The Modest Edit

Nawal Sari’s Guide To Shopping Modest Fashion In Australia

Photo: Courtesy of Nawal Sari.
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I've been wearing the hijab for 10 years, and in that time, finding modest fashion pieces has definitely gotten easier. When I first put the hijab on, we were so limited on options in Australia and I found that a lot of Muslim women often had almost identical wardrobes. When options are limited, it also means self expression through style is limited — we had to opt for low-quality fast fashion pieces or commit to a lot of layering.
When Eid came around every year, it was a full-time job trying to find an outfit. The options were to either shop from modest fashion stores online and pray it would fit (while also knowing that a few other girls at Eid prayer would have the same outfit), or to shop at mainstream Aussie retailers and have to layer with tights and a long-sleeved shirt, doing your best to style it. I can still remember times where I was overstimulated in my local Westfield, trying to get an outfit with my mum and sisters, facing the lengthy lines from modest fashion pop-up shops that carried restricted sizes and a hefty price tag.
Internationally, the modest fashion industry was (and still is) a booming industry. After travelling to Muslim-majority countries like Malaysia and Turkey, I was left speechless at how accessible modest fashion is. In these countries, stores that cater specifically for modest fashion and hijabs sit right next door to your favourite major retailers in shopping centres. It was a dream come true. I think every Muslim girl has dreams of sifting through clothing racks and instead of finding midi dresses with splits and long-sleeved blouses with the back cut out, finding that everything is perfectly suited to modest dressing.
As much as I'm so proud of how far the modest fashion community has progressed, there's still some work to do. I still often find myself choosing between investing in pricey, yet high-quality, pieces or fast fashion sites due to lack of size inclusivity and options that cater to smaller budgets. When I was a full-time university student exploring my personal style, I opted for quick convenience that suited my budget. Now, I try my best to slow down my buying choices and thrift styles or invest in more sustainable pieces.
With modest fashion being featured more regularly on the runways at recent fashion week circuits, we've seen an increase in ready-to-wear pieces that are modest enough to add to our wardrobes. As an experienced and slightly traumatised modest fashion shopper, I'm happy to share my knowledge on where to shop and hopefully provide some much-deserved ease.
Nawal Sari is a fashion and beauty influencer based in Western Sydney, Australia. Having built a 380K-strong community on Instagram and TikTok, Nawal is redefining what modest fashion in 2024 means. Now, she joins Refinery29 Australia as a contributing editor to further her mission of inspiring Muslim women on their own modest fashion journeys, leaning on her wealth of knowledge and industry experience.

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