Malaysian Model Arinna Erin On Sophisticated Yet Relatable Modest Style


Personal style is a form of storytelling. Each piece forms a picture of who we are, how we feel — or how we want to feel — at a point in time. Take a peek at the wardrobes of these fashionable personalities and discover the interesting details behind their looks and stories.

“One of the biggest misconceptions about hijab style is that you can’t be creative with what you’re wearing on your head. But in reality, it can also be a form of self-expression and it can be a fashion statement,” said Malaysian model Arinna Erin.

A quick look at her Instagram grid proves the statement true. Even if religion is the “ultimate reason” for wearing a hijab and the rest of her outfit has to “follow suit”, Arinna’s take on elegant and sophisticated modest fashion is still fun and experimental. “Modest fashion can also be about a person wearing a shirt and loose pants. It’s super subjective,” Arinna said.

Ahead, more about Arinna’s style staples, her tips on making modest dressing fun, and addressing misconceptions about hijab fashion.

Arinna’s style, decoded

Arinna said that while her current style is “timeless” and “minimal” while keeping things “relaxed and slouchy”, she definitely had a phase where she tried several trends to see which one would stick.

Through this, she learned that beyond just the aesthetics of a look, it’s all about the feeling a certain style gives you. For her, 90s style just “hits different”.

“It’s probably the only era I would so desperately want to be in. Slouchy, baggy and simple is what I live for. I balance out my style with [a combination of] baggy and slim fit [pieces] most of the time,” she said.

Turtlenecks are also essential to her style because they’re “easy to match and layer”. Another Arinna staple are high-waisted pants. She claims she would still wear them even when they become passe.

She added, “Outerwear and jackets are always a lifesaver when you don’t know what to wear.”

As far as where she gets inspiration from, Arinna said she doesn’t have a style icon. Instead, browsing through Pinterest and looking at curations that fit similar pieces in her current wardrobe — the hijab a major piece, of course — usually inspire her style.

The hijab as an inevitable piece in every outfit

“There’s already love in wearing a hijab because the reason you’re donning it is for religion. Spicing it up every now and then is a great add-on to make you feel more confident in it, too. Remember, the hijab is not wearing you, you’re wearing the hijab,” she said. That’s why finding the right hijab or turban is key in making an outfit work.

“Lightweight and textured material for turbans and head wraps” and “soft and flowy material for normal hijab styles” are what she looks for.The style and colour is up to the wearer’s preference and thankfully, there are now many options on the market.

“The biggest challenge? Making sure your hair is fully dry before putting on your headscarf,” Arinna replied, laughing. This is because damp hair under a hijab or a headscarf can cause hair damage or a musty smell. But other than that, she said that hijab fashion is fun and not as tedious as people may think.

“Sometimes people will comment on how I wear my turbans but it doesn’t get to me,” Arinna said.

Arinna on the importance of building a reliable and timeless wardrobe

“​​When it comes to shoes and bags, I’m guilty of wearing the same thing for months until I get a new one (which rarely happens),” Arinna confessed. However, she admitted that shoes tend to be her Kryptonite when it comes to shopping.

A current staple for her is a pair of Tommy Hilfiger boots she bought in London.

“I was stuck in ‘Schuh’ cuz it was raining heavily that time and I was walking around and I saw these cute boots that I had to buy… I didn’t need it but the rain made me do it.”

She’s also currently fond of a Louis Vuitton bag her mum lent her (‘I’m claiming it’s mine now,” she said) which she’s been using for four months now. She’s often been told that she needs to get new pieces every now and then, but she’s always been about mixing and matching what she already has.

Since she’s a fan of sustainable fashion, she also prioritises being conscious about her wardrobe. “Shop from your mum’s/ dad’s/ aunt's/ cousin's/ friend's closet. It’s so fun. I did that a few years ago!”

She also shared that engaging in conversations with people who are into sustainable fashion will give a better understanding of how it works. She recently had an insightful chat with the Fashion Revolution Malaysia, sustainability advocate Melissa Tan, and a bunch of other great ladies about sustainable fashion.

“My pro tip would be, buy it if you need it (don’t be in-denial, lah, come on), buy timeless and good quality items so you can style it in 50 different ways, and be more creative with styling.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

(Cover photo from: @arinna.erin)

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