You Asked It

Damn Girl Ya Look Good

Dressing modestly, dressing ethically, and the requisite talk about boobs.

With summer around the corner, it’s time for my most dreaded shopping task: swimsuit shopping. All my friends like to show off their bods in bikinis, but I’m not really into wearing them. How can I look fashionable, good, and, if possible, smokin’ in a more modest swimsuit? ♥ Mary

Hi, Mary! Don’t fret, my pet—there are plenty of non-bikini swimsuits available that are not granny status and are actually pretty cute! First of all, know that showing more skin doesn’t automatically make someone look sexy. It’s all about finding the right kind of outfit and working it. I’m sure you know that already. I’m really into vintage bathing suits. Modcloth carried a bunch of great ones, including this one-piece black ruched Esther Williams number. (If you haven’t heard of Esther, she was a movie siren who was famous for her swimming scenes.) Here’s a sample of some of Modcloth’s suits, in both retro and modern cuts:

If you’re looking for a cheaper suit, Target has some cute one-pieces, too; and Delia’s has some cool tankinis:

Clockwise from top left: striped swimsuit, $25, Target; blue-and-white one-piece, $25, Target; cinched tank top, $24.50, and matching boy short, $24.50, Delia’s; ruched tank top, $24.50, and matching bottom, $24.50, Delia’s.

See which one feels right on your bod (not too tight anywhere, no boob popping out, no merf/wedgie situation, etc.) and that you feel comfortable in. And a little tip for added SMOKIN’-ness: put a flower in your hair, or use this mermaid hair clip from Cutie Dynamite. Good luck on finding your dream bathing suit! (Don’t forget the sunscreen!) Xoxo, Marie

Can you give me some recommendations for high-quality, sweatshop-free clothing stores and brands? I love thrifting, but since I live in a hipster-populated area, most of the stores are cleaned out of the good stuff. My mom offered me some new clothes for my birthday, and I would like to use the opportunity to get some stuff that’s slightly more pricey than what I can afford on my own, and I would LOVE it if I weren’t exploiting workers and children in the process.

The dignity and pride that a bitchin’ outfit affords us have to also be granted to the workers who made said bitchin’ outfit. So big, shiny, sparkly, fairy-dusted high-fives to you for wanting to shop consciously and save up your pennies (or your mom’s pennies) to buy clothes that are made with love and personal care.

You’re absolutely right that buying clothes from local, independent designers will cost more—often a lot more—than buying from fast-fashion chain stores, but I personally feel that if you have the means to do so, it’s way worth it to buy one well-made item of clothing from an independent designer rather than five items from a chain that employs sweatshop and/or child labor to churn out poorly made clothes that will likely fall apart after a few seasons.

But enough preaching to the choir, and on to your question! Here’s a round-up of my favorite independent designers who make their clothes by hand or produce them in ethical, fair-trade working environments:

1. My favorite, favorite, favorite clothing label of all time is Mandate of Heaven. If you live in New York City, get thee to Fort Mandate, their retail store and studio in Brooklyn. Inside you’ll find purring cats, mint walls, vintage furniture, and knick-knacks that’ll charm the underpants right off you, and beautiful, one-of-a-kind playsuits draped over antique dressing screens, backless dresses hanging from the ceilings, party pajamas lining the walls, convertible faux-fur capes, organic bamboo long johns, and more. The Mint Collection is their line of one-of-a-kind, handmade designs made from vintage, recycled, and leftover fabrics, and the Opiate Collection features garments made from organic and fair-trade bamboo, hemp, and hand-dyed silk, made to order or in small runs produced locally by ethically compensated hands. Doing things ethically, sustainably, and lovingly ain’t cheap, so a lot of their clothes are investment pieces. Over the years, I’ve amassed a mini collection of MoH playsuits that are as much pure, frothy fantasy as they are practical (all of their onesies come with crotch snaps for easy peein’ and poopin’). I recently bought a pair of their mushroom-pocket shorts in organic dark denim and have been getting seriously hollered at by all the old ladies on my block.

2. Brooklyn-based designer Ashley Cheeks named her clothing and accessories line, It’s Okay My Dear, after a lullaby her mom wrote for her when she was a child. The clothes are just as sweet as that story—lots of pale silk dresses with cut-outs, checkered dresses, and crop tops adorned with bows. Ashley sources all of her materially locally in New York, sometimes using one-of-a-kind vintage materials, makes everything by hand in her home studio. Also, It’s Okay My Dear’s spring 2011 lookbook featured Rachel Trachtenburg from Supercute!—the band that did the first-ever Rookie theme song! I’ve been greedily eyeing the Picnic Dress in navy gingham—it has silk ribbon straps and pockets for when you feel like being a wallflower outdoors.

3. L.A. designer Jenny Reyes’s line, Geronimo, features resort wear that seems extra appropriate for the California desert, and vintage silhouettes from the ’50s and ’60s. Jenny’s crop tops and halter dresses make me wanna have week-long pool parties with my girlfriends. Ninety percent of Geronimo’s clothing is made from vintage material found in thrift stores and old fabric stores in downtown L.A., and everything is handmade to order with love. I can personally attest to this, since I am the proud owner of the Julia dress and the Catherine Holly two-piecer. Every time I step out in Geronimo, I feel like a retro babe about to conquer the world, one exposed shoulder at a time.

4. Ellen Van Dusen’s label, Dusen Dusen, reminds me of the 1980s in the best and baddest way, with its shark-print canvas backpacks and high-waisted shorts. Ellen’s prints are ill, especially her bug prints for spring 2012. All of Dusen Dusen’s production is done in New York’s Garment District, and Ellen works closely with all of her factories. She gets most of her fabric from Missouri, then gets it printed by hand in San Francisco. I have a hand-painted cape from a limited-edition Dusen Dusen collaboration two years ago with Daily Candy’s editor Erin Wylie, and whenever I wear it out, I get stopped in the street and sweetly manhandled by random strangers who wanna fondle my cape.

5. A few other independent designers worth checking out: Alexandra Grecco makes soft, wispy, ballet-inspired clothes. Blooming Leopold’s Etsy shop sells lots of simple handmade cotton and velvet dresses that are prefect for a romp outside, alongside a nicely curated selection of vintage finds. The Loved One makes sheer, lacy, pinup-style intimates. We Never Sleep deals in hand-dyed silk bras and accessories. And Erica Weiner makes her exquisite vintage-inspired jewelry by hand.

These humble suggestions are just a starting point. If you find a designer you like, you can always email them and ask for recommendations. Chances are, if they make their designs locally and ethically, they’ll also know, love, and be able to recommend other designers who do the same. Ellen from Dusen Dusen told me about ALL Knitwear and Erin Considine’s jewelry line. Ashley from It’s Okay My Dear tipped me off to Leah Goren’s pretty prints and Cold Picnic’s jewelry and accessories. Ask around. Research online. Look at Pinterest and Polyvore if you know what they are and how to use them (I don’t).

Another good way to find about independent local designers is to research craft fairs in your neighborhood. When I lived in Iowa City, I used to go to this biannual event called What a Load of Craft, and learned about a lot of designers just by browsing the booths—including this one adorable lady who recycled and repurposed vintage cat sweaters. If you live in Austin, NYC, L.A., San Francisco, Chicago, or London, find out when the Renegade Craft Fair is rolling through your town. It’s basically a smorgasbord of local, independent artists and designers selling their handmade wares.

The price we pay for a happy, clean conscience is significantly higher than buying from a chain retail store, but if you can afford it, do it. It’s worth it. —Jenny

I barely have boobs! I know that there’s not much to be done about it, but I’m desperate! It makes me feel ugly and disproportionate. I feel less like a girl because of it. HELP, I don’t want plastic surgery! —Amelia

Ack, Amelia! I feel your pain. I have been flat, Flat, FLAT all my life, and I remember reading stories about girls that were also FLAT and then woke up one day with BOOBS like a miracle and I would go to bed praying that it would happen to me too. It never did. My distress over my lack of chesticles did not come from not being able to “get” guys (although that certainly didn’t make matters any better) but because I felt like less of a woman because of it. Eventually, though, I realized that this was a total crap way to feel. We talk about body acceptance all the time in terms of “curvy” girls or women who do not fit into society’s notion of what a perfect body should be, but that extends to everything! Real women don’t just have curves; some of us have no boobs and some of us are short and some of us have big butts and some of us have no butts and some maybe were biologically born male but WHO CARES? Your feelings of worth should really not be attached to any body part (I know, I know, easier said than done, but it’s the truth). I don’t know how old you are, so I don’t know if maybe the boobs will come for you one day (and not because you got pregnant, which is what everyone tells me all the time—thanks, but I don’t want boobs that bad!). I always looked up to Gwen Stefani, and she had no boobs and wore bright bras all the time with little tank tops, so I followed suit. To me Gwen was the epitome of the girliest girl who kicked butt, which was exactly what I wanted to be. No one ever thought Gwen looked like a boy because of her lack of boobs—not even when she cut her hair all short! Because in the end, it doesn’t really matter, you know? Of course, if you really, REALLY just want to have the look of BOOBS you can get padded bras or those little chicken-cutlet things that you put in your bra (hey, your body, YOUR CHOICE!). Personally I can’t ever deal with those things because they feel alien to my body, and I’ve come to love the freedom that my lack of boobs has brought to my life, fashion- and otherwise. In any case: forget this nonsense that boobs are what define your femininity, because they don’t! You are who you are and you are BEAUTIFUL that way. Not in an after-school special way either, but f’realsies. —Laia

I’m an Orthodox Jew, which means that my skirts all must fall below the knee and can’t show my knees when I sit, my shirtsleeves must cover my elbows, and my shirts’ necklines must cover my clavicles. Also, my parents are pretty strict about how much I spend on clothes. Do you have any relatively cheap ideas for revamping a wardrobe consisting of solid and patterned L.L. Bean shirts and five skirts (one denim, two black, one khaki, one gray)? In case it helps, I’m a fan of vintage-inspired clothing.

Hey girl! You definitely can spruce up your outfits while making sure you adhere to the basic rules of tzniut. Peter Pan-collared shirts, like this one from Forever 21, worn under your tops and sweaters are a good way to capture that vintage vibe you like. They would look great with this retro-looking polka-dot skirt. also has Peter Pan-collared tops in various colors at a very low price. I also love this houndstooth skirt they sell. You can also get a few detachable collars like these from Modcloth, or try your hand at making your own with our tutorial. Mix and match different combinations inspired by these looks from Forever 21, and you’ll become a master at layering in no time:

Accessorize with different scarves like these from Forever 21, knitted berets, and some nice flats to wear with your tights, like this cool vintage-looking pair from Modcloth. You can also check out blogs like Fashion Isha, Frum Fashion Maven, and Frumanista for more inspiration. I hope that helps! —Marie

Before you (rightly) take us to task in the comments for our hypocrisy—recommending ethically sourced and produced clothing in one answer, while pointing (and linking) to stuff from Forever 21 and Target in others—we just wanna say that we’re totally aware of our hypocrisy! And, unfortunately, we couldn’t find a way around it. One reader was asking for clothes that are made with workers and the environment in mind; another specifically needed CHEAP clothes. In an ideal world, those two things—clothing made ethically and clothing sold cheaply—would overlap far more than they actually do. We’re also keenly aware that most of you readers are teenagers, and don’t have the kind of disposable incomes that would allow you to choose only the sorts of things Jenny recommends above. And so we find ourselves recommending both kinds of things, at different times, in response to different questions. We also recommend thrifting as much as possible, as it’s a relatively cheap and environmentally/ethically responsible way to shop. All this said, if any of you readers knows of designers who are creating ethically sourced/made clothes that don’t cost a lot of money, please enlighten us in the comments. Finally, if you have a question for a future Damn Girl, please send it to Marie at


  • Mags May 22nd, 2012 11:11 PM

    You guys are good. I am so not qualified to give advice it’s not even funny.

  • Tara May 22nd, 2012 11:13 PM

    those swimsuits are beautiful. Laia’s response is so good. thanks Laia (I’m in a similar boat).

  • Toria Crux May 22nd, 2012 11:22 PM

    ._. So my friend ISN’T the only person who says chesticles?!

    • mayaautumn May 23rd, 2012 2:17 AM

      haha, i thought it was just mine and my friends little catchphrase but it turns out quite a lot of people say it! :)

      • evalavendar June 28th, 2012 2:59 AM

        mine says breasticles

  • bhaus May 22nd, 2012 11:27 PM

    H&M now has an organic cotton/sustainable line that is pretty affordable. In their campaign they claim to have fair business practices in terms of manufacturing (but who knows really).

    • lorobird May 23rd, 2012 6:12 AM

      If they don’t have the FairTrade stamp, it’s not true. Just a marketing device. Never trust these companies.

  • horusfitzfancy May 22nd, 2012 11:44 PM

    To add to this great list of ethical clothing providers I would like to submit Curator in San Francisco (

    They have a ton of locally/organically produced pieces. Check ‘em out!

  • Susann May 22nd, 2012 11:53 PM

    I could never give answers to those questions and you guys do such a great job answering them!

  • ItsOkayMyDear May 22nd, 2012 11:58 PM

    Thank you soooo much for the feature! You ladies are awesome! Thanks for the love! <3

  • Sugar May 23rd, 2012 12:02 AM

    I really like Threads 4 Thought. They sell it at Whole Foods, but they also have a better selection online. I buy all my basics from them. $10 tees, baby!

  • Moxx May 23rd, 2012 12:03 AM

    Ever since boobs happened, I’ve found myself wishing I were still flat.
    I can’t crossdress anymore (binding hurts… especially when you don’t have a real binder and have to use tape/bandages), I have to wear bras all the time (can’t wear open-back tops or run races without a bra), people make comments, and PTA ladies at school look at me weird and make comments about the “inappropriateness” of what I’m wearing even though the cut of the shirt is nothing special and flat friends of mine can wear more low-cut tops and get no mean looks. I hate my breasts. And they’re not even that big (maybe it’s because I’m small? So it looks bigger than it is?), they used to be bigger… But I still want them to be much smaller.
    I hate it when people stare at them or make comments or judge me based on them. Why do I have them? I literally wish they would disappear.
    It’s like on one hand, you’re supposed to have big ones to be “sexy”, but then if you do you’re vulgar and a slut for just having them exist and you can never be elegant.
    I just
    Does someone else feel like this? It’s that whenever I tell people they go “whaaat don’t be dumb, stop complaining for nothing, everyone wants bigger boobs, why do you want smaller ones? Boys like girls with big boobs” as if I cared. Or even “you’re just saying that to attract attention to yourself, no one wants smaller boobs”… I only tell people I’m close to, it’s not like I scream it out (except for now, well, on ~the internet~).
    I’m sorry about the enormous rant, I just really want to know if other people are in a similar situation… :(

    • llamagesicht May 23rd, 2012 1:14 AM

      I have definitely been there; I was there for almost all my teenage years. I’m 20 now and have nearly stopped hating the ol’ boobies. For me it just took time and patience. For years (when I was younger and didn’t put much effort into clothing shopping) I wore styles that made me feel uncomfortable, but now I only wear clothes that make me feel good about my entire body — even though that means I can’t wear tons of popular (and unpopular, hah) styles. I no longer care! I feel unique. I really hope you get to this point soon soon soon. :-)

      • callie May 23rd, 2012 3:54 AM

        totally! i had super flat chest for ages which i hated and then suddenly it was boob city and i was like give me my flat chest back so clothes will hang nice and i can jump up and down! i think everyone would probably prefer something different sometimes, ya gotta werk what ya got

    • Moxx May 23rd, 2012 4:21 PM

      Thank you. You’re all being very nice.
      But honestly, it just saddens me that even you guys who accept it and are now fine with it can’t find a good reason why you finally got to thinking that they’re great. (flat girls have a ton of reasons that are always repeated… And other people tell them that, too. They’re universal. Or at least, people think they’re true and make sense and agree with those reasons.)

      • Mags May 23rd, 2012 5:50 PM

        I like the way my boobs look in clothes. I also like the way cleavage looks. I just find it aesthetically pleasing to me, personally, and not just because other people might find it pleasing too. I don’t even know what’s so pleasing about them. Maybe I just like round shapes a lot, haha. But, yeah, I do like the way clothes fit me with my boobs. That’s why I think they’re great. I’ve always liked my boobs, but I definitely don’t like when they are ogled in a very perverse way.

    • rrruthie May 24th, 2012 12:39 PM

      It is super hard to deal with them. I’ve always had larger boobs than all of my friends, and was teased relentlessly (by boys and girls) through middle school.
      It really sucked cause everyone stared, everyone told me right to my face OMG YOUR BOOBS and I was like yes. I have seen them. Thank you. No clothes fit me right and everything sucked.

      I think I realized thought that it was really other people making me feel like there was something weird about me. It was their reactions. So I changed tactics. When girls complained about the size of their boobs, I offered them a share of mine. And if people still teased me, or mentioned it in a malicious way, I didn’t back down from telling me to get out of my face. Telling them off gave me the confidence to realize that they were the ones who should be ashamed. Most people were one time offenders and didn’t realize how uncomfortable they made me. So I think you should consider–do you hate your boobs or do you hate the attention you get from them? It’s probably the later. And the more that you defend yourself, the more I think you will realize that they are in the wrong. It’s not really that I think they are great or anything, they’re just a part of my body that I know nothing is wrong with.

      I do admit though, I think once I got a bit older (17 as opposed to 13 when my boobs grew) people stopped being so upfront about my boobs because they weren’t so novel anymore. But people still say stuff, and some days I still can’t take people looking, and I gotta pull out a sweater for comfort.

      • Moxx May 25th, 2012 12:21 PM

        I love you all for answering, and I definitely feel better now that I know that some people feel/felt the same about their boobs.
        I guess a great part of it is the way people react. And not just to large boobs, but any boobs. Any amount of boob can have this guilt or unease effect, and I see that now.
        Mine are not large, but they exist. But I don’t think making them disappear would solve much. Taking them off for a while by binding does not solve this, and I don’t think doing this more permanently through surgery or starving would help solve this particular problem after all.
        Boobs are a part of a fair amount of people, and the answer can’t be for them to get rid of all of their boobs.
        The answer, it seems, is to stop treating boobs like they are one of the most important parts of a person. Of course, people can still be proud of them. But OTHER people should not comment or discuss someone else’s without the boobs’ owner feeling ok with that. This “entitlement” to other people’s body parts is absurd.
        If people would not make me feel so uncomfortable for having them, I probably would feel less of a need to hide them or kill them off, even as they get smaller or different. I would maybe be able to deal directly with how I feel about my own breasts and other types of issues I might have with them and never have to take into consideration how other people would react. I could do whatever I’d like with them, because everyone has nipples anyway and respects other people’s ownership of their own bodies. This shouldn’t even need to be defended.
        I feel so much better. Thank you.

  • Balbina May 23rd, 2012 12:03 AM

    Nice swimsuits! Now how about suits that look that hot when you have no boobs. Or, best type of bikini tops for girls with no boobs, and a bit of third and fourth boob (you know, the fold between your boob and your arm?).

    • anonymouse May 23rd, 2012 4:32 AM

      haha, 3rd and 4th boob! I have never heard of that, but I have ‘em.

    • missmadness May 23rd, 2012 6:16 PM

      Actually, I have a two piece version of the first suit, and it totally flatters that weird area. I love it to death.

    • TheGreatandPowerfulRandini May 23rd, 2012 6:54 PM

      Bandeau cuts with ruffles/ some kind of texture. Also, patterns.

  • Ruby B. May 23rd, 2012 12:06 AM


  • missblack May 23rd, 2012 12:22 AM

    Eco-friendly, sustainable and independent fashion has always been important to me; thanks for all the great links!!

    Also I am totally stealing the word ‘chesticles’. Hahahaah.


  • unefillecommetoi May 23rd, 2012 12:23 AM

    “i live in a hipster populated area” LOL I feel your pain!

  • okieredrose May 23rd, 2012 12:53 AM

    There are a lot of really good modest clothing blogs out there right now. I like ; it is a general sort of modest clothing blog. They have some really good layering tips. You can find some really great longer skirts and dresses in thrift stores with interesting patterns, cuts, and fabrics. Vintage skirts from the 1950 and 1980s and maxi dresses from the 1970s are fairly easy to find in thrift or vintage stores or online and all feature longer hems. Maxi and Midi skirts are pretty easy to find it lots of stores right now. Shrugs are an easy way to add sleeve length to shirts with shorter sleeves without adding bulk. Plus, they can make you look like a dancer. If you don’t mind a little sewing, there are some great tutorials online about adding inches to skirts by stitching on lace trim or the hem you cut off another skirt or slip. If you are an accomplished sewer or know someone that is, you can find great vintage patterns online and at estate sales and create your own unique pieces. Hope this helps.

  • Adrienne May 23rd, 2012 1:02 AM

    I love all of the sweatshop-free clothing brand suggestions! :))) I’m checking them out right now.

  • Caden May 23rd, 2012 2:02 AM

    I always wear one piece swimsuits. I think they’re so pretty and comfortable.

    Caden x

  • sn0wwhite May 23rd, 2012 2:02 AM

    power 2 the no boobs.

    I’ve always felt super self contentious about that too. Seeing as my hips are really wide. But I’ve learned to love it. How many large chested girls can pull off even wearing no bra? not too many.

  • thelittlepotato May 23rd, 2012 2:25 AM

    For the first letter writer Mary – I also don’t feel entirely comfortable (and visible as a queermo heh) in the typical lady suit. I totally dig men’s retro style bottoms on girls, with a bikini or tank top. Comfy, stylish, and they won’t ride up your bum when you surf! Autostraddle did a great piece on this with tons of great ideas!:

    • Vesperstar233 May 23rd, 2012 2:31 PM

      Thanks (I’m Mary, who asked the swim suit question) I love the guy shorts (i think that some girl swimsuits have similiar bottoms) that’s a great idea! thanks so much!!
      And thanks Rookie for answering my question!!! I will be armed for my next mall trip, to get a swimsuit! Thanks! You’re the best<3

  • anonymouse May 23rd, 2012 4:46 AM

    “Real women don’t just have curves; some of us have no boobs and some of us are short and some of us have big butts and some of us have no butts and some maybe were biologically born male but WHO CARES?”
    I may be a girl with curves(cause I’m fat, yo), but I love the acceptance of everyone in this particular quote!
    Plus, LW, “Grass is Always Greener,” ya know? Right now it is super important, that you have boobs, and dress the right way, and listen to the right music, but when you look back in just a few years(I know it’s all the sound of the adults in Charlie Brown. Wah wha wha..), you’ll be all, “Damn, why on Earth did I spend all that time and energy worrying about the size of my breasts. I look hot without ‘em [or with 'em].” Some styles us boob-havers want to wear, we can’t because they look better on someone with a flatter chest. :]

  • Pikaa May 23rd, 2012 7:15 AM

    Ohh my problem is the opposite of Amelia’s…I would KILL not to have boobs! They’re so silly.

    • Moxx May 23rd, 2012 4:58 PM

      Ah, well I guess we are two then.

  • dreamyj May 23rd, 2012 7:21 AM

    I like to call ‘em breasticles, but chesticles works too. Something a bit majestic about the word, but also makes you sound a bit like an octopus, yes?
    I also love Esther Williams, she has her own swimwear line on her website, sooo pretty!

  • A Fox In The Snow May 23rd, 2012 8:40 AM

    Whoa, I’ve wanted to ask a question about ethical clothing too! But then I figured I sort of already had the answer, which is: vintage! We don’t have decent thrift shops in Belgium, so I’m totally okay with the somewhat more expensive vintage clothes.
    I also recommend making your own clothes, if you’ve got the time/skills for that.

  • alix May 23rd, 2012 9:59 AM

    Totally relate to Amelia, I used to be so hung up about my lack of boobs, but it really doesn’t bother me now.

  • Juwi May 23rd, 2012 11:12 AM

    Kinda feeling better about my flat chest…..

  • shelley May 23rd, 2012 11:38 AM

    I love rookie even more now! I don’t think any other magazine aimed at people our age would admit its hypocrisy.

  • venusinutero May 23rd, 2012 11:55 AM

    Excellent advice!!
    I love it!
    I am especially glad you included the disclaimer and I wish I you would have gone farther in depth with the question asking for cheap modest clothes and thrifting.

    Just last night I scored a vintage Christian Dior skinny belt for $1.99 and a vintage Dianne Von Furstenburg striped blouse for $3.99.
    You really can’t beat thrifting since 1. it recycles unwanted clothing, 2. many of the vintage pieces found at thrift stores such as Goodwill and Salvation Army were made BEFORE outsourcing to sweatshops was even mainstream and, 3. Most vintage clothing was made in a time when modesty was more strictly adhered to so tziniut can be followed easily.

    Good luck ladies!!

  • Sunshine May 23rd, 2012 1:44 PM

    I totally adore this piece. Because of modesty/ethical/religious reasons, I can’t wear a bikini. I’ve been looking for a cute suit and that yellow Delias one is PERFECT looking. Oh, gosh, it’s beautiful. Definitely going to go get it. You rock, Rookie!!

    ALSO, something I’m addicted to at the moment: MAXI SKIRTS!
    I just bought up like, five from a thrift shop. They’re really in right now and totally comfy and modest and gorge. :)

  • Libby May 23rd, 2012 2:03 PM

    This is ace.
    I have a question regarding modesty though. My parents are atheist, and also my mum’s a feminist and doesn’t really ever call people slutty or whatever, so yeah modesty doesn’t really happen in my home apart from don’t show your pants (knickers!).
    So my question is, is it simply modesty in terms of covering up your elbows and knees and collar bone, or does it have to extend further to an attitude of wearing more toned-down styles and colours and of not flaunting yourself? And then isn’t a ‘modest fashion’ blog not really modest? Or does it depend?

    • Sunshine May 24th, 2012 9:25 AM

      Modesty is different things in different cultures. For a conservative Christian (like myself) it means avoiding short-shorts and spaghetti straps and crop tops and bikinis.
      I don’t wear sleeveless things or show my cleavage, but I do try to wear flattering pieces for my body and of course, I couldn’t live without my five-inch stilletos. I wear jewelry and I accessorise. For me and my family, being modest simply means covering shoulders/upper thighs/cleavage. As long as my outfit meets those requirements, I’m good. Thankfully, they make exceptions to the shoulder rule and I’m allowed to wear strapless/strappy things for prom, the beach, etc.
      In other cultures, the modesty rules are more strict, I think for some people they have to dress plainly, but for most of us, I think it’s just basically a “cover your boobies” type thing.

    • Katherine August 1st, 2012 9:02 PM

      For Orthodox Jews, it means both of those things you said. The point is that by covering up your body instead of flaunting it, you are forcing people to look at you as a person, not a body. It’s not saying you can’t be pretty, but that you shouldn’t be eye candy. But speaking from a lifetime of experience (I was the one who submitted the question), anyone who has a modest fashion blog must be extremely clever, fashion-wise.

    • Judith September 12th, 2012 3:23 AM

      For me personally, modesty is not only in terms of how I dress, but includes my behavior, attitudes, and actions as well. Exactly like what you said: It’s “not flaunting yourself” not only by wearing revealing clothes but by going around and being loud and obnoxious for an example, or not acting cocky. Also, with the ‘modest fashion’ blogs not really being modest, I agree that it’s entering some grey area. But personally, I think that you can still be modest and be fashionable at the same time (if that’s what you’re into). I’m actually Muslim and I wear a hijab (headscarf), which means that I cover my entire body except for my hands and face. This is kind of tricky for me since I’m really into fashion, and I have to limit myself to long sleeves and pants AND I cover my hair. It also makes it harder to find something cute to wear, especially in the summer when you wanna rock something adorable, but don’t want to feel like your melting in a pot of boiling sunlight…I usually end up wearing something practical for the heat and a little on the ugly side, or something cute and go home all hot and sweaty. On that note, does anybody have any links or suggestions for some cute clothes that would fit those requirements? (and preferably practical for the summer heat?)

  • E.Elizabeth May 23rd, 2012 2:17 PM

    Seeing this list of clothing companies is great but I really have to chime in a rep for I’m Your Present ( It’s great if you like all things pink, sparkly, spangly, catty, and shiny. And it’s made by three hardworking ladies in New England (okay, okay, one of them is me.) We source most of our supplies from local, family owned companies and are ardent believers in the virtues of second hand and dead stock!

    While I’m spamming you with info, I also have to rep for my own jewelry company, With Care, because it is very similar to Erica Wiener ( but…uh… affordable.

    Honestly, Etsy. God. Etsy. Not only are there so many options to choose from but you can also engage the shop owners and designers in conversation about how their items are made, if they source their materials ethically, etc. Plus, many Etsy designers will work with you when it comes to fit and measurements. If you don’t see something you like in your size: ASK! Super small, super large and everything in between, most shops will be glad to make you something fabulous that fits.

  • christinachristina May 23rd, 2012 3:28 PM

    I know American Apparel is all “trendy” and stuff, like the magical thrifted clothes that are getting snatched up in your area, but it’s sweatshop free, not too spendy, and everything is really great for mixing and matching and getting a lot of wear out of.

    Also, I’m 24 and have tiny boobs and it’s AWESOME. I’ve learned to love them. I rarely have to wear a bra, I can run, my back doesn’t hurt, and dudes aren’t constantly staring at my chest. I love them, my boyfriend loves them, they’re the best. EMBRACE!

  • KinuKinu May 23rd, 2012 3:46 PM

    I love this one. The bathing suit one was the one I needed this time around. I like one pieces. TheY look better on me and my dad won’t let me wear a bikini, sooooo. Chesticles!!! That is the best. I remember when I was little, I called them boobies (every little kid does, I think). My mom was like, “they are BREASTS” and I would go,:No…..they are BOOBIES” I have boobies, not breasts. Boobies, what a fun word.

  • Moxx May 23rd, 2012 4:16 PM

    I have to say that after reading the comments, I see there are several No Boobs Support clubs but no Do Not Want These Boobs Support club.
    Conclusion: secretly, or even not secretly, everyone knows that small boobs are best and more convenient and just better, and no one can come up with one good reason why having non-small boobs is good and convenient.

    Feels bad man.

  • GlitterKitty May 23rd, 2012 4:18 PM

    Thank you for the swimsuit tips, if only there was Target and Delia’s in Canada. I always have such a hard time explaining to people why I don’t wear bikinis. I just feel very uncomfortably naked when I wear a bikini. One pieces for the win!

  • Sophii May 23rd, 2012 4:28 PM

    Some great advice here :) x


  • brynntheredonethat May 23rd, 2012 4:46 PM

    Ah, Rookie, I love you. Not only did you read my mind about Forever 21, you totally refuted my point. GET OUT OF MY BRAIN RIGHT NOW. (Just kidding, stay please?)

  • Tapsicle May 23rd, 2012 4:59 PM

    Hey, for people looking for modest but like, not frumpy ideas, check out
    Its like a regular fashion blog, only it’s run by a pretty hip Mormon lady :). i get that the modesty requirements aren’t quite the same as those for Orthodox Judaism but it’s still worth a look. I really like it, and I don’t have any faith that requires me to dress a certain way, she just looks really cool and not stuffy at all.

  • camille May 23rd, 2012 6:33 PM

    I really liked how conscientiously you wrote about ethical vs. cheap clothes as a closure, it makes me really happy to see how well-connected you all are to your readers (I wouldn’t have expected the opposite, but all proofs I witness make me really glad!).

    To find more ethical designers and clothing lines, I would recommend having a look at blogs and websites of small independent stores, since they often offer a list of their designers. Most independent designers are very careful when it comes to manufacturing their garments (and many do everything themselves), and more and more take importance in the provenance of their materials. My favourite independent store is Victoire, in Ottawa, ON, Canada. You def. should have a look at their blog and the designers they carry:

  • Pashupati May 23rd, 2012 6:53 PM

    Re: MODEST, CHEAP clothes.
    You mentioned making accessories yourself, but as the price is quite high (at least where I live) in normal haberdasheries, I’d say you can actually find some pretty good handmade laces, textiles, pearls, etc. in fleamarkets and thrift shops.
    You can also make/find one shirt/top/fill-your-own-word with detachable sleeves (put it back with cute buttons) and it doesn’t get less modest without because you can layer it over another who has sleeves once you took off its sleeves.
    It’s quite tricky to make because you have to make longer than habitual sleeves except if it’s DIY from a too long sleeved top or you add more fabric which can actually look good but I don’t know if it’ll modest if added fabric/sleeves is/are not in same or same “category” (word? grey with black or blue, earthly colors with earthly colors?) color tones?
    Gives more layering options.
    I hope you’ll understand my explainations because it’s a struggle to make sentences as I’m sleep-jkjllded?

  • Paper-mountain May 23rd, 2012 7:39 PM

    Ummm… I have another source to add to the ethical clothing list. is definitely on the hippie side of the spectrum, but their stuff is eco-friendly, fair trade, and all that!

  • Rosebud May 23rd, 2012 8:07 PM


    and even though its a chain, American Apparel makes their clothes in America, sweatshop-free.
    plus they have some cute clothes

  • katiecustard May 24th, 2012 1:29 PM

    For ethical brands, the Fairtrade label is always a great sign. Not only does it mean that the clothes are sweatshop free, but the cotton and other materials that go into it are produced in a way that doesn’t rip off the farmer! It’s a win win situation :D is the holy grail of ethical clothes. Not only are they Fairtrade, they’re also organic AND they weave all their materials on hand looms to increase employment opportunities and promote sustainability. Their clothes are vintage inspired and are made really well. makes really cute dresses :D Not all their stuff is Fairtrade but it’s all ethical in some way shape or form. Oh my goodness I love the clothes on here! I love the project too! If you do anything today watch their project video to see why sustainable clothing is so important Ethical organic jeans? Yes please!

    If you don’t already know, ethical clothes are financially expensive! If ethical clothes are out of your budget, aiming to just have less clothes is an equally good option, as is clothes swopping, thrifting and upcycling. Don’t feel like you have to buy ONLY ethical clothes – one or two items are enough (look out for sales, it makes ethical clothes more affordable!) If we all did this the wider fashion community would wake up to how important it is that clothes are ethically made, and buying cheap ethical items will become easier :D

    P.S. we call they breasticles where I live in north England :P

  • Jenny May 24th, 2012 2:04 PM

    Hey Rosebud & Christina and anyone else who might be interested–I agree that American Apparel does basics pretty decently and I’m glad that they make their clothes in America and support same-sex marriage and some okay stuff in the realm of immigrant rights, but for a company that claims to support fair-wages and labor rights, I’m very troubled by their history of union busting: I’m also troubled by Dov Charney’s history with sexual harassment–he’s been sued by former employees and models several time for sexual harassment: He’s also said a lot of stuff that I can’t get behind, including how domestic violence “has made a victim culture out of women.”

    I’m not trying to shame you or anyone else who buys from American Apparel, because I know the business of dressing ourselves is tricky and we can’t all afford to buy $90 t-shirts made sustainably, fairly, and ethically, and we should not be expected to adhere to perfection as fashion-loving feminists, but it’s just some more information and resources for all y’all to read about and think about and consider. And thanks to everyone for chimed in with their own suggestions for how and where to shop ethically.


  • Lena May 24th, 2012 2:59 PM

    american apparel has clothes all made in america

  • bloomingleopold May 24th, 2012 8:54 PM

    thanks so much for the mention, jenny! I love love love reading rookie so to be included is an honor.

  • Cherries May 26th, 2012 6:39 PM

    My friend would like larger boobs, I’d like smaller, we bra shop together (both keeping an eye out for our drastically different and hard to find bra sizes) and joke about how we’ll go to a doc, have him take out our boobs, add them together and then split them between us.

    I can wear some kinds of underwear. My friend can wear other kinds. I can wear knickers with frills- it looks burlesque. But if i wear bras with frills it looks crazy clowny. But on her it will look frilly! I can’t wear lacey, cottony things, handmade etsy underwear, pretty vintage-looking items or bras WITHOUT SCAFFOLDING! I’m sure Amelia can! =D

    I’m all for saying chesticles. or boobsicles. the ladies. nipnips. my friends told me a great word for bra “whaftybanger hangers” whaftybangers as a name for big boobs ain’t flattering but it made me laugh for 10 minutes straight. I still chuckle about it with friends.

    • Cherries May 26th, 2012 6:43 PM

      And no matter how much i spend on a bra, the underwires come out (heck knows i won’t hand wash it or drip dry like the label says to)

      and i really look forward to taking off the underwire bra when i get home =P like taking off a pair of skyscraper heels (if i could walk longer than 10 minutes in anything higher than an inch and a half)

  • katherina May 29th, 2012 12:22 PM

    Anyone looking for cute one-pieces should check out this tumblr (she puts all the shopping links).

    Also, for Orthodox Jews and religious conservatives, this blog by a fashionable Muslim might give you some inspiration

    • Katherine August 1st, 2012 9:05 PM

      Thanks so much! Love that we have similar usernames, by the way.

  • cakethepop June 10th, 2012 7:04 PM

    Those bikinis are so doable! Not to be a complete bother but I have a question that has been really pressing me….

    How can I find my style? I want to wear big hoops one day and hipster trousers the next! I want to wear vintage clothes but people think it is awkward and I still want to look cute. Please help me. :((((

  • Anneysa July 22nd, 2012 5:41 PM

    Adorable bathing suits.

  • kelsey June 7th, 2013 1:58 PM

    Ethical clothes! I’ve been thinking a lot about/wanting to buy ethically these days and having trouble finding cool brands that are US based. Thank you! this is splendid.