January 29, 2012

How To: Conservative Chic

Hi Loves!

Happy Sunday :) Today, I have a bit of a different kind of post. I'm going to show you how to dress conservatively but still be stylish and even on-trend. In many cultures and communities, dressing conservatively is quite (if not absolutely) important. Sometimes, this is just a cultural perspective or custom and sometimes it is a religious requirement. I decided to do this post because style is for everyone, and none of it can get in the way of looking good, if you only try. I know a lot girls who cannot and/or chose not to dress in outfits that reveal skin and while some of them do it with class and style, a few others have told me that they would love to have more options. So here you go ladies:

I will focus on those who do get it right. Meet Nehla, my fabulous friend from Sri Lanka. She is a beautiful lady and always dressed elegantly while still managing to be conservative -

Here is Nehla's take on "Conservative Chic":
"I've come to realize that limitations bring out the creativity in you. Coming from a conservative family there are certain guidelines I have to follow when it comes to clothes. But I try not to let this restrict my inner fashionistaDescription: http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/images/blank.gif;) In the past, I've loved the "boyfriend" trend, leggings, long summer dresses, layering and boleros."
Some tips from Nehla on how to dress with sass while following customary guidelines:
"When shopping for new clothes I look for:
Shift dresses/tunics that can be shortened by a couple of inches and paired with skinny jeans or leggings. 
Another tip is to slit a dress on both sides if you don't want to lose the length/print/embellishment on the bottom and wear it with skinny jeans/leggings.
Cardigans in all shapes and colours are an essential to all Conservative Chic ladies.
And I am yet to meet a girl on whom 3/4 length sleeves aren't flattering.
Printed scarves and shawls are great to accessorize any outfit."

Chrissy's Tips for Conservative Chic:

Stay on trend with skinny jeans and leggings. It will balance out proportions when you add a tunic on top or a dress like Nehla does.

Shoes!!! You can build a collection of gorgeous shoes from stillettos to sandals. Instant chic factor :)

If you're Asian/Middle Eastern, shalwars are an option and you already know about this. What you may not know is that there are ways to work the trends even in a shalwar:

You can buy shalwars in the "it" colors of the season for style relevance.
A lot of shalwars now also incorporate prints and patterns that are in vogue too - buy these! 
The pants that come with shalwars are now made to look like leggings/skinny jeans so that's awesome.
P.S. You don't have to be Asian/Middle Eastern to rock a Shalwar! It's called being a citizen of the world :) 

Accessorize! This is where your freedom really lies - go for the trends, provided they look good on you and complement your outfit. Big earrings really complement tunics and shalwars, as do long necklaces and chunky bangles. You have endless options so mix and match - see what works and what doesn't.

Shoes and Bags. Also part of accessorizing - complement your outfit with a great pair of shoes and a beautiful purse. It completes your look. If you can afford it - shop the brand names - you won't regret it because shoes and bags are a good long-term investment. 
There are a few things I want to highlight from this picture (above):

Pay close attention to Nehla's shoes and purse. Her shoes are suede pumps in a gorgeous shade of wine - very of-the-moment. Her purse is a very close match. Normally, don't go matchy-matchy with your shoes and purse, but sometimes - it looks amazing, especially with red (make sure they are a perfect match, like Nehla's).

Wear clothes that fit you well. Nehla's clothes fit her like a glove and that is the key to dressing well and looking polished. This golden rule applies to all women, not just those trying to look conservative. Ill-fitting clothes make you look frumpy - avoid this at all costs! Also, well-fitting does not mean too tight - so ladies beware!

Make-up can make or break your outfit. Nehla has naturally great skin, but see how she doesn't overdo the make-up. It is simple yet has a big impact. You can really play up your eyes - looks very exotic, especially with shalwars. Again - do one thing or the other. Bold eyes, simple lip and vice versa.

Get yourself a great haircut. Nehla's hair is on the longer side. She has beautiful straight hair and her layered cut gives it movement and life. She also has wispy bangs which give her styling options as well.
Note the tunic over skinny jeans combo in the picture above. 

Buy a lot of scarves, wraps and shawls in every color and print you can possibly imagine. You can even use the shawls that come with your shalwars and wear them with jeans.

Wear maxi dresses and skirts! It is very in and even if it goes out of season, you can still rock it because it's very bohemian. Tie a scarf on your head and bring out your inner boho! Don't forget to pile on the accessories.

Turbans, beanies and hats are a wonderful way to cover you hair and look stylish at the same time.

Wear dresses over jeans and leggings! If you do it right, it will look super cute. Also, wear blazers with jeans for a covered yet chic look.

Queen Rania of Jordan and Sheikah Mozah of Qatar are Muslim royals who have impeccable style yet manage to follow their religious guidelines. Here are some pictures of the outfits they put together.

How do you dress conservatively? Please share your tips in the comments section :)

Work what you got, ladies!!!


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