March 22, 2015

How to Wear a Crop Top without Baring it All

I'd originally written off the crop top look as a second coming of bad 90s fashion. If you recall the days of Winona Ryder's prime, short tops and high waisted pants were the ish, though looking back now, the style seems balloony and almost like everyone was trying to make the mom look cool.

Then, last summer Taylor Swift and one of my personal faves, Jessica Alba, started showing up in crop tops left and right and if not the world, I took notice (and really, so did the world). By taking notice, I also began to covet, and then, the story of my life, struggle to style it more modestly - i.e., less belly baring, without losing the fashion element.

Part of the crop top appeal is that sexy little sliver of stomach, though I think the real appeal is the slimming affect that the look gives.

So, if the point is to keep the silhouette, then the trick is to keep the crop and cover up that sliver. My choice de jour is high waisted skirts and pants.

Since I am now keeping this skirt, I'm now in the market for crop tops to go with it. Check out a few of the market hits in the lists below. What do you like best?

Crop tops:

Cropped sweaters:

High waisted pants. The higher the waist, the better.

Layer a crop top over a tank jersey maxi dress or an A-line dress.

March 19, 2015

You guys, Emma Watson

Even though I'm now 32, and someone I like to consider classy and polished with an educated manner of speech, all bets are off my when my high school friends and I get together. These are the girls with whom I went through my TRL phase, my *N Sync vs. BSB phase (and for the record, *N Sync, always!), to my first concert, and who I still regularly exchange pop culture-fueled email threads. When we're together, we revert back to the speech and slang we used as slightly-awkward but now totally hot babes, down to the same arguments (Katie and Andrea can attest to this as we had the same conversation we've had for decades over which boy band is better this past weekend at my surprise birthday party)

I digress.

The point being, Emma Watson, you guys.

This lady is ON FLEEK. (I also just really learned how to use that phrase this past week so now it's EVERYWHERE.) Lately, she's been on my mind as I've committed to re-reading the Harry Potter series, so now I keep picturing Emma-as-Hermione, but also because workplace gender equality has been the ish (and rightfully so! I work as much as the dudes on my team! Hells to the nawh if they're getting paid more than me!) and Miss Watson is the brilliant genius who will go down in history as moving the situation forward. Have you guys been paying attention to her "He for She" campaign? No? You should. Just Google "Emma Watson He For She" and spend about an hour on every result.

She's got intelligence, assertiveness, and a vision of the future in which she is advocating for a cause greater than her. Also, let's not forgot she played one of the most feminist badasses of all time - Hermione Granger.

Finally, she represents that whole package in what she wears - classy, feminine, and quietly powerful. To celebrate Emma Watson using her celebrity for good, here's a tribute to her and her style.

Click on the links below the photos to get look-alike pieces to create this outfit!

Jersey gray maxi skirt // white button down Oxford blouse

Plaid button down // black culottes

Cropped red sweater // gauzy white skirt

Crossover silk cream blouse // black pleated slim ankle pants

February 22, 2015

[FAVORITE FIND] 2015 Modest Oscar Fashion (and your own Oscar buys!)

I don't own a TV or have cable service - you guys, anything that matters is streamed these days! - except for nights like tonight, when the Oscars are on and you can't obsess over the red carpet gowns.

Then again, internet again saves the day. A blanket thank you to all the media services out there who have top notch coverage of the Oscars red carpet!

A quick scan through, I've found the gowns I love and ones I don't. Since haters gon' hate hate hate, I'll leave the hating to other blogs and shows. Instead, I've listed my favorites, in order of "love" to "backup to the backup"

If you're a frequent reader, you know I love my sequins. This being a blog about modest fashion, I'm also all about anything with sleeves and long hemlines. Fortunately, the Academy Awards are an elegant affair and you can get at least one of the two in a red carpet dress. Sleeves, length, and style? You hit bingo!

So here we go with Farrah's review:

Best overall: Emma Stone

Except for the slit, this has everything I could want in a modest gown. Sleeves and sparkles and color and a fabulous cut (again, except for the slit, though I get it - sex appeal) - where can I get one in my size?

Best sequins: Anna Faris

SEQUINS! Be still my heart! Everyone knows my love for sequins - it's well documented throughout this blog - and Anna Faris hit it right on the mark with a classic silver ballgown with sequins. This is something I could see Audrey Hepburn wearing, it's so classic. While as a modest dress, we'd need to find some way to cover the bare shoulders and arms, but otherwise, it's perfect.

Bold color: Ava DuVernay
Have you guys seems Selma? If not, do yourself a favor and go see it. With all that the US has dealt with in terms of civil issues the past year, the movie is a great reminder of 1) what a group of committed citizen is capable of doing to change for the better and 2) we still have work to do, but we need to do it in a smart, non-violent way. Ava DuVernay's dress follows what seems to be the trend of the 2015 Academy Awards - the column dress. It's cut almost in a straight line from the hips, giving the person a more statuesque appearance (too bad they can't do this for guys, Kevin Hart). I love the elbow-length bell sleeves and the beaded embroidery across her shoulders and neck. And of course, color!

Best optical illusion: Solange Knowles
I don't necessarily love Solange's "dress" but it did make me look twice. It's a wide-leg pantsuit with an asymmetrical draped "window" style (I'm not sure if that's the right term but I remember seeing Taylor Swift's 2015 Grammy dress called that) that is a super win for modest fashion.

The Academy must have lost my invitation, because I am ready with a dress. Or rather, I would have been. I'd have gone the Angelina Jolie route - being budget conscious but stylish. Asos is my go-to for items in both categories and thankfully, it also carries plenty of sequin-heavy clothing.

February 10, 2015

Slackin' for Clean Office Style

I'm trying to more creatively draft a one-pager communications sheet for the process initiative I'm helping make happen (essentially, airport immigration lines will get shorter, faster, and capture information better!)

What better way to be creative than do a little online shopping? Since I'm at work, I figured I should have a work-related shopping search. I've  been feeling gray suits lately, and like the idea of having a gray as my go-to neutral. These boyfriend style blazers easily transition to casual evening get ups for dinners with the girls - with a pair of dark trousers or straight leg jeans and a casual white button down.

What I love about boyfriend blazers is that you do not constantly feel the need to shift the blazer back in place after it rides up, as short blazers do. Boyfriend blazers provide a relaxed, easy style while still polishing the overall look. And bonus? They tend to fall below the waist, which provides better coverage for those seeking a modest work outfit.

February 9, 2015

Less Talk, More Posting

Maybe it's because my birthday is coming up, or maybe in a pre-emptive strike to be prepared for any weddings or bridal showers or glamourous baby showers, or maybe it's just that I've perused one too many post-award show galleries, but I've got gown fever.

I saw a few friends this weekend who also 1) requested that I post more and 2) asked if I had any evening gowns up my sleeve. And yes, yes, I do.


I particularly love the skirt:


January 6, 2015

Surfing the Crimson Wave

One of the best things that came out of the movie Clueless (in addition to the hotness of Paul Rudd and a prototype for a wardrobe matching computer program) was the phrase, "surfing the crimson wave." When Clueless came out (when I was 12! geez!), it gave women everywhere a cooler alternative to the aged phrase, "Aunt Flo". It made getting your period sound almost sporty.

Thankfully, I have no major issues when I'm surfing the crimson wave, but the first day or two I'm EXHAUSTED (and usually super-emotional - WHY DIDN'T THEY GIVE THE BUNNY HIS CEREAL? I'll be in the corner crying over that). Today was no exception. I went to sleep tired, woke up tired, and felt downright "blah" the entire day. When one feels like this, it's hard to want to wear anything that has an actual waistband. Alas, my "Oakton Gymnastics" sweatpants probably won't be tolerated at work without a serious double take and maybe conversation if I'm feeling okay.

So I did the second best thing - wide and loose errything. I found my loosest pants - a pair of wide leg trousers from Asos - and wore them an oversized v-neck tunic sweater from H&M and boyfriend style button-down blouse. I felt like a professional in the Hamptons.

And I would do it all over again. Except maybe with more elastic in the waistband.

I highly recommend everyone have a pair of wide-leg trousers. They elongate your legs, give you a reason to wear heels, and give you a clean, modest look. They are also timeless items - transcending fashion trends. And of course - great for when you need a professional alternative to sweatpants.

Find your crimson wave style below!

Button down blouses:

Wide-leg trouser:

V-neck tunic sweater:

January 4, 2015

A New Year's Eve Outfit to Dream About (While Sleeping Through It)

Happy New Year everyone! How did you all spend your new year's eve? Admittedly, I'm not much of a New Year's person. To me, it's another day with a lot of hype - I mean, technically, couldn't any day be a new year's day to count the revolution of the earth around the sun? I prefer to create my own new year whenever I feel like it or think it's needed!

I rang in 2015 in bed, having gone to sleep a few hours before midnight, waking up the next morning, refreshed, relaxed, and spent the next hour going through everyone's new year's photos and videos (my favorite were from a Facebook friend named Melissa, who posted a "dance floor" video of a living room full of kids 4 and under TEARING UP THE FLOOR. Now that's a party worth staying up for!)

However, if I did have plans, I would have ensured my outfit would be all sparkles and sequins and enough glamour to make me feel shiny and new. What I covet most is my friend Tania's Alice + Olivia emerald green embroidered hi low ball gown skirt, which she donned for her brother-in-law's wedding this past fall. I can't get over how ravishing she looks.

What it lacks in sequins and sparkly it makes up in spades in glamour. I've already told her I plan to borrow that skirt multiple times, even if it's just to go on a Target run.

Going back to sparkly sequins and shimmery clothing, I love the idea of wearing a sequin skirt - be it, maxi, midi, or full out long. I love this look below from A Pair + A Square:

Looking for a sequin, sparkly skirt that's a bit more modest than the typical new year's outfit? These skirts below are on sale - most are under $50!

I'm really tempted to get this one - my 32nd birthday is on its way! - but I've put myself on a restricted spending limit so any new birthday outfits might have to wait this year. Alas, being a grown up stinks.

So what would I have worn from my pre-existing wardrobe? Shimmery, sparkly gold eye shadow, long dangly earrings, and this top:

I picked it up from the Neiman Marcus x Target collection a few years back and it's still a resident in my closet. With the navy Sabine pleated maxi skirt I picked up last summer and a pair of ankle strap heels, I'd happily have subbed for a new year's disco ball.

While this top is sold out, pick up one of these sequin tops for your next big night out.

January 1, 2015

Modest and Modern Work Pants

As I wrote in my first real post back, work has shifted to take a spotlight in my life. I've realized that now that I'm playing the part of a successful woman, I should probably try to dress like one too. Most of my work clothes were rapid-succession purchases when I first started at my firm, mainly an effort to bulk up a wardrobe that didn't feel enough.

However, I'm still on a budget diet - shedding unnecessary purchases until I've reached a point in my savings that I can take on the extra baggage. So, for now, I will look and touch but not buy.

While work skirts - those sleek pencil skirts and flouncy midis - would make for a stylish, chic silhouette, my height precludes the hemlines from my wardrobe (save for a few, which I wear with knee-length riding boots). Instead, I opt for pants and the ones below seem to be calling my name.

(As a note, the Banana Republic items are all an extra 50% off sale online!)

Work pants

Like the Britney song goes, "It's been a while"...

"It's been a while
I know I shouldn't have kept you waiting
But I'm here now"
-Britney Spears, "Break the Ice"

Oh hello friends. It's been a while, hasn't it?

I promise I haven't been ignoring you. Every once in awhile, a person takes on so much that they have to let something go. A coworker at work told me, "don't be a goldfish." Goldfish don't know when to stop eating and keep eating as long as there is food, which is the most common cause of death amongst goldfish. (I didn't at all research that last part, so don't take that as fact.) All this is to say that I began to put too much on my plate and had to put this, my beloved blog, on the backburner for a minute.

So what have I been doing since last posting on August 18? Glad you asked. (As a note, I would have illustrated this with pictures, but then I came up with a video to post on Facebook as a "year in review" and now I'm sharing it with you! Scroll to the bottom to check out my year!)

1. Working Girl: Since spring of this year, I had been working on transitioning from my current career in federal consulting to that in the fashion and retail world, specifically in the area of product strategy and marketing. In the middle of informational interviews and networking, another consulting company asked me to interview and made an offer in a federal consulting role. After an initial attempt to receive a counter offer panned, I made the tough decision to take the new job offer. And then things got crazy.

I took almost a week to notify my client about my decision. My client is a very demanding but very kind man - a tough balance, but I think he strikes it. After congratulations, he marched into my senior manager's office and essentially told her that he would be willing to front the money from his program budget to keep me if my firm made me a counter offer. Within 48 hours, my senior manager was able to make me a counter offer equal to the 30% increase the other company was making. Considering that by staying at my current firm, I was able to retain my network, my 401(k) firm contributions, and most importantly (to me), had the unarguable support of my client, which spoke volumes for the quality of my work and contributions.

2. Charity Work: The job offer commotion went down just before Fashion With Compassion (FWC), a beauty and fashion night a charity event I executive produced. FWC featured the first-ever Northern Virginia modest fashion stylist showcase and designer runway. The night was a huge success and raised over $12,000 for the Foundation for Aid and Immediate Temporary Help (FAITH), a social services organization in Herndon, Virginia that serves the Northern Virginia area. It was a TON of fun but I think I'm still tired from it. Did you attend? There was a lot to love from the night - the pop up boutique, the make up artist demos, the amazing DJ - but the swag bags without a doubt were my favorite! I worked really hard to secure the sponsors and am so proud of the contributions various local organization made to our attendees: free month-long passes to all women's gyms, organic, fair trade chocolate truffles, skincare samples, organic argan oil lip gloss, gluten-free and organic caramel candies, new product samples of dried chick peas, coupons for spa services, and so much more!

A huge thank you to my blogger friends - Miss Al-Nahdi, A Day in the Lalz, and The Vintageista - who stepped up for the stylist showcase. They brought their A-game and so much more to show women how to creatively dress their best while still maintaining a demure look.

Also, shout outs to Seema of Modern Mary and Safura and Shyema of Kotyur. Modern Mary debuted some new designs and Kotyur debuted themselves on the runway - both designer lines an amazing success.

3. Run run run: Finally, and maybe my most satisfying, accomplishment over the last few months was running the New York City Marathon. It was not my first marathon, or even my second. I've run a few before. This one is certainly my most proud in that I ran it - all 26.2 miles - while being a kickass career woman, while producing a fashion show and charity event - 8 minutes faster than I've run previous marathons.

It was such a brilliant run. The day was literally as cold as ice - temperatures in the high 30s and 20 mph winds (I saw a table full of water get blown over by the wind, leaving an effect like waves crashing on each other) but I just felt GOOD the entire time. Almost from the start, all I could think of all the amazing and wonderful things in life that had lead me to that moment: the endless love and support of my parents, the deep and enduring encouragement of my friends, and the confidence that I have in my abilities.

And now, here's the video. Enjoy! Here's to 2015!

December 19, 2014

Wardrobes, Budgets, and Savings Accounts


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!)