modest wardrobe essentials

Over the last few years I’ve been slowly going through my clothes to determine what meets my current modesty standards and what is no longer appropriate for me to wear. Additionally, I’ve been purchasing new clothes to replace what I get rid of, but I’m trying to be intentional with my shopping. I want to purchase clothes I can wear several different ways and that match what I already have. It can be difficult to rebuild a wardrobe with one’s modesty standards in mind, especially if modest dressing is a new concept.

A little while ago, I asked the ladies in my Modest Young Women Facebook group to share their modest wardrobe must-haves.  Combined with my own essentials, I created a great list for anyone who is starting their modesty journey.

mdoest wardrobe essentials


  1. Scarves:  they can be worn over a low cut top or to add visual interest to an otherwise plain outfit.
  2. Cardigans: a long one is especially handy for covering your rear end if your bottoms are too tight.  They can also help extend your wardrobe if you wear them over sleeveless tops.
  3. Camisoles/tank tops: to raise a neckline, make sheer tops more modest, preventing gaps in between buttons.
  4. Leggings: they’re great for warmth in cooler months, can prevent leg chafing if your thighs rub, allow you to move around (sports, playing with kids, etc) and remain modest.
  5. Well fitted undergarments: the wrong size can make the body look frumpy (if it’s stretched out and sagging) or immodest (if it contains lots of padding).
  6. Slips: to make skirts more opaque and to hide any “lines”.
  7. Solid colour maxi skirts: they match everything, are super comfy, and versatile. I like cotton or jersey for the summer and wool and denim for cooler months.
  8. Button up shirts: they can be worn under a sleeveless dress or over a sleeveless top for modesty, or you can knot it over a dress to create the illusion of a skirt.
  9. Denim skirt: they’re just like wearing jeans but more modest!
  10. Solid colour tops: to help maximize the amount of outfits you can have from even a small wardrobe.
  11. Tee shirts: it’s easy to find a tee shirt with a modest neckline and they come in various patterns and colours.  A plain tee shirt looks great with a bright skirt and coordinating cardigan, or wear a patterned one with a denim skirt!
  12. Long sleeved tops: they are excellent for layering under immodest tops or dresses, and for adding warmth in winter.
  13. Jersey or tee shirt material dress: it can be worn for casual occasions or dressed up with a nice cardigan and jewellery. They’re so comfy you will feel like you’re wearing PJs!
  14. Denim jacketto make a fancy outfit more casual, for a light layer in the spring/fall, to be worn as a cardigan over sleeveless tops, and more!  You will not regret having one!
  15. Belts: I prefer my dresses to be a little loose, but that runs the risk of looking baggy and sloppy.  A belt worn at the natural waist can help finish off the outfit, prevent sloppiness, and subtly accentuate the female shape (although, there is a fine line between being too revealing).
  16. Long dresses: they make getting dressed easier since a dress is almost a complete outfit!  You can layer a tank or tee shirt underneath and a cardigan or denim jacket over top for more modesty.

I’ve included links to my other posts featuring some of the items listed above.  What else would you add to this list?

About Christina

20-something; rural dwelling; wife to David; homeowner; pretty good cook; wearer of skirts; friend to all cats.

11 comments on “modest wardrobe essentials

  1. I tend to wear a padded bra to fill out a shirt (plus size dress shirts tend to have a built in breast area, if you will, and I do NOT come close to filling that, so they tend to look sloppy, so mine are lightly padded – they don’t add cup sizes though, that’s for sure!), but yes!I love this list! I’m not big on dresses because of my shape, but skirts are my go-to for modest dressing. I find a lot of knit skirts at Walmart, maxis and knee length ones, that I wear all the time in the summer!

  2. My rule is basically shoulders covered (which avoids any straps showing) and knees covered when seen from the front sitting on a chair (which means longer than ‘knee length’ skirts.

    I agree lightly padded bras avoid anything showing, but not to enhance or draw attention and a camisole so your bra doesn’t show through your top. I also tend to wear a full slip under a skirt / top so nothing shows when they part company – especially when you are pregnant.

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