Wrapping with Wrapunzel

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Today I have a special guest blogger to share her very positive and uplifting words on the concept of modesty. Although the obvious undertone of Fashion-isha.com is about enjoying the beautiful things in life and elevating them to the levels of your own personal standards, I rarely talk about modesty in a blatant fashion because it can be a very emotional and controversial topic. I understand that everyone's journey is different, and want to foster a feeling of mutual respect amongst us all.

After I read Rivka's post, I was so inspired by her completely joyful message, that I felt it was worthwhile to share her wonderful perspective with you.

Rivka Malka Perlman and her 'Wrapunzel' partner Andrea Grinberg are two of those special women who made the decision to cover their hair with beautiful scarves and bypass wearing a wig.  While I am personally not at that level, I have always admired these bright and holy women.  It is a fact that they always look beautiful...as it is their shining faces, bright eyes and contagious smiles that first catch your eyes...and then the swaths of colorful and bright fabric that adorn them, like royal crowns.

Here's what Rivka Malka writes:

     "My 17 year old daughter sat in class the other week and the teacher asked “When I say modesty, what words come to mind in the first sixty seconds.”

In the living room tonight, my daughter posed that same question to me. “What would you say, Ma?”

I easily answered “self - worth, protection, inner beauty, creative, gorgeous, inspired, whole.”

“That’s so you Ma. The girls in my class answered, ‘Rules, below the knee too tight’ etc”

Why? Why is that their response?

When does a guideline go from being a simple direction for attaining results to an oppressive set of standards you feel choked by?

The answer is in a four letter word, FEAR. And it’s the opposite of a power packed three letter word; JOY.

When we come to modesty with joy, we celebrate the liberating truth that we are souls; infinitely wonderful, endlessly beloved; fascinating, beautiful, complicated, good hearted souls and we are worthy. We wear clothes that reflect that, and draw attention away from our bodies and shine light on our essence.

We choose colors that feel great and make us happy so we can spend our days in gratitude. We walk with pride; in a world that stands for nothing; we stand for something, something really special. With joy, we recognize that though the feminine urge is to want attention we are SO lucky to have these guidelines that protect us from ourselves, so we can get the kind of attention we really want, and that is not someone’s roving eyes, but from someone’s loving heart.

When we come to modesty with FEAR, we hate it. We hate the men who can’t keep their eyes off us and that we have to dress in a certain way because of their alleged weaknesses. We hate that we can’t look as cool or as good as the people we see on the street and in magazines. We hate anyone who is more modest then us and makes us feel less than, and we protect our standard to the bitter end.

When we come to modesty because of FEAR we lose what matters. And what matters is that we light up the world with goodness, kindness and truth.

I have a confession to make. I NEVER use the word modesty at home. In fact, the Hebrew term is Tznius, or tzniut. I never use that either. It’s a trigger word. I’m a free spirit. It makes me feel trapped, just like those girls in my daughter’s school.

But I cover my hair and my girls all wear skirts so what do I say?

I say “You look gorgeous! That looks great on you!” Because the object is not to find how many things can we eliminate (no short sleeves, no skirts above the knees, no, no, no…) the object is to enjoy! (Notice the word JOY in there!) Every girl and every woman wants to look beautiful. And they should.. I want to buy clothes that I feel great in, that give me a lift and make me feel proud and I want them to have that too.

But I wasn’t always this way.

Way back when I was a teenager I was taught to dress modestly too. But you could find me, ten minutes after I left the house with my skirt rolled up and my socks pushed down, tossing my hair waiting for someone to notice me. In those days, I really didn’t know how valuable I was.

I thought I was as valuable as the number of boys who were interested in me.


How many women in America never move past that. How many women base their value on the amount of male attention they garner?

And if that’s hard to answer and you think I’m exaggerating, close your eyes and think about every billboard or magazine you see. They scream it! And we pick it up, wittingly or unwittingly, every single day, everywhere we look.

So when did I start getting it? When did modesty become a joy?

When I started covering my hair.

When I began covering my hair with tichels (scarves) I finally embraced the fact that I AM A JEWISH WOMAN. I have standards, I stand for something awesome. I walk through the world and people know, just by looking at me that I have G-d in my life. That whether or not they understand what I do, I am doing something, not following- baaaahhhh, like the flocks of sheep with the latest style.

With my scarves I connect to an ancient tradition and at the same time have freedom to experiment with colors and textures and authentic creativity.

Most of all, when I look in the mirror I see me. With all my hair  tucked away, the face and its truth is shown. It radiates the light of the soul and opens me up to connect in ways I couldn’t before.

I have shown women how to tie scarves for years, but it’s only since starting Wrapunzel together with Andre Grinberg, that I am seeing that all these phenomenon that I am speaking of are not unique to me. We are getting scarves to women as far away as Spain and Australia. Our Wrapunzel ladies are from  Russia, France, Montreal and Alaska. And they all love it too.

Countless emails and facebook messages pour into our inbox every day.

“Now that I cover, I love myself for the first time.”

“I never liked the way I looked in pictures and I wouldn’t let anyone take one of me. But this is me and how I look today, and I want to say thank you.”

” I feel so much more like myself with my hair covered, I can’t explain it.” “

“I am beautiful… wait did I just write that? I deleted that six times before I let myself write it. But it’s the truth. I am a beautiful woman.”

They all are.

We all are.

The light that shines within us begs us to honor it. She wants us to feel the peace between our inner world and our outer expression. That is beauty.

Be your best self, shine your light and EnJOY!"

So what do you think? I love it! Today's a great day to get inspired!

Visit the Wrapunzel website and watch their fun video here:

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  1. This was very interesting. I enjoyed. I think dressing in the way that makes you feel great about yourself and confident is key. There is a lot of shaming going on with your girls and older women too about how they dress, as if this leads men to do bad things to them. But, a girl can wear shorts and carry herself with respect too, it's the men they should be punishing really. It should be a joy to wear what you wish, whether you are covered up or not. And should never be out of fear. Only out of love and appreciation for our bodies. I think when we do cover up, we aren't putting ourselves on display for others to appreciate, but I don't believe that everyone that shows a little skin doesn't appreciate themselves and shows the skin to get compliments from others, they just like the look, so it varies from person. This was a really great post, I liked the discussion a lot!! I hope you have a great weekend doll :) Xxxx

  2. Hi Sharon so interesting, and to me modesty can indeed be beautiful AND fashionable....kind of goes along with leaving something to the imagination:)
    LOVE your new blog look. Actually working behind the scenes to tweak things on my end and adding the rest of my blog list if just one of many things to do but yes it will be done!! Hope you are well....

  3. So inspiring and such a positive message. The scarves are beyond amazing and the allure of allowing the light inside us to shine makes me want to try this...maybe for a day...or a few days..

  4. such a wonderful post!
    happy weekend!


  5. I have to say getting attention for men has never been my thing so this is not a problem for me as I get older but the bigger thing is our society and to the degree (men included) it can actually keep you from getting a job.

    Allie of ALLIE NYC