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This Fashion Week, Dress Modestly While Staying Stylish

Hadar Magazine’s fashion editor talks maxi skirts, Natalie Portman, and more

Hannah Dreyfus
February 11, 2014
Hadar Magazine fashion editor Jessica Gugenheim. (Courtesy of Jessica Gugenheim)
Hadar Magazine fashion editor Jessica Gugenheim. (Courtesy of Jessica Gugenheim)

Think you can’t look stylish in a skirt and long sleeves? Hadar Magazine says think again. The fashion magazine, which was founded in 2013, is aimed at Orthodox Jewish women who want to stay fashion-forward while observing Jewish modesty laws.

I spoke with the magazine’s fashion editor, Jessica Gugenheim, about Fashion Week, her pick for best-dressed celeb, and easy ways to dress modestly while not sacrificing style.

Who are some designers who have been showcasing fashion-forward but modest looks this season? What trends should modest dressers be looking out for?

This season contemporary designers showed great collections for modest dressers. My favorite choices from fall Fashion Week would be 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alice + Olivia, Helmut Lang, Karen Walker, and Milly. The top trends for modest dressers are going to be the top trends for all fashionistas: lots of turtle necks, crew necks, and polos could be found on every runway. Skirts for this fall are straight (not pencil) with hemlines floating around mid-calf. Many designers are showing neutral palettes with lots of texture rather than relying on prints.

What’s the hardest part of dressing modestly while maintaining a unique sense of fashion?

Honestly, I don’t think dressing modestly and unique is hard. Just be yourself and whatever you wear walk with your back straight and your head up. But I think almost any concern with modesty can be fixed with alterations so make sure you have a tailor that you trust.

What’s the best part of dressing modestly in the fashion world?

I think modest dressing lends any woman an air of sophistication. I think modestly dressed women command more respect; they use their minds rather than sexuality to get things done.

What are five affordable stores for women who dress dress modestly to buy chic, fashionable clothing?

H&M is great for trendy pieces. Old Navy has a wide range of sizes (including petite and tall!) and they are great for basics. ASOS is an online company that has free shipping both ways, and you can find wonderful pieces at any price point. Target has a wide selection, and they do lots of designer collaborations (like Peter Pilotto, which debuted last week)

You’re going to a desert island and have to leave most of your wardrobe behind—what five items would you take with you?

My Havaianas flip-flops which I’m pretty sure are indestructible. A Splendid maxi skirt which has high quality cotton and a perfect fit. An Autumn Cashmere wrap sweater, because even islands get chilly at night! A big bag of Emi-Jay hair ties because you can never have too many. And cozy cotton shirts like J.Crew perfect fit long sleeves.

Do you see a trend in high fashion towards a more modest style of dress?

High fashion designers love playing with proportions and I think the 1940s will be a big trend. Designers are definitely moving towards mid-calf hemlines on skirts, high necks, and even wide-legged trousers.

Who would be your ideal celeb to dress and why?

Easiest question yet: Natalie Portman! She takes calculated risks and is also very intellectual about her approach to fashion. I love her preppy references and she always dresses on point whether it’s a film premiere or award show.

Who would you consider your fashion icon and why?

It’s a tie between Grace Kelly and Phoebe Philo. They both embody the most important things about fashion: confidence, elegance, and independence.

Hannah Dreyfus is an editorial intern at Tablet.