Photo (cc) by Luke,Ma
Sara Wolf and Daniella Teutsch co-founded HydroChic after watching Orthodox Jewish women like themselves walk around in ankle-length denim skirts and oversized men’s T-shirts and shorts at the beach.
“There really wasn’t much out there,” Wolf recently told the Wall Street Journal. “You want to look normal, not like you fell out of the sky.”
The lack of modest yet practical options in beach attire spurred the women to start their own swimwear line. HydroChic manufactures swimwear similar to what surfers or divers might wear.
The swimwear appeals to religious women such as Wolf and Teutsch. As the Jewish Journal explained last summer:
There are different rules of ‘tznius’ or modesty for men and women who are [Orthodox Jews]. … Women have to be careful about how much flesh they expose when swimming, which is why swimming can be so problematic.
But now such products from companies like HydroChic are catching on among other women too. For a variety of reasons, women are seeking more coverage than even a one-piece swimsuit offers, the Wall Street Journal reports:
Women of other faiths who also prefer modesty, along with older and plus-size women who don’t like how they look in a traditional bathing suit, are fans of the new beachwear. Younger women worried about sun exposure have also become clients.
Deborah Nixon, 58, is among these women. She ditched her standard one-piece swimsuit for leggings and a matching short-sleeved top from HydroChic because she says she looks and feels better when showing less skin.
She tells the Wall Street Journal:
“It is the New Sexy. When you get older, you don’t want that much exposed.”
And the modesty trend isn’t limited to swimwear. Clothing styles modeled by fashion bloggers who happen to be Muslim or Mormon, for example, are catching on among wider conservative audiences, including women as young as in their 20s, the “Today” show reported this spring.
New York fashion stylist Mindi Smith told the show that modesty in general in catching on, citing retro-inspired trends such as one-piece swimsuits and high-waisted, wide-legged pants as proof:
“It’s no longer about, ‘If you’ve got it, flaunt it.’ There is something sexy to be said about covering yourself up. You don’t have to show all that skin.”
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