February 26, 2014

[Workout Wednesday] Cold Weather Wear

The winter weather in DC and the rest of the east coast seems like there’s little hope for abatement. We were teased with a few days of temps above 50 and then this “little chance of snow” has turn into a half-storm.

When I work out, I prefer to be outdoors. There’s something about being physical under open skies that appeals to me much much more than any promise fitness machinery will ever make. To entertain a winter workout outdoors, bundling and layering is important.

To entertain a winter workout outdoors as a modest dressing Muslim woman (but really, anyone who prefers modest clothing), tunic lengths and loose fits are vital. I encourage all women out there to wear performance fitness clothing. A former victim of the t-shirt/sweatshirt workout combo, once I transitioned into sweat-wicking material, my exercise experience – as well as my health because you don’t want to retain sweat against your body in cold temps! – improved drastically.

Check out these pairings for modest fitness clothing inspiration. Click on the links below each photo to be taken directly to the retailer.

Like what you see?  Click on a link below to be taken directly to the retailer.

Multi-Color Tunics
1. Nike 'Epic' Long Training Shirt
2. Adidas Tiro Speedkick Pants

1. New Balance Heather Tunic
2. New Balance Anue Mantra Yoga Pants
3. New Balance All Over Heather Pant

Nike Epic-ness
1. Nike 'Epic' Dri-Fit Wool Crew
2. Nike 'Epic' Training Pants
3. Nike 'Epic' Dri-Fit Wool Crew
4. Nike 'Revival' Dri-Fit Woven Pants

Pink Gear
1. Champion Loose Fit Yoga Top
2. New Balance Boyfriend Stripe Tank
3. Under Armour 'Icon' Pant (also available here for less)

Mulberry Galore
1. Nike Dri-Fit Wool Hoodie
2. Reebok Dance Woven Cargo Pants
3. Moving Comfort All Over Vibe Shirt

February 25, 2014

[Style Series Africa Edition] Majorelle Jardin in Marrakech, Morocco

Towards the end of three weeks of constant movement through Africa, Andrea (my friend with whom I traveled) and I were in the mood to lounge. An overwhelming number of people (thanks Halima!) had emphatically suggested we get away from the commotion of Marrakech by spending a peaceful afternoon at Majorelle Jardin.

Majorelle Jardin is the beautiful botanical oasis in the middle of the desert.  Designed and owned originally by French artist Jacque Majorelle, who owned this artists' escape in 1920s and 1930s, it was later purchased by Yves Saint Laurent, the French fashion designer, in 1980.  Now it remains as a visitors paradise, and a treat for a fashion-centric person like me.

Channeling my needs into my outfit, I combined a warm (it was a bit nippy), soft jersey (jersey may have been a theme this trip) striped Hive and Honey skirt (featured here).  The sweeping skirt felt as breezy and lazy and unencumbered as I wanted to be that day. Because the colors of the skirt were neutral and muted sand and black, I chose to wear a similarly neutral, sequin shirt with a 3/4 length stretchy cotton top (the t-shirt had short, sheer sleeves) (featured here).

If I wasn't as hungry as I was at that point, I could have spent another hour just sitting at Majorelle Gardens. A lover of colors, I could not stop snapping pictures of the rich, bright, fresh colors that created the theme - lemon yellows, sunset oranges, watery blues.  Fun fact: the blue that was populated throughout the site is a specific color called Majorelle Blue.

Love the chevron skirt or the sequin t-shirt?

February 24, 2014

Widening Your Horizons in Spring 2014's Latest Trend

Sometimes style skips a generation. We've seen the revival of 80s glam and 90s glitz, but now the 60s are making a coming back in the very welcome form of palazzo pants.

Likely a predecessor to the 70s flare legs (which were also a late 90s, early 2000s trend, that ahem, I may have participated in), palazzo pants are the ultimate chic in combining the comfort of a skirt with the coverage of trousers - modest fashion without meaning to be, creating a look for a woman seeking American modesty without styling too hard.

The super voluminous bottoms looks balanced when partnered with a more fitted top - a lady-like blouse - but evidence proves that a draped hi-low top or slouchy sweater also make a fitting pair.

Polka Dot Palazzos Big Red  Geometric Palazzo Pants

A great look, no matter how windy the weather.

Printed palazzo pants:

Solid color palazzo pants:

FAVORITE FINDS: DC Fashion Week Haute & Modesty Fashion Show

Friday evening, I had the pleasure and honor to attend second DC Fashion Week's Haute & Modesty Fashion Show, sponsored by Areej Fashions. I attended the inaugural fashion show back in the fall and was happy to be there again on Friday. This was the second time DC Fashion Week held a Haute & Modesty Fashion Show, a fashion showcase dedicated singularly to modest styling.  It has since been picked up by Philadelphia Fashion Week as well.

While I love the concept of the show, much remains for content. There were plenty of eye-catching designs and unique flairs, which stood starkly in the face of those who believe modest fashion is akin to Amish style. For a girl who loves colors, there were plenty of them to go around, with texture to boot. However, very few of the outfits felt wearable for the every day. Don't get me wrong - I like my fair share of dresses and maxi skirts, but as a working American Muslim woman, I need something that I can wear to the average American women's occasion - a business meeting (or heck, an office job), a concert, an amusement part - and most of these clothes, save a few, could I not see in a normal American setting.

That aside, one showcase stood out - that of my friend Hakeemah Cummings, of LoveCMB. Her first stylecase, if you will, consisted of fashions from a number of designers that have been featured here on Greater Lengths. Her styling was spot on - high fashion for the American woman.

My most favorite outfit was the one she actually wore! This emerald green dress from Artizara was one I saw at ISNA 2013 and almost featured as a Favorite Find. The color was so lively and the floral hijab from Veilure Couture was a nod to the spring event. The front pleats reminded me of Kate Middleton and her penchant for Jenny Packham pleated gowns.
Artizara Dress // Veilure Couture 'Eden' Scarvf

February 19, 2014

[Workout Wednesday] Modest Gym and Fitness Tops

It prides me to say that the most common reasons Greater Lengths is stumbled upon is the search for modest workout clothes. This implies a lot of things:

  1. Women who dress modestly are not letting clothing get in the way of their fitness
  2. In general, women are seeking more modest ways of covering up while working out
  3. My blog is providing solutions to these needs!

I do get a sincere sense of satisfaction and motivation when I get comments like these on the blog:

In the name of alliteration and all things modest fitness apparel, welcome to the first installment of “Workout Wednesday”, a regular feature which will be dedicated to the fitness clothes available on the retail market that defy the typical body-skimming athletic apparel trend. This is a double benefit for me as I am trying to get back into a normalized running routine and having new clothes is a spring of motivation.

Please leave comments and your thoughts. I love knowing your opinion!

[Style Series Africa Edition] Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg

After a full week in Cape Town, it was time for this MBA student to move on. The class had run its course in Cape Town and was on our way to Johannesburg.

This outfit was inspired by Stephanie of Pretty Is This, whose picture I snagged over a year ago.  I'd been so taken by her outfit and how she modest-ified what could have been a slightly scandalous dress, loving the transformed look of the delicate lace against a white canvas.
So, I did what any good blogger would do - I copied the look.

Admittedly, these are not the greatest photos of my outfit, but it still was one of my favorite ensembles of the trip. The outfit consists of a Michael Stars ikat tank dress and simple white Gap skimmer pants, which were a gift from Zeena after a photo shoot. The exact dress is shown below, with almost the same pants:

(more shopping and actual discussion of the apartheid museum after the jump! click on 'Read More')

February 17, 2014

[Style Series Africa Edition] Tweede Nuwe Jaar in Cape Town

In the weeks prior to jaunting off to Cape Town, I posted this entry on the jumpsuit I purchased as a "Black Friday Deal" (sadly, it was not as much of a deal as I usually like, but I couldn't let it sell out on me).  Leading up to the departure of my trip, I didn't have an opportunity to wear it or really, the guts to pull it off in person.  The jumpsuit, all wonderful jersey surpliceness of it, hung there in my closet, asking for its day in the sun.

Patience is a virtue because when I started packing for Africa, it was the #1 thing on my list to bring, donning it on the first non-active day of the trip (day 1 and day 2 consisted of hiking and a day safari...those outfits coming soon). That day came on the Cape Town celebration of Tweede Nuwe Jaar, when the city has its Minstrel Celebration.

Tweede Nuwe Jaar reaches back to the days of slave trade and servants in Cape Town, when the disenfranchised would generally work on New Year's Day for their masters and employers; they waited until the day after New Years to hold their celebration. The tradition continues and the city even pushed off the celebration a few days to accommodate the Muslim Friday prayer (so it was held on Saturday, January 4).


(more after the jump)

February 16, 2014

[Style Series Africa Edition] Farrah's Fashion and Modest Style in Africa

Before launching into my Africa Style series, I should recap why I was in South Africa and Morocco.

You may have picked up throughout the progression of this blog that I've been in an MBA program part-time at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business while working full-time as a consultant in the DC metro area.

Last March, Andrea emailed me with the subject header, "3 Reasons Why You Should Go to a Study Abroad in South Africa". I think I was convinced before opening the email.  South Africa! For school! Of course!

We tacked on Morocco because as Andrea wrote, "it's on the way!" (It's not but who am I to question?)

Overall, our trip - including travel time - lasted from December 30 until January 18; that's 20 glorious days of frolicking around the continent of Africa.  Those 20 days also included me, dressing to the nines (well, maybe the fives...I was on vacation!) in my comfortable modest style.

You'll start to see that most of the pieces I'm wearing have been posted on this modest style and fashion shopping blog. There are a lot of great examples of stylish modest dressing women out there, but sometimes, their clothing selections are unattainable - whether for the price or the lack of occasion.   On my blog, you'll see that the pieces I post are not only attainable (about 80% being under $50) but can be worn daily, for work, or for play.

Let me know what you see and what you like!
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[Modest Fitness Clothes] Grab Box of Modest Workout Clothes

A woman here has set up swimming for Muslim women on Saturdays and Sundays, which has been great the weekends I can make it.

Some weekends, I'm raring to go - bikini on (it's all women, so I'm a little less inhibited) and doing lap after lap in the pool.  Other weekends, like today, I can barely muster the desire to even look in the direction of the swimming pool and end up skipping out.  It's weekends like this one where I yearn for the hint of spring and a clear sidewalk, where I can go running for miles and miles on end. For me, stepping out of my house and onto the sidewalk for a quick jog is the ultimate way to make use of idle time.

Since half the battle of a Muslim woman's workout is workout clothing, I've pulled together all my favorites currently pinned.

A few notes:

  • Long tank tops can be coupled with short long-sleeve tees for a workout. The long tank provides body coverage below the waist while the long-sleeve tees give you customizable arm coverage

February 13, 2014

Coming Soon - Greater Lengths in Africa!

In January, 2014, I spent almost 12 days in Africa.

The time has come. Stay tuned for my daily outfits from my trip to South Africa and Morocco.  See how I wore items I post on this blog to dress for a 3-week trip to Africa, in style and modestly dressed.

Remember to "like" the Facebook page to Greater Lengths, subscribe to this blog, or sign up for email alerts (use the box on the right) so you don't miss a post!

February 12, 2014

Dressing the Part for a Working Girl

My final semester of college, when the world kept asking, “what are you going to do next?”, I purchased a suit. It was a simple black Eli Tahari suit from Macy’s (this is prior to my days of knowing fashion and labels, but I will say it was an AWESOME suit!) which I brought home with me for around $180, which people kept telling me was not as much of a fortune as I thought it to be.

LIES. I STILL think that’s a fortune for a suit. In fact, my three favorite suits currently in my closet were all $80 or less. You might be thinking they are low-quality or no-name brands, but Calvin Klien, Le Suit, and Piperlime all beg to differ.

A host of modest dressing women will be graduating soon and looking for their first jobs. Another host of modest dressing women will be leaving their current jobs. They both have one thing in common: interview outfits. For most women, an interview outfit is a classic suit, and in those pre-paycheck days of getting by, the less expensive the suit, the better (in the post-paycheck days, this is generally true also). Additionally, having a suit that does not make you feel conscious about your body – with a jacket that extends past your waist or trousers that simply graze curves – gives you an extra boost of confidence whether going to an interview or day 100 on the job.

I’ve found a few different suits and blazers for those seeking some professional and modest work gear.

Remember to click on the arrow on the right of the widget for more options!
Remember to click on the arrow on the right of the widget for more options!

February 11, 2014

[Under $50] A European Craving

It’s been well documented (on this blog, anyway) that while I was working on my recently-completed (alhumdullilah!) MBA from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, that prior to class I would usually go shopping…browsing anyway. There is a small block around 10th and G Street NW in DC where you find a mecca of fast-fashion shops: Zara, H&M, Guess, Forever 21, and Anthropologie (maybe that’s not as fast as the others, but closer than, say, Macys, which is also nearby). If Asos had a store, I would be set with favorites.

Essentially, it was European fashion center, which is great for women seeking styles that allow us to dress modestly with style. These stores have affordable fashion but tend not to be as fitted or short.
Now that I am awaiting graduation (May 22, insha’Allah!), I have no reason to frequent that block as regularly, and I have to say – I miss it! I miss seeing sales and styles and gauging the next big trend. So in light of my homesickness for school, today’s post is dedicated to European fashion.  Feast your eyes on my recent purchases (Asos), what I will be purchasing after this post is up (Zara), and what I’ll be checking out on my next H&M run (this weekend, maybe?).

Every time I saw the blue tunic top at Zara, my heart would skip a beat. I keep waiting for Katie Holmes to be featured in a mag sometime soon donning the same thing with her signature ankle booties. For me, it’ll likely be go with a pair of skinny jeans and loafers.

(Remember, click on the arrow on the right hand side of the widget for more items!)

I made a LARGE purchase at Asos the other day, with the intention of returning items I do not intend to keep. Their free two-way shipping makes it easier to buy things just to check them out. While my order contains a whole lot more, here are a few items. The cold shoulder checked dress might be a bit of a challenge to style, but I’m thinking of layering with an oxford button down, for a classic pinafore look.

(Remember, click on the arrow on the right hand side of the widget for more items!)

When you do not visit H&M for a while, you can easily miss entire collections – things shift in and out so quickly. Here are a few things I could see working well in modest fashion closets.

(Remember, click on the arrow on the right hand side of the widget for more items!)

And finally, who doesn't love a little bit of Mango, especially when it's on sale?  Unfortunately, Tysons Corner Mall took away the Mango we used to have (please bring it back!), but I regularly browse their site and found a few goodies for all of us.

(Remember, click on the arrow on the right hand side of the widget for more items!)

February 7, 2014

A Contrasting View

The crispness of a good black and white combo is time-tested and cannot be disputed.  Alexander McQueen embodied it well in his resort 2013 collection, combining structured monochromatic looks with a slightly flowy pieces to achieve an air of ease and relaxation.

There is no better time than now to prepare your wardrobe for similar spring looks.  The trend is moving towards "easy structure" - sharp lines with a hint of movement.

Already have one or the other piece in your wardrobe to recreate this look?  Find a match for this Alexander McQueen look below!

Tunic black tops:

Wide leg white trousers

Blue and Geometric

Sometimes it's hard to see a pattern until it's all in front of you. You don't realize how much you've been in Greek food until you look back at your food diary for the past two weeks. Or you don't know you have a coffee problem until your credit card clears all the daily purchases.  In my case, the pattern has been blue, geometric, and tunic length tops.

I usually get pretty antsy about spring at this time of year.  I need it.  I want it.  I can almost smell it in the air.  And that need is manifested in my recent collection of pinned tops from Ruche.  It wasn't until I looked back at the collected pins, that I realized I am ready for the light blue skies that late March brings with it.

Now is a great time to stock up on tunic-lengthed tops for you modest fashionistas.  Springtime makes long blouses and airy sheath dresses short in supply and high in cost - neither of which are in these tops and dresses from Ruche.

Ruche is great for modest fashion - they've got unique pieces that give personality, without making anyone double take or question why one is "covered" in the spring and summer.  If you purchase any of these, let us know in our comments!

FAVORITE FIND: Moroccan Open Front Cardigans from Nylii

When I told people that I was going to Morocco, everyone's wide-eyed and exclamation-mark riddled emails went on and on about all the great shopping I'd experience.

Sadly, I was a witness from afar.  While our Moroccan activities were many, they left little in the way of available time for shopping.

So Nylii's newest cardigans do take me back to the glorious doors and extravagant colors of Marrakech, a city that grows bigger at every turn.  These cardigans, or capes as I've called them in my head, are a glorious $28, so it's hard to get only one.  And when you order, tell Nylii that Greater Lengths sent you!

Nylii Cape

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February 6, 2014

[REMIX] Keep It Close to the Chest with a Vest

In these, the doldrums of winter, my entire existence yearns for something new. At this point, all the fun of the season has come and gone, as have the new trends and fashion excitement. Designers and trendmakers are turning their eyes to the spring (and really, the season after next), giving the current season no further mind. In the real world, however, we’re struggling to not grow bored of our wardrobe and find a new way to wear something we’re tired of wearing.

As most modest dressing women do, I have quite a few tunic-length button down tops. As the shirtdress phenomena picked up, so did I incorporate a bunch of them into my wardrobe. But now what? It’s boring to wear only the shirtdress over dress pants (what has become my standard work attire) and call it a day. I want something more!

Enter the vest. A quick and easy remix for a modest dressing woman’s wardrobe, a simple vest can make the difference between new and renewed. What’s especially great about the right vest is that it can be worn over a variety of tops - button-down top (a staple in a modest fashion stylista’s closet), a sweater tunic, and even a long-sleeved dress.

Looking for an inexpensive way to refresh the remains of your winter wardrobe? Try these vests on for size.

February 4, 2014

[Modest Fitness Clothes] Powerhouse Tops

Our sweet reader Alison sent me a request while I was travelling in Africa that read:
Hi Farrah! Any suggestions for places that sell modest workout clothes? Thank you and enjoy your travels!
Fitness clothing requests - my favorite! What better way to kick off a new year than with new workout clothes to motivate your through all those 2014 fitness goals? My goals this year involve running a half marathon in May (or is it April? I should really figure that out) and doing my third official marathon in November. Additionally, I’m hoping to get back into my old CrossFit form (hit my 4 year anniversary with CrossFit earlier this week) and take advantage of a womens-only swimming availability at a local pool (send me an email at gotogreaterlengths@gmail.com if you’re in the Northern VA, DC, or Maryland area and would like to get the weekly eVites for more info).

What are your fitness goals for the year? Whatever they are, reach them faster with the right fitness clothes! There is a positive power when you look the part of someone who works out regularly. There is also a positive power when you don’t have to wear sweat-drenched, chafing materials that do not provide the modest coverage needed to make you want to work hard. I’ve assembled a few of the more current and affordable options for modest fitness clothes.

Many of these are from Athleta (from which I am wearing the long top in the video above) but click around and see what you like. Remember, if an item seems “too short”, I’ve likely posted it as something to layer with another longer top or long-sleeved item. Which fitness goals will you accomplish in these modest workout tops?