Summertime Modesty: Not Impossible!

It seems as if this week has been all about body image, gender and modesty. Wow! Well, let’s round it out!

Modest dressing is easy enough to do in the wintertime; especially if you live in chillier climates but come summertime, it seems as if all sensibilities kind of go out of the window! Yes, summer is hot but that’s no excuse to stop dressing modestly, if that is your goal.

For me, when I put an outfit on, I ask myself if I am dressing to attract the attention of men other than my husband. If the answer is yes, I change. Maybe you are one that that standard is not for you. You may feel that we as women should not be responsible for the eyes/ actions of men and I wholeheartedly agree, but when I said my marriage vows, I promised to forsake all others and in my mind, if I’m dressing in a way that is disrespectful to my husband or our marriage, I am not staying true to my vows. (I am sure those advocates of the SlutWalk** might take issue with my opinion, but I digress.)

So, if you don’t care what your outfit represents to the world about your marriage, ask yourself, “Would I want my daughter to wear this?” because as her mother you are her biggest influence. If you have sons, ask yourself what message are you sending to your son about women?

Actually, take that last statement and apply it to all of your children, how does your dressing affect their perception of women?

Without further ado, some modest dressing tips for summer:

Undergarments


1. two words, Flesh toned! Light, unlined pants, that are more popular in the summer, are notorious for showing your undergarments, so if you don’t want the world to know you’ve got your polka-dot panties on, don’t wear them or make sure your trousers are lined.

2. Camisoles make great layering pieces, especially when dresses show a bit too much décolletage. The lacy topped once even make your tops that much prettier.

3. Make the half-slip your friend. Seriously. You would be amazed at what “Mr. Bubble Sun” will show when shining through your dress. (That’s DD1’s nickname for the sun.)

Dresses


1. I’m taller so I especially love the maxi dress trend. But it even works for those not so tall ladies. Find a tailor if needed or take the dress up on your own. (If your dress has a major or busy print, you might want to take it to a tailor and have them take it up at the waist rather than just hem it.) What I like about dresses is that they are easier to put on than a tee and shorts and you look that much more put together, plus they are breezy!

2. I personally follow the rule of “one set of limbs out at a time.” So, if I am wearing a  sleeveless dress, I like the hem to be longer. If the dress is shorter, you’ll find my cardigan or wrap not far away.

3. I think it was Stacy London who said it but: “short+tight+shiny=cheap.” and I don’t think she meant garment cost.

Shorts

1. If you can see where your buttocks meet your thighs, those are too short.

2. If your shorts look painted on, they are too tight. I don’t care how thin you are.

3. (Butt) Crack is Wack.

4. Skirts make a great alternative to shorts, but can be hard when you have little kids and you play on the ground with them, but you can make it work.

Tops

1. Bra straps were never and will never be a fashion statement. Whoever said they were lied to you.

2. Bikini tops at beach: good. Bikini top while running errands far from beach: bad.

3. Polyester and Spandex blends make for bad choices.

4. If your shirt proclaims to the world that you are a “MILF” or “Hot Mama” or “Sexy WIfe” you might want to re-think that. In fact, re-purpose that shirt for cleaning around the house. In fact, just make them cleaning towels.

And above all else: BUY WHAT FITS! Ignore that little evil number or letter denoting the size. When I am shopping, I tend to take three of an item into the dressing room. The size I think I wear, one down and one up. Different garments wear differently and different manufacturers size differently. Ladies’ garment sizes are not the same across the board and are  sized very arbitrarily. If the tag bothers you, cut it out or cover it up. An item that fits well will flatter you so much more than that coveted size X. (And make friends with your tailor because they can do wonders with fit!)

Dressing modestly is not about hiding your body, but it is about presenting your body and yourself in a way that command respect from those around you as a person and not a piece of flesh for pleasure. And the ironic thing is, modesty can lend itself to sexiness. Stay with me here: Think of some of the most smoldering movie scenes (Titanic, when they are on the bow of the ship, comes to mind for some reason.) They are hot not because of what they are showing, but because of what they are not. InStyle magazine interviewed fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld earlier this year who said that the sexiest part of a woman’s body is the curve of her lower back. (for the life of me, I can’t find the issue!! But he drew a little sketch with it and everything, it was great!)

And above all, if you are a church goer, please dress for church and not the beach or the club! I know that we are not supposed to judge and if I find myself becoming distracted, I really should refocus on the cross but come on! Yes, it is fantastic that you are at Mass, but shouldn’t you give Christ respect by dressing well? I am sure that it’s a throw-back to my Baptist upbringing, but we never went to Sunday Services in anything less than our… Sunday Best, and I continue that with my family. Yes, you could meet a fantastic mate at church, but do you really want to lure him or her in by being scantily clad while listening to the Word?

So, keeping in mind that these are all my own opinions, I hope it does help you with the tricky summertime dressing!

__________________________________________________________________________________________

**While I agree with the premise of Slutwalk (i.e. no woman is ever asking to be raped by her attire, her behavior, her state of mind) I take the same issue with the recapturing of the term “slut.” When I was teaching, girls called each other sluts and bitches all the time, as terms of endearment. Really? That’s where we are? The English Language has how many words in it and those are the ones that we are choosing to use with one another?

Pax Christi!

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4 Comments

Filed under family, feminism, Friday, manners, modesty, mothering

4 responses to “Summertime Modesty: Not Impossible!

  1. David

    CCM, thank you for this. I hope it gets out to the world to read. Heat is no excuse, you’re right. Not that I like everything about them, but look how Muslim women in the desert regions of our planet dress. And Catholics, look at Mama Mary, at least all the depictions I’ve seen, where she’s covered head to toe.

    I agree, we should never say that a woman is asking for anything by her clothing, and women should not be responsible for men’s eyes, and yet we are all responsible for giving example to others by our own actions. Modesty begets modest.

  2. corita

    Modesty is a virtue that springs from the movement of the spirit within.
    Not from an externally-pressured obligation to others.

    Also, as far as “sluts” goes, I too find it distasteful when girls and women use it as terms of endearment BUT I also understand the common urge to re-appropriate denigrating terms and for the dis-empowered to use them purposefully, so as to rob them of some of the power in the term.

    • This:

      Modesty is a virtue that springs from the movement of the spirit within.
      Not from an externally-pressured obligation to others.

      I love! As it is so very true. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Pingback: Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 6) | Caffeinated Catholic Mama

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