Manolo says, Ayyyyyyy! By the Beard of the Prophet, I shall sink to the bottom like a stone dropped into the limpid pool of ZamZam!
P.S. Swimwear for the 19th Century
Manolo loves the shoes!
La BellaDonna, she asks, would that not be the Surfette rather than the Smurfette?
hey you stole my smurf joke!
excellent protection from the harmful rays of uv-a & uv-b, though.
zamzam it is a well not a pool,manolo.
The Manolo he should not laugh. Many of the womens of the religious faiths, including the Sarah, who is Orthodox Jewish, struggle to balance the modesty with the modernity. The Sarah has also seen a website with short-sleeved, knee-length swim dresses for the pious Christian females. Better for the modest Muslim womens to be swimming in the Smurf suits, getting exercise and enjoying herselves, than to sit at home with the bon-bons, gazing at the photos of the hankerchiefs that pass for bathing suits in these days in the fashion magazines, or compromising on her beliefs in the religion and the spirituality. Being fit and true to oneself is more important than being fashion-forward, the Sarah always says (starting from now).
(I actually posted this in response to the whole “Swimwear for the 19th Century” string but thought, heck, I’ll post it here, too…even if some of the references don’t make complete sense out-of-context. And I’m certainly not ranting at you, Manolo, after your gracious statement above.)
(Re: modesty=body shame)
I don’t think that “modesty” always indicates a lack of self-esteem, body-related shame or a deflated self-image. As a matter of fact, I think that sometimes the reverse can be true: over-exposure often indicates someone whose self-esteem can be too completely based on the reactions of others to their bodies.
For Pete’s sake: when it comes to swimming, give people permission to wear whatever they feel comfortable in! (Oh dear, I can already tell that I’m going to regret having said that. And the regret will start the next time I see an 80-year-old man wearing only knee socks, hiking boots and a Speedo.) Personally, I’ve longed for the return of the “swim-dress” many a time, at all of my varying shape- and size-phases. Although I can’t imagine that the “lydiaofpurpledresses” suits could be very comfortable soaking wet (and dang you, Baron, for having posted the link before I could!), kudos to the woman who makes these so that folks who otherwise might have to spend the summer on the sidelines can participate!
The shores of the Red Sea and Dead Sea, and–yes– even Monte Carlo, are covered with women and children in suits like the blue one above (although most I’ve seen are black), alongside leathery German and Italian tourists wearing nothing but a leopard-print bikini bottoms; and while I doubt that either is thrilled about what the other is wearing, I’ve not seen any name-calling or insults slung either way. Good grief, WHO CARES if someone’s wearing what you consider an “ugly suit?!” If I got my knickers in a twist every time I’d seen someone in an unflattering swim suit, I’d have died of an apoplectic fit years ago…
(I personally love this plaid suit and this flowered shorts-suit combo from Orvis.)
Whoops: Sarah, I attributed your eloquent statement to Manolo. I apologize. You spoke beautifully.
Damn, the smurf jokes are already taken. Sigh.
P.S. Shame on you, Manolo!
(And now, I will be silent.)
I have a strange, sudden urge to purchase a string bikini….
Kudos to more women wanting to play sports! Personally, I would be hard pressed to give up my underarmor tank tops and assorted sweat-wicking sports gear just so guys wouldn’t talk about my body, especially since I’m sure they still would anyways.
If you can sew, or know somone who does; here are two vintage solutions from Folkwear:
1940’s beach pyjama’s
No shame on the Manolo, I say. This is a fashion blog in case you hadn’t noticed. Comments on the unfashionableness of said clothing should be fair game. I haven’t seen anyone argue that it should be considered fashionable or attractive yet. Let’s hear it.
I wonder what the choice of materials is. Swimming in clothes can lead to rapid tiring and possibly drowning. The weight of some wet clothes can drag you down. Swimming in clothes is even used as a test of stamina under controlled conditions. And, imagine the hood shifting and covering the face of someone trying to breathe!
Being out of the water in a breeze (or wind) in wet clothing can induce hypothermia. If this gear wicks and insulates (like some good syntetics) then no problem. Otherwise, it looks like a health and safety hazard.
Say what you want about her modesty (it’s quite a bit more than my own, let’s say) but when, on the other end of the spectrum, you have The Wicked Weasel, I have to admit I prefer the smurfette suit. http://www.wickedweasel.com
And good for her for getting out and excercising – and not letting a little thing like not being able to wear a flattering suit stop her.
I am pleased to hear that Orthodox Israeli women are reading the blog of the Manolo. Perhaps he will soon turn his attention to halachically ok alternatives to the ankle length denim skirt and the shapeless brimmed hat.
Then again, Ryno makes some excellent points.
The furlagirl makes her point in good humor, the Sarah hopes.
But she (furlagirl) obviously does not know that it is AMERICAN Orthodox women who favor the ankle-length denim skirts and floppy hats (ie berets, snoods). The ISRAELI Orthodox women wear the flowing skirts of lighter materials, and long kercheifs wrapped in such complicated ways that the Sarah, she will never learn how they do it, even if the Sarah ever gets married.
The Sarah, she prefers to make the gentle funs of the American womens who come to Israel with fitted suits from the Ann Taylor, stockings, and 4-inch heels, and attempt to walk around like that in the 100-degree heat and the cobblestones.
PS The Sarah has always wondered why, when a woman wears jeans, a t-shirt, sneakers, and a baseball cap, she is a relaxed soccer mom . . . but when an Orthodox woman wears the same outfit, but a denim skirt instead of the jeans, she is considered to look “frumpy.” What is the poor modest Jewish woman to do?
I have observed at first hand the outfits of the Sephardi women who eschew, as you say, the denim skirt for the fascinating Moroccan and Tunisian alternatives. (The food is a lot better too, though some ancestral chicken soup hits the Ashkenazi spot in January) What about the Sienna Miller style long-sleeved kaftans, the loose floaty tiered ‘gypsy’ skirt, and the . . . well, I just don’t get the hang of any form of head-coverings, for whatever reason. But as you aren’t married, that can wait.
Muslim women do not wear burqas (or veils, or hijabs, for that matter) because they feel uncomfortable without them. They wear them because not wearing them makes them desirable in the eyes of men, and that is one of the worst things a woman can do. And if you’re in a Muslim country, you can be punished very severely if you neglect to cover yourself.
So please stop trying to pass this off as a matter of choice. Orthodox Jewish women have a choice. Muslim women do not.
Don’t speak of what you don’t know.
I am a Muslim woman in the United States and I wear a headscarf out of choice. The imposed headscarves and burqas are not permitted in Islam, as religion itself is a matter of choice, as stated in the Quran. Forcing women to wear headscarves is a political and cultural tool, and one that is wrongly attributed to religion.
And I personally love the denim skirts and would love to know where I can get one– I see many Orthodox Jews wearing them where I work and I think they’re pretty.
I can’t speak for any of the other commenters, but my own point is that even if it IS a choice to cover up at the pool, it’s a legitimate choice, if not a “fashionable” one.
How much more so if one is talking about a country where a woman would be severely punished for wearing anything else!
However, I think what people are making fun of here (in bad taste, in my opinion) are the Muslim women who cover up so completely even in America, where it is not a matter of the law, but a matter of their own subculture’s beliefs and, I would argue, their own; it is often very difficult to separate the actions one does because one has been pressured by one’s culture, and those in which one truly believes. The lines between the two are often blurry, and as long as a woman (eg, in America) is safe and healthy and paying her taxes, it’s really not up to the rest of us to tell her whether she is a servant of God or just a victim of her culture’s patriarchy. I’m sure the woman in the picture is smart enough to think about it on her own.
Either way, it is often very difficult for Americans whose lives do not revolve around religion to understand why a person would choose to subjugate their own will to, what they see as, a set of arbitrary and silly rules.
It is the right of a blogger to say “that look is really strange and not my idea of fashionable.” My criticism to the Manolo lies in my belief that “fashion” should have room to include creative ways for women to live full religious lives while playing sports and wearing the prettiest colors they can. Rather than calling this woman a Smurf, we should be applauding her creativity in solving a personal conflict. Surely creativity will still be in style long after bikinis are passe.
I am positive the Manolo meant no offense. He is a good and kind man. It is just difficult for me to stand by while someone pokes fun at a religious woman, even if it’s not my religion (and even if, as you can imagine, I have big problems with certain other aspects of the other religion).
The main problem here is that, in a perfect world, a woman of any religion, nationality, etc., should be free to choose among a spectrum that ranges from the itsy-bitsy bikini to the Smurfette swimsuit (you have to admit, the choices, they are numerous) without any other considerations than her own damn fancy.
It is regrettable both that sex-crazed patriarchy in California may push her to choose the vile creations of the wickedweasel.com, and that the narrow-minded reading of the Koran will force her to invent the somewhat aberrant creation featured by the Manolo (for it is aberrant! I can’t imagine one either soaking up the sun or enjoying a good swim in it! defies the purpose of being on the beach at all!). Neither option is acceptable to me.
As for religion of any kind, I’m with Pharyngula (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/): a godless liberal.
“And the veil—very unpractical when playing sports.” The Gidget bets it is.
Dear Sarah (not of Israel):
unfortunately, I do know what I am talking about. As you no doubt know, Spain is geographically and historically quite close to the Muslim world.
I am aware that the dress code for women as prescribed in the Qu’ran (Qu’ran 7:26, 24:31, 33:59) is open to interpretation. However, I am also aware of how it is actually interpreted on an everyday basis by Muslims in my country. To wit,
I acknowledge the right of religious people to wear whatever costumes they deem appropriate. That is between them and God. However, I also stand by my own right to find those costumes ridiculous, and say so.
Oh – and as for “religion itself is a matter of choice, as stated in the Quran”. No doubt you are familiar with what the Qu’ran says about people who are neither Muslim, Jewish, or Christian, particularly about atheists.
Namely, they should be killed.
Thank you for the kind words about denim skirts!
Old Navy lately always has a selection of long skirts in various materials and cuts (www.oldnavy.com – go to skirts and scroll past the miniskirts).
Here is a long, straight denim skirt, an “OrthoClassic”, from OldNavy.com:
Oooh, a nice one is currently at http://www.orvis.com (click on “womens”). And there is one at eddiebauer.com (click on dresses/skirts, and scroll to second page).
Land’s End apparently often has modest clothes; keep your eyes open there.
If you don’t mind shopping at sites that cater specifically to Jews, there is modestclothing.com (which is currently directing traffic to tznius.com – and the links there aren’t working!). I can’t vouch for the quality or service, having never shopped there, but I see they currently have 3 denim skirts on the site. I see they also have a LOT of headscarves – more for you than for me! Go crazy!
There is also http://www.funkyfrum.com, which offers a small selection but the quality seems to be OK. Personally, it’s a little too much on the “funky” side for me (I’m a Talbots kind of girl), but maybe you’ll like it.
Good luck and happy shopping.
Goodness, this is getting nasty.
I take exception to those who say that this particular swim outfit (and others similarly flesh-free) are “unfashionable.” Isn’t the whole point of fashion that it is subjective, always has been subjective, and always will be subjective? Otherwise, what’s the point? Were fashion objective, nothing would have changed since the beginning of…the beginning. Fashion Weeks would be comprised of show after show of the common and entirely familiar, not unlike the old faux-Soviet “Wendy’s” commercials (“Svimveeair; Eeeveningveeair…”).
Because fashion is subjective, it’s entirely possible for different circles to hold different opinions of what is “fashionable.” To assume that one holds the absolute, eternal definition of “fashion” is silly! Opinions are always acceptable; dictatorial comments are flat-out absurd.
You can find them ridiculous– that is your own right. However, “educating” people with the “truth” is unfair and advances untrue stereotypes. I will not pretend that forced headcovering is unfair and wrong, but for those of us who choose to cover, that is also our own right. It is not the fault of other Muslims or Islam as a whole if other misinterpret, much like it’s not the fault of mainstream Christians if fundamentalists misinterpret.
Additionally, the Quran does not say to kill adherents to other religions. I myself live with a Catholic. My mother is Christian. I have Jewish, Christian, atheist, and Hindu relatives. To be sure, there are sentances from the Quran that are taken out of context all the time, by both Muslims and non-Muslims, however, the same can be done of any religious text in order to justify unfair and wrong actions.
My intent is not to be nasty, as someone mentioned, but to educate. It is sometimes difficult, being a Muslim, but through education, I hope I can help others understand.
It’s interesting that they’re designing swim suits for Muslim women, and it’s about time. A new market. I’m sure these smurfette suits will get better in time, and we’ll become used to looking at them and not feeling that they’re too alien.
Oh, and you don’t have the creativity to take your skirt, scarves (or other plain headdress) etc, including the swimwear and make it pretty? thats what embroidery, beading, embellishing are for and are not all that complicated. then the pretty clothes will just as attractive to you.
People, lighten up. In America, at least, we all have the right to practice our religion as we see fit or to practice no religion at all. This freedom includes the right to wear ridiculous clothes. Such freedom is not limited to the religious – we can all choose to dress as hideously as we want, and to even think that we look good within the particular standards of our community. But we also have the right to be as catty and critical as we want about other people’s fashion choices, especially in a fashion blog! Contrary to what p.c. types think we do not have the right to never be offended. (Check out gofugyourself.com, one of my favorite blogs, for truly witty and cutting fashion criticism of celebrities.) And while we can all applaud the desire to create appropriate swimwear for Muslim women, that smurf suit would be deadly for anything other than wading in knee-deep water.
We are all so judgmental here. Too much fabric, too little fabric…Ayyyyy!
As newly-installed leader and President For Life of the Heterosexual Male Contingent of Manolo Readers (HMCMR), I wish to firmly endorse the fashions of the Wicked Weasel. Swimming competitions would be much more interesting.
Vive la difference! (There should be an accent in there, and the “la” might need to be “le”…but I digress).
It’s swimming pool camo! Once in the water, she’ll be undetectable!
On a more serious note, being modest is one thing; wearing ugly clothes to be modest is another entirely. One need not wear ugly clothes to be modest and I think that’s what many posters here have tried to say.. In fact, I think a case could be made for ugly, unusual clothes, though they cover the body completely, being immodest, in that they draw attention to you and your body!
La BellaDonna, she raises her hand, and says that for herself, she was making the play on words of the “surfette” for the “Smurfette”, being that the female-swimmer-in-the-surf was clad all in blue. Regardless of religion, La BellaDonna herself, if she swims in the great out of doors, will be wearing the full-body dive skin, so thoughtfully mentioned by the Fred in another thread of the Manolo: http://www.divegoddess.com/
La BellaDonna, she is a Person of Pallor, thanks to her ancestry of the English and the Irish, and any exposed flesh will burst into flame if exposed to five minutes of the sun. So she makes the little play on the words because it is her nature and she cannot help it, but she does not mock either the desire or the need for the different peoples for the modest clothes. However, La BellaDonna also supports the right of those peoples for the pretty, modest clothes.
In my opinion this looks like an alien. A very unfashionable alien…
Modesty should of course be a personal choice. It is disingenuous of Sarah to pretend that because she happens to live in a Western country and has the privilege of freely choosing whether to wear a headscarf, the majority of muslim women have any choice in the matter. After all, we know of the punishments in certain countries for not conforming to the ‘dress code’ that is law. There are stories of the women in Saudi Arabia and other places who long for the fashionable clothes and buy them in secret, to be worn in the house only, because their fashion choices are made for them.
As this is the case for the majority of Muslim women, is it any surprise that these clothes have come to symbolize the oppression of women?
Hola, Gomez Addams. I salute you as president of us traditional guys. However as the father of a 17-year old girl I am not thrilled with the wicked weasel school of clothing, however nice it looks. The problem is, it invites danger. Not all of us guys are safe to be around, and not enough of the bad ones are behind bars or under ground.
The Sarah, she is starting to enjoy this thread again.
Perhaps the readers of the Manolo, they can put their heads together and create swimwear for the womens of the Islam that is modest AND attractive AND will not result in the drowning. You could make millions of the American dollars. Then, you could sell the rights to the Sarah to modify the design for the Orthodox Jewish womens, and the Sarah, she will make the millions of shekels (which is much less than the millions of the dollars, alas).
The Ushie saw a delightful Anne Cole swimsuit–it had panels falling down, gracefully, to the thighs. It revealed the legs for the obligatory tanning that eludes the Ushie each year (her pale pale skin actually repels sunlight), but covered the…parts from the top of the chest to the thighs, and was available in pretty colors. When swimming, she guesses the panels, unless attached, might spread out so one’s head, shoulders, and arms look as though they are floating on a lily pad. Perhaps a suit with attached panels, to the knee(?) might appeal to the Sarah(s).
However, she cannot at the moment locate the suit. Sigh. It must be somewhere…the Ushie likes the first outfit of the Folkwear enough to consider, seriously, getting the pattern. One could plash the feets happily and still be covered, either from modesty or sunlight (the Ushie wears a hat when “sunning”).
The jean skirt. Mutter. Snarl. In any event, long skirts are “in” so many women may find satisfactory ones. The Ushie tends to longer ones herself, as she likes them “flowy.”
A more important question: Do the modest Jewish/Muslim/Christian women wear the adorable shoes?
Hola to the Sarah from Israel. Has she had the chance to click on the link for the dive skin from http://www.divegoddess.com/ ? The dive skin, it covers the body from the chin to the wrist and ankle, and has the optional hood, which La BellaDonna, she is planning to opt for, as it will give her someplace to coil and stow her yard-long black braid. La BellaDonna, she thinks that the dive skin, coupled with perhaps a swim skirt, obtainable from many manufacturers (it is the skirted-bottom-for-swimming, rather than the skirt-for-covering-after-swimming), might be the good choice in the meantime for the woman who chooses to swim with her hair and her person covered, for whatever the reason. (La BellaDonna, because the challenge, it intrigues her, wonders in what manner the coverage needs differ between the Islam ladies and the orthodox Jewish ladies, and would appreciate being directed to the appropriate source of information if the Sarah can provide it.)
La BellaDonna, she sympathises with the Ryno, who doubtless has to deal with the difficulty, perhaps, of the 17-year-old daughter, who would like to look “sexy,” and the papa, who would prefer that she not. If the daughter of the thoughtful Ryno, she has the taste for the vintage, which is the sexy-and-cute, but will not give the papa the heart attack, she might like one of the suits below:
If not the super-fantastic, the modest Pakistani Muslim women certainly wear the super sparkly shoes. Or at least in my family and community they do.
Ah, pretty sandals, Anna!
The Ushie was wearing a flowy blouse with a rather deep cleavage, and the Pakistani mom (Muslim) from downstairs, who does cover the hair, asked her where she’d bought it–apparently, it would be appropriate for the home.
La BellaDonna, it is funny that you should post the revampvintage.com link, as I ordered this very bathing suit from them: http://www.revampvintage.com/ivy.html several months ago and am eagerly anticipating wearing it this summer. In fact, I have been planning to ask the Manolo if he might recommend some super fantastic shoes to wear with this suit whilst lazing around the pool — the ones the model has on are lovely, though the heel is a bit too high for my feets to endure. However, I thought that perhaps the Manolo could recommend some super fantastic, yet pool-area-appropriate (i.e., not super pricey, since they’ll be around chlorinated water and such) shoes to go with this suit.
The Ushie asked the most important of the questions:
“Do the modest Jewish/Muslim/Christian women wear the adorable shoes?”
The Sarah, she cannot speak for others, but she herself enjoys buying the superfantastic shoes when she can afford to do so. Just today, she is planning to wear the very adorable pink sandals with the cutest of the tiny green bows on it. She is going on the picnic on the national holiday!
And the La BellaDonna wonders “in what manner the coverage needs differ between the Islam ladies and the orthodox Jewish ladies.”
Perhaps the Sarah-not-from-Israel could help here if the Sarah-from-Israel is mistaken. The Israel Sarah, she believes that Islam requires the womens to cover all of the body except the face, the hands, and the feets. They must cover all their hair from the time they reach puberty (unless the Sarah is mistaken).
The Orthodox womens have many different practices because each of the rabbis has a different interpretation of the Jewish law. As they say “two Jews, three opinions.” Minimally, most of the Orthodox womens cover their arms at least to the elbow or a little above the elbow, and cover their legs at least to the knee, and avoid the deep necklines. Also the legs should not be too defined, which is why most of the Orthodox womens stick to the skirts, though the more liberal of the sisters wear loose pants. The more stricter of the Orthodox womens have the custom to wear skirts to the calf or ankle, and sleeves that are 3/4 length or to the wrist. The Muslim womens wear loose pants all of the times, but it is an unusual style for the religious Jewish womens.
The Orthodox womens cover their hair starting when they get married, but the question of how much hair must be covered and whether one may use a wig to do it varies from rabbi to rabbi and community to community. Most womens cover all of it, either with a hat/scarf or a wig. Some say you can leave some uncovered, and stick on the cute hat or the bandana and leave the bangs or the ponytail free to the sun and the wind!
After this, it is the matter of style. As the Sarah has mentioned, the American and the Israeli Orthodox womens have different styles, probably because 1) it is hotter in the Middle East than in the New York, NY and 2) The American professional womens cannot usually show up to work with their head tied up in a glittery cotton scarf and expect to ever get promoted.
The Sarah, she has noticed lately more of the Palestinian womens wearing the same style of head coverings as many of the Jewish womens, which just goes to show that the womens and the fashion and the adorable clothes will lead to world peace someday.
Don’t blame California for wicked weasel. It’s an Australian company. Hence the selection of “knickers” available for purchase.
oh, and here’s something about the 19th Century Swimwear from December of ’04:
We Love The Manolo!
Here in the Philippines, since I only swim with family, my main problem is severe sunburn. So I end up wearing a teeshirt in the water.
In public, I hestitate to swim at all, since I am overweight and feel like a blimp next to all those lovely petit Filippinas.
I agree: We need something between smurfette and a bikini.
I did notice while living outside Cairo every possible variation levels of personal covering, from not a dot of skin showing to head scarves with tight jeans and bar-wench tops. Most women I saw used every opportunity to make style statements wherever they could, depending on the boundaries of their particular level of covering and their financial state. Flamboyant, shiny, sparkly, flashy shoes were a very popular option. Fantastic eye makeup and vibrant lipstick colors were often another. And of course there were a variety of lovely scarves.
I think she looks quite adorable. She has carefully dressed herself for her day at the pool, and its a lovely bright color, which will not attract too much heat. I have seen the muslim women in waterparks in Cairo and at the pools who dress head-to-toe in all black and look so uncomfortable.
And to those wondering about how she will swim without sinking, typically muslim bathing suits are made from swimsuit-like or other quick-drying, lightweight materials, similar to the slicksuits that SCUBA divers wear, which is why it is so great that they are finally being made and women no longer have to swim in leggings, skirted bathing suits, and turtlenecks-now that is an unstylish look.
Some of the most stylish women I’ve ever met have been muslim women.
Is the young lady having fun?
Then she doesn’t have to impress me or anybody else and I say good for her!