neckline too deep? Is there too much ankle on show? Am I becoming delirious from the number of layers I’ve had to put on in order to make this outfit halal?
I’ll find the perfect dress after twenty minutes of scrolling (having pre-selected long-sleeves and maxi options to refine the process) only to discover that it’s backless.
Despite the modest fashion industry being valued at $277 billion in 2020/21, shopping as a Muslim woman, or someone with specific modesty needs, remains a process that demands patience.
The exhaustion I associate with finding clothes that meet my criteria and that I actually like has seen me dress like a teenage boy in oversized hoodies and baggy trousers for years now.
Of course, modesty looks different from person to person but in most cases we just want to look and feel good, without having to safety-pin the rogue slits on a maxi skirt.
Shop our favourite labels below
If you’re after the perfect evening gown or dress for an occasion, hit up British-Egyptian female-owned tailoring studio, Acacia. Think puff sleeves and satin draping, specifically tailored for your body and most importantly, your modesty needs. As well as having seasonal lines, designer and founder Sabren, also offers bespoke one-off creations.
The online retail fashion giant has a designated section on its site for modest dressing. These aren’t the kind of items you’d dismiss as boring or run of the mill. The patterned styles still offer plenty of opportunity to flex your fashion prowess with maxi dresses, jumpsuits and top and trouser sets in neutral palettes as well as statement-making prints.
Modest fashion doesn’t need to mean floaty abayas in shades of nude. If, like me, you’re seeking the comfort and edge of streetwear, head to Daily Paper for their unisex pieces that take influence from African heritage and contemporary design.
When it comes to finding clothes for work and everyday, Na-kd offers a range of basic staples and more dressy pieces. The brand has a wide selection of simple and neutral garments that can be dressed up or down, striking a perfect balance between sleek, sophisticated and modest.
If you’re after timeless minimalist silhouettes, COS is the place for you. The high street brand uses long-lasting fabrics and sustainably sourced materials to create classic shapes that are both modest and practical. These are staple pieces that will form the foundation of your wardrobe for years to come.
Layering is every Muslim girls go to, and Uniqlo is the best place for lightweight, durable basics to make your favourite satin slip dress modest without breaking a sweat. In 2015, the brand became a player in the Muslim/modest fashion market, producing an ongoing modest wear collection in collaboration with British-born designer Hana Tajima.
Zalando has recognised the demand for modest fashion and as such works with modest influencers, curating lookbooks to inspire consumers because sometimes you just need that extra inspiration to show you how to make a piece work for you.
The online store houses more than 4,500 brands from Nike to Malene Birger, ensuring that you’ll find at least something that meets your needs, whatever the occasion.
Nylah Collection makes the most dreamy statement abayas in billowing satins and gorgeous organzas. The range offers affordable luxury and all abayas come with a matching hijab!
For the more bold among us, Monki offers affordable and colorful clothing with oversized fits and modest-friendly hemlines. The brand is known and loved for its graphic prints and vibrant hues set on floaty dresses, classic knits and cosy coats that bring the style points.
Electric Bazaar is a British-Muslim female-owned social enterprise that sustains ‘the art of traditional craftsmanship in an industry dominated by unethical practices’. The brand designs modest clothing pieces incorporating traditional embroidery styles and handicrafts from different regions of Pakistan.
If the brand didn’t sound wholesome enough, 10 per cent of all profits are given to The Sewing Machine Project, an initiative that empowers women in rural Pakistan to earn a living from home by starting up their own self-sustaining tailoring business.
The Atelier Hijab
The Atelier Hijab is a luxury lifestyle brand that expresses a sentimentality for British heritage with a modern contemporary narrative founded for Muslim women by Muslim entrepreneur Fahmida Kamal Rob.
The brand produces high quality hijabs with attention to detail in its finishing and gorgeous packaging designed by Chita Erayanie, a Muslimah artist of Malaysian heritage.
Nor Black Nor White
Indian diaspora-owned brand, Nor Black Nor White is for the most eccentric dressers amongst us. The brand has collaborated with the likes of Fila, Adidas and recently the Victoria & Albert Museum. The flamboyant garments are loose fitting and crafted from bright Bandhani (tie-dye) fabrics because who said being modest means you can’t make a statement?
Vela Scarves is the Glossier of hijabs. The brand’s beautiful campaigns are shot with real Muslim women, with a promise of no retouching, a careful consideration for story telling and inclusivity.
Started by American raised Syrian sisters Marwa Atik and Tasneem Atik Sabri, Vela has become a global brand that produces beautiful scarves that are elevated without compromise on comfort.
The label has a commitment to supporting charity through regular donations and uplift Muslim women, sharing their stories through the Vela Blog.
Lamisa Khan is a cofounder of creative collective Muslim Sisterhood. She works as the Community and Culture executive at creative agency, the Digital Fairy. When she’s not busy working, Lamisa can be found comfort cooking or getting her 10k steps in.