modesty: more than just covering up

Recently I have been thinking about the two aspects of modesty: covering up and being discreet. The following questions have come to mind:

  1. Is it okay to be covered, but in flashy clothing?
  2. Is modesty something we should draw attention to or does that counteract the very concept?
  3. Is it possible to dress immodestly in modest clothes?

As I get older (I turned 27 a couple months ago) I am thinking about the kind of image I want to reflect.  While it was once a priority to look trendy and stylish in my modest attire, I am begun shifting my attention to building a modest wardrobe that I am comfortable in, even if it not the most trendy or modern outfit.

Before I address the questions listed above, I want to stress that these are only MY opinions and conclusions.  What I believe and practice may differ from you, and that is fine.  I don’t ever want to condemn someone because of her views on modesty.  When I decided to write my thoughts out in this post I wanted to simply share them in hopes of encouraging someone else.  I am not pointing fingers at anyone or saying that my way is the right way.

These are questions I have asked myself and reflected upon.

Is it okay to be covered, but in flashy clothing?

In my opinion, this doesn’t really work.  Why?  Because part of what modesty means for me is not calling attention to myself through my clothes.  I could theoretically still be covered in a long skirt and high necked, loose fitting top, but if the colours are bold or there is a large print or a lot of details, I would not consider that a modest outfit.  My conviction is to wear clothes that both cover me in the way I am comfortable, AND do not cause me to stand out in a crowd.

Is modesty something we should draw attention to or does that counteract the very concept?

This is something I have been criticised for because I have a blog that talks about modesty. One of the online dictionary definitions of modesty says “Modesty is defined as the act of showing reserve in behavior or clothes.”  I suppose it would be considered immodest to talk about how modest I am, since the very word means being reserved and not calling attention to oneself.   Let me address the people who call me hypocritical and an attention seeker…blogging about my modest clothing choice and my beliefs on the topic is not something I decided upon lightly.  I wrestled with how much is too much modesty talk on my blog.  For the last few years I was keeping my outfit posts to a few times a month, and I have tried to tie my modesty posts into scripture and explain how it is important to me as a Christian.   The reason I blog about modest dressing and behaviour is because I want to encourage other women.  I know that it can be a difficult thing to commit to, especially if there is a lack of support from family or friends.  So I hope women in need of encouragement and motivation can find it here.

Is it possible to dress immodestly in modest clothes?

Similar to my first question, this one addresses the fit of clothing instead of the details or designs.  Let me tell you about my favourite sweater.  It is soft, warm, pink, and cut beautifully.  My in-laws gifted it to me for Christmas one year and it is special to me.  However, I have been wearing and washing that sweater for many years, and over time it has become smaller and tighter.  Looking at it on a hanger you would agree that it is modest since it has a high neckline and long sleeves, but it is quite snug once I put it on.  Theoretically it is a modest garment, but NOT on me.  I have come to this conclusion about many dresses and skirts as well.  Just because something covers, doesn’t mean it is modest.  Let me stress again that this is MY opinion.  God has convicted me to be more mindful of my clothing choices and I believe I honour Him and my husband through what I choose to wear.

If you are new to Our Wood Home, you may be thinking that I dress in shapeless sacks which is how I can say I truly dress modestly.  If that is the case, I encourage you to take a look at any of my fashion posts!


So now that you have read my opinions, I’d love to hear yours!  How would you answer each of the three questions I posed?

About Christina

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

6 comments on “modesty: more than just covering up

  1. I think you are right on. I have been to some websites where the women are writing about modesty whilst wearing clothing more consistent with Amish or Mennonite, or even old-fashioned Quaker groups (although not being Amish or Mennonite). I think such clothing is just fine for members of the particular groups, but it seems that the others’ so-called modesty is bringing LOTS of attention to themselves when not within an Amish or Mennonite sub-culture – surely they must get lots of questions about their clothing. These sites always make me wonder how modest is it to bring such attention to oneself. I also think that dressing so extremely “modestly” can actually be a prideful state, as if one is so attractive that one has to do everything to minimize that attractiveness. One can dress modestly within the general limits of society. I think you do it. I think I do it – I wear skirts all the time – often denim, with a nice sweater. I don’t stand out as a curiosity, and I am modestly dressed. And, I agree – fit if very important. I, too, have a sweater I’ve loved that shows every line of my top half – probably time to re-think that one.

  2. Very well written. Thanks for being an encouragement. I want to pass your blog onto my girls. It is nice to know others who want to be modesty and not flashy or too old-fashioned either.

  3. Hi there. :) In all courteousness, your blog is nice and inspirational as well, truly. Your opinions on the questions are honest and intelligent.

    Too, it is kind of you to ask. We would answer the questions you posed in the following manner:

    1. Yes, it is okay to be covered, but in flashy clothing if it does not cater to a man’s sexual interest as well as engender conceit. Yes, too, it is okay to be covered, but in flashy clothing if it does not cater to a woman’s vanity as well as engender sexual interest.

    2. It depends on how one engages modesty, e.g. it is part of one’s being, it is a core element of one’s religion, one teaches modesty, one is modeling modesty, etc. Therefore, yes, modesty is something to which one should draw attention in some manner, but one does it modestly.

    3. We think it is possible to dress immodestly in modest clothes, yes. Our ideas are similar to your reflections on this question.

    In all courteousness, we hope your husband and you have a great weekend. :) May the lightness follow you! Thx! :D

  4. Those are interesting questions for sure!
    I think that the answer to those questions depends a lot on how the person sees modesty.
    In my case, I now have found peace looking at my clothes with this criteria: “does this outfit say that I strive to be a classy and elegant woman? Is it appropriate for the events I’m attending?”
    Elegant, classy outfit rarely attract too much attention on the person who wears them; I don’t mind using accessories or brighter colors from time to time, but I try to balance the outfit with neutrals.
    I don’t think that a person who dresses modestly will necessary stand out in the crowd because of it: maybe at a wedding most girls will wear short dresses, but a beautiful midi dress is in fashion right now and won’t look weird, and the same goes with other occasions.
    Happy new year!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *