August 31, 2013

Modest Marvel: Sherene Heshmat (ISNA 2013 day 2)

I was doing a final lap of the ISNA bazaar on Saturday before meeting my mom, but when I saw Sherene and her blinge-y shirt rounding the corner with her friend Noor, I figured my mom could wait a few extra minutes.

While it was Sherene's entire outfit that I couldn't let get away, what especially surprised me were her pants, which weren't in fact a skirt but rather palazzo pants that had a gathered, pleated waist band.  How's that for a marvel?

Name: Sherene Heshmat
Background: Sherene is an assistant banker who graduated from the University of Maryland who likes her designer labels.
What we love about her style:  My love for sequins is well-documented, so when I saw the metallic studs of Sherene's top, she was clearly a girl after my own heart.  At first glance, Sherene's bottoms looked like a skirt, but she skillfully paired silky palazzo pants with a chrometastic tank over a long-sleeve tee.  Her gilted tank popped out against the muted blacks, an excellent pairing if I've seen one.
What do you look to achieve in your style:  As a hijab-wearing woman, Sherene's goal is for people to see her fashion and someone having fun, not an oppressed religious woman.  She likes to stay on trend with bold designs and designer labels (check out her Louis bag!)
Favorite pieces: Printed pants and blazers are Noha's wardrobe must-haves!
Your no-limit gift card would be to...?: ZARA and designer brand names, like Alberto Makali.

Modest Marvel: Rohma Sahib (ISNA 2013 day 2)

When the Spice Girls were big, I was all about Sporty Spice.  Being a gymnast and all around active kid, I rejected pink and other characteristics that may have given anyone the idea that I was a girly girl.  Remember Kristy Thomas and Mary Anne Spier from The Babysitters Club?  I was also rooting for Kristy and annoyed at Mary Anne.

That preference surfaces from time to time, which is how I spotted Rohma Sahib at ISNA.  She had a straightforward, uncomplicated outfit without looking boring - a little bit of feminine edge mixed in with an athletic casualness.

Name: Rohma Sahib
Background: A senior in at University of Maryland, she's studying English and (something else, but my messy notes are now indecipherable!), but with the intention of getting her masters in psychology soon after her undergraduate degree.
What we love about her style:  Rohma's style appealed to my wanna-be Californian, free spirit, breezy casual side.  She sported a pair of skinny cuffed jeans with a lacy baby doll hi-low top and Sperry's - the ultimate in comfortable shoes (I've been eyeing a shimmery pair from Nordstrom and her outfit has pretty much sold me on them!).  In the waves of silky fabrics, Rohma showed us that dressing up wasn't the only way to maintain modesty in style.
About her style:  Rohma trends towards a 1920s vintage look, with lots of lace and loose flapper inspired looks, mixed with Bohemian grunge.
Your no-limit gift card would be to...?: Free People - lots of their pieces go with her wardrobe, and can easily be dressed up or down.

Modest Marvel: Noor Zehra (ISNA 2013 Day 2)

When interviewing women for our Modest Marvels, we're usually the ones doing the raving and ranting over them and their outfits - it is their outfit that catches our style and personality that pulls us in!  However, Noor turned the tables on me and instead proceeded to compliment me the entire time we chatted - she and I are definitely new BFFs (oh geez, do people still use that?)  Either way, it made me happy that we're in the same general region (her under grad is my graduate school!) so hopefully there will be more run-ins.

Name: Noor Zehra
Background: While professionally, Noor is a consultant at a big 4 firm ("I'm on the road a lot!"), she's also a loving and completely in-love wife to her husband of two years.  She and her friend Sherene were rounding a bazaar aisle with an easy laugh - a clear indicator of a sweet and fun personality (did you read the part about me wanting to be her BFF??)
What we love about her style:  Her breezy dress and relaxed cardigan made us yearn for some days on the beach.
Favorite pieces:  Noor steers towards anything that's casual and easy, but did that because she's usually cold (I feel ya!), she's almost never without a scarf for an extra layer.
About your style:  Noor described her style simply as "comfortable" - she prefers casual and comfort over rigid structure.
What are you looking to achieve in an outfit?:  Her goal is "blend in" when she can - put together but able to make a style transition from a simple friends gathering to a family outing.
Your no-limit gift card would be to...?: "FOREVER 21!" - Noor's knee-jerk reaction was a firm indicator of her belief in the fast-fashion chain that we also love here at Greater Lengths.  "When I go there, I think, "If this was my closet, I'd be happy.""

Favorite Finds at ISNA 2013!

We're posting our Favorite Finds of ISNA 2013 over on our Facebook page!  They'll be posted here soon after!  Check them out on Facebook here:


August 30, 2013

Modest Marvel: Hoda Abrahim (ISNA 2013 day 1)

You're seeing two photos and wondering, "um, which one is Day 1?  Why are there two outfits?"

The short answer: the outfit on the right is from ISNA 2013 day 1, but when we went back to Winnie Detwa's booth on day 2, I fell in love with Hoda's outfit all over again, and therefore had to break my own rules.

Many thanks to Hoda for being our first Modest Marvel of ISNA 2013!

Name: Hoda Abrahim
Background: Hoda is Egyptian-American, born and raised in North Carolina.  She recently started her junior year of college and is pursuing a degree in nutrition, with a "hopes of being a dietician for a professional sports team (inshallah!)"
What we love about her style:  Her use of prints and bright colors (turns out, she and I both loved the same things about her style, as you read below) were a natural head-turner, but we can't say enough about her great smile.
Favorite pieces: "I'm notorious for wearing some sort of blouse or blazer with high waisted skirts. I love it because there's no limit to my creativity, the possibilities are endless!"
About her style: Hoda couldn't settle on a single term to describe her style, as it changes just about every week; however, she says one thing she never deviates from is bright colors. "You will rarely see me in blacks/ browns. I'm all about orange and yellow and bright pink!"
What she's looking to achieve in an outfit:  As for most Muslim women, her number one concern is modesty and comfort, which go hand-in-hand for her.  "I don't want to walk out of the house and feel self conscious about my body or how revealing an outfit is."  By adding bright colors, she feels like they "brighten" her day (though I'm sure that smile has something to do with that!) and prepares her to take on the world!  "My electric colors are a fake source of vitamin D ;)"
What makes an outfit: "For me, my hijab is the make it or break it piece. It's the final straw that puts the whole outfit together and completes my look. If I'm not feeling my hijab, it's likely I'm not feeling my whole outfit."
Your no-limit gift card would be to...?: "If I had a no limit gift card it would probably be in my older sisters closet. She has been at the fashion game much longer than I and has a much more compete wardrobe than I do. However, if I did have to chose a store, it would be Target! It's my best kept secret, I've never gone in there and not found something I absolutely adore."

Will you be our next #ModestMarvel?

Last year at ISNA, Naima came up with the concept of a "Modest Marvel", or a woman who knows how to put together an outfit to maintain modesty and style both.  These didn't have to be someone in the current vein of fashion (though it didn't hurt!) - these were people whose outfits stood out in a crowd of what could have been a homogenic sea of maxi skirts and tops.

We're bringing our Modest Marvels back with a vengeance.  I say "we," but I'll be missing my partner in crime as she lays on her rumpus.  Okay, in medical terms it's called "bedrest" but we know what it really is - a reason to lay around in sweatpants!

Be on the lookout for us at ISNA, browsing in the bazaar, finding our next Modest Marvels and celebrating your modest style!

Modest Marvel: Sara Dahbour (ISNA 2013 day 1)

Though we try to spy an eye for style, definitely one of the number one things that catches our attention is an infection smile.  Sara Dahbour had one that may have been brighter than that of Winnie Detwa's whimsical booth, which is where we found her, supporting her friend's launch at ISNA.

Background: This almost 19 year-old (she's getting close to 20!) is a Palestinian-American woman, who, as she describes it, "absolutely loves to laugh."  She is currently in her third year of studying to be a pediatric nurse at a college in North Carolina.
What we love about her style:  Sara has the relaxed casual look down to an art.  Her look the entire time as ISNA was easy and comfortable, clutch style during the long days of ISNA.  Her style, while casual, did not sacrifice on style, fit, and aesthetic.
Your favorite pieces: Her favorite pieces have to be be anything mint or coral! "I'm obsessed!!" she says (check out her enviable mint pants on the left!).  However, she still enjoys the classic black-and-white color combo.  "What can I say? I'm a simple girl."
About your style: She's a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, but doesn't mind getting a little gussied up from time-to-time.  Recently, Sara says she's been "stepping up [her] fashion game", which only means she'l be continuing to wow us!
What are you looking to achieve in an outfit?: "What I want people to know about dressing modestly is that no matter how much you're covered up, your clothes don't make up who you are! YOU make up who you are. You own the clothes, don't let the clothes own you!"
What makes an outfit? (Which one item or piece do you think completes an outfit?) honestly, a smile!
Your no-limit gift card would be for...: "Forever 21! Their clothes are so simple, which is what I love! You can always dress up or dress down a simple piece of clothing!"

August 7, 2013

FAVORITE FIND: Shiva Top from Athleta

Earlier this year, I met with a friend who is designing the ultimate modest workout top.  She's also a Muslim woman, and after coaching a Muslim girls youth soccer league, she's applying her engineering skills to addressing the gap in modest workout clothing.  I'm really excited about the product she will bring to the table.

In the meantime, the search for modest workout clothes continues, but this top from Athleta makes the fight just a bit easier.

The Shiva Top, on sale for $34.99, features a long hemline, falling well past the waistline, for an easy fit and maximum torso coverage.  The 3/4 length sleeves are ruched to allow ample movement while still providing coverage, and the top curves gracefully along your torso without clinging too tight in the wrong places. The one thing this shirt is missing is the ability to wick sweat away, which I almost always prefer in a workout top - however, for the coverage and comfort, I'm willing to let that go this one time. The Shiva Top is on my "to buy" list and in so many different colors, you're sure to find your perfect one too.

August 6, 2013

REMIX: Faux Leather, Button Downs, and Skinny Jeans (inspired by Atlantic-Pacific)

Can you tell I'm on an Atlantic-Pacific/Blair Eadie kick?  Or it might be my yearning for New York City and her characteristically New York backdrops that keep me coming back.  Or it could be her style, plain and simple.

I like her blend of hard edge mixed with feminine accents (many of her blog posts contain images of her wearing chain metal, spiky bracelets, and other hardwear with big puffy skirts and tons of bows.)  This outfit isn't quite as dualistic, but it's clear to see her rocker style emerging over the soft feminine touches.

[Credit: Atlantic-Pacific]

The skinny jeans and long white button down tend to be staples in a modest dresser's closet, so we won't bore you with where to find those.  However, that great leather jacket and top?  We've got your back on those.

Faux suede and faux leather jackets

Faux leather tops