Follow Kveller

You are browsing the archive for modesty.

Jan 13 2014

Just Us or Was Modesty Totally Trending at the Golden Globes?

By at 12:52 pm


If you tuned into the 71st annual Golden Globes award last night, you may have taken notice of this year’s fashion theme: modesty.

In a trend clearly borrowed from Miss Mayim herself (who looked gorgeous in a sheer-topped, black gown), actresses like Julia Roberts, Julie Bowen, and Elisabeth Moss left more than usual to the imagination, opting for sleeved dresses with little to no cleavage (oh my!) and maximum coverage. Ms. Roberts in particular takes the “frum chic” award home, donning an oxford shirt that appeared tucked into a form-fitting black gown. In my opinion, it looked like a glorified tuxedo, but to each her own.

Two great dresses in particular were the “Frum chic in the front/’bringing sexy back’ back” look worn by actresses Cate Blanchett and Emma Watson. Blanchett looked elegant and sexy in a high-collared black, backless dress, all the while dripping in Chopard diamonds. Watson wore a red backless flowing Dior gown, which was also backless and included pretty nifty sewn in cropped trousers. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 30 2013

When Do I Stop Being Naked in Front of My Kids?

By at 2:42 pm


Sarah Tuttle-Singer’s recent post on why she lets her kids see her naked reminded me of a piece I wrote almost two years ago about my family’s nudity policy (or lack thereof).

Unlike Sarah, I didn’t have a poetic, thoughtful, and profound reason for my decision to let my children see me (and their father) naked. My reason was pretty much the same reason I do all things; my belief that what’s easiest for me to do is ultimately best for my kids (a.k.a. I am Occam’s Mother).

But, when I wrote the above post, my oldest son was 12. And now he’s 14. There’s a big difference between 12 and 14–especially when he’s a boy. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 26 2013

Free Stuff Alert: HydroChic Modest Bathing Suit

By at 11:41 am

hydrochic skirtSummer is officially on, and we’ve got a giveaway to get you super excited about going for a dip. HydroChic makes sun protective active wear for water and sports, and specialize in modest swimwear that will you keep you just as covered as you want to be.

If you’ve been following Kveller over the years, you may recognize HydroChic as the bathing suit actress Mayim Bialik wrote a love letter to last year after her search for the perfect modest swimsuit. (You can see her sporting it on her recent trip to Mexico, too.)

We’re teaming up with HydroChic to offer one lucky reader any bottom of their choosing–skirt, skort, shorts, or pants. To enter, just fill out the form below and we’ll choose a random winner next Friday, July 5th. Good luck, and happy summer!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Aug 8 2012

What Do You Think About Natalie Portman’s Wedding Dress?

By at 3:25 pm

natalie portman wedding dressI’m a huge fan of Natalie Portman. She’s a talented actress, an ethereal beauty, and a proud Jewess. Born in Israel, Natalie wears her Jewishness proudly as was captured this past Saturday night at her beautiful yet understated Big Sur, California wedding to Benjamin Millepied. A photo of the couple wrapped in a Tallis evokes strong emotion as it represents the melding of the beauty of the physical and the spiritual into one.

But let’s talk fashion for a moment… What about her dress? Fit for a true princess, Natalie’s dress, a simple tea length gown by Rodarte, was elegantly topped with a sheer lace overlay to softly cover her arms and chest. Bravo to Natalie for her sense of respect and modesty at such a revered time in her life. I believe her gown was perfectly apropos for her specific wedding setting; it was elegant, yet completely unstuffy. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 16 2011

My Giant Adult-Sized Onesie

By at 11:22 am

The 100th episode party last night for The Big Bang Theory was big and full of bang, held at the Science Center in downtown Los Angeles. The Barenaked Ladies performed, and we cut into giant cakes in the shape of the number 100 (the cake was, alas, not vegan, so I did not eat cake for the cameras). In any event, we got to give thanks and appreciation to our amazing crew and staff and it was an intense but lovely evening.

For me, though, the personal thrill (besides seeing Chuck Lorre and Simon Helberg each play a song on stage with The Barenaked Ladies on stage – what!?) was my outfit. You see, I have taken on the awesome challenge of trying to conform to some standards of tznius (religious modesty), in this incarnation as an actor. Matter of fact, I did an entire set of posts about this entitled “Operation Hot and Holy” around Emmy time last year. The rules are simple enough: cover to the knee, cover the arms, no plunging necklines, no “unnatural cleavage” (meaning, if what God gave me is in evidence, more power to me, but no pushing up, no padding, no exaggerating allowed, as it were).

The stylist I used was recommended to me by the make-up/hair woman who I think it the most un-Hollywood make-up/hair person ever. This is a good thing, since I don’t like Hollywood people who tell me I look “aMAzing” when it’s clear that I don’t, etc. So the stylist, as it turns out, is a very un-Hollywood person as well. Yay!

Said stylist ( is her blog) is low-key, very hip, very not obnoxious, and very adorable. She also is straight-forward and funky, as well as reasonably priced. But the best part is the following (hang on to your kippahs and sheitels (wigs), Orthodox world): she is working with me on the tznius (modesty) thing. I can’t say she is overjoyed about it, but here’s how last night worked as a great example.

We chose a sweet Alice + Olivia dress that had teeny tiny adorable little cap sleeves. Not gonna work for mama, I told her. She suggested a blazer. That felt too “covered up.” I proposed a solution: frum shell.

What’s a frum shell, you ask? Picture a giant adult-size onesie (they also come without the snap crotch but who doesn’t want a snap crotch?!) in any color of the rainbow you want. They even come with different textures, sparkles, bling…They are sometimes 3/4 sleeve, I prefer the long sleeve.

When I explained the frum shell to the stylist over email, she wasn’t sure…She kept asking about the material. I told her it’s tight and shiny and black, her response was “OMG you just made me so happy when you said that!!” because she was worried that I would show up in black saggy, baggy, long john cotton thermals under my gorgeous dress. When I told her they come in every color, she laughed and said,  ”Then in every color of the rainbow you shall have them!” I know, you’re loving her, too, right!?

We did one more fitting for me to try on the dress with the frum shell. The stylist eyed me. She looked skeptical. She paced around me, hands to her chin. She eyed the place where the neckline of the dress met the neckline of the frum shell. A little was poking out. She said if I wear my hair down so it covers the neckline, I have her blessing. Amen!

I love that I got to wear a frum shell under this dress to the party. I love that the frum shell allows one to wear dresses that are hip and happening without showing one’s arms if you don’t want to. I love that the party was held in a hangar-size room that was impossible for heaters to warm up; people were literally shivering and having trouble keeping their lips from chattering while I was happy as a clam, arms covered, cozy, and allowing the glory of my inner soul to shine through. Okay, alright, that was a bit of religious hyperbole, but you get the idea.

Possibly the most exciting thing about my new BFF/stylist is that she already has a designer picked out who will design me tznius dresses for the awards shows I will attending this season. Those will include the SAG awards (our show was nominated for Best Ensemble which means if we win, I get to go up on stage!), maybe The People’s Choice, and – who knows? – maybe the Emmys.

I know you’re all wondering if she’s Jewish, this stylist I am crushing on. Truth be told, she and I haven’t discussed it and I don’t know that we need to. All I know is she’s from Houston and her last name is Kahn, a name associated with the high priests of Judaism since the Torah. I know better than to make more of this than I ought to, but suffice it to say, she had me at “OMG.”

Read up on Mayim’s fashion adventures, keeping it hot and holy.

Nov 16 2011

Remember That Thing Called Privacy?

By at 3:13 pm

do not disturb sign on dooro“Um…what do you do at night…you know… when you want to be together?” asked my friend who was pushing her first child’s stroller as I pushed my fourth child in his.

She knew I left the door open at night, that the kids often came into bed with us, that as infants, they slept with me all night.

“I lock the door.”

“Oh, makes sense,” she replied, almost meekly.

I loved having my kids in bed with us but there were times, of course, that their parents needed to be alone together.

This concept is known as “privacy.”

In an era of TMI and oversharing, it might be a good policy to review.

Of course, I did not pee in private for about 15 years as I raised my kids. And now that I take care of my grandchildren frequently, there are times I am demonstrating to yet another generation what it means to use the toilet. But, in the immortal words of James Marshall’s hippos, George and Martha, “There is such a thing as PRIVACY, you know!”

We take for granted that we need to teach our kids to share – Elmo, Big Bird and friends talk about it all the time. And we do, too, especially when screaming and pulling are involved. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 19 2011

Mayim at the Emmys: The Morning After

By at 12:07 pm

Mayim Bialik’s journey to the Emmys started like any other celebrity–with a search for the perfect dress. Unlike everybody else, her search was deemed “Operation Hot & Holy,” since the actress wanted to find a dress that adhered to traditional Jewish rules of modesty. You can read Part 1Part 2, and Part 3 of her story. Here are her thoughts post-Emmys, written at 4:30 am while nursing, of course.

1. Oh my goodness, my feet hurt so incredibly much from those spiky heels of death the stylist loaned me. Legs will tremble involuntarily after about 7 hours in the million dollar babies known as crystal-encrusted Rene Caovillas.

2. Jim Parsons won the Emmy! It’s amazingly exciting to work with an Emmy winner and he is so modest, talented, and kind. I am so proud of him and happy for him.

3. Host Jane Lynch remembers me and said hi to me. I used to see her in small theater in LA in my teenage years. Claire Danes and Zachary Levi and I also seem to be destined to be BFFs because we keep running into each other.

4. I got to be in the E! “360 Camera” which was like a 3-way mirror from hell times 9000 but was also super cool.

Me and Louis CK, the one person I wanted to meet!

5. I achieved a look I was comfortable in, proud of, and compliant with Operation Subdued Sexy aka Operation Hot and Holy. My persistence in looking for a tznius (modest) dress that covered my elbows and beyond and my resistance to backing down paid off. I got a LOT of questions on the red carpet about it: why so long, why so covered up… but also some very sincere compliments from interviewers who seemed genuinely refreshed to see something “different!”

6. My hair was Pink-esque and TALL, my make-up was fierce, and my jewelry was “unusual” by Hollywood standards but we pulled it off. It is possible to express individuality and still look competitive. Unless I make a “worst-dressed” list in which case, whatevs.

7. Publicists will attempt to take a sista down on the red carpet if they either a) don’t know who you are and think their client deserves more time on the carpet than you or b) don’t give a flying funk who you are and think their client deserves more time on the carpet than you.

Yes, I brought Hanukkah gelt as a snack.

8. A little quinoa and brussels sprouts makes a vegan very happy at the Governors Ball after the awards.

9. I will be waking up like usual at around 6:30 am and I am currently up at 4:30 nursing Fred. My boys don’t care if I was at the Emmys last night nor should they: what’s for breakfast?

10. I can’t escape my beloved YU Maccabeats; Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” was performed last night during the show and all I could imagine was the Maccabeats’ version which uses the lyrics to the Medieval Hebrew love poem about Shabbat, “L’cha Dodi.” It was a comforting coincidence.


Sep 16 2011

Mayim Finds an Emmy Dress Amongst Stylist, Friends & Urine

By at 12:49 pm
mayim bialik golden globes

At the Golden Globes. Tune in Sunday for the Emmys.

Operation Subdued Sexy (aka Operation Hot and Holy) ended tonight amidst thousands of dollars of satin and lace, and a puddle of toddler urine.

When last we spoke, I was trying to work around a dress that my stylist found for me that conformed to the standards of tznius (modesty)… except for the left arm and shoulder which were as naked and exposed as my hairless cat on a cold day with no blanket to hide under. The plan was to add a sleevelet to said dress and at least cover the shoulder of the naked arm. That plan, sadly, was making even the most delicate and tactful friends and co-stars of mine say, “Um, no. No. No way. I can’t let you do that.”

The pricey but hard-working stylist came to my house tonight with more dresses. I had one girlfriend here, another girlfriend on Skype from Atlanta, and my super funky publicist with me. They all had a look of determination about them and it made me a wee bit scared. Picture the “Star Wars” theme music.

All of these women got to see me in a SPANX and not much more, and that’s how much i trust them- now’s not the time for that level of tznius; we’ve got an Emmy dress to find. I tried on 6 dresses with the potential for buying the one that worked best. This opened up more possibility, since big-time actresses can “claim” a designer so that other actresses can’t be loaned the same designer, but if you want to buy a dress, all designers are fair game. Money talks.

Two  dresses were stunning but only covered the shoulders and I was holding out for elbow coverage. The stylist, publicist, and one friend looked at me skeptically. I wondered if Operation Hot and Holy was not long for this world. I started to panic. On to the four dresses with sleeves. Three lacked vavoom, including one that I actually thought was vavoom/perfect/the one, but I was out-voted. One dress was the winner. Truth be told, it’s not “my style,” but it is flattering, smartly-priced, and covers my elbows and legs (there is a slit that hits at the knee which is kosher by me). In addition, it really highlights my chest, arguably the most (only?) improved aspect of my body post-childbirth. Not to brag, but my chest looks awesome. And I think we are still within the realms of tznius. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 13 2011

Getting Ready for the Emmys

By at 10:31 am

Mayim in NOT the Emmys dress. You'll have to wait until Sunday for that.

Operation Subdued Sexy (aka Operation Hot and Holy) is underway and in effect. The search to find a dress to wear to this year’s Emmy awards on September 18 that satisfies the standards of tznius (modesty) is in theory going fine. In practical application, it’s not going so fine. Here’s why.

These are the things that occurred when I met the stylist last week.

1) She was indeed very nice, organized, on time, efficient and not too “Hollywood.”

2) She brought with her some dresses from London (and some from here as well) for me to try on.

3) We found one dress that we think looks dy-no-mite. It’s edgy, unusual, funky, very flattering, and really makes me look pretty darn Hot and Holy, if I do say so myself.

These are the things I did not know which I found out when I met the stylist last week.

1) Some very famous actresses (those who are much more famous than me) can put a kind of gag order on what other actresses wear. They sort of “claim” a designer early on and that makes it a wee bit of a more narrow pool of dresses for the rest of us to choose from.

2) When stylists bring you dresses, they only bring one size of each dress, and you are not allowed to tailor or alter any of these dresses. So you are effectively looking for the absolute perfect dress as it is, no changes allowed. And at this stage of the game, what she brought is sort of what we’ve got to choose from. Are you reaching for the Xanax yet?

3) The dress that looks dy-no-mite is Operation Subdued Sexy compliant…except for the left arm which is completely exposed in a very sexy and not at all subdued kind of way. So my left arm is completely and hopelessly ervah (indecently exposed), as it were. Yes, I am being slightly dramatic about my left arm; just for effect.

Some other things I have come to realize after ruminating over this all weekend.

1) I am not skinny teeny tiny like most Hollywood women and I don’t want to be. But I need to realize that not being skinny teeny tiny but rather a small-ish curvy and – by the tape measure – disproportionately busty-for-my small-ish frame woman who has birthed children and nursed them for the better part of the last 6 years makes me somewhat of an oddity when stylists try to dress me.

2) Add to my freakishly huge breasts (okay, that’s going a bit too far; again, I am being melodramatic for effect) my tznius restrictions, the more famous celebrities taking some of the major designers off the racks, and the fact that I am not in the position to hire someone to custom make me a dress to fit my figure and restrictions, this is not easy. It’s not impossible, but it’s not easy.

3) My initial desire was to cover all the way to the elbow, which is a general tznius standard. I may be able to cover my shoulder of the left arm but not all the way to the elbow. This is a compromise that I have made for events in the past and will possibly be making again. I will try not to be grumpy about it, and I will make sure that I stuff all of my sexiness under the fabric we use to cover my left shoulder so that what is revealed of my left arm is very boring, very bland, and not seductive at all.

4) In the scope of the universe, this is all going to be okay. I am still beyond out of my mind amazed and grateful that my life has led me to star in not one but two television shows on prime time television when I come from a family that doesn’t even trace our family tree back more than three generations in Eastern Europe because of the series of events that dumped my grandparents on the shores of Manhattan to build a life for themselves. I am going to the Emmys and it is amazing.

If I can’t cover all the way to the elbow this year, God help me I will do it next year. And while we’re on the topic of God, I don’t think God will strike me down for not covering my left arm up. My dedication to a life of tznius gives me structure, makes me feel protected in a world that often violates, and allows me to have control over who sees what part of me, when, and how. And I am grateful to the God of my understanding for allowing me to grow slowly, gently, and gracefully.

And this year, it may look like my growth reached all the way from my ankles, up my thighs, over my tush, up to my clavicle, and all the way over my right arm clear to the wrist. However, that growth may stop at my left upper arm when you see me walking the carpet on Sunday. But God help me to keep growing so that next year, Kol kveudah bat melech p’nimah (“All of the glory of the king’s daughter is within”), that growth covers my left arm like the robes of a princess.

Check out the first part of Operation Hot and Holy. And read about how Mayim deals with pumping on the set of The Big Bang Theory.

Sep 9 2011

Operation Hot and Holy

By at 10:03 am

Mayim previously on the red carpet

Re: ‘Operation Subdued Sexy’ aka ‘Operation Hot and Holy’
Client: Mayim Bialik, PhD, cast member of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory
Timeline: Operation set to commence immediately for September 18 date of completion

Mission: Acquire very fancy designer gown that conforms to the standards of tznius (modesty) to wear to the 2011 Emmy Awards

Details: Tznius varies in its interpretation but in general terms, reflects modesty and decorum for men and women alike in dress and demeanor. For women who keep to tznius, the most widely accepted guidelines are to cover the knees and elbows and all of one’s cleavage and clavicle. Dr. Bialik favors jewel tones (emerald, sapphire, ruby) and is open to any color possibility, especially if it highlights her blue/green eyes with the gold flecks around the pupils which she is told are her best feature.

Modifications: In the past, Dr. Bialik has maintained the “knee” guideline fairly consistently, but has shifted the elbow restriction to the shoulder in consideration to the designers attempting to dress her for various and sundry red carpet events where even covering to the knee is often viewed as “dowdy,” “fuddy- duddy,” or just plain “not hip.” For the Emmy Awards, Dr. Bialik has expressed a strong and keen interest to hold to the more standard guideline for tznius but is open to allowing her clavicle to show and possible minimal cleavage. TBD.

Approach: Dr. Bialik has acquired the services of a very expensive and very talented professional stylist who is on target and on purpose for the execution of ‘Operation Subdued Sexy’ aka ‘Operation Hot and Holy.’ Said stylist even has Orthodox friends and a spouse who is a member of the Tribe. Dr. Bialik takes great comfort in these facts and this comfort has been converted to excitement which has allowed her to be distracted – if only momentarily – from how incredibly expensive stylists are. Dr. Bialik has had a phone conference with aforementioned stylist and has been asked to provide exact measurements of her bust, hips, waist, and shoulders so that the stylist may pursue the gown in both London and Los Angeles over the next few weeks.

Conclusion: Dr. Bialik is thrilled, as the granddaughter of poor immigrants to this country who arrived on the shores of Manhattan with not much besides the dreams in their hearts and the shoes on their feet, to be attending the Emmy Awards. She will consider it a personal achievement to obtain the Emmy gown that she feels will allow her neshama (spirit) to shine through.

Read Part II of Mayim’s dress search here.


Recently on Mayim