Everybody knows the fashion bloggers who post daily pictures of their morning coffee and sunglasses and are followed by thousands who tune in for the latest trends, but recently I came across a novel group — the modest fashion bloggers.
These groundbreaking fashionistas display their both classic and chic sense of style, while abiding by the traditional dress values held by their religious and spiritual practices.
Among the bloggers I love (and actively stalk) is the renowned Rachelle Yadegar and her blog, Not Without My Heels. Her blog is where Yadegar shares her self-proclaimed “feminine chic” style spiced with a bit of edge, while wearing affordable pieces any girl can wear. Born in New York and an LA transplant, Yadegar prides herself on having a taste that represents a bi-coastal elegance while staying true to her Jewish values. To broaden my knowledge of the tzniut (modest) style, I sat down with Yadegar to discuss her passion for modest fashion blogging and the significance it has in her life.
Alexandra Marvizi: Have you always dressed modestly?
Rachelle Yadegar: Yes, but only at around 16 did I start experimenting with modest fashion. Now it’s become who I am and I don’t see myself dressing any other way.
AM: What inspired you to start a blog and use other social media forums to share your modest style with the world?
RY: Once I experimented and found that modesty can be extremely fashionable and beautiful, I made it my goal to show women that we can be fashion-forward and yet [also] celebrate modesty. Modesty can be hot, beautiful and fun. It’s liberating to not have to show skin and still look your best.
AM: What does it mean to dress modestly?
RY: Modesty is not only in clothing, it has to be a lifestyle. It’s being modest in our actions, in our speech, but we can all agree that the most physical way of being modest is with the way we dress. I like to take example from some of the greatest icons like Princess Diana, Jacqueline Kennedy and Kate Middleton. All those women are known for beauty and grace; everything about them screams class and modesty.
AM: What is the significance or spiritual significance of dressing modestly?
RY: I was personally taught that women are compared to jewels. When you have a very rare and precious jewel, you keep its beauty hidden in order to [retain] its value, or to make sure no one will damage or steal it — so the same goes for us women. We are so much more then the skin people crave to see.
AM: Do you think your style speaks to more than Orthodox Jewish women? Like women who prefer to dress more modestly, or women from other religions and faiths?
RY: I try my hardest to cater to all women who are interested in fashion. As mentioned before, modesty isn’t merely a religious way of dressing; it is a lifestyle. I get emails and messages from woman of all faiths and backgrounds. I know I am not curing cancer, but if I can help and make people feel beautiful from the inside out by the way they dress, that, to me, is helping the world in some way. When people feel beautiful, they find it easier to find beauty in this world. When our world is beautiful, it’s easy to be the best people we can be.
AM: Was there a time when you didn’t dress modestly and/or didn’t want to dress modestly?
RY: Look, dressing modesty doesn’t come easily for everyone! It’s a struggle that some have harder than others. Of course there have been times that I wish I didn’t have to cover up a dress or open up a hem to make the skirt longer. Yet again, that frustration is what inspired me to start a modest clothing line (RA|JU) so we don’t have to go through all that.
AM: What are your favorite stores to shop for modest clothes?
RY: AHHH! I don’t have enough space on 5 pages to write all of that down, but Forever 21, Zara, Banana Republic and H&M are my favorites right now. They always carry the newest trends, and they are affordable! I love shopping at thrift shops as well, such as Wasteland and Crossroads. Thanks to Macklemore, I at least have a theme song. And of course my own line, RA|JU! You can’t go wrong there.
AM: Do people recognize you from your blog when you’re out and about?
RY: Yes! When it happens, I secretly do my happy dance! You have no idea how humbling it is to be recognized from a crowd. I really appreciate people taking their time and reading my blog. It means a lot!
AM: Are you proud of the spearheading you’ve done in blogging modest dress and encouraging women to embrace dressing modestly both for religious/spiritual purposes and for style purposes?
RY: We are our own critics, so it’s hard to be very proud of myself. We always find ways to say “I should have, would have, could have…” However, at the end of the day, we do the most that we can and I think I’m in the right direction. That is what I am mostly proud about.
AM: Any extra thoughts you’d like to add?
RY: Everyone knows what their limits are when it comes to being modest; I don’t want anyone to ever feel that I am here to change them or their style. Fashion is all about self-expression and sharing a little bit of you or your mood through an outfit.