13 Sep 2010

Fashion week: Is modesty back?

Modesty is all over the runways this Fall. For adults, that is. But little girl designs are still racy and tawdry. WHY?

Bibhu Mohapatra, Fall 2010

Full Washington Post article here, bits below.

Disney moms, listen up: it’s time to turn off Miley and give your daughter the September edition. It seems counterintuitive, but high fashion–an art form that thrives upon pushing the boundaries of sex and skin–may actually be turning toward (gasp!) modesty.

Blame it on the recession, weather patterns, or “Mad Men” euphoria, but fall fashion is trending conservative. There are different theories why Lagerfeld, Galliano and others tamed the sex kitten this fall. But the revival of minimalism, calf-skimming skirts, thick and frumpy sweaters and full-figured-50s frocks seems to suggest that a prudish, cleavage-free season has arrived.

For Mom.

Despite these high fashion trends, we may be leaving our daughters behind.

Contrast expensive grown-up lines like Louis Vuitton and Valentino with the likes of younger, moderately priced ones that dominate department stores. Lines that target teens–Bebe, GUESS, Juicy Couture–have ignored the prude-chic vibe of fall, keeping barely-covers-the-bum shorts on the racks.

Other international style icons are garnering attention for modest style. Ivanka Trump wore a conservative wedding gown with to-the-elbow lace sleeves for her Jewish service. But even style setter Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the one-time model, dresses considerably more conservative since her marriage to French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

But we’re not just reading about modesty in fall fashion reviews. The term comes up again with a promise from Bristol Palin, a young mother, that she’ll wear the appropriate “modest outfits” on her stint with “Dancing with the Stars.”

So the question remains: why are 13 year-olds bucking the modesty trend? Why should they sport sex while high fashion goes modest? If rail thin supermodels– the very ones who make teens and tweens count calories — aren’t revealing cleavage on Fifth Avenue, then why is the pep squad revealing it in fifth period?

As Louis Vuitton opens its first store in Beirut, high fashion becomes a bit more ladylike and demure. Time will tell whether new conservative markets are influencing trends long term.

But that doesn’t change our American teens that crave (and devour) the racy behavior fed to them.

The result? Stylish women will dress with discretion this fall. But material girls will buy affordable, accessible bandeau bras that barely cover their barely-developed bosoms. Shakespeare was spot on this season: a deformed thief it is.

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8 responses to “Fashion week: Is modesty back?”

  1. avatar

    The good news is, in recent months, I’ve seen more gals only, or at least mostly wear skirts and dresses. Better news, they don’t approve of other gals wearing pants or shorts. Bad news(if it can be called news), some gals don’t get it; last night, I was waiting for a train, and a gal had on a shirt saying “Girly Girl”. What’s wrong with that, you ask. This; she was wearing PANTS!

  2. avatar

    I’m not of the mindset that if it’s fashionable, it must be avoided(otherwise, I’d be a champion of frumpiness, and most people who like frumpy clothes don’t see frumpy as such), but some fashions are so bad they should be called “low fashion” for the simple fact that they are tasteless.

  3. avatar

    Even if modesty is making a comeback, that ultimate scourge on women’s clothes is still around. What I’m talking about are….PANTS!!

  4. avatar

    “Juicy”(and you know they’re not talking about how food tastes); any CLOTHING store with a name like that has to be trashy!

  5. avatar

    How the lady in the picture is dressed personifies what I’m looking for in a mate. While more females are “dressing with dignity”, it’s still too early to celebrate(proof of that is the presence of pants and too-short skirts and dresses). While I will acknowledge there’s such thing as a prude, the waking up to the need to abstain from “floozywear”(I’ve been reading “Dressing with Dignity”, and this proves that I’m a fan of the book) and drag makes it clear this is not the domain of the “prudish”(in fact, I’ll likely only use “prude” to talk about the frumpy, if even then).

  6. avatar

    While it’s refreshing to see more females dress like LADIES, proof that we still have a long way to go is the fact that a sizable number of gals still wear PANTS(even worse, some say pants are MORE modest than even appropriate length skirts and dresses), and many tops and dresses have too-low necklines.

  7. avatar

    Colleen, I’d like for you to pray for a gal that looks like she has potential to be my mate; her name I won’t reveal but I will say she, like me is Catholic. She recently emailed me that she wants to start a fashion modeling school someday. That she does makes me feel she can fill a void that never should have been created in the first place; she can have the girls that enter her school(when she founds it) wear, and model modest clothes(your website it is hotbed of good stuff that people can use to improve daily life). I noticed pictures of decorous models and clips of decorous fashion shows. I also recommended “Dressing with Dignity” to her as well. I’ll keep you posted.

  8. avatar

    On Tuesday, a friend of mine who works at a Los Angeles area mall gave me some long overdue good news; she(whom I had read “Dressing with Dignity” less than five years ago, yet was still dressing a bit on the butch side) now wears skirts and dresses with the same frequency she used to wear pants. In fact, when she told me she decided she was going to stay away from pants, I told her, “I’m proud of you”.

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