December 19, 2014

Wardrobes, Budgets, and Savings Accounts

Friends.

I've been gone for a while, I know. I promise you I am planning a return. In fact, I've had a draft post sitting around for almost a month on where I've been and what I've been doing. Kind of like the essay your teacher assigned you on the first day back in school - "How I Spent My Summer Vacation." The topic always seemed so easy and as soon as you tried to think of what you were doing the past three (or four...) months, you drew a blank.

While that post is coming, I wanted you guys to see my closet.


Yes, that is it, in all it's glory. While I am a shopping consultant to the stars (you guys ARE celebrities in my life!), my closet itself is unglamourous. I wish I could boast of shimmering gowns and perfectly color coordinated pieces, that is not me. I don't even have all my clothing on all the same colored hanger yet (a work in progress...I progress when I remember to buy white hangers at Target).

Thing is, to have new clothes all the time, you have to have an additional or extraordinarily large source of discretionary income. I am not that kind of girl. As a woman of the world and hell, someone with a good head on her shoulders who knows how costly the world and all the things in it are, I know my cash is constrained simply to what I earn. Ain't no sugar daddy or glittering inheritance in my life that I can live off. I have student loans, rent payments, gas, car insurance, grocery bills, family obligations, and a goal to invest and save at least 10% of what I make on a monthly basis. I also have to account for birthday presents for others, daily coffee, and other expenditures that sometimes creep up on me.

A few months ago, I realized I was steadily spending more than I was making - dipping into my savings a few times - and that was not wise. The wise thing to do - the one that I'm exercising - was to take a break and re-evaluate my needs versus wants, even when the urge to purchase struck. It's not easy - try resisting this skirt.



But, I know I can't, and for now, I won't. I am the one who takes care of myself. That said, I've been steering clear of shopping altogether and living on what I have, while prioritize where my money should go.

Why tell you all this? I find myself constantly salivating over all the pretty fashion blogs out there and wanting what they want. I also find myself asking how they afford it? How do everyday fashion bloggers have a new Michael Kors bag or new leather booties or such gorgeous outfits ALL. THE. TIME? If I had an answer to that, I may not have to worry about budgeting as much. Until I figure it out, I'm going to be human and admit that I can't keep up with them as a fashion blogger.

But, that won't stop me from posting. I will begin posting again and more frequently once again and am excited to do so. However, don't feel the pressure to buy. Click and look all you want, but do what's best for you.

August 14, 2014

Giveaway Winner! - Ruche Swim Shirt from Coolibar

Congratulations to our winner, Khadeeja Nadeem!

Khadeeja Nadeem wins a Ruche Swim Shirt from Coolibar - a modest swimming top to wear when she's at the pool or beach this summer!




Check out Coolibar's 25% off sale, going on now!

August 8, 2014

Giveaway! Ruche Swim Shirt from Coolibar

Who is excited for summer swimming?! I've teamed with Coolibar to give one lucky reader a Ruche Swim Shirt in one of the prints here. Want to learn more about Coolibar? See the original post here (with TONS of photos!).


The rules are pretty simple.

1 - MUST follow Greater Lengths on Facebook.
2 - MUST share on your Facebook page your favorite Coolibar item from  from the Greater Lengths album titled "Coolibar" and ensure it is linked to Greater Lengths on Facebook
3 - MUST caption the photo share by finishing the sentence, "With my Coolibar top found by #GreaterLengths, ..."

When you've done all three, enter the giveaway in the box below. Bonus entries awarded to those who tweet about Greater Lengths, follow the Greater Lengths Twitter page, or share photos from the Greater Lengths "Coolibar" album on their friends' pages.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open only to readers in the US. Winners chosen at random using Rafflecopter.

August 6, 2014

[Workout Wednesday] Coolibar Swimwear + GIVEAWAY!

A few weeks ago, I posted about Coolibar, a swimwear company that promotes safe sun exposure. Company founder, John Barrow, named the company after an Australian tree in the outback that provides shelter from the sweltering sun.

While Coolibar's focus is on safe sun exposure, their designs are fall into the modest swimwear category. I tried and tested two items: the Ruche Swim Top in Aquatic Paisley and Active Swim Tights in Graphite.



To say I loved my Coolibar items is an understatement. It's rare that modest swimwear looks cute and covetable. Usually in dark, sun-absorbing black and navy, the paisley print and light grey made me feel less conscious about my choice of swimwear.


My friend Sarah, who was graciously gave up a Sunday morning to meet me at her neighborhood pool and then proceeded to be my photographer (thank you Sarah!), said over and over how much she liked my top, and I COULD NOT AGREE MORE.

Design-wise, it's incredibly cute, with a loose fit and shape. It fell well beyond my waistline, a true tunic length. The top gives the option to wear it as an A-line tunic, or to pull the side ties to ruche it an inch or so. I personally liked the ruched look, but it was a very sporty look overall.


Pulling the sides to ruche the top

Tying the ties
This top was functionally fantastic. I personally love to swim laps so having swimwear made of material that releases water allows for a smoother pool experience. Think any Olympic swimmer: they choose their swimwear based on drag and the more the drag, the heavier you feel in the pool. I felt light and it was easy to move around in the water.

I personally would not swim in the top without ruching it, because it did float up a little. Thankfully the tights felt high enough on my waist that I didn't feel exposure, but it could be an improvement in the design.

As soon as I got out of the water, I could already tell how "dry" I was - which meant for less shivering by the pool. Many women who try to find modest swimwear end up wearing long cotton tops, which tend to hold much water while swimming.

Feeling dry even though I'm dripping wet after a few laps and a game of pool basketball with Sarah.
Coolibar's clothing also guarantees UPF protection of 50+ for the life of the garment, so while you're sitting poolside waiting to dry, you're also protected from the sun's harmful and damaging UVA and UVB rays. Their SUNTECT fabrics are embedded with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the same minerals used in sunscreen, that won't wash out or fade away.

After my swimming adventure, I ran both items through the wash very easily and they held their shape and size - definitely quality products. Their price point is about the same as you would find for other performance swimwear, but right now Coolibar is holding a summer sale special - 25% off plus free shipping on all items, so all the clothes you see here are on sale for 25%!

ALSO, the most exciting thing is that Coolibar is doing a giveaway with Greater Lengths readers! 1 Greater Lengths reader will receive a ruched top of their choice! More details on that here.




Loving this look!
If you're looking for modest swimwear for your next beach trip or even just to hang out with your friends at the pool, head to Coolibar's website and buy buy buy! (and enter the Coolibar giveaway here!)

July 18, 2014

Reader's Request: Styling the Sabine Maxi for Eid

My reader Samina S. wrote on the Greater Lengths Facebook page, looking to style her new Sabine Maxine skirt (see here) for Eid.

Samina wrote:

So what tops go with long pleated skirts? only short or can i go long or asymmetric? all the photos i see are tucked in tops w a belt... i have a navy blue pleated skirt and i want to make an outfit for eid that will be long sleeves and ideally open in the front or not tucked in (for nursing).

Glad you asked! I myself bought a Sabine pleated maxi skirt in navy. I'm personally a fan of the tucked in top/maxi skirt look. I like how tucking in a top accentuates the waist, giving anyone a slimmer waist. Of the many tops I browsed, this nod to the military style came as my favoite. The lace shoulder detail, in place of epaulettes, is an edgy update and a cheeky wink to stay that one can stay classic while coloring outside the lines.

For Samina's needs, while nursing, this can easily be unbuttoned for an impatient child in need of some quiet mommy-and-child time.
Some button down blouses for your unique style:

If you're ready for a look different than a tucked in blouse, a hi-low pullover blouse with a belt is an option to maintain a cinched waist. Simply find a pullover blouse (some of my favorites are below) and add a neutral colored belt.



Similarly, a peplum - which has a built in waist-line - creates a similar effect.


Understandably, this may not be the best route for a nursing mom on Eid, who needs something simple, free, and still elegant, Another route, inspired by Samina herself, is the emerging kimono trend. With a billowy cami underneath, this open-front open will be cool and free-flowing as well as easily accessible for a kid (at least I hope...I'm saying this from watching friends with experience!)


Hello

July 13, 2014

Reader Request: Eid Evening Gowns [part 2]

The first Eid Evening Gowns post was so popular that I decided to do another. Seems like you ladies love the idea of wearing evening gowns for Eid! Not that I'm surprised - who doesn't stare down the formal section of any department store and wish to have a reason to dress up in classy, elegant formal attire?

Here are a few more modest gowns (i.e., no strapless or low cut!) options currently available in stores and online. Click on the image to be taken directly to the retailer!

July 10, 2014

Reader Request: Modest Swimming Suits from Coolibar ( + Giveaway!)

A few months ago - specifically on April 7 of this year (I remember this because I was sitting at Cupid's Cup at the University of Maryland), my friend Sabba told me about Coolibar.

Coolibar, she excitedly told me, was a boutique swimming retailer that sells modest swimwear she'd stumbled upon. Modest swimwear is like the Lochness monster - you believe that it might exist but when you actively search for it, its nowhere to be found.

I guess the thing is, when I look for swimwear, I'm not looking for something to lounge around at the beach. I want something that I can swim laps in the pool or wear when I take another go at surfing.

Taking a surf lesson in Essaouira, Morocco earlier this year

Surfing might be my new favorite thing
Coolibar meets my needs as a swimmer/surfer (I can call myself that after one surf lesson, right?). It offers not only modest swimwear, they've received numerous recognitions from a myriad of skin disease associations for the protection offered by their products, including The Skin Cancer Foundation and Melanoma International Foundation. Plus, they rise above the basic blacks and navy blues that otherwise come with most modest swimwear. They've got great prints and cute, athletic designs.

I'm currently working on a promotion with Coolibar for my readers. Details will hopefully be coming soon. In the meantime, check out these great swimming tops currently available Coolibar. And if you order something, tell them that Greater Lengths sent you!

Click on the links below to be taken directly to the item.


July 8, 2014

[FAVORITE FIND] Wick-It Wader from Athleta

Last year, after much hand-wringing and deliberation, I purchased this Wick-It Wader top from Athleta. My hesitation came from the price tag - $69 for something to sweat in?! how is that okay? After months (seriously, MONTHS) of wanting it, I closed my eyes and clicked "submit" on the order sitting in front of me. And I have not regretted it since.



I've worn this top at CrossFit, during the Nike Half Marathon in DC, and workouts in-between. To say it's my favorite is an understatement - I look forward to wearing this top and think I work out harder, better, faster, and generally more excitedly because of it.



In all my 13.1 sweaty glory with the Tiffany finishers necklace
I HIGHLY recommend this workout top! As a Muslim woman, I feel more confident when I workout because the top is long - extending well past my waist and over my bottom. While I will wear tee shirts while working out, for my, having my arms covered (yes, even on hot days) still feels better than wearing something I'm worried if crosses over into the "less than modest" category.

Even if you're not worried as much about modest workout clothes, get this top! It's great for cooler workouts - early morning falls, in the winter - because it's quick drying (superior sweat wicking capabilities), lightweight, and comes in fun colors. Plus, what woman doesn't want a little extra ass...et coverage when she's working out?

DKNY's Ramadan Capsule Collection Shopping Guide

So the Ramadan Capsule Collection from DKNY is here and you ladies are thinking, "I want it!"

Well pony up, because the items are cute, chic, MODEST, and come with a hefty price tag. But one can look, right?

I've linked a few of the items here for your look-but-don't-touch pleasure. And on behalf of the modest dressing community of the US, thank you DKNY for FINALLY recognizing Ramadan is a major cause-worthy event, the first in your industry to do so!

Click on the links under the pictures to be taken directly to the item. 

 



Extended hem tunic (similar) || Midi shirt dress


July 2, 2014

An Anthro Sale and All I Want Is This Top

Anthropologie is having a 20% extra on sale items, which is kind of a big deal because their sale prices aren't always "sale-y" enough.

I only have my eyes on one top (it would have been two but the second sold out while I was in a meeting at work!). This is it. What do you think? Is it a must have item?

[Workout Wednesday] Ramadan Running

Working out during Ramadan is hard - it's so easy to just go to bed after iftar or laze around until you do fall asleep. However, with my third marathon 18 weeks away (eek - that seems much too soon!), I can't take it too easy.

I haven't yet found myself treading pavement outside yet, but the plan is to utilize Friday and Saturday evenings to do just that. What generally spurs my motivation is new workout clothes. With the heat, it's hard to find something comfortable yet modest to wear for working out, though these contenders may be making themselves into my closet.

Most of these are tunic-length workout tops, with a few modest workout pants (and sorry Kate W., no running tunics this time). I like the wraps and tops, because they give flexible to add this light layer over a top that may be a smidge too short in the waist without adding too much heat-trapping clothing.

FAVORITE FIND: Ark & Co Tie Neck Maxi Dress

Here's another Favorite Find I couldn't wait to post.

This Ark & Co Tie Neck maxi dress features a fully lined, banded waist skirt. With a cut that elongates the shoulders, the dress can be worn with a flowing sleeves under it (see example here) or a traditional long cardigan. I recommend pairing it with bright colors for some extra pizazz (almost any color would work - I'm imagining something aqua - then again, I really want to go to the beach...).

For only $79 with free shipping and 7% back when you shop through Ebates (use my link referral here to help me get credit!), this dress will become your Favorite Find as well.

FAVORITE FIND: Ted Baker Kriya Sparkle Jersey

In the Reader Request: Eid Evening Gowns post from earlier, I added this gown as an extra in one of the widgets. It was an afterthought of a dress, a fairly plain looking jersey gown with a bit of sparkle.

And then I kept looking at it.

And looking at it.

And it's now one of my Favorite Finds.

Check it:
For $111, you get this long-sleeved, full-length maxi dress. The fitted silhouette will glimmer with silver sheen as you move through a crowd, swishing and swaying, catching light at all angles. The bateau neckline is a flattering cut on any figure, elongating your neck and making your shoulders more graceful. Add a long drop necklace or a trendy necklace bib to add some flair; belt it for a more defined waist; top it with a sleeveless peplum top of any print to transform it into a new dress.

For women who don't like to layer, this is your dress. For women who want a full coverage dress with little fuss, this is your dress. For women who want a little sparkle and uniqueness in one's wardrobe, this is your dress.

Is it growing on you yet?

Reader Request: Eid Evening Gowns

A few years back, a friend invited me to an iftar night out - essentially, grabbing iftar at a halal-friendly eatery (in this case, the wonderfully satisfying Burger 7 where I had not one but TWO burgers to break my fast).  Conversation got around to what and where we're finding Eid clothes.  I generally look for Pakistani clothes, which either my mom or me will find at the 11th hour, but I embrace anyone who wears American clothes to celebrate - because being American is part of our identity, in addition to any ethnic or other cultural practices we have.

Back to clothes...Yasmin is looking for a sleeved evening gown, and was willing to put down up to $150 for a nice gown for Eid.  She wears hijab and prefered not to have to jerry rig any gown to be modest, but will do it if needed.  Additionally, she stated she's looking for more "muted" colors, but you guys know me - I live for sequins and embellishments.

A long-sleeved gown in the summer months can be tough, but I put together a few to get Eid clothes shopping kicked off. It's no DKNY Ramadan Capsule Collection, but these might be slightly more Eidee-friendly. Click on the images below to be taken to the retailer!

**Disclaimer: Sizes and stock are limited AND some of these may need to be more modestified than others for Eid.**
1) Laundry by Shelli Segal: $53.99 // 2) House of Fraser Jersey Maxi: $54 // 3) Laundry by Shelli Segal Lace Floral Gown $108 

1) BCBGMaxazria Long-Sleeve Meredith Gown: $134 // 2) Twelfth Streeth by Cynthia Vincent: $274 // 3) Eliza J Portrait Collar 3/4 Sleeves: $194

And a few others that wouldn't fit into the layouts. Click on the images to be taken to the retailer!