August 4, 2012

The Modesty Debate

I'm not actually here to debate, it just sounded like a good title. Raising boys is a wild adventure but dressing them is simple.  You merely have to walk into any store buy blue jeans, dockers or any other kind of pants and a polo and t-shirt and you are good to go.  That's it. They look like any other decently groomed person without an attitude. But trying to raise modest girls is really... something else. I have spent more time looking at how women/girls dress and praying over it. I came to one very clear conclusion.  Our Blessed Mother could never have lived in this world at this time. Why? Because God always kept her hidden, she always kept herself hidden, there would be no way she could be kept hidden on this earth.  There is nothing in the ordinary sphere of the Catholic World that Our Blessed Mother could or would wear.  When it comes to modesty the weird answer I get is "What would Our Lady wear?" I spent hours in prayer over this question.  Our Lady could not wear anything we wear as she never revealed herself externally or internally to any eyes in any way.  Our Blessed Mother was perfect, she was beautiful beyond words both inside and out, she was the pinnacle of virtue.  No. God in His Infinite Wisdom placed her upon this earth at that particular time in History for a particular reason. To accomplish His Will while keeping her hidden from who she really was.  (so, why did He put me here and now, I wonder?!). 

So... in raising girls who have gone beyond Lands' End dresses and jumpers it is so hard. I have watched families go from way-oversized little-house-on-the-prairie garb to giving it all up because it was "too hard".  Red flag.  Danger.  Wrong.   But what is truly acceptable in the Eyes of God so as to avoid tempting men (who, from what I understand, are rather easily tempted.. no offense)?  I have spent so much time on this question.  So for today I decided to put together a curiosity poll.  No, I wouldn't take my standard of modesty from a poll, but I am curious as I am a small little blog with a small little following, generally Catholic, I would guess.  The poll is not about your highest ideal of modesty but about what you think is acceptable in the Eyes of God for women's attire and in avoiding being a temptation to men.  The poll goes shortest to longest in both polls... so be sure to click your answer, not the one marked which is automatic.  Of course, I probably don't have enough people here to do a poll but come on... polls are fun and anonymous.


  1. I have cast my vote in your poll. I brought the topic up with my 78 year old mother, who said that when women run around dressed immodestly, it is an opportunity for sainthood for men.

  2. There is no doubt there are plenty of opportunities for men to become saints through custody of the eyes. Too bad so many are poorly trained.

  3. This is such a struggle to figure out and I've certainly dressed my girls more modestly than I used to. But then there are soccer matches and camp etc that throws me sometimes. They've started a charter school with uniforms that are knee length scooters but with heat right now girls are wearing ankle socks so not much coverage. If I didn't have to work I'd love to have them at home for school and freedom to do more dresses/skirts that are longer. They appreciate longer b/c they're not having to spend time making sure they're not showing anything b/c of position when playing or sitting. I love to sew which helps with having more options on weekends/holidays when I can't find what I want in the store. For myself for work I've been delighted to find such selection of maxi ankle length dresses that are easy wash and hang dry/no iron. A 3/4 cotton cardigan paired with them is easy fix for sleeveless dresses. I like that they look contemporary/not frumpy for work appearance but leave me comfortable and feeling people pay attention because of what I'm doing well at work, not because they're distracted by immodest appearance.

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  5. Hi Julie! Love the post and the topic. I have 4 daughters-- 24, 22, 18, and 13. We've dressed modestly and worn dresses for a very long time. My oldest is married and has changed what is modest in her eyes (to my sorrow), my second oldest is a Carmelite nun who dresses as much like Our Lady as one could, my 18 year old has fashionably held on to modesty by being very creative with skirts and tops and accessories and is passing that on to her 13 year old sister (whose idea of fashion is high topped tennis shoes a khaki skirt and a modest blouse and t shirt combination).
    My 18 year old has used the Duggar Family and the Bates Family (popular large families on TV-- although we don't watch, but look at their blogs) for examples of wholesome, fashionable modesty.
    We are determined to hang in there. We do everything in dresses/skirts and don't really have a problem. Actually, I find it more comfortable and cooler.
    For a tip-- Ebay is a great way to shop for skirts!
    Hang in there, Julie! I would be happy to help you with references, etc. Thanks for the post!
    Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! Lisa in AR