One of the common sentiments of women considering dressing more modestly is: I don’t want to look like I belong to a religious group of which I am not a part.
It is common for women who are thinking about covering their hair to worry about being mistaken for a Muslimah or Orthodox Jewish woman. The likelihood of this being the case can increase or decrease depending on the demographics of your area.
Women who are wearing longs skirts or prefer cape dresses worry about being mistaken for a woman who follows Plain Dress guidelines or an Anabaptist when she herself is not.
Again, all this is much more of an issue when you are trying to determine your own rule-of-thumb for modesty. You are also less likely to stick out if you are following guidelines like the LDS where modern fashion is still the norm.
I have been mistaken for both a Muslim and Jewish woman. The facial piercings should really be a tip-off people. It doesn’t bother me. While I have been mistaken as a member of a different religious group, the mistakes did not come with judgment or anger.
I consider mistaken identity a natural part of the way I dress. I do tend to follow the Jewish laws of Tznius with respect to dress, and to a much lesser extent, my dealings with men. I am more commonly mistaken for a hijabi in the summer when I favour scarves to cover my head wrapped similarly to the Spanish style (tutorial). In the winter, I wear toques and berets, making it slightly more likely that I’ll be mistaken for a Jewish woman. You do realise you can see my bangs right?
Yup. It’s seasonal.
As long as people aren’t belligerent about it, I don’t mind pointing out how they can easily spot that I’m an oddity. “See these bars through my lip, tongue, nose and ear? Note the cross hanging from my neck. See the knee caps and collar-bone?” I am happy that I can educate whomever. I wasn’t always. It took me sometime to get comfortable with my style as well as voicing my opinions about modesty in general. I promise, it does get easier.
Questions? Ask away!