Your Guide to Dressing Modestly and Fashionably in 2023
What comes to your mind when you think of fashion?
Contrary to the popular stereotype, women don’t all experience “fashion” the same way.
While some of us find it intriguing and love researching trends and purchasing new clothing, others find the project overwhelming.
But the good news? No matter which group you fall into, this post is for you.
Today, we’ll look at some wearable styles, colors, and designs that fashion experts predict will be trending in 2023. But we’ll do it through the lens of the values we have here at the Main Street Exchange: quality, relaxed, on-trend clothing that is beautiful and modest.
If you’re ready to learn more, let’s begin!
3 Things We Don’t Mean When We Say “Dressing Fashionably”
It’s normal to enter a fashion discussion with lots of assumptions. To make sure we’re communicating clearly, we’ll start by getting ours out in the open and addressing three things we don’t mean when we talk about dressing fashionably.
Unfortunately, an assumption that can come along with dressing on-trend is that you need to purchase an entirely new wardrobe every season - whether you need it or not. We don’t believe anyone should feel pressure to purchase clothing they don’t need just to match the styles that are currently trending.
Instead of pursuing fads, we want to encourage you to build a thoughtful wardrobe with an emphasis on personal style and quality rather than passing trends. This allows you to invest in timeless designs that you love instead of only purchasing clothing that looks dated next year.
With this understanding in mind, passing fashions aren’t all bad - in their right place. They can be a fun way to add flare and expression to your wardrobe. Just be sure you’re buying quality clothes in styles you really love!
Thankfully, fashion is cyclical. This means there’s a good chance you have something in your closet that can be styled to be on-trend. Our goal is to help you discover these pieces.
2 - Always Following Fads
Wearing on-trend clothing is completely optional. The clothes one chooses to wear should be a reflection of personal style, taste, and values - not a result of social pressure.
Our goal here at the Main Street Exchange is to create a community that is uplifting, encouraging, and empowering to women just like you. It’s about a lot more than clothing trends!
By helping you find clothing that fits your unique style, we hope to help you find that effortless confidence that will allow you to pursue the dreams God has placed in your heart.
Just remember, how much you engage in (or ignore) passing fashion trends is completely up to you!
3 - Sacrificing Personal Values
Depending on your previous experience with the world of fashion, the idea of dressing fashionably might be almost synonymous with sacrificing personal values like modesty.
But this doesn’t have to be the case!
Being fashionable doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your values. And dressing modestly doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice beauty, style, or being on-trend! We’ll try to demonstrate this throughout this article.
How does modest fashion interact with high fashion?
First, let’s define high fashion. High fashion is expensive, extravagant clothing produced by leading fashion houses from all over the world. You’ll find it primarily on runways and celebrities. Most of these pieces are more of an artistic statement than a wearable piece of clothing and are not financially feasible for the average woman.
That’s where mainstream fashion comes in. Designers for regular clothing stores (think Target, H&M, JCPenney, Old Navy, etc.) incorporate elements from high fashion into more wearable, affordable designs for the general public.
Modest fashion is a subculture of mainstream fashion, and there are several features (aside from the modesty element) that set it apart and are worth noting. To get some insight into these distinctions, we spoke with blogger and educator Esther Swartzentruber, connoisseur of modest fashion and long-time observer of its interaction with high and mainstream fashion. Here’s a summary of what she shared:
- Stability - There are features of modest fashion that tend to be pretty stable across generations - unlike mainstream fashion. Examples of this include (but aren’t limited to) long skirts, layering, and long dresses.
- Values - Modest fashion culture tends to take cues from values like practicality and versatility. Modest fashion may borrow elements of high or mainstream fashion but then complete the look differently to make it more practical or versatile for everyday wear. This gives modest fashion a unique flavor even when it’s mirroring mainstream fashion trends.
- Locality - Modest fashion is influenced by very local fashion scenes. High fashion (and by extension, mainstream fashion) is more influenced by the whims of designers, while modest fashion is more tethered to factors like region, weather, local trendsetters, and local religious groups. This means that the modest fashion in different localities or religious groups may contain elements that are unique to that group.
Now let’s tie it all together.
Every year as the new year approaches, fashion experts begin to predict what will be on-trend in the upcoming seasons. The number of projections can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to know how some of these trends translate into modest fashion.
We understand this, so we’ll simplify the process and discuss some of the projected trends that align with the three adjectives we want to describe our clothing: quality, relaxed, and on-trend.
While this won’t be an exclusive list, it should give you some ideas for how you can dress on-trend in 2023.
Without further adieu, let’s dive in!
Modest Dressing Trend Predictions for 2023
Denim is Predicted to be in Style
Denim is one of the most timeless clothing materials, which makes quality denim worth investing in. What tends to fluctuate style-wise is not denim as a fabric but rather its designs and how it is styled.
1 - Long denim skirts
Experts predict that longer denim skirts will make a comeback in high and mainstream fashion. “Long” in this case means lengths anywhere past the knee. For those of us who love and regularly wear knee or ankle-length denim skirts, this will be an effortless on-trend choice for this year!
2 - All-denim looks
A more controversial style pairing predicted to be trending this year is all-denim looks like denim dresses and double denim. Though this definitely makes a comfortable, durable outfit, not everyone likes the look of that much denim.
Before you write it off, however, there are a few key components that make a double denim pairing actually work: fit, color, and fabric weight.
Fit: A simple principle in good style is creating a balanced outfit. For example, if you’re wearing a more fitted top, wear something looser on the bottom, and vice versa. The principle is especially important in monochromatic or mono-texture outfits like double denim.
Color: Denim comes in a lot of different washes. Pairing a darker wash skirt with a light wash jacket or shirt adds interest to and breaks up an outfit. Another way to add some color is to wear a brighter-colored base layer or shoes. For example, pair our Leah skirt in light wash with the Aimee top in burgundy, and add a light wash denim jacket.
Fabric weight: When most people think of denim, it's the heavier-weight kind that’s found in most skirts, jeans, and jackets. While this is common, denim can also be very lightweight. Pairing a sturdier denim skirt with a lightweight denim top is a great way to incorporate this trend.
Crochet is Predicted to be On-Trend
Crochet clothing is another comeback style that experts predict will be trending in 2023.
While crochet patterns and designs have fluctuated, some crocheted vests and sweaters have been staples of the modest-dressing community for years. They are a beautiful way to add texture to an outfit or add a layer for modesty or warmth. If you’re the crafting type, this is your opportunity to try your hand at some new patterns!
Like long denim skirts, this is another effortless, on-trend choice for this year!
There are many types of yarn used to crochet, but wool and cotton are two of the most common. These textiles create high-quality clothing that holds up well under everyday wear and tear.
If you’d like to take things a step further, crocheted blouses, shirts, and dresses are included in the overall crochet trend.
Tailored Clothing is Predicted to be a Stylish Choice
Tailored, as we’re using it here, means clothes that are custom-made for you. On the runways, the tailored look was represented by boxy blazers, very wide-leg pants, and blazers acting as minidresses. Thankfully, there are many more wearable ways of incorporating this trend.
1 - Blazers
If you like oversized blazers, this is your cue! If that isn’t your style, don’t worry. A more fitted blazer incorporates this trend as well. Key elements in this trend are the crisp lines and simplicity that usually come with tailored blazers.
For a relaxed take on this trend, try our Beckham Blazer!
2 - Crisp button-downs
Another way to integrate this trend is with neutral button-down shirts. These shirts are a clothing basic and something you may already have in your closet.
3 - The tailored skirt
The bottoms most featured on the runways were pleated pants, but skirts weren’t totally out of the picture. The skirts that fit this trend are diverse. A pleated skirt, like our Remy skirt, is one way to incorporate this trend, while a more fitted pencil skirt like the Corryn is another.
Relaxed Clothing Should be in Style
1 - Sports Luxe
If you’re a woman who loves comfort, this trend is for you!
Sports luxe (also called athleisure) is really just a fancy way to describe elevated athletic wear. This trend is not, however, just taking your workout wear and throwing a blazer over it. Rather, it's about expanding and reimagining how and when athletic clothing can be worn.
Here are a few examples of how this trend is predicted to take shape this year:
- Bomber jackets
- Elevated sweatshirts (think silky fabrics).
- Sports jackets with half zip, oversized, and front pocket designs
- For all of us skirt-wearing ladies, a skort is an excellent way to incorporate this trend!
Beyond uplifting athletic wear, this trend combines sporty items with everyday clothing. For example, pair an athletic jacket with a dress or a skort with a blouse.
2 - Bohemian
Bohemian clothing styles have their roots in the early 1900s but reached a peak in the 1960s. It joined mainstream fashion in the 70s and has been an influence on fashion ever since. With an emphasis on comfort, individualism, and being counter-culture, this fashion subculture incorporated elements from many cultures to create a colorful, textured look.
Bohemianism’s influence on mainstream fashion has waxed and waned over the years, but it seems to come back to the mainstream in some form about every ten years. Recent adaptations, however, have been almost entirely about the look of bohemianism rather than the lifestyle.
So what will the bohemian influence look like in 2023? There are at least three ways.
- Material choices: Materials like denim, linen, cotton, lace, and crochet are bohemian staples.
- Texture: Bohemian looks often include texture accents like tassels and fringe.
- Patterns: Tribal, lattice, and floral patterns are all common features in boho looks.
This is a fun trend that allows you to express your individuality and be a bit daring without sacrificing comfort. For example, try pairing a flowing, tired skirt with an embroidered blouse. Mixed prints are also a common but bold way to incorporate this look.
Other On Trend Modest Clothing Items in 2023
1 - Texture
2023 is predicted to be a year of textured clothing. Texture adds interest to an outfit and can be used to tastefully compliment your figure. Let's take a closer look at a few predicted to be trending this year.
- Lace & Laser Cut
Lace is an almost timeless clothing choice, though its expressions have changed over the centuries. In this fashion cycle, lace (including eyelet lace) is trending as an accent fabric and as an overlay. Easily incorporate this trend with a lace dress, shirt, or skirt!
Like lace, laser-cut fabric adds interest to an outfit. It is created, as the name suggests, by using lasers to cut out patterns in the fabric. While it is in the family of lace, laser cut has a distinctive look.
Tassels and Fringing
Though undoubtedly influenced by bohemianism, the tassels and fringing trend of 2023 moves beyond it as well. From small, minimalist fridging to swishing, tasseled sleeves, there’s something in this trend for everyone. This is a great way to add movement and interest to your outfit. To incorporate this look, try a sweater or vest with fringe detailing.
We’ve already been seeing the ruffles trend featured on dresses and blouses within modest fashion. However, this trend is predicted to become more pronounced and mainstream this year. If you’ve been eyeing up a ruffled dress, now is a good time to give it a go!
2 - Layered Sheer
Sheer items had a strong showing on fashion runways this season and are predicted to be trending in mainstream fashion this year. Layering a sheer blouse or dress is a lovely way to create depth in an outfit. Depending on the fabric used for the sheer layer, this effect can also create a wonderful sense of movement.
Layered sheer dresses and skirts aren’t new to modest fashion. But if you don’t have any and want to integrate this trend into your closet, a skirt with a sheer overlay is a great place to start. If you need new dressy clothing, a layered sheer dress works well for anything from church to wedding guest to bridesmaid.
3 - Statement Stripes
Stripes are always in fashion, but this year we’ll be seeing bolder wider stripes. If you love stripes, this is the year to get a little adventurous! This trend includes bold colors, but more neutral, milder tones aren’t excluded. So there’s something here for anyone who loves stripes.
Here’s a tip if you want to try out this trend: Particularly with large pieces like dresses, opt for vertical stripes. These tend to be more flattering on all body types.
4 - Colors
Let’s wrap this up with a brief look at some of the colors that will be trending this year.
Every year, color specialists at Pantone pick out a color of the year. This year’s color is Viva Magenta, an energetic color rooted in red with impressions of pink. It is a deep, joyful color like something you might find on an exotic, tropical plant. If you want to add a pop of color this year, consider this vibrant color!
For those who don’t feel comfortable in bright colors but still like color, powdery blue could be the perfect fit. With a light, ethereal quality, powdery blue is a softer choice. For an example of this color, see our Olivia or Eva skirts in Seaglass, or the Allison Swing dress, also in Seaglass.
If your true love is neutrals, there’s a color for you too! Neutrals tend to be more timeless, but this year beige will be continuing its momentum in mainstream fashion.
Knowing how to incorporate trending fashions into modest fashion can be challenging.
But it doesn’t need to be.
Here at the Main Street Exchange, it’s part of our mission to simplify that process for you and provide you with quality, relaxed, on-trend clothing that fits your values.
If you found this article helpful, you might also like our blog on styling denim skirts and our free e-book 7 Steps to Building a Modest Wardrobe.
If you have any questions about our products, we’d love to hear from you!
We hope to hear from you soon!
The Main Street Exchange