Oy! Socialite Olivia Palermo becomes style icon for Orthodox Jewish women

Oy! How Olivia Palermo became a style icon for Orthodox Jewish women

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UPDATED:

21:32 GMT, 13 May 2012

Orthodox Jewish women are taking fashion inspiration from style-star Olivia Palermo in an effort to shake-up their modest appearance.

The socialite has become one of the most influential red-carpet
celebrities for style-conscious Orthodox women, who must follow three core rules of modesty in how they dress.

Looking to trend-setters like the 26-year-old for inspiration, Orthodox style blogger Sharon Langert told BuzzFeed: 'Jewish Orthodox women are fashion savvy – they want to look up-to-date.'

Conservatively chic: Olivia Palermo has become one of the most influential celebrities for style-conscious Orthodox Jewish women, who must follow three core rules of modesty in how they dress

Conservatively chic: Olivia Palermo has become one of the most influential celebrities for style-conscious Orthodox Jewish women, who must follow three core rules of modesty in how they dress

Conservatively chic: Olivia Palermo has become one of the most influential celebrities for style-conscious Orthodox Jewish women, who must follow three core rules of modesty in how they dress

Conservatively chic: Olivia Palermo has become one of the most influential
celebrities for style-conscious Orthodox Jewish women, who must follow three core rules of modesty in how they dress

Orthodox Judaism requires both men and women to substantially cover their bodies, which has previously hindered the way modern Orthodox Jewish women would like to dress.

There are three main rules, or tznius, they must adhere to: shirt sleeves should cover elbows, the neckline should extend to the collarbone, and skirts must cover the knees, with or without tights.

Modern looks: Orthodox style blogger Sharon Langert looks to Miss Palermo for style inspiration when incorporating the tznius into her outfits

Modern looks: Orthodox style blogger Sharon Langert looks to Miss Palermo for style inspiration when incorporating the tznius into her outfits

Trousers are forbidden, and married women must cover their heads with a wig, scarf or hat.

While Orthodox women shop in specialty stores that cater specifically to these guidelines, many are now turning to mainstream stores Zara and H&M which stock up-to-date, more covered-up looks seen on the likes of Olivia Palermo, and even Alexa Chung who is a fan of button-up blouses and log-sleeve shirts.

Appropriating the stars' glamorous,
but conservative looks, Orthodox women are stepping away from their
traditional garb, instead creating fashionable outfits that still adhere
to their tznius.

Not all Orthodox women allow fashion
magazines in their homes, however, but many do follow trends, searching
for style tips and inspiration on the increasing number of Orthodox
fashion blogs like Mrs Langert's, called Fashion Isha.

Orthodox-appropriate
looks appear in abundance on the red-carpet, and Ms Palermo, Rachel Zoe
and Kate Middleton have become style-icons to Orthodox Jewish women.

Mrs Langert said: [Olivia Palermo] really knows how
to put herself together.'

Adi
Heyman, an Orthodox stylist living in Manhattan, who is also starting a
blog about conservative fashion, offered: 'Not everything Olivia
Palermo wears is modest, but she does wear a lot of long,
flowy skirts and blouses. It's very classy how she dresses.'

The
Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, is also praised for her ladylike'
clothes, and Ms Heyman added that celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe, who
often wears layers of vintage, 'covers up in [a way] that works for the
Orthodox
girls.'

For Haredim or Ultra-Orthodox, clothes
have a purely practical function, but those who define themselves as
Orthodox or Modern-Orthodox freely experiment with their wardrobes.

Orthodox Jewish women with baby carriage on 34th Street near Macy's in Manhattan

Chain store chic: Orthodox Jewish women shop in stores like Macy's and H&M in Manhattan to find modern versions of their traditional dress

While they don't want to attract undue attention, they also don't want to be perceived as dowdy, and fashion's far-reaching love affair with lady-like and more covered up looks appears to be working in their favour.

Ms Heyman explained: 'These days it's easy to dress modestly and be on-trend.'