How to Spot a Totally Tzanua Outfit
First of all, you need to know what’s tzanua and what’s not. And that is not based on your personal taste. That is based on your knowledge of the Halachos of Tznius, which are there to guide you to kosher clothing that will not compromise your femininity. Plus, these guidelines are all so “common” sense, that one does not have to be a Jewess in order to know them.
Necklines are very important. The Rabbis did not make up the halachos of necklines. They come from Das Moshe, an oral tradition passed down from Har Sinai, that unless they are written down, like our Oral Torah today, they would have been lost. Thanks to the rabbonim like Rabbi Falk, Rabbi Elyashiv, zt”l, and all the other Rabbonim who signed and sealed the Halachos of Tznius for us so that we, the ignorant generation, still know what is tzanua and what is not.
If the garment neckline is too wide or too low, then you will need a dickey to wear underneath those troublesome necklines.
Fit. If you see a garment that fits tightly on you or on a mannequin, stay far away from it. The garment, ‘beged’ in Hebrew has now become a ‘boged’, (traitor), and is betraying the wearer and compromising on her femininity. Avoid wearing a tight “shell” as a blouse by itself.
Length. If the garment is too short and will reveal the torso when the wearer lifts up her hand upwards, then the garment is no longer kosher. Look only for hip-length tops.
Sleeves. If the garment is too tight on the sleeves especially above the elbow, then it’s showing the shape of your upper arm, which is not kosher. Avoid wearing the modern “shell”. It’s just not worth it. They are not kosher, worn as an outer garment.
Length. Do yourself a favor and take a tape measure and measure yourself from your waist down to below your knee cap. Once you know what your waist-knee measurement is, then you can use that measurement to help you filter out skirts that too short for you. You must add to that waist-knee measurement anything from 4-inches to 6-inches or half your calf length to find a skirt that has a kosher length.
Many of the skirts sold at so called “tznius” vendors are all not kosher. They are barely covering one’s knees as they are so short. Unfortunately, these vendors are ignorant of the concept of tznius altogether and are only there to make a buck. Hashem yerachem, and open their eyes to their transgressions.
Fit. Like the top, the purpose of a kosher skirt is to hide the femininity of the wearer, and not to expose the shape of the wearer. Our Rabbis have drafted guidelines for us, which is to wear only those skirts that have an A-line pattern to them. So, don’t go looking for pencil skirts, tapered skirts, hip-hugging skirts and those “shell” skirts. Wearing those will take the wearer to gehinnom instead of to Gan Eden. There has to have enough slack or ease at the hipline or thighline, whichever is wider, depending on the wearer even for an A-line skirt. The slack is about 4-inches.
Fabric. Avoid material that is clingy. Wear a slip underneath your skirt that is made of cotton that will not cling to your skin. Non-opaque material is to be avoided.
Style. Styles that copy the non-Jewish world are to be avoided. Even though we have to avoid tight-fitting skirts (pencil skirts, tapered skirts, hip-hugging skirts and those “shell” skirts ), we also have to look out for the overly flair skirt. For example, avoid the “circle” skirt, aka as the “poodle” skirt worn back in the 1950’s which flairs up when the wearer spins around. Today it’s under guise as the skater skirt, which is what skaters wear when they perform in the skating rink. Circle skirts may or may not come with a crinoline petticoat to help the outer skirt puff up. The skater skirt absolutely does not, and even if they do, it’s still not kosher. Avoid those at all costs, even if they are at the right length.
Use the tips from both Blouses and Skirts above to help you shop for dresses.
Belt. Some dress styles come with a belt. Avoid wide sashes that accentuate your top and bottom areas. A narrower belt (2-3 inches) is preferable to a wider (4-5 inches or more) belt. A plain belt is preferable to a glitzy, show-off belt with studs, sequins and all that glitter, which is asking for attention, “look at my waist!”