As springtime temperatures settle in and steamy weather looms, heavy winter wear is being shuttled to the back of the closet.
Hemlines will rise, necklines will drop and, without fail, standards of decency will be challenged. Deciding how much to bare is a personal choice but, if your choice is to dress conservatively, your options are often limited. Clothing trends skewed toward the youthful and wannabe-youthful market feature fitted garments in questionable cuts that are snipping away at the fabric of modesty.
Rachel Lubchansky of University City doesn’t necessarily feel more comfortable shedding layers when the mercury rises. She suspects that she isn’t alone.
In August, she launched an online boutique called Funky Frum (www.funkyfrum.com). Today, she has customers in 30 states and four countries.
Her mission is to offer modest clothing for the modern woman. All of her skirts are knee-length or longer, and sleeves are at least to the elbow. Some necklines plunge, but Lubchansky shows them with tank tops layered underneath.
“People have the sense that modest has to be drab or dowdy, but it can be stylish and current with the trends,” says Lubchansky, who has a degree in fashion marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
Wearing a brown beret, white embroidered peasant blouse and skirt, she says: “You can be fashionable and covered up.”
The styles on her site are not unique, but what makes Funky Frum different is its overriding focus on Lubchansky’s modesty standards. With that in mind, there are plenty of multihued, contemporary items that will appeal to the girl who wants to be noticed and complimented but not ogled.
By the way, “frum” is not short for “frumpy”. It’s actually a Yiddish word that loosely translates to “religious observant,” although Lubchansky, who is Jewish, insists that she’s not making a religious statement or trying to proselytize about fashion.
“I’m not on a mission to change how other people dress,” says Lubchansky, 28. “I’m not judgemental like that. People should wear whatever makes them comfortable, but right now, in my life, I’m more comfortable being more modest, and I want to offer clothing that appeals to others who feel the same way.”
She didn’t always feel that way. She says there was a time when she was not observing her faith and she wore clothing better described as immodest.
Then one day, she woke up and found that she had mentally outgrown the clothes in her closet.
“I became really aware of how people looked at me, and I just didn’t want to go out in dazzling sparkly tops anymore,” Lubchansky says.
After nine months in business, Funky Frum has already expanded to offer plus size clothing that features stylish cuts meant to be colorful, feminine and form flattering, rather than covered up and hidden.
Her plans include expanding into accessories, youth and petite apparel and perhaps working on her own line of original Funky Frum clothing.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch