Rosh Hashanah has always been a time in the Jewish calendar where we seem to justify going out and spending a small fortune on our synagogue outfits, be it for ourselves or our children.
The New Year not only means a new spiritually and emotionally cleansed you but where I come from, I can hear the loud ringing of fashion bells, new clothes to match a kinder and more compassionate personality perhaps.
Although shopping for new Yom Tov outfits is of course high on my to-do list, as I’m sure it is yours, it’s a little more challenging this year as the chagim fall so early in the secular calendar.
British weather is not exactly reliable at the best of times, but if the sun is still shining in September — even if it is mixed in with the odd rain shower — this in-between weather dressing makes nailing Yom Tov style a challenge to both channel and to shop for.
Top tips for stress-free synagogue dressing:
*Pay special attention to fabrics. Leave wools and heavy textures, such as leather, for later in the year and stick to breathable comfy cottons and silks instead. The worst thing about long synagogue services is the stuffiness and the heat so make sure that your shul clothes are layerable and practical. Keep in mind not only that you will be standing during large parts of the services, but that your shoes should be comfortable to walk back and forth from home to shul.
*Blouses feature prominently in this season’s collections and are great to team up with a pencil skirt for a ladylike finish. Top colours for this year are plum, electric blue and — for blondes only — a shimmering pastel pink. A lightweight fabric will keep you cool but modestly covered at the same time. Look for details such as embellished sleeves and collars for a modern look that will look equally stylish under a jumper or cardigan when the weather turns a little chillier in a few weeks’ time.
*Sleeves should be either short or three-quarter length. This keeps your look fresh and current without looking too over-exposed for shul and not too warm and wintery with a full-length sleeve. Alternatively, play with textures and wear a first layer — as in caption 3 on the facing page — that contrasts in fabric and colour — with your over-garment.
*Dresses are always a sure hit. You don’t need to worry about matching up your top half to your bottom half, plus a well-fitted dress will give you a streamlined look.
There are a host of styles to choose from whatever your age or budget.
Look for designs that will last you throughout the season, avoid top-to-toe black by accessorising with colourful shoes and jewellery and keep to dark hues such as deep purples, reds, teals and greys.
*If you need further inspiration, take note from hot Israeli designer Ronen Chen’s The Classics dress collection, from £119. Consisting of five styles that are designed to flatter and give a feminine silhouette with a timeless elegance that guarantees you will get your money’s worth year after year. Chen’s designs use a combination of techniques including layering, ruching and draping, providing fluidity and movement to these flattering, cleverly cut styles.