We’ve been following Rachel E. Dahl‘s amazing blog for some years now. A mix of indie style and great stories to share. We wanted to know more about the delicious American woman who inspires us on a daily basis. A free soul with amazing taste. The anti girls girl. There’s an old French Song about a Baltimore girl that says:
Si tu vas jusqu´à Baltimore
Quand tu descendras sur le port
Va dire à la fille aux yeux d´or
Que je l´aime encore
When did you start blogging and why?
I started blogging in April 2010 back when my blog was called à la Modest (now à la Mode St.). I wanted to convince myself that I made the right decision to dress somewhat modest and different. I was feeling really alone and scared for a while because of that change in lifestyle. It was really hard to change how I used to dress, to go against the grain, because clothing obviously means a lot to me and the other girls were still following trends.
I tried as much as I could to blog regularly, to document how I could still be creative with my style while under restriction. I wanted to write about what I learned, how it changed my life, and how I think others could learn from it. I wanted to also find and bond with like-minded people, because even while modesty is rare today, the Internet makes our world smaller.
“Fashion can change the world”: what do you think about that?
Absolutely, I 100% agree with that. It might sound cliche, but there is no doubt that fashion has shaped our world to how it is now. Changes in fashion have led us to define what is acceptable and normal. For instance, when the bikini was first introduced, no woman dared to wear it. So when they advertised it to the general public, the people behind the bikini had to hire a stripper to model it. Women even before flapper-days showed their rebelliousness by exposing their knees. Social revolutions and subcultures almost always were accompanied by a change in fashion. An inward change has to somehow manifest itself outwards in appearance. That change, good or bad, is influenced by fashion in some fashion!
You want to “reflect a woman who is confident of her own beauty and worth without the need to put out because of public pressure”. How can you help with your blog?
I hate to sound like a broken record or like a parrot, because you will see a ton of different other modesty sites and blogs that have the same sort of “mission” statement— that you can “dress fashionably without being frumpy.” It’s an awesome statement, because the stigma with modesty is that you have to dress like your grandma. Fortunately, both my grandmothers were very stylish.
However, what I think sets à la Mode St. apart is its integration with a bit of non-mainstream pop culture, and pop culture (mainstream or indie) is not quite in sync with my beliefs. There are very few people who will and can marry faith and pop culture together. To show that it is possible to enjoy both, I think, gives people inspiration on how to live without having to abandon the other. So in terms of fashion and beauty, women can customize their styles without having to completely follow the trends, and trends usually show too much skin.
What are your sources of inspirations?
I draw inspiration from what I watch, read, and listen to. That could be anything, really. Lately, I’ve been inspired by a lot of brave individuals like Edward Snowden, Pussy Riot, and Ai Wei Wei. They inspire us all to be braver, to voice out our concerns while rejecting the fear of rejection, to stick with your guns no matter what you believe in. I honestly really need to kick myself in the butt for acting defeatist these days, because it has not been easy writing for me.
You used to highlight some modest clothing outfits: is it still the case?
Yes it is generally still the case. Although, I’ve been associating my kind of modesty now with what I think is trying not too hard to draw sexual attention—and not following rules for the sake of rules or guilt trips. A lot of people who try to go against culture through their faiths can get caught up with that at times. A lot of my outfits now aren’t typically “modest” and can look somewhat sexy but without showing cleavage, belly, or thighs.
I changed my name from à la Modest to à la Mode St. so that I can keep my domain name without having to be the shining example for modesty (which I am surely not) that was part of the old name. I still follow my own standards of what isn’t too sexually enticing through lifestyle and clothing but at the same time, I don’t want others to be thrown off by calling myself “modest.” I don’t want to lower anyone’s standards or confuse anyone, which I think was the problem with attaching that word to my blog name. I’m representing an idea that is controversial and subjective. I try my best to be modest at all times without self-proclaiming righteousness.
What are the blogs that you follow?
Ah, there are a lot of them including friends I have linked on my blog! Sea of Shoes was probably my first favorite personal style blog, because Jane has an amazing sense of style, aesthetic, and taste in pop culture. I like to think that her taste is almost identical to mine, but I’m not really sure if we’d be friends because of it!
Any recent digital crush?
Recently, I’ve been following a lot of yogis and Russian fashionistas on Instagram for inspiration and serious crushing. It’s an odd demographic to follow, but hey, you asked!
What can we wish you?
More open-minded people to read what I have to say who can discuss objectively and civilly. Also, a cooler summer without this horrible heatwave!