Waking up in the morning, I wander over to my closet. Opening the door and rubbing my sleepy eyes, I silently wish I had someone to pick out an outfit for me. Something that fits me well, and doesn't look like it was designed for the me that existed 15 years ago. I'm sure even the most dedicated fashionistas among us have mornings like this.

As I've gotten older (and had kids) instead of searching for a look that makes a statement, I've lowered my goal to something that flatters my post-childbirth 30-something figure. As this brilliant video satire attests (ladies only, please), almost none of us are born with the kind of equipment we are shown in advertising or are bombarded with in the media. 

For a more serious take on why our perception of beauty is tainted, if you haven't seen it already, do watch Dove's very quick inside look from the beginning of a beauty ad to the end result (again, ladies only).

Futhermore, research is starting to show that campaigns (such as Dove's) that showcase "real" women can be just as effective without leaving the rest of us feeling bad about ourselves.

All that aside, I have a few quick tips for dressing in a way that is modest AND flattering (meaning, you look nice--not provocative).

. Know thyself. Without taking Shakespeare too far out of context, let's state the obvious: everyone's body type is different. Tall, short, longer abdomens, shorter abdomens, well-endowed, not, round, square, freckled, whatever, we are all different. This means that you should bear your particular shape in mind when shopping, even at SHUKR. Though that really cute tunic comes in size medium--the size you always buy--keep in mind that the cuts and design may be significantly different.

I look terrible in anything with an empire waist, so I avoid it unless I'm looking for maternity wear. Instead of shopping blindly, one needs to get a sense of what they look good in, and what designs will almost always be a fail for your particular body type. If you don't know, go out, try on a lot of stuff, and bring a friend who will give you an honest assessment. Take notes. This is the first step in building a wardrobe that will last, and for avoiding time-consuming returns and exchanges.

 

2. Know thy garment measurements chart. This is NOT the body sizing chart (which gives only general guidelines); rather, it gives the measurements of the top, skirt, jilbab, etc., itself. You can take these measurements and measure a garment at home that already fits and flatters. I know it seems like work, but the big payoff is knowing without a doubt that the piece you're ordering will fit beautifully. Here is what the link to the garment measurement's chart looks like (see: under Fit and Sizing):     When you click on it, it looks like this:       3. Love thyself. Not in the creepy narcissistic sense, but in a healthy, peaceful, grateful sense.  

If you need to work on being healthy, then go for it. Be the best version of you that you are able to be, but don't get down on yourself every time you pass the newest issue of Cosmo in the supermarket.  Remember: not even Angeline Jolie looks like Angelina Jolie--that image has passed through the wonder that is Adobe Photoshop. If you buy clothes that fit properly and work well with your  particular figure, you're well on your way to looking your best.