The Ultimate Playbook For Dressing Modestly And Still Looking Chic Year Round

Navigating modest fashion can be tricky. From finding ways to style a trendy corset or developing your personal style to help you find your own, it can be hard to find distinct looks that feel authentically you. If that sounds like you, fear not — here at Women, we love exploring all kinds of fashion, from modest and preppy, to vintage and casual.


There are a number of reasons why someone may choose to dress modestly, from cultural significance to personal preference. In an interview with Byrdie, modest fashion influencer Sahara Yar explained the importance of modesty and empowering women to dress the way they choose. "I plan to continue empowering young girls and women to embrace modest fashion and beauty while celebrating their individuality and self-confidence, because true beauty is found within each of you," she said, emphasizing that modesty and fashion are capable of intersection. "The two marry beautifully and I love exploring new styles and sharing them with my followers."

If you're new to dressing modestly, it can be hard to style the clothing essentials you already have or find looks that are appropriate for every season. Whether or not you're passionate about dressing modestly, having the right tips and resources for styling can be helpful for anyone who's looking to raise the stakes of their personal style.


Invest in silk or satin slip skirts

There's nothing more chic than a modest skirt that keeps you cool. With a silk or satin material skirt, you'll have an interchangeable basic in your wardrobe that can keep you cool in the summer and warm in the fall or winter. For those humid months, a light-colored slip skirt with slits on the side (tongue twister, right?) will help keep you cool while circulating air throughout the body. For cooler months, opt for dark colors made with warming materials like velvet, denim, or nylon. According to Marie Claire, they're also great for those of us who struggle with traditional skirt hemlines, as they hug your waist while flaring your hips and legs.


Slip skirts are also a great basic to add to your closet, often best paired with basic tops and sweaters or paired with a blazer. As explained by modest fashion influencer Luley Jeylani, it's best to "take your basic summer essentials to the next level by investing in high-quality fabrics that can last you throughout the summer and beyond," she explained to Byrdie. Having those essential basics like a slip skirt, bodysuit, or modest tops can help you create more looks with only a few materials.

Abayas, kaftans, and shawls

Modern and modest wear would not exist without the globalization of Eastern fashion. For those who dress modestly to honor religious and cultural traditions, there are a number of expert guides on dressing modestly. According to Kayfi — a Middle Eastern brand that creates and promotes modest wear — items like abayas, kaftans, and shawls are great for chic and modest looks. For example, abayas are full-length garments that are traditionally worn by Muslim women. These loose, robe-like garments are great for fashionable looks that still lean into modesty while flattering your figure perfectly.


Other modest clothing items include kaftans and shawls. Similar to abayas, kaftans are loose dresses with long and wide sleeves. They're not only incredibly popular but are comfortable enough to wear every day. Whether you're looking for a casual, elegant, or sophisticated design, kaftans can provide a durable and modest exterior. To enhance the look even further, shawls can be layered into any outfit to cover any exposed areas. They're also high-quality and can be recycled into different modest clothing items like blazers, boat neck tops, and seasonal coats.

Layering with jewelry

The best part about jewelry is that it can be paired with anything, instantly enhancing the look. According to Jeylani, "It's easy to get caught up on what's trendy, but it's even easier to invest in some good basics and find subtle ways that point to trends (like accessories) while maintaining modesty in your fashion choices," she explained to Byrdie. For plain colors, bold jewelry can spice up your look while still looking modest and chic. If your modest look is already enhanced with intricate designs, minimalist necklaces that come in gold or silver will add class to your completed look.


It's tricky to find the right jewelry to pair with your outfits, but fear not — there are several guides to help navigate. If you're going with a minimal necklace, a bold earring (like hoops or large pendants) can make a modest outfit even more glamorous. If you've chosen to go with a bold necklace, studs or small hoops will be best for pairing. On the other hand, your neckline might be covered by a boat neck collar, so don't be afraid to skip the necklaces and opt for a bold earring instead!

Modest shoes

When it comes to modest fashion and footwear, there's some wiggle room. The sentiment is shared by Shaikha Noor Rashid Al Khalifa, a Dubai-based fashion designer and co-founder of Noon by Noor. "Even when dressing modestly, they can serve as the focal point of an ensemble," she explained to Footwear News. "But if 'modesty' is seen as synonymous with 'understated,' then a low heel or slip-ons may do the trick." Depending on the article of clothing you're wearing, there are several shoes that will pull the look together. Just like jewelry, a simple modest look can be paired with a bold shoe, while more extravagant modest wear is best paired with sandals or sneakers.


Of course, modesty is guided by some rules and regulations. However, shoes are typically great for their versatility and ability to be modest with little to no rules. You likely already have some strappy sandals or never-before-worn tennis shoes, and those can match great with light or dark colors. For colder seasons, sneakers and boots are the best way to keep your feet warm without compromising on modesty. Additionally, a closed-toe shoe will add even more comfort to your already loose, movable, and versatile outfit. For those of us with a detail-oriented eye, try matching shoes to jewelry or other enhancing accessories.

Sleepwear for all year round

The best part of the day is getting into bed. Although modestly dressing for bed can be optional, especially if you're alone, some may choose to follow these rituals while indoors. Most pajama sets are modestly made, with long silk pants and sleeves to keep your homeostasis balanced during sleep. Other modest bedtime looks include nightgowns, robes, wrap loungewear, and satin sleep pants (paired with your coziest shirt).


Thankfully, modest sleepwear comes in a variety of styles and designs, leaving you with thousands of options. Complete the look by wearing a silk nightcap to bed, helping to protect your hair while you toss and turn in your sleep. More importantly, remember that modest fashion is a choice, and there is no shame in leaning into looks that make you feel most comfortable. Not everyone prefers to wear a crop top to go out or short shorts for sleep, but we can all make sure we're serving our needs and honoring our bodies the best we can.