The Overdone but Important Issue of Modesty

by Katie Ann

I have a wonderful brother, in fact I think he's probably the best guy out there.  I know this is an interesting way to start off the topic of modesty but it extremely shapes what I believe and how I go about deciding what I am going to wear.  He is extremely honest with me and I love it.  He will tell me, "that's just not flattering on you," to "are you sure you want to wear that, it's a little revealing."  I even go to him and ask, "do you think this is appropriate," "do you think this is flattering on me," and "is this worth wearing."  I go to him because modesty has always been a struggle for me.  I am very tall girl so the length of clothing, especially dresses and shorts have always been a struggle.  I also consider myself to have a butt.  It was weird typing that but it's true.  Now on the flip side I don't have a lot going on in the chest area.  If I wore a deeper neckline t-shirt, I would not be "hanging out" of the shirt.  Everyone's body is different and you have to dress in accordance with how your body was made.  There are no a set of rules when it comes to modesty, not a list what not to wear, but instead modesty is the need to evaluate what you wear and how it looks on your body.  What I should wear and my best friend (who is about half a foot shorter than me) are two very different things.  A skirt or dress on her looks amazing while when I put it on it either looks like a mini skirt or a night gown.  Does this mean that that skirt or dress should not be worn period? No, it just means that I shouldn't wear that dress or skirt.  The length of dresses, skirts and shorts are always on my mind, I have to be aware of how snug my jeans are, and how tight my t-shirts might be in order to decide how I will dress.  These concerns might seem ridiculous but I believe that we should wear something that is pleasing and tasteful to the eye and at the same time be mindful of our brother's in Christ and those two statements don't have to be at odds with each other.

So what does it mean to be "pleasing and tasteful to the eye."  By this I mean to emphasis that you can still be attractive to the opposite sex without showing them everything.  Now this everything is dependent on the way your body is shaped and made. If you have a larger chest, it's just not appropriate to wear a v-neck t-shirt without a camisole underneath it.  Now, I personally don't think it is appropriate to wear a shirt with a plunging neckline without camisole so even though I don't have a lot going on up there I still choose to wear a camisole under most tops.  This does not mean that you need to wear a turtle neck shirt and have your chest, shoulders, and arms completely covered.  In the same way I don't think that wearing skinny jeans is being immodest.  I think it is more flattering on some than others but that is ultimately up to you and how you like to personally look.  However, at the same time I do believe that wearing leggings without a top or dress that covers your butt is inappropriate and immodest and also just very lacking in taste.  The material of leggings compared to skinny jeans is so much thinner you end up showing much more of the butt in leggings than you do in skinny jeans.  Your chest and your butt do not need to be on show for all to see, but that also doesn't mean you need to go to the other side and be covered from head to toe in baggy clothing either.

You might ask, why not show off my butt and my chest?  Didn't God make me that way?  Yes, God did make you that way, but does that mean you need to show it off?  Just because you have it, does that mean you need to flaunt it? No.  No matter how much we say that it really shouldn't matter how a guy views the way we dress, it does and we need to be mindful of it.  Now the way we dress doesn't excuse the guys for where they allow their minds to go, but it also isn't helpful if they are constantly being bombarded with those images.  It bothers me so much when girls around my brother are dressed inappropriately and immodestly.  The men in our lives don't need any help in figuring out what we look like, they see it enough with Victoria Secret commercials.  We should strive to dress in a way that when they look at us they can feel proud that their admiration and attraction is from our beauty and not because we allowed them to see more than they should have and they let their minds wander where it shouldn't have.

In the end, as women we have to be constantly mindful of what we wear.  I know this is a drag but it's something that has to be done if we truly want what's best for our brothers in Christ and for ourselves.  I hope this has been helpful to not only expel some awful misconceptions about modest but also to encourage young women to be more thoughtful about how they dress.