This article is from The Jewish Press, October 25 2013
Meet another Orthodox design entrepreneur and her colorful, fun clothing line… Honestly Me!
Honestly Me: Colorful Clothing for Tznius Women
Meira Russo grew up as a Reform Jew on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. When she started college at UPenn, she began her journey to Orthodoxy. She began searching for clothing that were both fashionable and in line with halacha - but she had a problem. She just couldn’t find anything. Fashion from regular stores required lots of layering, and the frum stores in Brooklyn had way too much black. “There was no way would I wear long black skirts at home with my family in Manhattan,” Meira explains. “That’s when I realized I needed to start my own clothing company,” she says. “No more would Jewish women need to wear shells or make clothes tznius. Mine would be beautiful clothes made by a Jew for Jews.”
Although Meira does not have any formal fashion design training, her entrepreneurial spirit more than makes up for it. The enterprising 23 year-old hired a frum fashion designer to create the designs for her modest clothing line, Honestly Me. Ms. Russo herself oversees every step of production.
The Honestly Me line consists of shirts, skirts and dresses for everyday and Shabbos. Meira likes for the clothes to be easy to wear and care for. “I mainly use different poly blends and cottons so they’re machine washable and easy to take care of,” she says. “The Colorblock Dress and all the shirts and skirts in the line are great for everyday wear – just put them on when you’re in a rush and you’re set to go!” Meira sent me the very popular Polka Dot Dress from the line to review. The quality of the dress is just wonderful, as is the youthful and modest design.
The prices range from $15 for last season’s skirts and tops that are currently on sale to $155 for dresses from the most recent fall line.
Ms. Russo’s ultimate dream would be for Honestly Me to be sold in every Jewish community, as well as department stores like Macy’s or Bloomingdales. Meira leaves us with some uplifting thoughts on choosing our clothes, “Dress in whatever makes you smile… do not just buy something because everyone else is. Everything, from our clothing to our actions, should reflect the uniqueness on the inside.”
The Honestly Me line is available for purchase at www.honestlymeclothing.com. Meira Russo can be reached at email@example.com.
Are you a modest fashion designer… or do you know one? I’m looking for modest clothing lines to profile in The Jewish Press. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your brand!
This article is from The Jewish Press, October 25 2013
Silhouette: Fashion-Forward (and Affordable) Gown Rentals
As a child, Chayala Grunwald dreamed of designing beautiful dresses. This past year, the 20 year-old designer used her business savvy and flair for design to make her dream a reality. Chayala created Silhouette, a line of modest evening dresses that are not only absolutely exquisite, but also moderately priced.
“I feel like there’s a definite lack of great modest clothing at reasonable prices out there, and I’m trying to do my part to help fill the void,” explains Chayala. Silhouette caters to brides, sisters of the bride/groom, and mothers of the bride/groom. Gown rentals range from $200-350.
I visited Chayala’s home studio in Lakewood, NJ to choose a gown for an upcoming family wedding. I was struck by the lavish fabrics and very on-trend designs. Silhouette dresses are definitely not your standard gemach fare. The unexpected details such as a snakeskin pattern, leather trim and intricate appliqués give the gowns a very chic and high-end feel. Each and every gown is beautiful and unique.
When discussing her design philosophy, Ms. Grunwald says, “I am inspired mostly by fabric - I think I work the opposite way of most designers. First I buy the fabric, and then design based on the vision I have of how the fabric would be utilized best.” Currently attending classes at the Parsons School of Design, Chayala aims to create a line of “high-fashion and fabulous” skirts and dresses to sell in stores.
When asked what style advice she has for frum women, Chayala suggests “Don’t be afraid to go beyond the realms of what you see in the frum fashion world. I often feel like frum fashion in the mainstream stores are slightly behind trend. It’s great to be unique and push limits a little - that’s what sets you apart from everyone else.”
You can see more of the fabulous Silhouette designs at www.instagram.com/silhouettenj#. Chayala Grunwald can be reached at Silhouettenj@gmail.com.
Are you a frum fashion designer… or do you know one? I’m looking for modest clothing lines to profile in The Jewish Press. Email me at email@example.com to submit your brand!
Dressing modestly is a challenge; not only from a halachic point of view, but from a practical stance as well.
Often the search for that “perfect dress” requires countless excursions to a myriad of clothing stores - and once you find it, it usually needs some tweaking by the hands of an experienced seamstress. Oh, and let’s not forget the matching shell to wear underneath.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
There are a number of Orthodox Jewish women who are designing clothes that we can wear without any alterations or layering - clothing designed exclusively for frum women.
The aim of this series is to introduce you to these talented Orthodox designers. These burgeoning entrepreneurs can surely benefit from our support, and we as consumers can gain tremendously as well - and have a much easier time finding that dress of our dreams!
Evoke: Classic designs and Old-World Couture Evening Apparel
Name: Mushki Efune
Hometown: Brighton, England
Ever since I can remember I have always needed to be constantly busy.
Being bored is my nightmare. When I initially signed up for sewing
classes almost two years ago it was just for fun because I was always
taking clothes to be altered and I wanted to do something creative with
my hands. My creative eye and vision is what has got me this far as well
as a lot of working on my patience. I am not your perfectionist sort of dressmaker - but I stick with things and see them through; I’m not afraid of challenges and tedious work.
Fashion Education: Basic and Advanced Courses at the London Academy of Dressmaking and Design
Name of Clothing Line: Evoke. It’s a mixture of the words evening and bespoke plus it has its own connotations.
Description of Clothing Line: Evening wear. I use stretch lace lined with cotton
jersey for a soft flared very young, comfortable yet elegant look.
Perfect for dancing in. I also use more expensive laces, beaded lace
too, organza, crepe, chiffon, georgette, velvet, satin. I’ve
experimented with a lot.
What Inspires your Designs? Any Haute Couture designers, particularly
Valentino. There was a Valentino exhibition here in London a few months
ago and I was just blown away. Everything he makes is perfect and
majority is very modest too. I get inspired by anything handmade because
I appreciate the time and effort and craftsmanship that has gone into
whatever it is. My dream is to go to the Haute Couture fashion shows in
Target Market: 16 - 30 yr olds
Price Range of pieces: £200 - £600
Where do you see yourself and your brand in 10 years? The number one place to
go to for exquisite evening wear either to buy off the hook or bespoke.
One style tip frum women should adhere to: At the moment it’s all about high necklines and collars - go with it.
Dellasuza: Colorful, Easy-to-wear Modest Dresses
(You may remember Dellasuza from the “3 Questions for a Frum Fashion Designer” post here on Bellabusta)
1. Name: Esther Goldberger
2. Age: 36
3. Hometown: Montreal
I started out doing fashion styling, but found out that being a designer and entrepreneur, and building a fashion business from scratch is really what I wanted.
5. Fashion Education: Fashion Design at College Lasalle in Montreal
6. Name of Clothing Line: Dellasuza
7. Description of Clothing Line:
I currently work exclusively with lightweight and microfiber knit dresses and tops. Eventually I plan to venture into the world of woven fabrics. Also, I am a firm believer in local production. All of my designs are made in Canada and I intend to keep it that way!
8. What Inspires your Designs? Colorful and wonderful Miami! Also, the designs of Diane Von Furstenberg, especially her signature wrap dresses. When I design, I always imagine the woman who will wear the garment, and whether she will find it easy to walk around in. We should enjoy our clothes… to the point we forget we’re wearing them!
9. Target Market: Whoever wants to wear a long-length dress, whether for personal taste, religious dress code or cultural background… or just to have fun.
10. Price Range of pieces: $50 - $100
11. Where do you see yourself and your brand in 10 years?
With a vertical production and semi-vertical distribution (owning my own sewing operation and distributing the goods in my own store as well as boutiques in Canada and the U.S.
12. One style tip frum women should adhere to: It’s OK to wear colors!
Are you a frum fashion designer… or do you know one? Bellabusta is compiling an extensive list of modest clothing lines to share with the frum world. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your brand for consideration.
(This article originally appeared in The Jewish Press)
Who can resist a glamorous & glossy fashion mag?
Your run-of-the-mill women’s lifestyle magazine is great - but for frum women, the advice/fashion/editorial in these publications often totally misses the mark.
But here’s some great news: there’s a new women’s magazine catered just for Orthodox women - it’s called Hadar Magazine.
I had a sneak peek at some of the content in the pilot issue of Hadar (to debut August 2013) and I found it to be very beautifully designed, with interesting and relevant topics for frum women.
The proof is in the pictures!
Check out these dazzling fashion photos from the fall issue of Hadar, courtesy of the ultra-talented Srivki Photography.
I wish the Hadar staff the best of luck with this bold and very welcome initiative. I can’t wait to see more from them!
Check out the Hadar website here for more info on where to buy, and follow Hadar on Facebook here.
What do you think? Will you be checking out Hadar when it hits newsstands?
You know, it used to be that bigger was better.
But recently, it’s been all about the skinny.
The fashion world has ushered in the super-skinny as the aesthetic ideal. And it has ousted the voluptuous, the curvy, the fat.
It’s unfortunate, but it’s the truth — big belts are passé.
It’s now a skinny belt world.
Just a few short years ago, wide belts were everywhere. Thick, big-buckled and bearing some hefty hardware - belts used to be huge.
But now fashion has gone to the extreme opposite of the spectrum. Large belts look terribly outdated.
(Oh, camel-colored leather Michael Kors belt - you’re big and beautiful. But I can’t wear you anymore - you’re just too fat!)
Our society is warped. Our beauty culture heralds thinness to no end - and now our accessories, too, are becoming emaciated?
(This belt probably subsists on 500 calories a day.)
I just hold on to the conviction that the fashion roulette wheel will spin once again. Let’s hope, for the sake of all womankind, it lands in a place where belts of all shapes and sizes can feel beautiful.
I have this Italian-designed jacket. It has the same cool, relaxed fit as your run-of-the-mill jean jacket. But it’s a little bit different…
It’s bubblegum pink. With pink sequins.
This Barbie-esque jacket has been languishing in my closet forever, and I want to wear it.
Now how in the world can I pull this off?
I’m sure you all have your own genius styling ideas - please leave them in the comments!
Gosh, I love vintage stuff. But sometimes it’s easy to go overboard and look like an extra from a period film — or a Bais Yaakov play.
Enter My Mother’s Armoire.
Shevy Goldman is the owner of My Mother’s Armoire, a Brooklyn-based store that sells tznius vintage clothing. Shevy has an eye for putting together modest and modern outfits - turning vintage into total vogue.
White 1950’s dress: MyMothersArmoire
Navy cardigan: j. Crew
Shevy shares her styling secrets below:
It’s no secret to us, fashion infatuates, that styles and trends are recreated and updated season after season.
Oscar de la Renta reminded us of the fabulous 50’s and the floral on plaid paraphernalia, while Mr. Jacobs gave a mod nod to the 1960’s black and white striped trend. We read, study and occasionally drool over the pages of our beloved September issues.
But what to do with our new acquired knowledge? No way we can possibly use Vogue’s fashion spreads as our seasonal shopping list.
So what’s a girl to do? Answer: VINTAGE. Why not wear the original mod stripes that was the inspiration itself to the Marc Jacobs 2013 collection? It looks like your grandmother’s housecoat? A costume, you say? Yes, yes it does. Until it doesn’t. As a long time vintage lover turned shop owner, I have learned valuable tips and tricks on how to modernize vintage pieces and keep you looking on trend.
Vintage dress: MyMother’sArmoire
Vintage jacket: MyMother’sArmoire
Pink belt: Kate Spade
It is important to modernize your vintage find, not relive it. Head-to-toe vintage can look too much like a costume. Blending yesteryear with today is key. Mixing and matching new with the old will keep your look fresh and personal!
Keep it simple: If the vintage piece you are trying to incorporate is loud and flashy, be sure to understate the rest of your ensemble. If your main garment is vintage, focus on modern accessories.
Royal blue 1950’s dress: MymothersArmoire
Metallic Belt: bcbg
nude pumps: pour la victoire
Keep it rich: Vintage clothing had a long glamorous life before you found one another. And sometimes it shows. To keep your look from resembling a line out of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” anthem, be sure to include at least one high end accessory to your vintage get up.
Leather vintage men’s belt: MyMothersArmoire
Dalmatian print 1970’s bangle: MyMothersArmoire
Black Tshirt: Morgan leFay
Cream chiffon skirt: Max Mara
Keep it you: Us girls love throwing out the phrase “I could never pull it off”; “She can pull off anything”.’Pulling off’ is simply code language for CONFIDENCE. Anyone can look beautiful in anything, as long as they truly believe it. The most important thing you can wear is confidence. Once you have that, you are set.
So ladies, shoulders back, smile and strut your stuff!!!
Thanks, Shevy for the amazing advice!
Tell us, which vintage look is your favorite?
Did you like this post?
Follow My Mother’s Armoire on Instagram here and on Facebook here!
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My mailbox has never been more psyched — thank you RocksBox!
RocksBox is a membership-based jewelry styling service. Members pay a flat rate of $19/month to trial unlimited designer jewelry, sent in sets of three at a time. (Check below for a special 50% off discount!)
I received a 6 month RocksBox gift subscription courtesy beauty blogging hub, iFabbo, and so far it’s been unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Not to mention so much fun.
Here’s how it works:
First you fill out a personalized style profile. Then you receive 3 handpicked pieces mailed to you; all prettily packaged and with a prepaid return shipping label.
You can keep the pieces for up to 60 days, or return them as many times as you’d like, and get a new set of 3 pieces mailed to you. Plus - if you fall in love with an item in your box, you can purchase it for a members-only discount of 20% off the retail price.
Nothing beats the feeling of getting a fresh box of surprise jewels picked just for you… and getting to send them back for new ones when you get bored!
This service is a great way to try out new jewelry styles without the commitment.
This is what I received in my past two RocksBoxes. Can’t wait to see what else comes in the mail next!
Urban Gem Leather Resort Cuff in Brown ($35), Viento Art Deco Earrings in Rhodium and Black ($85) , Gorjana Daphne Hoops in Amazonite ($95)
Gorjana Taner Dagger Earrings in Rose Gold ($35), Bing Bang Baguette Studs ($50), Trina Turk Elephant Charm Necklace ($95)
RocksBox also has a great referral program where you can earn credits towards new jewelry if you refer friends. (So if you do decide to sign up please link from Bellabusta!)
And finally - the 50% off coupon code!
Use the promo code FABB for 50% off for 3 months. Which means - just $9.50/month for doorstep delivery of unlimited designer jewelry!
Click here to check out the RocksBox website and take the style profile quiz to see all their fabulous gems.
Let me introduce you to a beautiful product, 21 Drops. I do consulting work for this this modern aromatherapy line and have a lot to share about it!
This all-natural product works with the power of essential oils. Some of these blends contain the same fragrant ingredients that were in the ketores!
Check out the highlights from my latest Jewish Press article on 21 Drops and the special scent of ketores:
Scent is one of our most spiritual senses. You can’t see it, you can’t feel it, and you often can’t describe it - yet its presence can be felt strongly. Our sense of smell has the power to inspire, to uplift and to transport us.
Consider the ketores, the sacred incense burned in the Bais Hamikdash. There was more to this fragrance offering than just a sweet smell.
Why did God choose these particular 11 ingredients to be included; what special qualities do those aroma materials possess?
To answer this question, I consulted with an expert. Cary Caster, the founder of the modern aromatherapy brand 21 Drops, is a clinical aromatherapist trained in the art and science of using plants to help us feel better and be better.
Cary Caster, clinical aromatherapist and founder of 21 Drops.
I work with Cary as a marketing consultant for 21 Drops, and I find this unique approach to essential oil therapy fascinating.
21 Drops is a line of twenty one all-natural essential oil blends that were developed to target particular concerns and aspirations. For example, 18 Sleep utilizes sandalwood and ylang ylang flower to help you rest easy.
As a clinical aromatherapist, Cary maintains that plants can effect real physiological changes in our bodies as well as on our emotional and mental states.
Cary honed in to the powerful physical properties of the ketores components as well as their spiritual qualities. She asserts that the fragrant oils in the ketores help to strengthen the immune system as well as open the mind on a deeper, more spiritual level.
For example, the fourth ingredient of ketores listed in the Torah is frankincense or levona. This oil is an ancient remedy used to quiet the mind, soothe the soul, and support focused attention and tranquility. For this reason, Cary uses frankincense oil in her modern aromatherapy line. The healing blend 13 Carry On and 11 De-Stress contain this special scent.
The fifth ingredient in the ketores is myrrh, or mor in Hebrew. Myrrh is prized for its strength in combating illness. Myrrh has antibacterial and expectorant properties, making it of great use in treating colds and coughs. In addition, myrrh was used throughout the ancient world to promote peacefulness and meditation. Cary infuses myrrh oil into her aromatherapy blends 08 Pain Relief and 15 Decongest.
Many of the other plants used in the ketores, such as cinnamon and possibly cloves, have natural therapeutic properties in addition to being beautifully scented.
Of course, today we can’t fathom the ambrosial fragrance of the holy incense or the spirit it infused throughout the Beis Hamikdash. But, like everything else in the Torah, there is more to it than meets the eye (or in the case, nose). Just as the korbanos were more than just meat, the lechem hapanim was bigger than just bread — the ketores was more sublime than just a smell; it was the scent of spirituality.
“When I design, I always imagine the woman who will wear the garment, and whether she will find it easy to walk around in. We should enjoy our clothes to the point we forget we’re wearing them.”
-Esther Goldberger, Dellasuza designer
A frum fashion designer from Montreal, Esther has a new line of easy-to-wear modest dresses and some sage style advice to share with us all.
1. How was it attending fashion school as a frum woman?
Fashion design is not for the weak of heart. It requires strength; physical and mental. For frum Jews it also requires a lot of schedule planning and organization because of Shabbat and Chagim. For married frum Jews who have to get home and cook, do the laundry and entertain guests… wow… only love can explain why I did it.
2. How does designing for frum women differ than the general population?
Black is so convenient and easy to accommodate in our lifestyles that sometimes people just forget that there are colors out there. But colors and prints can be so figure-flattering and modest.
If find that Orthodox women love beautiful, feminine clothes and crave comfort. I know that wearing layers and layers of clothing during summer is challenging… that’s why I created my Dellasuza line of dresses.
The body shape of the frum woman… I always had the impression that we are mainly Apple and Pear body types. Perhaps just a personal impression of mine? Time will tell…
3. What style advice do you have for frum women?
- I believe the source for Orthodox women’s doubts about fashion is our complex of the black skirt. The black skirt occupies a huge space in our comfort zone. But we can get out of this fashion rut by challenging ourselves to try something new.
- Not many people are born with an innate understanding of fashion - but anyone can learn! By developing your curiosity and experimenting with what works for you, you can learn a lot.
- People think fashion is just a vanity that should not be taken seriously. I don’t agree. When we ally fashion to our inner personality, we create a beautiful harmony that brings out the best in us.
Esther sent me a blue maxi wrap dress from the line to review. Ladies - if you’re looking for something easy and comfortable, this is it! The comfort of the fabric is unparalleled any dress I have ever worn before. It is so easy and soft, it’s marvelous. I also love that the fabric is slinky, but not clingy or see-through at all.
Visit the Dellasuza website here to see all of these pretty, lightweight and affordable modest designs. (Plus - use the coupon code FASHION15 for an additional 15% off)
It’s bee venom.
That’s right. New high-end skincare products have been cropping up with this ouch-inducing ingredient.
The toxic venom supposedly tricks your skin into thinking it’s been stung. This stimulates a reaction that renews and tightens the area.
This may sound drastic. Or maybe not.
After all, the use of toxins are not new gateways to attaining youth and beauty. Take Demi Moore’s leech therapy (warning: not for the faint of heart). Or your run-of-the-mill lip plumpers (which contain irritants to make your lips feel collagen-enhanced and pouty). And of course, the Queen of Beauty Toxins - Botox.
Personally, I’m going to stay away from the sting and stick with my traditional skincare regimen.
Would you try a product with bee venom?