If there is one virtue that is universally appreciated, it would be modesty. Whether in American churches, Asian temples, Jewish synagogues or Islamic mosques, modesty is a highly valued virtue woven into societal codes that encourage women to behave in a certain manner, including how they dress. If considering the icons of style from Jackie Onassis, to Lady Di to Coco Chanel or more recently Kate Middleton, lower hemlines and higher necklines as a fashion choice are often equated with class and elegance.
Modesty has returned with a vehemence not seen since Victorian times and it is not merely limited to the most public of religious codes found in Islam. Already in the fall of 2015, Vogue signaled the arrival of a dress, which met Orthodox Jewish standards, while some Evangelical Christian groups and Mormon Church groups relish the return to modesty in dress. And while modesty is valued in religious circles, the trend to return to modest dressing is definitely non-denominational. Are we witnessing an uncoordinated global movement, which embraces a return to modest dressing? As of today, it transcends age, culture, faith, and size. Will this trend transcend politics and borders to unite? It might be a little early to make such a claim, but undoubtedly something is afoot on a global level. Thanks to social media and major fashion industry investments this will inevitably become more apparent on a global scale.
France's debate in the summer of 2016 spurred by the authorities ban of the “burkini” swimwear, a ban later rescinded, amply demonstrated that women cannot and should not be forced to undress in public in the name of some greater social value. This poses a dilemma for women's rights activists and feminists: is it equally important to defend a woman's right to cover up as it is to defend her right not to cover her hair and face depending on her cultural context. We all cover our bodies to some extent, but the return to modesty is not exclusive to religion or even fashion alone. Fashion may be the vehicle, but fashion merely reflects society. Women's rights advocates insist correctly so, that freedom to dress modestly is a choice that should and must be respected, and many women are enthusiastic about this return to modesty.
Modest dressing has been around since the beginning of time. There is nothing new in covering up. So what's different? Social media has finally offered a global platform for like-minded women of all countries, ages, races or creeds to find each other. Modest dressing is now an international affair under a global spotlight. In the end, it doesn't matter why a woman dresses modestly. It matters that she can. Finally, there is a place at the fashion table. And if you add in some color, style, and elegance, creative women can more aptly express themselves. Will this trend unite people or at least women? To some extent it already has.
DeModest is proud to offer a fashionable line of modest sportswear to women of all walks of life who desire to dress modestly. Click here to view the DeModest collection of modest sportswear for women.