MARIE CLAIRE, FEB 2014 - "With modern and traditional lives having to find new ways to coexist, devout women are redefining the role that their religious dress requirements play in their style. For many, these requirements are seen as oppressive for women and a compromise on style, but this is not always the case. Instead, these women are finding ways to make their own statements about individual fashion choices, as their dress becomes an expression of freedom. We talk to women who have found a sense of empowerment in embracing their traditional religious dress codes while giving them a modern twist.
"Sarah Feldman, 29, co-director at a Jewish day school and Rebbetzin (Rabbi’s wife):
"My father is a Rabbi and my family have Rabbi’s going back generations, so modest dress has always been part of my life. When I married my husband, who is also a Rabbi, I took on the duties of the Rebbetzin – one of which is to help serve as a role model for girls in schul. Jewish laws of modesty require women to wear skirts or dresses that cover their knees, sleeves that go down to their elbows and low necklines. When women get married, they must cover their hair with a hat, wig or scarf, as hair is considered to hold sacred feminine energy. I don’t ever wear anything that makes me stand out, or that is particularly symbolic of my religious view. However, once people discover I wear a wig for religious reasons they’re fascinated by the spiritual motivations for it. My style is guided by current fashion trends, but dressing modestly is always top of mind for me. It’s important to remember that this and conservative dressing are not the same thing. For example, I love denim, animal print and pastels for summer, and will make sure to shop with covering my knees and elbows in mind – whether it’s a beautiful summer skirt or formal dress – while indulging my love for current trends. The laws are often viewed as suppressive, but the truth is just the opposite, especially once you make modesty a way of life and embrace all that you’re actually able to do with it."
Image and Article: Marie Claire