What exactly *is* modesty? As a word, it initially feels so perplexing as you feel like you have to either A) keep your jewelry in the storage and/or B) not show too much skin. Since it’s mainly regulated to faith, I feel that the whole idea of modesty goes beyond religion.
Growing up, I rotated between a school uniform by day, a short dress on weekends, a pair of hotpants for the island trips and last but not least, something “proper” to please the parents whenever I went to church. Despite my semi-restrictive dress code, I was blessed to have the freedom to put on whatever I wanted. But, learning the true meaning of modesty wasn’t something that I understood until I went outside of Singapore.
On April, I went on two week holiday in the Middle East. Between Jerusalem to Istanbul, almost every other place I visited had heavy religious undertones, which initially made it hard for me to think about what to wear. Since I grew up with the notion that modesty meant bland clothing, I restricted myself to a pair of jeans, t-shirt and Doc Martens. By covering myself up in these clothes, I felt like I looked like a stereotypical tourist. As much as I hated to sound superficial, it was very clear that I felt out of place whether it was visiting a church, synagogue or mosque.
If it was the modesty dress code that restricted me, it was nothing like what you’d think. In fact, it was my false perception that did me in by conforming to the stereotype of the world’s idea of modesty. Since religion was and still is seen as a polarizing topic, I was taught to believe that modesty wasn’t fashionable. But since it was an unwritten rule to cover up, it came from the fact that it was and still is the custom to show respect to the city’s culture.
While being surrounded in a place with a totally different culture from you might seem difficult to adjust to, don’t let the dress code scare you away from expressing your style.
If you need to find outfit inspirations, discover the 12 modest wear fashion influencers (on Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore) who are changing the game. Before you copy their outfits, I’ve cracked the code on how to dress like a modest fashion blogger with these easy top 5 tips: