If modest dressing for summer sounds like an oxymoron to you, you're not alone. When the temperatures rise through the roof and the humidity becomes unbearable, I often find myself fantasizing about walking around with next to nothing on (let alone thinking about covering up). But since the overwhelming response to that is a hard no, I've learned a few key tips over the years for achieving a stylish summer 'fit that's basically the next best thing.
Whenever I want to put together a polished yet breathable summer outfit, the first places I look to for style inspiration are three of the most stylish modest dressers I know—Maria Alia, Fatima Abdallah, and Sally Ashour. Each of them consistently maintains the chicest outfits, even in the dead of summer, leaving me to seriously wonder what tricks they have up their sleeves, so I asked each of them to share the outfit tips they swear by during the summer. Read on if you want to look just as good and see their modest outfits for summer.
Light layering is number one
"You'd be surprised just how breezy and cool a light button-down can be as a layering piece. I love doing a light button-down under strappy tops and dresses or on top of a fitted mock neck tank. It gives you room to breathe and kind of acts as a form of shade.
"Another light layering must-have: summer jackets. Whenever I find a lightweight jacket that catches my eye, I immediately buy. This may be the most obvious modest dressing hack—just throw it on top of a breezy tank or tee and you're golden." — Maria Alia
"It can be a little challenging dressing modestly in the summer, especially if you're Floridian and it's 100 degrees outside, but of course, I never let the weather stop me from dressing how I want. Avoid layering so much, skip the tank top underneath your clothing or the extra sleeves you might not need. I find it warmer if I add a thin cardigan or jacket over a short-sleeve shirt or dress rather than having sleeves underneath." — Sally Ashour
Available in sizes 0 to 12.
Available in sizes XS to L.
Available in sizes XXS to XL.
Midi and maxi dresses are key
"For a modest girl like myself, nothing beats a flowy long dress in the summertime. It's by far the easiest look to pull together, but securing the right dress with a high neck, long sleeves, and no slit? Almost impossible. For the dresses that don't quite check all these boxes, I improvise with light layers like a sleeveless midi dress layered under a wrap dress or coordinating leggings for shorter hemlines. The key is to keep layering monochromatic. If you're like me and your style is less than super feminine, my favorite way to style summer dresses is with a pair of sneakers. It instantly adds an air of casual cool." — Alia
"My favorite go-to outfit this summer would be a long-sleeve summer dress, which is all over in retail right now. This means you don't need to wear anything underneath, and it's the best option for the hot weather—it's also the easiest." — Ashour
Available in DK sizes 34 to 42.
Available in Australian sizes 6 to 14.
Available in sizes 10 to 18.
Loose trousers can save your outfit
"I'll never fully trade in my denim, but this summer, I'm really into styling loose pants of all sorts. It's a super-easy and cool outfit combo when paired with a long-sleeve tee or tank and a light jacket. Pants always seem to add an extra something to a look that makes it seem like you spent more time on your outfit than you actually did." — Alia
Available in sizes XS to XL.
Available in sizes 00 to 14.
Stick with light colors
"Light colors reflect heat from the sun and therefore keep you feeling cool when it's hot outside. It's also known that the looser your clothes are, the more comfortable you'll feel in the heat. So a flowy pair of pants will not only maintain your modesty, but they will also keep you cooler than a pair of tights or shorts will." — Fatima Abdallah
Available in sizes 0 to 10.
Available in size XS to XL.
Available in sizes XS to L.
Wear a wide-brim sun hat
"Not only is it a stylish accessory, but they're also a great way to protect your skin from the harsh sun rays." — Abdallah