Hyper-Tzniut Fashions for Young Girls

Photo by Hannah Katsman

Young girl in cloak

Hyper-Tzniut at the Jerusalem Zoo

While the face-covering phenomenon seems to have died down, shalim, capes or cloaks worn over the shoulders to disguise the contour of the  body, are still popular. I saw many women in shalim during our visit to the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem, along with the two girls pictured above who looked about 7 and 10 years old.

In my next post I’ll share thoughts about a shal-wearing mother nursing her baby on a park bench.

Click here for more posts on tzniut, or Jewish modesty.


  1. I don’t get it, what contours does she have to hide?

  2. I can’t imagine having to wear a cloak over clothing in the heat of an Israeli summer.

  3. They look like ponchos.

  4. Z - Ima Undercover says

    I think that is taking the whole tzniut thing a bit too far and dangerously close to the burqa.

  5. sick – g-d forbid someone should discover it’s a human under there!

  6. That makes me so very angry- and sad. Lately the parks have been crowded with haredim because the yeshivas have been on vacation- and every girl, no matter how little, was wearing socks or tights with her sandals. Could someone please explain to me how toddler feet can be considered sexy?

    • mominisrael says

      Lori, in one of the articles about hyper-tzniut, “mainstream” charedi women worried about the modesty standards being upped. She gave the example of girls’ tights as a relatively recent phenomenon.

  7. Looks my Baal-Teshuva Breslev neighbors! Just a fashion statement, since when have Ponchos been out-of-date 🙂

  8. My girls (4 of them) have worn tights all year round since the age of three. If you start at this age, they get used to it, and you don’t have to battle with them at age 10+ to cover their legs.

  9. What sickens me is that I am afraid than in 20 years from now this may become mainstream and anyone not wearing one of those ponchos will be considered immodest.

    A few months ago, my mom brought me a poncho from a super-trendy store in NY (completely innocently), but my husband said no-way (it reminded him of these shawls).

  10. Another way to avoid a battle over older girls covering their legs is not to require them to do so.

  11. And MY girls (4 of them) have been dressed modestly, as halacha requires, and feel free and comfortable with sandals and bare legs. Hopefully they’ll continue to abide by halacha when they make their own wardrobe choices as they get older; I’ll be teaching them that the decision to cover legs below the knee with stockings or socks is a chumra (and an uncomfortable one at that!)
    The girls in this picture look Amish. They’re just missing the bonnets.

    • Legs below the knee must be covered, that is halacha. Who are you to decide for others whether or not their daughters ought to wear tights? I know many ordinary frum Jews who are not Chasidic, nor particularly “ultra” who put tights on their daughters over the age of three. That way the girls can do acrobatics, ride bikes and generally be active and not have to constantly be worried about their tsnius.

  12. Living in a charedi community next to an extreme charedi community in Israel – I can say that I’ve never seen this on girls and it’s currently fashion on about 5% of the women.

    My wife has spotted stores in that neighborhood with signs saying “entry to women only with shawls”, but it does not seem to be being enforced or seriously catching on.

    However, the ever popular style of walking around in models coats of full-neck to floor length – highly popular.

  13. Stockings are not a chumra at all Tamar. No respectable Haredi Rabbi will not and cannot give a label of hechsher of legs without stockings.

    • The rabbis who consider bare legs to be forbidden are following a chumra. There are many chumrot in force in the hareidi world, but that doesn’t make them the halacha.

  14. Thanks to this blogger for bringing these resources to one central spot – here’s a little anecdote into the pot. At the dentist the other day waiting to pay for treatment, a frum woman and 3 little kids came to pay for her treatment and the kids were offered stickers as a reward. The 2 little boys took action man type things and the little girl – honestly, no more than 4 years of age, took a Cinderella sticker. Cindy was in a blue ballgown with a lot of cleavage in an off the shoulder dress. The mother said – you can’t have that one, it’s not very tznius. The girl just dropped it. Should I be impressed that the woman is making her daughter so hypersensitive to the issue or should I be depressed that the little girl can’t fly into fantasy for a few moments?

    • little girls who are surrounded by the barbie/bratz culture eventually grow up wanting to dress like their dolls. i’ve seen. i totally support rejecting these images, from a religious and from a feminist standpoint.

  15. Tznius requirement vary in each community. I get that, I am a Lubavitcher who tries hard to follow the quidelines of halacha: stockings, knees, elbows, hair and necklines covered, in a modest way that doesn’t attract too much attention.

    But when people MAKE up new things and declare them to be halacha, it drives me crazy. Case in point: these shawls. I was just in Israel, and saw lots of women wearing them. Why? A new requirement.

    My mother works in Williamsburg and told me the Chassidishe communities there made a takanah that girls and women leaving a wedding hall have to wear these shapeless shifts/coats over their dresses,in case they are too attractive. You are talking about loose clothing in navy blue or black – how can that be too attractive?

    A new thing in Chabad – that I did not grow up with – is the beged sheini rule. You need to wear TWO shirts, or a vest, or a cardigan over a blouse. It’s so depressing, because the tznius issue in Crown Heights is so extreme – people walk around looking like the people you see at the state fair, (plunging necklines, short sleeves, flip-flops, tight mini skirts with huge slits) but with kerchiefs perched precariously on their heads – and yet the Rabbis and community leaders continue to create new rules of tznius.

    We need to go back to basics. I was so impressed in Israel, with the Daati Leumi girls who came with their camps to the Kotel. As a rule, even if they were not wearing stockings/socks (which is their shita) they covered their elbows, necklines and knees in modest and fashionable attire.

  16. Wearing long ankle-length skirts has absolutely NOTHING to do with the issue of Hareidi vs. Dati Leumi. It is purely an HALAKHIC. Rav Kook (the elder) as well as his son Tzvi Yehudah required ankle-length skirts as a matter of halakha, not humra. Ask Rav Aviner if you don’t believe me. Frankly, as a religious male of the Hardal persuasion, when I was on shiddukhim, I found girls in pretty, ankle-length skirts much more attractive than “haredi” glamourpusses in their shaitels and knee-length skirts.


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