Thursday, May 2, 2019

Your Lifestyle, and Modest Clothing Choices

Your lifestyle strongly impacts the kind of clothing you wear.

Blast from a Long-Hemmed Past

Sample of my 2019 Outdoor Lifestyle

In 2015, my lifestyle changed dramatically. In the space of four months I went from being a clean, intellectual indoors lady to an grubby, active outdoors lady who needed to be able to jump on a bicycle with five minutes' notice. My clothing style had to change to accommodate this.


I didn't have any clothing budget to speak of, so I mostly adapted the dresses I had, with the addition of fabric from my stash and thrifted trousers from SaveMart. In the next few posts I will share some of the upcycled outfits I created to allow me an active outdoor lifestyle and yet still feel like a lady and be modest.


I tried very hard to find a way to stay with my ankle-length dresses, but they simply weren't safe when working with tools, moving up and down steps with my hands full, or on the bicycle available to me.

Modest Cucumber, Summer 2019

Modest Cucumber, Summer 2018

I found that ankle-fitting trousers and an A-line dress hemmed just below the knee work best for cycling. Wide-legged trousers and a shirt-dress (tunic) hemmed just above the knee work best when I'm in the garden.

Climbing a steep and slippery hillside...

 ...on a frigid day in the New Zealand bush

Another problem was that my preferred light tints couldn't elegantly sustain exposure to dirty environments. Even my dress-nicely social outing spaces weren't safe.

I remember how heartbroken I was when my ivory cashmere coat warmly embraced a large piece of chocolate cake in my sit-upon area. Not a good look for a well-groomed lady. Nothing I tried would remove the stain. Light-coloured, sensitive fabrics have been retired until my life has more clean places in it.

Touring a Medical Flight Facility

Climbing around in that small space is challenging!


I encourage you to assess your individual lifestyle and the activities you're involved with, and have the courage to make clothing choices that are best suited to your preferences AND your needs in those situations.

Don't limit your options to what everybody else wears or says is acceptable or expected. Give yourself space to adapt. (My style transition took a couple of years.) Be creative. Be you.

Fiat lux.

Explore your world!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Oh, the Places You'll Go...Modestly


If you've been following my Facebook lately, you'll probably have seen photos like this...

 ...and this, during the Napier Art Deco Festival... solo busking debut...
 ...and this rocky experience on New Zealand's national day, Waitangi Day.
 Outdoor delights like this, cycling with Dad...
 ...walking the gorgeous avenues at the Tree Trust in Rotorua...
...swimming in the lake with my sister (brrr! refreshing!)...
 ...and filming piano improvisational videos
(you can view the playlist here).

You may also be aware of the reason the Boutique Narelle blog hasn't been updated for a while. In November 2015, I experienced a dramatic change in my life circumstances, moved suddenly to a different city, and have been focused on adapting to my new situation and environment. I'm posting this update now because I'm about to lose access to WiFi for an indeterminate period, and there are a couple of important things I want you, visitors and faithful supporters, to know.


I've been posting regularly to Facebook, so if you want to keep in touch or see the modest fashion projects I model or create, that's the place to find me at present. My data allowance should enable me to continue with this.


If you've contacted Boutique Narelle requesting that your shop be featured in the Modesty Mall and didn't get a response, it's likely because your email was swallowed into my message system and I couldn't find it when I was available to process it. Please, when you make a request, include the following:
  1. a clickable link to your site,
  2. the regions you service,
  3. the categories you service,
  4. a short list of the type of garments you offer (view Modesty Mall for samples),
  5. and make sure you put "Modesty Mall" in your email subject line.
Thank you so much to those who have alerted me to online stores that have closed. If you discover a link in the Modesty Mall that doesn't work, it would be greatly appreciated if you could post a comment on the page letting us know.

Until the next time, be the beautiful and unique you that God created you to be with grace and confidence, living modestly, loving femininity, and leading your heart toward true beauty. You are precious, and you have value needed by those around you. Walk tall and smile from the heart.

Fiat lux!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Happy Hattitude: stylish, feminine, and adaptable Fleece Beanie

I made something!

This weekend I started and finished a project.

And TADA! Here it is.

Are you acquainted with this two-fold joy?…the powerful delight in the act of creation, and then the urge to share that delight with someone. I wonder, is this how God felt when he introduced Eve to Adam? …No, I’m sure the ecstasy was far beyond my comprehension, for no-one in the whole wide world had made an Eve before.

My creation isn’t unique. Many others have made hats, and certainly hats in this round-top, beanie style, but I’ve never made a brimless hat before, so I think I’ll call this my Eva Hat. I based it on the free pattern from Fleece Fun*, adding a cotton knit lining, turning up the lining to create a brim, and doubling the ribbon trim to moderate the strong colour block look.

*The Fleece Fun blog and video sewing tutorials show the hat in baby size, but the pdf pattern I downloaded is in adult sizes of small, medium, and large.
The first two images show the hat worn without the threaded ribbon. The fabric flower is a purchased one, from which I pulled out the stem and hot-glued a metal crocodile clip to the back of the flower head. It’s proven to be a wonderfully flexible ornament.
I added the cotton knit lining to the hat for softness, consideration for my curly hair (which doesn’t get on well with polyester fleece), and extra warmth (New Zealand’s winter winds are piercing). It’s been so cold here that I was prompted this week to check I had a hat suitable for sleeping in. The best we had was a tight black wool beanie with a brown kiwi embroidered on the front. Not my idea of comfortable head covering.

But with Eva…yes, it’s Happy Hattitude with Eva.
Do you have a topper that brings on a Happy Hattitude for you and the people who look at you? If not, is it time you provided yourself with one?

As modest Christian women, we can joyfully pursue dressing habits that bless others and signpost our unique personality and royal position.

Fiat lux!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

DIY Curly Girl Success: 4 tips to cut and style your own hair with confidence

CurlyGirl DIY Success: curly before, still curly after

I'm remembering that traumatic moment at the hair salon when I realized I'd just lost all my long curls. And the hairdresser's response, "You just haven't got curly hair."

Ever been there?

That was April 2011. After an hair-endous follow-up conversation with the hairdresser as I sought to help her and myself figure out what went wrong, I have not stepped inside a hair salon. No thinning scissors have come near my head. No more stylist-induced split-end distress for my tresses. No more uneven length. No more hair grief, waiting for my freaked hair to recover from shock.

Now my hair is in the best condition of my life. I've been on a journey of discovery to get here, a journey kick-started by emotional abuse from a hairdresser. One day I'll write a book about it.

In the meantime, here's my best advice for you if you're a curly girl, or think you might be if you but knew how to care for your hair, and if you could keep it safe from straight-styling hair cutters!

Narelle's Top Tips for Hair Care (curly or straight)

1. Read this book: "Curly Girl: The Handbook".
Get book now on Amazon. Kindle version also available.
Get book now on Book Depository.

2. Educate yourself with curly-girl tutorials. A DVD comes with the "Curly Girl" book. Browse on youtube. Google forums where people chat about hair like yours.

3. Experiment with hair care methods to find what works best for your unique hair and body.

4. Get yourself a set of CreaClip hair cutting tools so you never have to trust (or pay) a hairdresser again. It's so easy at Video tutorials provided.

5-minute DIY trim over the sink using CreaClip and scissors
The "after" photos in this post were taken about two hours after I'd cut my own hair using my curved CreaClip hair cutting tool, a process that took just five minutes. The ends of my hair had air-dried when I cut them. They had not been brushed or combed straight prior to cutting.

After cutting, I re-moisturized the ends by lightly twitching on a little extra non-toxic conditioner.* Remember, it's mid-winter here in New Zealand, so TLC is a good idea anyway.

*MY REGULAR HAIR CARE PROGRAM: During my twice-weekly cleansing program, I use Neways non-toxic cleanser for my scalp, and leave-in conditioner for the ends of my hair. After showering, I gently wrap my wet hair in a teeshirt until I'm ready to style it. While styling my drying hair, I control frizz by spraying it with water+conditioner that I mix in a small spritzer bottle. This spray is all I use to keep my curls moisturized and frizz-free during the rest of the week.

Curly Girl is not just a hair care style. It's a lifestyle.
This fresh-cut appearance is a great contrast to how it would look during my pre-Curly Girl years. Back then, whenever a hairdresser cut my hair (wet or dry), my hair lost its curl for four to five days, and took weeks to regain ringlets. Now, as you see, my hair has as much curl and body after cutting as before it.

The curly girl method works, but it's not just a cutting style, it's a lifestyle. All the best with discovering the joy and freedom of the right lifestyle for YOU. You and your hair deserve it.

Fiat lux!