Off with your hot-pants! Middle Eastern modesty goes mainstream west-side

Published January 14th, 2016 - 10:30 GMT
It could be the biggest cover-up in modern fashion history!  Celebs have been hanging up their barely-there gowns, opting instead for a genre of dressing newly coined as "modest wear".  It's becoming one of the industry's fastest growing sectors with global sales set to be approach $300 BIL by 2020. 
 
Trend, schmend, say we, this is Islamic fashion. This Victorian-esque get-up also appeals to orthodox Christian and Jewish women, but what's now notable is how full-length skirts, long sleeves, and chin-touching necklines have crossed over to the high street. The big question is: as Westerners copy Middle East modesty, how will conservative Muslims react? Are we all headed to the queen of shapeless apparel, namely the black cloak "gilbab abaya"?!
 
 
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Queen Noor of Jordan

Let's credit the trailblazers, like Queen Noor of Jordan, who traded the hipster American gear of the 1970s for elegant long-sleeved and ankle-length dresses that are traditional to Jordan. As a 2011 covergirl for the Spanish edition of Vogue, her majesty exuded chic comfort and maximum style in a flowing kaftan.

carey mulligan

British actress Carey Mulligan is a red carpet daredevil with a penchant for backless, sleeveless and often midriff-less couture from fashion's most stratospheric design talent. But since giving birth to her first child last October, Gucci's latest muse has moved to more modest attire. (We think this dowdy dress is for the birds!)

Sheikah Mozah

Sheikha Moza, mom to Qatar emir Sheikh Tamim, is famed for her masterful mash-ups of runway fashion with ultraconservative details, always on the cutting edge yet respectful of Islamic mores. She can easily influence fashion trends as her family investments include Valentino, Harrods, Printemps, and a stake in LVMH. (It's good to be the Sheikha!)

keira knightly

Keira Knightly proved more is now officially more when it comes to dressing for big events. She chose this Valentino for the 2011 Venice Film Festival and followed it ever since with more "modest wear" choices (interspersed with her beloved barely-there halter gowns). Another lady not averse to flashing a bit of flesh now covering it up in style.

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham's seven-year-old fashion label is a mad success with annual sales of $43M. The ex-Spice Girl creates luxury dresses that are surprisingly modest, hemlines are mostly below-the-knee and figure-hugging silhouettes are the exception. (Her long skirts need deep pockets to stow the estimated $120K worth of stock she sells daily.)

Queen Rania

Jordan's ​Queen Rania demonstrates that modest dressing is Power Dressing, captivating us all with her signature sophisticated styling. She's a favorite on online "visual discovery tool" Pinterest with pages dedicated to her sartorial savvy. (Check out QUEEN RANIA OF JORDAN (STYLE ICON) and "#Modest doesn't mean frumpy" to see her in action.)

"We want to challenge the status quo that someone who wants to dress modestly can't be on-trend", Nazmin Alim of the British label Modestwear (pictured here) said in an interview with The Times.  The brand is promoted by none other than Sheika Moza. Roomy jackets send out a message, "I've got it, but I won't flaunt it."

"We want to challenge the status quo that someone who wants to dress modestly can't be on-trend", Nazmin Alim of the British label Modestwear (pictured here) said in an interview with The Times. The brand is promoted by none other than Sheika Moza. Roomy jackets send out a message, "I've got it, but I won't flaunt it."

kim kardashian

Sex-tape siren Kim Kardashian shed sequins and spandex for mostly monochrome outfits that increasingly include long skirts, high collars, and ankle-length coats. Her music mogul husband Kanye West is re-branding his babe as a somber businesswoman. (The clothes may be modest, but how can we ever forget That.Tape.Though.)

Olivia Palermo

American socialite, model and sometimes-TV-star Olivia Palermo rocked a black-and-gold patterned long-sleeve gown at “An Evening Honoring Valentino” in Manhattan last year. The Valentino frock covered her from chin-to-toe, a sharp change of style for this waif-like woman who is hounded by paparazzi every time she dons a bikini.

Queen Noor of Jordan
carey mulligan
Sheikah Mozah
keira knightly
Victoria Beckham
Queen Rania
"We want to challenge the status quo that someone who wants to dress modestly can't be on-trend", Nazmin Alim of the British label Modestwear (pictured here) said in an interview with The Times.  The brand is promoted by none other than Sheika Moza. Roomy jackets send out a message, "I've got it, but I won't flaunt it."
kim kardashian
Olivia Palermo
Queen Noor of Jordan
Let's credit the trailblazers, like Queen Noor of Jordan, who traded the hipster American gear of the 1970s for elegant long-sleeved and ankle-length dresses that are traditional to Jordan. As a 2011 covergirl for the Spanish edition of Vogue, her majesty exuded chic comfort and maximum style in a flowing kaftan.
carey mulligan
British actress Carey Mulligan is a red carpet daredevil with a penchant for backless, sleeveless and often midriff-less couture from fashion's most stratospheric design talent. But since giving birth to her first child last October, Gucci's latest muse has moved to more modest attire. (We think this dowdy dress is for the birds!)
Sheikah Mozah
Sheikha Moza, mom to Qatar emir Sheikh Tamim, is famed for her masterful mash-ups of runway fashion with ultraconservative details, always on the cutting edge yet respectful of Islamic mores. She can easily influence fashion trends as her family investments include Valentino, Harrods, Printemps, and a stake in LVMH. (It's good to be the Sheikha!)
keira knightly
Keira Knightly proved more is now officially more when it comes to dressing for big events. She chose this Valentino for the 2011 Venice Film Festival and followed it ever since with more "modest wear" choices (interspersed with her beloved barely-there halter gowns). Another lady not averse to flashing a bit of flesh now covering it up in style.
Victoria Beckham
Victoria Beckham's seven-year-old fashion label is a mad success with annual sales of $43M. The ex-Spice Girl creates luxury dresses that are surprisingly modest, hemlines are mostly below-the-knee and figure-hugging silhouettes are the exception. (Her long skirts need deep pockets to stow the estimated $120K worth of stock she sells daily.)
Queen Rania
Jordan's ​Queen Rania demonstrates that modest dressing is Power Dressing, captivating us all with her signature sophisticated styling. She's a favorite on online "visual discovery tool" Pinterest with pages dedicated to her sartorial savvy. (Check out QUEEN RANIA OF JORDAN (STYLE ICON) and "#Modest doesn't mean frumpy" to see her in action.)
"We want to challenge the status quo that someone who wants to dress modestly can't be on-trend", Nazmin Alim of the British label Modestwear (pictured here) said in an interview with The Times.  The brand is promoted by none other than Sheika Moza. Roomy jackets send out a message, "I've got it, but I won't flaunt it."
"We want to challenge the status quo that someone who wants to dress modestly can't be on-trend", Nazmin Alim of the British label Modestwear (pictured here) said in an interview with The Times. The brand is promoted by none other than Sheika Moza. Roomy jackets send out a message, "I've got it, but I won't flaunt it."
kim kardashian
Sex-tape siren Kim Kardashian shed sequins and spandex for mostly monochrome outfits that increasingly include long skirts, high collars, and ankle-length coats. Her music mogul husband Kanye West is re-branding his babe as a somber businesswoman. (The clothes may be modest, but how can we ever forget That.Tape.Though.)
Olivia Palermo
American socialite, model and sometimes-TV-star Olivia Palermo rocked a black-and-gold patterned long-sleeve gown at “An Evening Honoring Valentino” in Manhattan last year. The Valentino frock covered her from chin-to-toe, a sharp change of style for this waif-like woman who is hounded by paparazzi every time she dons a bikini.