The teen years are a time when fashion is at the forefront of most girls’ minds. Everyone wants to fit in, look beautiful, and attract attention. It can be a difficult time to navigate for Catholic young women. Cailin of Catholic Teen Posts shares her thoughts on the subject of modesty in the hopes of encouraging other girls her age in their effort to dress in a way that brings the right kind of attention!
I would like to present my take on modesty. This is not about sparking a religious debate. Although men should also practice modesty, I am writing this for my female Christian beauties.
I am not anywhere near an expert on modesty. In fact, I do not think it is possible for anyone really to be, for modesty is not just the clothing we wear but about not drawing attention to ourselves, whether that be in the way we talk, the way we think, or the way we treat others.
All of the world has different standards of modesty in the material realm, it is constantly changing since it is more of a culturally determined norm than a moral truth. In some parts of Africa it is normal for a women to be topless in public, and no one thinks anything of it.
Of course I am not suggesting one should go around town in such manner, but the point is one cannot rely on the material realm in any universal standard to judge a modest heart. I myself believe looking down on another person is immodest in itself or even a form of spiritual pride. To think more highly of someone just because her skirt is two inches below their knees is no better than venerating someone who wears expensive clothing.
This is my take on a red carpet line through the eyes of a Catholic youth.
If we review the passages of the bible that point to views on modesty, we find, for instance, the Apostle Paul encourages women to adorn themselves in a manner that brings reverence to the Lord. It is up to us to ask if we have chosen to dress ourselves in outfits that are gaudy or extravagant in such way that calls too much lustful attention or fails to respect the human person; or have we chosen to clothe ourselves that is age-appropriate, in a celebration of God’s plan for women, to be nurturing, holy, confident and being absolutely beautiful.
Remember my Christian beauties, if you want to make a statement, you don’t have to do it in an extravagant, swashbuckling, way, but rather sometimes all it takes is a little bit of right judgment, kindness, and faith.
We should enjoy our life, all the good things, and even the bad things; they all mean we are alive, but not at the cost of our virtue. Many passages speak to joy and rejoicing in the Lord.
While modesty usually pertains to appearance, as we all know when we dress well, we feel well. Dressing for success is an attitude, not a commercial for fashion designers. Flaunting one’s materialism or even one’s body can be seen as a cry for help. Real beauty comes from being dressed in holiness, a glow in our own confidence and a glow bestowed upon us by the Lord. “When a woman veils her body in modest clothing, she is not hiding
Real beauty comes from being dressed in holiness, a glow in our own confidence and a glow bestowed upon us by the Lord.
Fashion icon Joan Rivers is said to have thanked God for a country where stores were open late and one could shop from the comfort of their bed, but just because we CAN does not always mean that we SHOULD.
It can be a challenge to connect God’s word with our high-tech society. We may ask what the words written in the past could ever tell us about the coming times. However, the peace of God transcends all understanding; it guards our hearts and minds. Whatever is right, pure, lovely and admirable is praiseworthy.
In the modern world it is a little tricky to find a confident, strong, modest role model, but that does not mean we cannot look to the past to find one. Why, there are easily thousands of them from history. For me the 1940s-1950s is a prime time to find such women. Not only did they dress beautifully, they acted elegantly, femininely and they adorned themselves in a way that glorified God. For example the lovely, timeless Ms. Audrey Hepburn.
While fashion is always changing, a modest heart is timeless. A present we can return to the Lord is a humbleness, a humility in our dress in our thoughts, in our words, and in our hearts. We can choose to bring a decency, sophistication, and class to the world. I am reminded of the words of The Dress Doctor, who said, “a woman’s dress should be tight enough to show she is a woman but loose enough to show she is a lady.”
5 Great Videos on Modesty
1. Why is it important to dress modestly?
2. What kind of men do we attract when we dress immodestly? Are those the type of relationships we desire?
3. Though it might not be fair, society will judge us on how we are dressed. How do you think people perceive us when we dress sloppy or don’t take care of ourselves? How do you think people perceive us when we only wear the most expensive brands and hottest fashions? How can we find a balance between the two and why is that important?
4. Do you have a favorite fashion icon? What do you admire about her style?
5. Share with the group your advice on how to look fashionable, yet modest.
Fashion can be so much fun! Here are a few of our suggestions on activities you can do with your youth group or with a group of your friends.
- Organize a modesty fashion show. (Check out Purefashion.com for some tips!)
- Host a clothing swap. Sometimes clothes become immodest simply because our bodies are growing and changing. Your immodest clothes might look great on a friend and vice versa. Clean out your closets and exchange your old clothes and accessories for “new”. Any leftover clothing can be donated to a women’s shelter!
- Use fashion magazines to help girls create modesty style boards that they can reference when shopping. Have the girls exchange fashion tips and write them on their boards.
- Invite a makeup artist to teach girls the proper techniques to put on makeup in a way that emphasizes their natural beauty.