When Adi Heyman was a teenager, she and her family converted to Judaism. After converting, they moved to Florida, where Heyman felt drawn to the tenets of “tzniut” — the Hebrew word for “secrecy” or “privacy,” and the word that describes the Orthodox Jewish tradition of dressing modestly.
That meant long skirts, long sleeves, and high necklines — even in summer.
There was only one problem. Heyman, a freshman in high school, didn’t love the selection of clothing at the local Macy’s that fit that description. Much of those clothes were being marketed to women her mother’s — or even her grandmother’s — age.
“It was hard to know how I was supposed to dress,” Heyman remembers. “Am I supposed to buy a suit that a grown woman would wear? It seemed to be an impossible way of dressing for a teenager.”
Heyman subscribes to modern Orthodox Judaism. While she’s strict about following the Jewish mitzvot, or “commandments,” the rules of modern Orthodox Judaism do not mandate that she cut herself off from the outside world — technology, pop culture, etc. — as long as she can live within the guidelines of her religion, like going to temple, keeping a kosher diet, and dressing modestly.Courtesy of Adi Heyman
Rather than settle for a boxy pant suit, Heyman decided to get creative. She sought out and repurposed vintage pieces with relaxed fits and longer lengths. A sleeveless dress could be fashionably paired with a turtleneck. Miniskirts were no longer so mini when she sewed on extra fabric or wore them with pants underneath.
Heyman, it turned out, had a major knack for style.