Being Modest {In Opposite World}

Being Modest in Opposite World (Image Credit: New York and Company)

 So I’m pretty sure I’m not the queen of modesty and I know I don’t want to be the woman with the yard stick telling girls what length their skirts should be.  So I’ll give this a go and see where we end up.

My history.  I was a cheerleader at a public school…so I lived in short skirts for 9 years –modesty issue right?  But my mom made me wear tights and shorts under my skirt anytime I wasn’t actually cheerleading…this was a bit embarrassing but I obeyed.  Another rule in our house growing up was no bikinis…again a bit embarrassing in college when I went on a spring break trip to Key West, Florida and it felt like I was the ONLY one on the beach without one. 

Then I went to the Moody Bible Institute for college and they had a rule – “you must wear long skirts to all classes”. Those long skirts were a far cry from the short mini skirts I was wearing in high school!  And when I graduated and married, I felt liberated and wore some short skirts…and a bikini.

Then, I was confronted by a Deacon’s wife for being dressed immodestly (this was 9 years ago). I blogged about this incident here and the comments showed me…we women have A LOT of baggage with this issue.

Some women come from churches where they were judged or treated poorly based on their clothing choices and others are frustrated because they sit in the pew every week and the girl in front of them is showing their underwear!  Modesty –and where to draw the line — is a problem in the church. 

How do we, as Christian women, live modestly in Opposite World where we are told and sold the idea that plunging necklines, belly buttons and short shorts make you more desirable?

I’m not going to give length and width rules here…because you can have on a sack but have an immodest heart.  It’s not always the way we dress that is suggestive. It could be the way we look a guy in the eye, laugh at his jokes, touch him on the knee or ask flirty questions to draw him out and connect emotionally.

But here’s a piece of truth that can be hard to swallow –

The way we dress IS a reflection of our heart.  The way we dress can reflect wordliness or godliness.

If we choose to follow Opposite World, then we can’t be surprised when Christ followers question our intentions.  I know that some of us are quick to be offended and think, how dare someone try to take away my short shorts.  We cling to our bikinis and “our rights” and get very angry when someone points out this issue in our lives.

I Timothy 2:9 is a verse commonly turned to when we converse within the church about modesty:

“I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.”

Yikes!  Is Paul forbidding jewelry, fancy hair and expensive clothing here? The Proverbs 31 woman wore fine linen and quality clothing. Esther had nearly a year of beauty treatments. And we see other Godly women in the Bible who were called “beautiful” on the outside such as Rachel and Sarah.

So what does this passage mean?  Back when Paul wrote I Timothy, the women who were prostitutes adorned themselves with elaborate hair styles, jewelry and fancy clothes to attract and seduce men.  It was a signal –they were available.  Paul was telling the women in the church they ought not to show up to a worship service dressed like a prostitute.  

 So let’s take this passage in the rest of its context –check out the second half of this command:

“9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”

A woman who professes to worship God should not have her beauty come from her clothing and jewelry but from her good deeds.

So what draws others to you –is it your good deeds, your kindness, mercy, service and love of others or your hair, jewelry and clothing?

Necklines in Opposite World are plunging these days.  It seems that the girl who wears the lowest neckline on the red carpet gets the most attention.  So a lot of clothes on the sale rack are low cut.  I have a little tip for women who want help in this area and I made a video of how I solve this problem here:

(If you cannot see this video click here)

We can dress beautifully without being out of fashion or immodest –and I know because there’s many beautifully dressed women every Sunday at my church, who are not attracting the wrong kind of attention.  They are not beautiful because they are fashionable, they are beautiful because they love the Lord and love people. They are beautiful because they smile and have eyes that look to other’s needs rather than their own.  They are beautiful because they walk in the Spirit.

 Chime In: As you can see –I’m a work in progress.  How has Opposite World affected the way you dress?  We are all at different places on our journey towards modesty.  What is your story? What has God convicted you of in your life? 

Walk with the King,

 

 

Comments

  1. Sonja says

    I am learning still with this issue… having followed the world for so long, I’ve taken it one issue at a time. But it struck me the hardest when my oldest first joined our youth group at church. He was “asked out” (at the age of 11?) by 3 different girls on the same day… they didnt have any idea who he was, just wanted to not be left out of the boyfriend game and he was fresh meat… AND my son was suddenly confronted by a whole group of girls who were dressed like … well, to be honest, many like prostitutes with short skirts, tight shirts, plunging necklines, the whole bit. Dealing with HIS discomfort and sudden need for help in training his eyes taught me loads about myself and how I should and should not be dressing.

    Unfortunately, our hearts can be in the right place and we can be completely clueless – but we should wake up and realize that we are hurting the men (and boys) around us when we are careless with our dress. I know a lot of people take this point to the extreme and say that guys are responsible for where they look. They want to extrapolate that my saying that means that if, for instance, a girl is attacked but was dressed immodestly, she was “asking for it”. But that is NOT what I mean – I’m simply saying that Christian women have a duty to L O V E our brothers by not dressing in a way that makes it harder on them.

    PS – I used the tank top fix just this morning… I had a shirt that fit everywhere, but pulled a little too tight if the button above my chest was done… but without that button, the shirt was then revealing too much… matching tank, unbuttoned shirt… great fit.. viola!

    • Beth Wall says

      Thanks so much for your honesty, it blesses my heart to know that there are like minded Mama’s out there! My son too has been bombarded from a young age, with “You are so handsome, how many gf’s do you have.” “You are gonna have to beat the girls off”, really it gives me anxiety! All I can do is try to protect his heart and his eyes and PRAY!

    • Stephanie says

      I was never so amazed by this issue as when a guy wrote about it. It might have even been on this blog (sorry, I don’t remember). He said that it is extremely difficult to even look at most women who are wearing the “in” styles. That is, without lust. He said he and his peers try to adhere to Christian principles, but it is VERY difficult to do when women put everything on display. Then I was saddened when I went to a family function and saw my cousins youngest wearing the tiniest skirt and a midriff-baring shirt. I also watched and saw so many men (young and older) look at them to say “Hi”, see what they were wearing and then quickly turn and walk away. Ladies, we shouldn’t be so non-caring toward our Christian brothers. It’s up to us to change this.

    • Sharon says

      I am way late to the game here, but wanted to mention for you Mom’s out there whose sons are being preyed on at a young age, I just started reading a book called “Aggressive girls, Clueless boys” by Dennis Rainey. My Mom read it first and gave it to my brother and his wife to read for their 12 year old son. I don’t even have any boys, but do have two daughters that I want to do my best at raising them to not be behaving like some of the other girls out there these days. I’m just one chapter in, but I think it’s going to be really helpful.

  2. says

    Courtney I love this! I was at a church where no matter what I wore someone had a problem with it, even when I was in middle school and my mom was buying my clothes. Legalism was a serious issue with that church. It’s a generation that believe that long skirts and long sleeves are the way to be modest (no make up, perfume, pants, etc).

    I have had to take time with the holy spirit to find out what’s ok for me. It’s been a tough road but I have finally found a place where I feel good about myself and I have found a church where I am not being judged for my jeans :)

  3. Karen Wells says

    Thank you so much for the video—-You made the statements in your blog come alive by adding the video! You were not condecending or judgemental but helpful, fun , and honest!!! I am one of those “well endowed” women and I love the hint about the men’s shirts!!!! With the white especially one can look fresh every day because they come in the 5 pack!!! I am always looking for white tank tops because I like them to look fresh and white!!! Cannot wait to go buy a pack!!!!! Thanks again!!!

    • says

      I’m pretty well-endowed also. Pretty much anything with buttons is a no-go just because it won’t even fit. But I have a few other things as well, since I’ve been making a concerted effort in my own life to be more modest. The mens tank tops is one way to go. In the summer, I will also frequently wear two tank tops. Sometimes they’ll be different colors or one will have a design. Doesn’t matter. But cleavage isn’t the only issue I have to deal with. So if I wear two tank tops, one can be tucked into my pants to make sure that nothing hangs out the back of my pants when I bend over. Then the other shirt can be pulled up just a smidgen higher, because now I’m not trying to make one tank top cover everything that might hang out (and I’ve got a bit of a belly on me these days, so trust me, something would hand out somewhere). The other thing I’ve done is fall in love with scarves. For example, today I wanted to wear a shirt that I absolutely love, but it was definitely designed with a smaller bust in mind. I have a tank top with a lace edge that I wear underneath nicer shirts but even that only brings the neckline up so far. This particular shirt is also sleeveless, so even with the tank underneath, I normally feel very exposed in it. To the rescue: a scarf that matched. There’s a video on youtube with 25 ways to wear a scarf, so I just go on there and watch it until I find one that I like that will work with the shirt I’m wearing. Then, I get a little extra pizazz in my outfit and the scarf can cover me up just a bit more. At the end of the day, my husband actually thanked me for wearing the scarf (and he normally hates scarves, so clearly he knew how much cleavage would have shown in that shirt without it).

      I still have modesty issues that I’m working on. For instance, my husband hates when my bra straps show, but sometimes, if my shirt has a different cut at the neckline or backline, I’ll be fully covered, but my bra straps will stick out because they don’t go that way. I haven’t quite found a good solution to that one.

      • says

        Debra, I sometimes use safety pins to pin my shirt to my bra strap so that it covers it, especially if I have on a tank, I will pin the tank top to the bra strap. I don’t know if it would work with the tops you are referring to but maybe it will help you ;)

      • Amy says

        another solution is to hide bra straps is take a paper clip and unbend it so it’s “s” shape and then put one strap in each part of the “s” . It’ll make the straps be more “racer back” without being racer back.

        • Sue Huey says

          I have also found those little clips at the Dollar Tree with several in a package and they do work well!

      • Pixie508 says

        I almost always have a tank top on underneath my shirts, not only to bring up necklines (I’m well endowed, and it’s a constant struggle – I love men’s tanks), but also to tuck in. It’s hard to find a good rise in jeans that is fashionable and flattering, and yet allows everything to remain covered, ESPECIALLY when bending over. So I like wearing a tank top underneath to tuck into my pants, just to make sure that everyone doesn’t get a show (I have a toddler, so squatting down and bending over is a constant). I wear a tank under even higher necklines for this reason. I want to know that I’m trying my best to remain modest. And the best barometer is always my husband – he’ll tell me if he thinks something needs to be higher or more covered (but in a loving way), and in the end, that’s my goal is to honor God and my husband with my dress.

        • Amber says

          I also wear tank tops for the same reason. I have a long torso, so it can be hard to find ones that stay tucked in, but I like the modesty they provide when bending over or sitting down infront of someone. :-)

  4. says

    I wrote about this exact same thing about two weeks ago after seeing pictures of my boys’ friends, who are girls, in string bikinis posted by their moms on Facebook. Modesty is definitely not the norm, but God doesn’t call us to follow cultural trends. I believe it boils down to the motivation of my heart. Why am I wearing this? What body part am I hoping to draw attention to, besides my face? Who, besides my husband, do I hope to get attention from? We know when we are being immodest and trying to draw attention to ourselves in a way that can draw attention away from God. We cannot carelessly cause our brothers to stumble just because we have worked hard for those abs. If we consider the needs of others above ourselves it will affect everything, including our wardrobe!

  5. Sierra says

    When I put on something, I think “Will this attract the wrong kind of attention (to my chest,legs etc), or the attention of someone other than my husband?” If it passes that test, then it’s modest. For me, that’s no spaghetti straps, shorts that aren’t below the thigh, or low cut shirts.

  6. Jen says

    I am loving your Living Well in Opposite World series! You are such an encouragement. This topic is such a sensitive one for me, I definitely feel the pressures of the world. I feel so discouraged when shopping with all of the immodest clothes. When I first became a Christian I really struggled with this issue. I felt convicted to dress more modestly than I had been but it made me feel so insecure. I felt the enemy telling me that if I wasn’t dressed sexy then my husband would have his eyes on someone who was. It led to a lot of frustration. As I grow in my walk with Christ, it does become easier. I definitely do not want to cause any man to stumble or to disrespect my husband. The enemy will always be there trying to tell us lies and I am thankful for your encouragement and that I am not alone!

  7. Mirna says

    Thank you for the wonderful post! I just wanted to share my story about this issue in case if it could be helpful for others:
    I grew up in a home and around friends where modesty was not discussed. I wore bikinis, short shorts, leggings without anything else, etc. I had NO clue how I was coming off! When I was in my first year of college (I just finished my second), I met a strong Christ-follower who ended up being one of my closest friends. She never once judged me on my clothing, but just showed me love. The Lord began working in my heart midway through the summer last year and He really opened up my eyes to how I am dressing and began working in my heart! What a change He has done in me! Looking back, I know it was all His doing and I am so thankful.
    I just wanted to share that for those who might be discouraged about Sisters they know that aren’t dressing appropriately. I do think my friend should have discussed it with me more than she did- but I also am so grateful for how loving she still was!!!! Continue praying for those who struggle in this area- the Lord will open their eyes! :] He still continues to open my eyes more and more to both this issue and others.

    Also, I found wonderful tank tops at T.J. Maxx (if you have one nearby). They were super cheap, had adjustable straps, and also had lace on both the top and bottom. The lace is especially helpful when you are looking for a modest neckline.

    :] You are all beautiful!!! I do believe the Lord wants us to dress ‘modestly’- but the most important thing to Him is our hearts. Let us go about our day focusing on Him.

    :]

    • Jennifer says

      If blogs hid a like button I’d like this post! =) We who are not part of opposite world need to be sure we are loving those who are still on the other side and not condemning them. Christ came to save not condemn and if we are to be like Christ we should have our minds and hearts set on saving the lost not condemning them. (This does not mean we agree with or tolerate sinful behavior, but only that we love through it) We should also not condemn our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ but choose our words wisely and approach them in love if they are struggling ( like Courtney’s posts and videos; what a wise, caring way to help believers struggling with worldly issues! She is helping fellow believers instead of judging or condemning). We should always pray about these things and look to God for guidance on when we should approach a brother or sister and what we should say if it is a matter we should approach them with.

      I have seen so many people hurt by judgmental Christians, that turn away from God or leave a church and I believe this makes God hurt, I know that it makes me hurt to see these people go. I am a very strong conservative Christian, but I have found you can still hold onto your values without condemning others. Just like Mirna’s friend did, she loved her, she didn’t judge her. She probably had her opinions on things Mirna did or said but she knew the power of loving like Christ is way stronger than any argument she could have had with her friend about these things. Now look where Mirna is, she has found God’s love and she is learning herself about these things. When directly asked what we believe we must be honest and stand firm for what is right but we can be honest and kind by choosing our words wisely when in these situations. Mirna your story is so moving and encouraging thank you for sharing it! =)

  8. Rachel says

    Men are visually stimulated creatures. For the most part it’s men who struggle with pornography. Some may feel it’s no big deal to show a little cleavage-“So what?!” they might say. Do you really want a man committing adultery with you in his heart? I read a book by Shaunt Feldman called “For Women Only.” It was very insightful to the thoughts of men. As a rule for myself and our girls-we wear skirts or dresses to the knees and no low necklines or tight skimpy clothes. I am responsible as their mother to teach them how to be modest and appropriate. As a married woman I now know partly how a man thinks and what his eyes are drawn to. As a Christian, my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I strive to dress in a way that would not cause a Christian brother to have lustful thoughts towards me. I know I’m “old-fashioned” but that rules out pants and shorts for us. The back seam of both garments accentuates the buttocks in a sensual way. I have never seen a pair of either that did not outline and define the rear end. Let me say however; I do not stand in judgment of those who feel differently than me. These are our rules. Our dress does reveal what is in our hearts. In the last couple of months, 2 women I know left their husbands and kids for another man. Leading up to those events however their “dress” started to change drastically. Revealing unfortunately what was in their hearts…adultery. I am writing this because I think we ladies should take seriously the issue of modesty. I am not trying to be haughty. I hope I don’t come across as such. I submit my “temple” to the Lord and I try to listen to His leading. there have been many mornings I’ve changed my clothes because I didn’t feel my garments were appropriate or modest. Enough of my ramblings…just be sensitive to the Spirit and your husband in the area of your dress. If I wasn’t clear I love all my Christian sisters whether we agree or not. God bless you!

    • Laura says

      I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s something God works in a person’s life about, He is the one we are striving to please. God worked in my heart about it in my late teens. It’s a very important issue, but I was once wearing immodest things. We are all in different places of our Christian life, we have to do as God leads and be a good example. But, if people walk around looking down at those that dress immodestly, that’s not looking through Christ’s eyes of love at all.

    • says

      I do think we need to be careful though … no woman causes a man to lust or commit adultery no matter how she is dressed. That is the MAN’s issue … obviously we can make it harder or easier for them in that temptation but it is NEVER that woman’s fault ….

  9. Amanda says

    Hi! I just wanted to give you another modesty tip to consider!
    Check this website out:
    http://camisecret.com/Default.asp?bhcp=1

    It’s really hard to find tops with nice fabric/fit without showing cleavage.
    Until I do have money to replace tops that would be inappropriate without
    a camisole, I use these. I get so hot with a full camisole underneath, so this
    solved my problem! Just wanted to pass it along! God bless you and your
    ministry. A blessing to see this!

    • Rochelle says

      LOVE these!!! Highly recommend for anyone trying to dress modestly! I live in TX and it’s nearly impossible to layer tanks/camis in the summer as it’s so HOT!!! These have really saved me! My daughter (she’s 5) has even asked me to make some for a couple of her dresses that were gifts that were so low they made HER uncomfortable!

      • melissa says

        AMEN to it being to HOT!!! That is my problem too. First I live in Texas and 2nd I’m perimenolpausal. I also use the Cami secret. Just wish I could find the other set of colors. I also wish they would do one without the lace on top. I think that is to sexy. Just need it plane in LOTS of colors. :-)

    • Tara says

      I love these too! I wear them all the time. I actually bought mine at Walmart in the “As seen on TV” section. :) They work so well for covering up my cleavage (not that I have a lot, but nobody wants to see down to my belly button when I bend over, lol) without adding bulk under my shirts. During the summer especially, they are a lifesaver!

    • sally says

      Just last Sunday I wore a new top, as we drove to church my husband asked “can you raise that neckline a bit?” … a bit late!!! I had meant to look for something like this, but hadn’t done it yet. Thank you for the link – they’ve been ordered!!

  10. Jacqui says

    Thank you so much for that helpful info! I am definitely going to pick up some men’s tank tops this week.

  11. sarah says

    I love to wear layering tanks!! another trick that I love is to use rit dye on the white ones and get lots of different colors if you cant find any at other stores or if you are looking for a specific color. :)

  12. Jennifer Crowell says

    I wanted to write something for the young, tall, thin girls out there. I know it can be sooo hard to find clothing when you have a body in the size the world wants you to show off, so they make almost everything in your size skimpy and revealing. Swimwear is the absolute worst! Shorts coming in second for me. I had a really hard time finding modest swimwear for a decent price most of my life, I shopped in the little girls department until I got too tall. I remember wanting a swimsuit with a skirt as a teenager sooo bad, but they didn’t make these for skinny girls. It makes me so mad to see so many teeny tiny almost non existent bikini’s in tiny sizes and usually nothing modest. I hurt for the young ladies struggling with the same thing I struggled with. (and I didn’t even want to wear them, a bikini looks terrible if you have nothing up top!) Well at last I have found some places with decent swimwear in tiny sizes at decent prices. Lands End has great clearance on swimwear in the winter months and they have some cute modest swimwear! Target I have noticed has been carrying some more modest swimwear in smaller sizes as well (I got my recent swimsuit at Target on clearance last year, and it’s straight across the top!!! no plunge at all!!) For shorts my absolute favorite short is the perfect Bermuda from Old Navy, I love these so much I would pay full price for them if I had to, of course I don’t have to because I’m a savvy saver, but they are sooo good I would pay that much for them. (I have found some of these at my local Goodwill by the way, I was so excited!) I still have a hard time with dresses, it’s just trial and error there, I usually get my dresses at Goodwill and I keep an eye out for Ann Taylor stuff, it’s a high priced brand and usually pretty classy so I can usually find dresses that aren’t too short from them. Skirts are a great option if you have trouble finding dresses, and I my goodwill skirts are cheaper.

    From a young (32 is young still isn’t it?) thin, tall God loving girl, I want you all to know you are so very beautiful to God. Don’t sell yourself short trying to be like opposite world, you are a child of the king! (I know what many of us gals want is not to attract others but to just feel beautiful when we see ourselves) You can look and feel fabulous about yourself and be modest at the same time. =)

    • TracyVin says

      My niece has this issue. She’s very willowy and she’s SUPER modest. She tends to buy boys character (Marvin the Martian, Perry the Platypus, etc) shirts to keep her modest. Recently her boy has been getting longer, so they aren’t hiding her backside when she bends over, so she’s struggling with finding a shirt LONG enough to keep her covered when she bends over. So, we found an old tighter “wife beater” (sorry I can’t remember the proper term for the shirt, much like the tanks that Courtney wears.) and we cut the neck out and sleeves and she wears it starting around her middle. And because it’s tight across her hips, it tends to stick in place on her jeans. And it solves her exposed backside issue. She also has issues buying swim suits. She settled for a two piece, one being a “tankini” top and a full bottom that she wore a sarong over.

    • says

      You can also order tall sizes at Old Navy online even though they don’t have them in the store and American Eagle as well ….

    • Lynn says

      Check ebay, too – I love the more expensive brands, so I try things on at the store, and then find the same item on ebay. You can save lots of money that way!

    • says

      I work for a modest clothing company and we sell modest swim suits! Here in Utah there are a lot of LDS gals (Mormon gals) like me, so there are a lot of smaller modest clothing companies. It has been a huge blessing to be able to work for one and share a vision of modesty while still enjoying what you wear, especially being passionate about the fashion industry like I am.

      Hope this helps! We carry layering tees, knee length and maxi skirts, dresses, jeans, all kinds of things, but the swim suits are great!

      http://www.downeastbasics.com
      http://www.modbeclothing.com

  13. Andrea says

    I watched a video someone posted above about what men have to say about modesty. I’m aware that not all men feel the way some men from church feel but I truly appreciated the video share because I am really sensitive to the provocative way men and women dress. No, I am not a pilgram raised in the woods…I just don’t think that people who show off their bodies, skin and certain parts understand that not everyone wants to see their “parts”. I really do not want to see others revealed in that manner, especially family! It really interferes with relaionships amongst family and friends because I will avoid those opportunities knowing if I attend, I will be having conversations and interactions where I cannot be focused on someone’s heart and internal qualities but will be distracted (because I don’t want to see it!) with their skimpy clothing and body parts revealed the entire time. Not to mention another struggle of knowing that all the males in my family will have to deal with this as well. It has become such a burden that we just would rather not go. The saddness I feel is deep and yes, they do realize and are fully conscious of their attire…as they dress to “impress”. I cannot control others obviously, but I do my best to set an example and pray for this matter.

  14. Kate says

    I’m so so so happy to read this. I’m 18 years old and have really struggled with modesty in the sense that for the longest time I felt as though dressing modestly meant looking “boyish” and ultimately not feeling beautiful. It’s wonderful to hear that that’s so far from the truth!

    I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum. I’ve had my days where I desired to feel beautiful, so I dressed to get attention… and those days where I feel crummy dressing “Appropriately” (boyish).

    I’m only 5’6”, but at 125 lb I know how hard it is to find clothes for girls in my size group that aren’t crazy immodest!

    My tips are;
    Shop in the petite section at Sears! they often have great sales and you can find really cute stuff! You may have to do some hunting, but I’ve gotten a lot of things from the brand “Apostrophe’ that have been great!
    Sidecca has ”bandeaux bras” and basically sports/training bras that have no padding and are the equivalent look of a tank top but you don’t have the extra layer in the summer months.
    I am a sweater-aholic! cardigans are a great way to make a spaghetti strap dress or a spaghetti strap shirt modest! I have them in the basic colors as well as bright pink and plum!
    I tend to stay away from shorts because I tend to not find any modest ones.
    I’ve found great modest swimsuits are both Costco (super easy to find cute one pieces) and Walmart…
    ALSO sports chalet or big 5, when they have a sale they have a lot of athletic clothes that could be great for layering and they have one piece bathing suits!!!
    Also, sometimes in the summer I roll up my jeans instead of wearing shorts. it’s cooler and honestly looks cuter than a lot of shorts I’ve seen!!

    Hope maybe this helps someone! :)

  15. Erin says

    Loved this post, thank you! What about swim wear? Do you have a video or blog post on the type is swim suits you buy? Just a one piece or do you make sure it covers more of your legs and shoulders? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Erin,
      I wear a swim tank on top and a swim skirt. People tell me ALL THE TIME that they like my suit and that it looks classy. The major benefits are that I can wear this in front of anyone and not feel embarrassed AND I don’t have to be super finicky about hair removal! It makes for a much more comfortable beach and swim experience.

    • says

      Athleta, Lands End and some of the more athletic type places have some that are more modest — pricey but they work well ….there are also several companies out there that cater to this if you google it and you can find all ranges of “modest” from longer bottoms and more fabric on top but still swimsuitish to completely covered dress type outfits from swim fabric. … but even Walmart and Target often have the two piece tankini’s which are modest as long as they meet in my opinion and you can get the skirt instead of shorts,etc ….

  16. says

    Great post!!! It’s super encouraging that we don’t have to be out dated frumps OR fashion crazy, public lingerie models! Thanks, keep up the good work!

  17. Missy says

    I wasn’t always as modest as I am today. It has been a process. I’m sure there is still more for me to learn too. Now that my children are all teens I am learning more about the struggles that young people have in this area. This is a really difficult fight for young men that desire to keep their heart/mind pure. It is difficult to go anywhere without seeing skin tight clothes, too short shorts/skirts, and lots of cleavage. It is a distraction to young women too (and older women) who want to be modest and don’t want to see all of these “parts” flaunted everywhere you turn. I know from experience that it is very discouraging to young women and young men to have to fight this battle in church. It’s tough enough in the world, where one would expect it, but when it stares you in the face in the church it is worse. I liked your point that “Paul was telling the women in the church they ought not to show up to a worship service dressed like a prostitute.” I think the problem we have in our culture today is that we have blurred the lines of modesty and dressing immodestly now is highly fashionable.

    In our home our rule of thumb is if you can’t bend over without revealing what is inside your shirt, then don’t wear it (of course we don’t wear it if it shows cleavage without bending over either). Clothing (pants, tops, or skirts) must be loose and not tight (revealing the form of the body). No skirts above the knee either because when a skirt is too short sitting, squatting, or bending over reveals too much. That is what we try to practice in our home to be modest in our apparel. Most people would be surprised to know that our teen daughters are modest because that is the desire of their heart, not because I force them to dress this way. One daughter is learning that you can be fashionable and wear pretty clothes and still be modest. It is wonderful to see her make an effort to be modest and yet still dress in a way that is attractive yet doesn’t draw attention to certain body parts. It really helps young people to want to dress modestly if they have good examples around them who model modesty.

    Great post Courtney!

  18. Kerrye says

    *gasp!* I have borrowed my husband’s Hanes under-tanks for so long and considered it a big secret. I can’t find girl’s tanks with the same stretchy fit and long enough. (I even wear one under my pj’s most nights just because it’s so comfortable!)

  19. Emily says

    This is definitely a heart issue, but I feel if God has changed your heart you will have a change in attire. No longer will you want to wear short skirts and shorts and have cleavage showing. My attitude has changed and I just feel prettier when I’m dressed more modestly and feminine. I love wearing a cute top and doesn’t plunge and a pretty knee length or longer skirt and some low heels. I just feel that’s how God created me to dress. Pretty and feminine. Dressing this way keeps my heart pure and my pure heart creates the desire in me to dress this way. This is an area of growth for me but I know God’s working in me and in my closet ;)

  20. says

    Thank you very much!! I never understood this particular part of 1 Thimothy becouse I wasn’t aware of the contest. Thank you for explaining it to us! :)

  21. Dalene says

    This was a great tip – I never thought of that before. My tip is that I check what the tag looks like in the back and if it can’t be seen, I wear the tank top backwards! That has been a big help for us. I have 4 daughters and we are always struggling with finding inexpensive modest tanks! Another issue: We in our family wear skirts because that’s how our church believes. I have absolutely no problem with pants! However, I am constantly seeing the low blouses and short skirts addressed, but what about the tight pants? It seems we have several in our church who wear extremely tight fitting pants and that seems just as immodest to me! Pants can look very nice and sometimes are even more modest than skirts! But, when they’re so tight, I feel that’s wrong. I wish I could express that to the teen girls in our church – any thoughts?

  22. Leah says

    I wish I knew all of this ten years ago! What I specifically struggle with about modesty is that I am an athlete. I’m not going around in sports bras and super short spandex shorts, but because I am a triathlete and cyclist I have to wear tight-fitting clothing. Not for looks, but purely functionality. I’m still trying to figure out how to feel comfortable and train/compete at the same time!

      • says

        Plus I do think this is where the attitude of the heart comes in …. our daughter plays Volleyball in college which equals short shorts (doesn’t wear them except on the court) but there’s a REASON to wear those just as with you and that’s not the same as trying to attract a male ….

  23. Sunshine says

    Hmm . . . I’m a little torn on this one. Modesty really is a bit relative. I mean, if you live in some areas, you are immodest if a man sees anything but eyes. Are we going back to that? And I wonder about the verse: 1 Samuel 16:7
    The Message (MSG)
    7 But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.”
    And I do wonder–aren’t there bigger heart issues to be worried about? Are we truly loving others? Or are we worried that they dress up to our standards. Which of these points to our loving savior? Just food for thought . . .

    • Missi says

      When I first started reading about modesty, I had some of the same thoughts. I think the important thing to remember though, is that this is an issue for Christians. It’s not about our standards of dress, but about God’s standards. Modesty is somewhat of a judgment call, but as Christians, we should encourage one another to seek the Lord in this matter. Although it’s incredibly frustrating to see any one dressed skimpy, we need to remember that those are worldly ways, not ours.

  24. says

    Thank you so much for the wonderful tips. I live in The Netherlands and here women aren’t all dressed modestly. It’s a trend to show a lot and I don’t like that, I have never liked it. I am well endowed and used to be even more endowed, but after a lot of pain and trouble I was operated on. I used to wear bathing suits when I went to the swimmingpool, but even then I was ridiculed, because of the fact I was so well endowed. It caused a lot of pain. After the operation I was much happier and could wear other things, but I Always layered and never had low cut shirts. It is something I just don’t like to wear. The tank top tip is great. That is something they sell here too. I use a longsleeve and a Summer blouse over it in Spring or in Winter.
    I love you site it is really hard to find modern women here in The Netherlands that want to be modest and want to be a Poverbs 31 woman. Thank you very much.

  25. Lori says

    What a great post. I’m loving this series! I have a couple of ideas to add. My daughter (age 22, tall, thin beautiful figure) was having a hard time finding shorts that were long enough. She found that misses sizes, rather than juniors, were a lot longer. Also, I found these bras and love them. http://www.qvc.com/Milana-Bra-by-Genie-Set-of-2-Lace-Overlay-Bras-w-Modesty-Pads-Search-Results.product.A228660.html?sc=A228660-SRCH&cm_sp=VIEWPOSITION-_-1-_-A228660&catentryImage=http://images-p.qvc.com/is/image/a/60/a228660.001?$uslarge$
    They are cooler than wearing a tank and provide great coverage. Lands End also has great swimsuits. I found a very cute, sporty looking one that has swim shorts and a tank style top. Another great site shared on another blog is http://www.diviinemodestee.com/ They have some really cute modest swimsuits. We can look cute and fashionable and still look modest. Great post!

    • KellyK(@RNCCRN9706) says

      I got those Genie Bras at Target, two in a pack for $20. They don’t give my DDD’s very good support at all. Especially after having breastfed my son 9 years ago, they aren’t nearly as perky as they used to be. lol

  26. Liesa says

    Would love ideas on how to explain this to my 8-year old daughter who is starting to ask for bikinis, short shorts, etc. yet hasn’t heard the “birds and the bees” talk yet. We can always say we just don’t dress that way, but if there are other ideas out there, I’d love to here them!

  27. Dayami says

    This weekend I was so attacked by family for wearing shorts and a tank over my bikini. We are from Miami and everyone is very desensitized to bikinis. As long as it’s not a brazilian bikini it’s modest in Miami. Even my husband was upset that I worn shorts and a shirt and said I looked ridiculous. I was told that my husband is going to look at other women, because I looked so terrible. I just could not believe how even Christians thought that I was going too extreme. Finally my husband and I settled on the fact that I had to buy a nice looking maybe boy short tank swimsuit. Modesty is so relative when 99% of the men in your city have seen women tanning without a top, in a thong. To these men a bikini is modest. They think nothing of it. So I will try to find a balance to what my husband considers modest and to my more conservative modest approach. What a mess.

  28. Marisa says

    Being the wife of a husband who has a hard time w/”the girls at church w/their underwear sticking out”, and a mom to two little boys, I try to always keep modesty in mind. I don’t want to be a woman who causes a man/husband to fall because of what I wear. It could be my sons in the future struggling w/this…
    And you’re right, there are lots of great ways to dress trendy and fashionable w/out looking immodest! :)

  29. jan jones says

    I struggled for so long as a teenager trying to fit in, and wore clothes that were not appropriate. My desire at the time was to attract attention from boys. I can look back and realize that my goal was to be liked because of my looks, and it was fun to see if I could “drive men wild”, which is what our culture teaches. These days, I am embarrassed instead of pleased when my clothes do not cover me appropriately. I think sometimes girls try to just fit in, but often, we secretly want to attract men because it makes us feel better about ourselves. I think one of the best sayings I ever heard about the subject toward girls who dress this way, is “if you wear a shirt that shows your boobs, you will attract a guy who likes to look at girls’ boobs.” That is not God’s best for us. It will be so much easier to have a solid relationship with our husband if he is not the kind of man who is constantly ogling other women. I know men do struggle with this, and I am not saying that it is totally their fault for being tempted. But if this is the way you first attracted a man, why do you expect him to suddenly behave differently when another temptation comes along? It can cause feelings of competition and jealousy when he gives attention to someone else’s looks, especially when your own beauty begins to fade. And finally, some people think its ok to dress their young girls in bikinis and short skirts and short shorts while they are young. But often, this can just make things harder when they get older, and suddenly they are told it is not what they need to be wearing. Better to begin with a good foundation, and dress them modestly and talk about modesty while they are still young, and it will be a natural thing to them. My daughter is 13 and does not like to have ANYONE see her in any immodest situation (won’t let me see her even halfway undressed when I have to pop into the bathroom or something while she is dressing). She insists on wearing shorts and a t shirt over her swimsuit while she is swimming. I think this attitude has developed over the years, and she is always careful to make sure she is dressed properly when she leaves the privacy of her room. She feels uncomfortable if she is underdressed because she has never been publicly underdressed.

  30. Heidi says

    I feel like I should own stock in tank top companies. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who owns so many! :) Someone already mentioned this but I also wear tank tops backwards under my other shirts if the tag doesn’t show. I’ve been pregnant all winter/spring but wore almost exclusively layered tanks just because I was so hot. I’m pretty well-endowed but have found that one backwards and one forward tank top (usually from Target) has been enough for me to cover up top and down below, even while pregnant.

  31. Ann says

    Thank you for addressing this! I have three daughters – 14, 10, and 6 so dressing modestly is a daily thing in our home. I get very frustrated when my mother-in-law tells me that we need to relax our standards for them because it is so difficult to find dresses that cover their knees! You would think she would be happy that we didn’t dress her granddaugthers in skimpy clothes!

    Anyway, I wanted to share this quote that I had. I didn’t check to see if this was actually said by Ali or not, but regardless I love what it says:

    The following true incident took place years ago, when former Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammed Ali was visited by his daughters, who arrived at his home wearing clothes that were immodest. Here is the story as told by one of his daughters:

    “When we arrived, the chauffer escorted my youngest sister, Laila, and me to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. And we exchanged as many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.

    “My father then took a good look at us. He sat me down in his lap and said something I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said: ‘Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down and in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get them.’

    “He looked at me again with serious eyes and said, ‘Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.’”

  32. Kelley Howard says

    I love this post and find that I am glad that at one point in time, we all dressed a little immodest!!!! :-D
    And as you and many other women have stated before, your children (especially the girls) will mimic and mirror what you do. SO, from this day forward I will dress the way I should, and leave the rest for the my husband because its all for him!!!!! Thanks Courtney!

  33. says

    14 years ago my pastor was telling a group of people that when young women ask him how they should dress, he points them to his wife as an example. Every once in awhile I think about that. At the time I thought it was so odd, it was prior to my becoming a Christian. Fast forward a decade and a couple years and we had a foster daughter who lived with us for almost a year and we still are in contact with her and her siblings. It is a constant struggle to teach her about modesty. We’re fighting against the world. :(

  34. April says

    Thank you so much for your post. I sometimes (mostly while walking through stores in the ‘Women’s Clothing’ section wonder if anyone is modest..and how can they be.) I have always hated clothes shopping…from a very young age. Why? Because, I have always dressed modestly and it’s hard to find modest clothing and still actually look put together (not to mention, while I love the way God made me…I don’t really fit the clothing molds very well…if it fits the waist it’s too short or hugs the butt…if it’s long enough, then I have to roll the waist 10 times and wear a belt to keep it up…yadda yadda yadda!:) But, becoming a mom of a girl has been such a joy for me in every way…except clothing her! She loves dresses (I’m a jeans and t-shirt gal myself) and skirts..she’s ALL girl. She’s 4. We struggle with “if you want to wear a dress, then we have to wear shorts under it if we are headed to the park”…because she needs to play and not worry about her undies showing! But she really dislikes wearing pants! …and finding dresses/skirts long enough that won’t trip her and don’t cost a ridiculous amount of money (especially for a wee girl that’s growing and will probably only get to wear it 4 times!:) it’s certainly a chore! Thank you for your post. While I do not delight in the struggles of others, it’s good to know that I am not alone in the never ending battle to look nice for my husband yet not show off to everyone else. Your words are always an encouragement!

  35. says

    I had a total “duh” moment when watching your video! What a great idea to wear mens tank tops under clothes. I also always wear tank tops and I am well-endowed and have wide shoulders and a high bust so it is harder to find larger sized tank tops in womens sizes that don’t have long straps. I think the mens tank tops may do the job though! I will have to give them a try!! Thanks so much!

  36. says

    I love reading about modesty! I grew up in a church where jewelry was forbidden, pants couldn’t be worn to church, shorts were forbidden, etc. When I got old enough to go out and party (rebelliously) it was so funny because even though I showed a bit more skin, I still felt uncomfortable showing as much as the other girls! I always wore jeans and never showed more than two inches of my stomach. Obviously, I still wasn’t dressing modestly, but the difference was significant.

    Well, I’m 22 now, I’m married, and have a beautiful two year old girl. I threw away ALL my old clothes and am starting from scratch. It is SO hard to find modest clothes! I’m 5’8″ and 125 lbs- runway body (or so I was told by an agency). I love, love, LOVE Banana Republic, The Loft, J Crew, The Gap, and Ann Taylor. Sometimes I feel weird going into those stores since I’m almost always the only one my age there, but everything is always the right length and height. It’s pricier, but like my husband says, “It costs more because they use more fabric!” ;) lol!

  37. says

    Courtney, this is such a great post! I grew up wearing bikini tops in the hayfield on our farm to get sun. We simply didn’t understand the issue of modesty so many years ago, and our culture is getting much, much worse as well. I have 3 daughters, now older, and a 17 year old son, and we have never had an issue with it in our home, but it is discussed and has been because of everything we see in the world and in the church. Someone told us of a tip the Duggar family uses in their home when something immodest pops up on TV, whether a show or commercials or a movie, the girls yell “NIKE” and then my son quickly turns his head away as does the girls. It is kind of funny but it really works, they have even used the word “CHEETAH,” which actually came from Dave Ramsey on the use of credit cards being a danger, he uses the analogy of an antelope running from a cheetah, so that is a code word as well now. :) Whatever works.
    A super little book is called “Secret Keeper” by Dannah Gresh where she talks about the power we have as women and that we are secret keepers of ALL we have except for our husbands or future husbands. She even has a poster with great tips, we have even hung these in every stall of our bathroom at church. I couldn’t find her poster this time, but the tips are on the site. Some people I truly believe simply do not understand that this is a problem, and yes, it is a heart problem.
    Thank you for addressing it so gently. You did a wonderful job!

    In His Grace,
    Jody

  38. Julie says

    Thanks for all the thoughts. I would just say that men in the church have enormous power to exercise for good in this area both in 1) Communicating to women how the men are affected and 2) In reaching out to teen and young adult men, mentoring and encouraging them. Because it’s been my experience in and around churches that it was the teen and young adult men giving attention to immodestly dressed women instead of those modestly dressed. And in that climate, what do you think is going to happen ?

    • says

      I think it is very hard for men to be honest about this because they don’t want to be labeled as perverts. When I was a student teacher at a high school and dealing with freshman girls who had thongs that showed when they sat a male teacher told me that there was a girl in one of his classes that had very large breasts and always wore the smallest tank tops but he couldn’t say anything about it because then it’s like it confirms that he noticed her breasts! So really only women can talk to women about this in most cases.

  39. Pam says

    Good Morning, I was wondering what study bible do you use, and is there one you recommend . I don’t always get to listen but when I do I enjoy it very much.
    Pam

  40. says

    I am in total agreement with you on this subject! We live in an era where it is getting harder and harder to find age appropriate clothing for our younger generation. I would rather go to the dentist and get numbed up than to go shopping for clothes with my daughter!!! She’s 17 and her favorite thing to say is “this is what everybody is wearing”. My response to her is that I’m not everybodies mother! I share with her on a regular basis that everything tagged as fashion is not fashionable for everybody!!!

  41. Isabel says

    Just loved your practical help through video! And your grace-filled heart is so encouraging!! It is never easy to respond well when being confronted. Your testimony is filled with Him and your teachable-ness is an example to follow. Thank you for sharing!

  42. Steph says

    I agree whole-heartedly with this post.
    But I have a question that I have no idea how to answer…Maybe someone on here can impart some wisdom.
    For the last 8 months I have been eating clean and lifting weights and doing a little cardio. My body has changed drastically and I feel/look better than I ever have. Well because of that, my husband is practically begging me to wear a 2-piece swimsuit this summer. Ever since I’ve had our children, I have always worn a tankini suit..so it doesn’t show my tummy….He calls it my frumpy swimsuit and says he doesn’t think I should wear the ‘grandma’ suits anymore. Well, I must admit, that I’ve worked so hard to achieve a body that I’m no longer self-conscious of, so part of me wants to wear a 2 piece, but then the other part of me cringes at the thought….Then I thought that as long as it’s not a string bikini, but maybe a nice halter that still covers everything except my tummy….maybe that would be ok….I know to each his own and we must follow our own convictions, but I’m torn on this one. Anyone have any advice?

    • Kathi says

      I’m sorry I don’t have any advice but if this were me… I would first, pray about it. Then ask myself a few questions… Who am I wanting to show my body to? Why am I wanting to show my body? Are my reasons honorable? would I wear it to church or on a church outing? Would it cause others to look at me sexually? And, why does my husband want me to dress this way? Are his reasons honorable? I think for me, this would be most concerning… I hope that you find a solution soon! Congratulations on getting healthy!! P.S. There are some very nice, beautiful one piece bathing suits that don’t look like “grandma’s” bathing suit lol

    • Pixie508 says

      I will say that I have a bikini, but I have never worn it to the public pool or a beach. I have however worn it in situations where it is just my husband and I. We went on vacation w/ my family a few years ago and our house had a pool. I wore it in the evenings when just my husband and I were in the pool together. I feel like it’s more than ok to show my body to my husband, but I had other suits with me, which I wore during the day or at the beach when others were around.

    • Iva says

      I think I’d be honest with my husband about my desire to be modest–not just for the sake of my own conscience but because you want to honor the fact that your body is for him and him alone to admire. Make some compromises if possible: will you be at a public pool? if so, you agree that you can wear what you feel protects you. If it’s a private pool, umm, skip the bikini even?? lol What about asking him to pick out a swimsuit for you? remind him about your desire to dress in a way that does not turn his best friend’s head… I personally feel that honoring your husband is a notch above pleasing yourself even on the issue of modesty (this from a gal who doesn’t wear swim suits but only a tshirt and shorts).

    • says

      I would be open about your feelings with him. Being healthy is something to celebrate, as is the special intimate relationship you have with your hubby. Maybe point out that while you love that he finds you attractive, it would make you uncomfortable for others to view you in the same way and that you’d like to keep that wonderful relationship personal between you and him. Then propose a compromise for both you and him like maybe purchasing a cute modest swimsuit (check out downeastbasic.com!) for public outings and family events as well as something that you can enjoy with just the two of you to celebrate your attraction to each other in a private way, like a cute new nighty or piece of lingerie. (hope I’m not making anyone blush or feel uncomfortable).

      Whenever I wonder if I’m showing too much or dressing immodestly, I always tell myself that I’d never regretted covering up more and that I won’t be wasting energy worrying about it the rest of the day if I wear something a bit more modest.

  43. Kathi says

    As a teenager, I struggled with this… I was desperately looking for someone to love me. I had turned my back on God at 15 and it just spiraled out of control from there. My father was not and still is not in the picture. I just wanted that so badly, I was desperate to get it anyway I could. I began wearing revealing clothing and yes, just like a prostitute sometimes… Yes I got attention from Men, but not the kind I was looking for. It was the only kind that I could get, so I went with it… It brought a lot of heartache and pain and embarrassment. When, 2 years into my marriage, I finally turned my life back to God. I was ashamed of how I dressed. I couldn’t wear most of what I had to church even!! I felt shame for how I had been before and still struggle with that now that I am married with children of my own. I am now struggling to buy clothes for my 7yr old that don’t show off every bit of her body. Trying to enforce the beauty with in her and the beauty that God sees is WAY more important than the beauty that the world tries to show. Men are very visual creatures, it is our job to protect our girls, our boys, and even our husbands from sin.

  44. Heather Roche says

    Thanks for the tip for the men’s tank tops. I know I will use it!

    Oldnavy’s layers tanks that you can get during the fall and winter are great too. These tanks are higher because they are meant to go under sweater and such. They usually have great sales for them too. I wouldn’t recommend their other tank tops especially for women who are “well-endowed”.

    My oldest daughter just turned four and we are already have the house rule of “bellies can’t show”. I am amazed at how many young girls wear clothes and swimming suits that show their belly.

    I would like to share a proud mamma moment. (one that is lost on most moms around here because they don’t share the same opinions). We get a lot of handy downs from our cousins. Their house rule on bellies is not the same as ours. We where trying on tankini swimming suits, many of which are belly showing. We let her wear those in the back yard when playing with the hose (as least for now). She put one on and said “Mommy I can’t wear this my belly is showing”. My heart all most busted. I was so proud of her and felt so blessed for having her in my life. After talking to hubby she won’t be wearing belly showing tankinis any more.

  45. Jenny says

    Great post! I like that old post you linked to. I did the same thing with the pre pregnancy clothes. Sometime i thought “people will be looking at the cute baby instead of me” or “ill be looking sloppy anyway once baby wipes her face on my shoulder within the hour anyway”. We couldn’t afford much for new clothes either.

    I think ive always been a modest person. But when i started HS i grew to 5’9″ and i was QUITE endowed (i eventually had a breast reduction) it was so frustrating that the fashionable longer baby doll shirts would show glimpses of my midriff and look like a turtleneck or something on me. Shorts were even shorter on my long legs. . I think that only brought more negative attention from the boys. I learned proportion was the key to modesty. Then fast forward to when i had a baby and it was that awkward high school dressing all over again until i figured out what works (again)

    I wear some lower necklines now simply because it looks proportionate on my frame, but not to the point that its immodest. I have embraced the adjustable strap cami that i can lengthen the straps and not have to worry about showing my midriff. I am having difficulty explaining this to my tween whose body is changing rapidly and this post (and the other-and the comment of the dad to his daughter about the small dress) have been helpful. Its about respecting yourself. About commanding respect. Thanks!

  46. says

    i do my own video blogs about God and arts and crafts and after seeing your videos, I have actually felt convicted to wear modest apparel and you did help me, I couldn’t believe I just saw this article after last night speaking with a friend about my shirts being low cut, I know this is God and a confirmation about my shirts. Thank you so much if you want to view some of my blogs it is under donna manucci on youtube thank you so much you have brought me a lot of inspiration

  47. V says

    I have a ton of baggage about this issue. I became a Christian when I was 13, and my parents and siblings did too within a few months of me. Big changes in our family after that point. We joined a small independent Baptist church (in Canada…I always feel like I have to clarify that because there’s a bit of a difference between these churches in Canada and in the US!). It was pretty conservative at the time, moreso than it is now (the pastor who was there at the time left). Anyway, my mom began wearing skirts and dresses and got rid of all her pants but told my sis and I that it was up to us. When I was 14 I decided that I would too, having been convinced that anything other than skirts and dresses meant I was “cross dressing” and therefore living in serious sin. I never studied it out from the Bible for myself – for years I was content to just let the pastor tell me what was up because he was the Bible expert and what did I know? I lived that way for years – refusing to wear anything but skirts and dresses and, to my shame, judging women who dressed differently (because of course, they were less knowledgeable and less spiritually discerning and wise than me, right? of course!).

    I have since studied this topic on my own, a couple years ago. Evidently the words translated as “modest clothes” in the original language don’t actually mean “a dress”. It is not “cross dressing” for a woman to wear pants like I’d always been taught. And rather than modesty being all about what you wear, the original language focuses predominantly on the heart. I now wear pants and shorts and tank tops. But it’s been hard. Years of conditioning is at war with my reasoning. Years of being told that most of my body is so sexual that it must be hidden or else I will be like the lust version of Typhoid Mary has really made this harder than it should have been. Why are my shoulders just as sexual as my breasts? Why are my lower thighs as sexual as my backside and need to be hidden away? And why is it my fault what goes on in someone else’s head? For me, that is the hardest bit of this whole thing – the idea that I am not only responsible for my own lustful thoughts (seriously, has anyone ever heard a preacher blame men for making a woman lust?? didn’t think so! it’s always our own fault!), but I am also held responsible for the lustful thoughts of any man who looks at me because “men can’t help it”. I find that deeply troubling. Why can’t we hold men accountable for their own minds? Why do we excuse it away with “they can’t help it so we have to do it for them”? It isn’t right. It is the same mentality that is used in Islam to justify forcing women to wear veils and stoning them to death for being raped. It is the same mentality that leads people to blame rape victims for the way they were dressed or for being black-out drunk (always a bad choice but NEVER justifies rape!) – men just can’t help themselves, you know! It’s incredibly unhealthy to view men in that manner, as if they’re helpless in the face of their vile sexual nature which instinctively preys on women. And it’s incredibly unhealthy for us to view our bodies as being so sexually charged that everything between your shins and your neck and your elbows must be hidden or you’re being indecent. That whole mentality is sexist against everyone. I am no longer a part of it like I used to be and it’s easier to question it and see the holes in it from the outside.

    But the same cannot be said for my loved ones. Some of the comments I’ve received from people when I was first making the transition between skirts and pants were really degrading and insulting. My faith was questioned and I was told that I’m being drawn away by Satan. My character was questioned. My ability to be a good parent to my daughter was, too. And all the things I was taught over the years have left me conflicted and struggling with shame and guilt if I go out of the house in a tank top or wearing shorts that hit me mid-thigh. I still care about modesty and the last thing I want to do is go out looking “sexy”. I’m not interested in turning heads…the only head I want to turn is my husband’s and that’s easy. Modesty still matters to me, but I believe that I can wear a pair of jeans and still be modest. I think that I can pair a strappy tank top with a flowy summer skirt and still be modest. I think I can wear my mid-thigh shorts with a floaty summer blouse and still be modest. I don’t believe that my shoulders or my lower thighs are inherently indecent or immodest or improper. I don’t believe that it is my job to guard the thoughts of every man that lives in my town or every man at church. I don’t believe that I should be expected to conform to anyone else’s standards of modesty either…this is between me and my Father. I answer to Him. My responsibility to other men is to be polite and chaste and modest in my behaviour first of all, but as I don’t know what each individual man finds sexy or modest I can’t possibly manage to tailor my wardrobe to suit everyone’s tastes. I mind my necklines and hemlines, I’m careful when I bend over, and I never flirt or touch or even have prolonged eye contact. I think that’s a good place to start.

    • Lyndsey says

      Amen!! A woman shouldn’t have to be covered from head to toe to prevent a man from lusting. There’s a huge difference between showing up in pasties and modest tank tops & shorts. Men also have to be held accountable for their own thoughts and actions. Women should dress according to how they feel comfortable in representing themselves to the world, but the Bible also teaches that you shouldn’t force such views on others (remember the story about the unclean meat?). Your responsibility is not to flagrantly flaunt your sexuality, in other words don’t dress like a prostitute working a corner, but just because you feel skirts & dresses are more modest doesn’t mean you should judge women who feel modest in pants and longer shorts. The whole “cross-dresser” issue over pants seriously frustrates me because that is NOT in the Bible. NO ONE in the Bible wore pants, ever. In fact, in the Mediterranean culture in which the Bible was set only barbarians like the Goths and Celts were so uncivilized and uncouth as to wear pants (I’m a historian so I can always pass along the primary sources on that one if needed). The only point that was being made in the Bible was that women should not attempt to disguise or portray themselves as men and vice versa (basically what today would be considered a transvestite). Now, as said before, if you personally feel more comfortable & modest in skirts/dresses that’s fine, just don’t condemn others who don’t feel the same way. After all, far more space is devoted to the judgment & condemnation of others in the Bible than to how women dress. :-)

      • V says

        The fact that, when Paul was writing, even the men wore robes/tunics was something that hit me when I began studying this issue out! The passage could not possibly be referring to that – we overlay our cultural norms onto it. The “pants vs. skirts” thing comes from a bygone era in our society…before the 1930s rolled around and women began donning trousers on a regular basis. Pants at one point were not standard dress for women. But now they are. Fashion changes. Cultural norms change. The only real guidelines we are given in scripture for dressing ourselves are 1) don’t put all the goods in the store window, 2) don’t be a cross-dresser, and 3) don’t look down on other people because of what they wear. That’s it. The rest is left up to the individual to decide, based on their conscience before God and on what is appropriate clothing for their gender in whatever country they live. In Scotland there are times and places where men can wear kilts – by our standards, a skirt and therefore “women’s clothing”, but in their culture, totally acceptable (and pretty cool, according to my Scottish genes! lol). In Thailand and Vietnam and Pakistan, pants are actually standard clothing for women – loose cotton trousers have been commonly worn for quite some time. For us to say “the Bible says women can only wear skirts or dresses” ignores an awful lot of other places on earth, where that is not the norm for women and hasn’t been for a very long time. It’s like people who say that the KJV is the Bible version God has chosen to use to preserve His Word for humanity – but it’s in English, and what about all the people everywhere else who don’t speak English?? Are they just out of luck? To quote Doc Brown, they’re just not thinking fourth-dimensionally.

    • Amy says

      Wow. THIS THIS THIS. Yes! Honestly. Look, I am a conservative dresser, and I am conscious of my body and how I represent myself. But hearing women struggle over the fact that a half inch more of their shoulder might be bared if they wear one tank top vs another one makes me just so sad. We start to box ourselves into this tiny corner where we have these rules that get tighter and tighter, and before you know it we’re consumed with these rules, and judging others who don’t follow them.

      The gospel is one of liberation, not imprisonment. Yes, there is a narrow path. But honestly – don’t we have better things to be concerned about than wether a spaghetti strap will cause another man to lust after us? True religion is this: taking care of orphans and widows and the sick and the needy. Not perseverating on whether showing a hint of stomach in a bathing suit will cause god to be disappointed with us.

      Courtney, I wish you would post the comment I am replying to as one of your blog posts, just to show the many sides of this issue.

  48. says

    I just want to KISS you for empathizing with us girls who have GIRLS! It is a true struggle to find shirts/tanks/whatever that don’t show a hint of my chest. All of the modesty types of clothing sold out there either don’t fit my bra size or make me feel smothered. Partially because I swear they start at my chin! And they are actually the feature I most dislike about my body…so it’s nice to have a little dollop of grace that my heart is in the right place and I AM chasing modesty! Some things that work better than others for me are the adjustable tanks (as long as I don’t cross my arms!) and those new tube top thingies that are meant to cover your hips – I’ve found them to be great up top too! And you’ve just talked me into trying mens tanks – maybe that’ll be the ticket for good!

    …danielle

    • says

      Danielle my chest seems to start at my chin, too so I know what you mean. I ran out yesterday and bought a package of mens tank tops and I think they will do the trick! I hope it works for you as well! God bless!

  49. says

    Great post! I grieve over the clothing styles out there now that are so immodest. I too have seen women in church with deep cleavage and clothing way too tight – showing off more than is modest.
    I really don’t think that their hearts are trying to attract attention; they are married but I think they just see this as how the world dresses now but to me, especially in church, showing a lot of cleavage just sends the wrong signal.

    I am a plus sized womand and I have a difficult time finding tops that aren’t low cut. I have begun sewing my own clothing because of that.

    We certainly are living on Opposite World! Thanks for the post.

  50. Felicia Morehouse says

    Ah, modesty, modesty. It only really clicked for me when I attended a college party with a close friend… We were both dressed relatively modestly, in jeans and stylish tees, but with some extra make up and our hair done. There were many other girls there, wearing miniskirts and skimpy tops, many decided at one point to take their tops and bras off. Do you know who most of the boys were talking to and gravitated to? Me and my friend. With our shirts on and our jeans (and sobriety!) in place. We had their attention AND respect. Lesson learned.
    I would mention a point which troubles me almost more than inappropriate clothing on women during worship and gatherings: unkempt women who know better (eg are not impoverished). It really troubles me to see someone I know come to church with her hair not brushed (eek, serious bed head), rumpled casual clothing (as in wrinkled tee, jeans and dirty canvas shoes – make that a nursing tee with her bra showing) and a generally sleepy personage at 10:30am. (She is like this when serving communion or serving as worship leader, at which point you are a role model for the church.) Perhaps putting an exclamation on this issue is that she insists it is her right to breast feed her toddler in public (the sanctuary, even) without a cover, also an important part of the whole idea of modesty. I don’t know how to tell her she should improve… she is incredibly defensive about breastfeeding and being a feminist. Its great that she has values that are important to her, but they make her look uncaring, make her intimidating and make people (at least one man I know of) not want to attend church.

    • says

      I never used a cover (or hooter hider who came up with THAT name? snort) when nursing any of my four, ok I tried with number one and it didn’t work, and most people never had any idea I was nursing, practice and you can do it trust me! Just didn’t wear shirts that tucked in for YEARS … and I find nothing wrong with nursing in the sanctuary either – preferably in the back but Mom’s should not be banished to a Mom’s room or the bathroom (eek) in mho either you can nurse discreetly in public. Personally I found the nursing t’s to be dumpy, hot and show more than regular ones too!

      As far as the rest maybe sharing Sheila Wray Gregories post on frumpy? http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2012/03/why-frumpy-makes-you-grumpy/ as a hey loved this post thought you might like it not a you NEED to read this kind of way ;) … also realize that the fact she is there, dressed and on time might be all she can manage in her season of life right now and that’s OK.

      • Felicia Morehouse says

        Good points Holly, but I want you to know too that I am also a mother, and my child is the same age as hers. (I try to be understanding and compassionate to all women, especially Moms!) I know how hard it is to get put together for church in the morning, but its worth the effort when you will be serving sacrament or giving the opening prayer.
        The most troubling breast feeding instance was in the sanctuary, in the front and center, toddler standing up, doing her thing, while about a dozen members prepared for service. Many of the dozen were male, married and/or widowed (including my husband). Less breast shows with a baby, its more obvious what is going on with a baby (so you just don’t really look, with a tot standing next to mom it just was confusing and took more attention my DH & I didn’t want to give), the need to bf is less urgent with a tot, and a tot can learn to do it under a cover… It appears to be all about visibility how she does it (including posting photos of her doing it in a bar), with an “I dare you to say no to me attitude” – not an attitude of care/concern/relationship development for her child.

  51. says

    The Cheerleaders at our local high school wear long sleeve shirts, no midriff and slightly longer skirts and they have matching sweat/rayon pants they have to wear underneath when they are not performing! :D Yes it’s a public high school … gotta love the Cheer Coach for that!

    That being said I think we get wrapped around the axle of this issue very quickly sometimes and forget to extend grace. I don’t see that in your post btw but I have on others. A young Christian woman should not be chided for her dress the day after salvation! lol … it’s a process for all of us! And what I consider modest you may not and vice versa.

  52. Joan says

    We have always taught our daughters that they don’t dress only for themselves, but for others. So, with their Daddy and brother’s help, they take into account how their dress might cause a young man to struggle. My husband or sons might tell my daughters that a shirt is too tight, low-cut, etc. and the girls respect the opinions of the men in our home and dress accordingly. We have found that this helps so much more than trying to figure out the whole modesty issue from their own viewpoint.

    “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” Romans 14:12-13

  53. Andrea Ingram says

    I love this! As Christian women we need to be sensitive to the fact that God created men to be visual creatures. What we wear does create a distraction and very possible stumbling block for many men. I am teaching my girls that modesty is a good thing. That we are to honor God and in that honor respect ourselves with how we dress. Now my oldest daughter (9 yr old) won’t wear a shirt if she raises her arms and her stomach shows. But you hit the nail on the head – we can still be immodest covered from head to toe.

    The world devalues girls at an earlier age all the time – pushing them to grow up, act adult, date, etc long before they are ready to tackle those issues. Thank you for addressing this.

  54. Leigh Anne says

    Just YESTERDAY before church, I had to change from the beautiful Talbot’s sundress that my aunt gave me because it no longer fit right and plunged way too low on me. (I’m weening my 1 year old and have diminished up top!)

  55. Jay says

    A friend of mine had a link to your article on their Facebook page so I thought I would check it out. After reading the article and the stories that backed it up (such as the confrontation) and skimming some of the comments, I thought I could add a few points coming from not only guy’s perspective (since they seem to be lacking here!) but as a Christian husband and father of 2 girls (both under 2 yrs old).
    1) Remember that your identity is in Christ: Just like some girls show of their body to gain attention, I’ve met a lot of girls in Christian circles that wrap up their identity in how modest they are in comparison to others. There is nothing worse then having to put up with the pride, gossip, belittling, and outright judgmental attitudes some woman have towards others! When your soul focus (pun intended) and means of judging people is on your personal modesty system rather then on Christ, there is a huge problem in that you’re doing it only for yourself to glorify yourself — not out of honor for God. These “Modesty Pharisee’s” (think Luke 18:11-12) are a turn off to Christians, unbelievers, and guys in general!
    2) You are not the judge: As I hinted at above, we are not called to judge others as that’s the Holy Spirits job (John 16:8). Culture and upbringing play a huge part in what some people view as modesty. Furthermore, your standard of modesty is not the universal guideline for what modesty is and trying to force it on others blindly either does nothing or, worse, shatters your testimony. I still remember when a new foreign exchange student came to a church event that asked for “modest swimwear.” This poor girl was gossiped about and even publicly confronted by some of the woman there because she had a conservative bikini with a cover on. The thing is that where she was from that WAS modest! Sadly, as a result, she never did come to another event (and I have no idea if she was a Christian or not). So, my rule of thumb would be that unless you are the parent or in a discipling/mentor relationship with someone – i.e. you are someone who actually knows their background and culture and has earned their respect – it’s really not your place to get on a soapbox and lecture someone else about what you think modesty is. If you want to see how it is done right, I think a great example was Mirna’s post above (“The Lord began working in my heart… Looking back, I know it was all His doing and I am so thankful.”)
    3) Know what Modesty is not: I’ve seen many personal issues forced upon others under guise of “modesty” with the biggest being jealousy of others due to a poor self-image, hurt pride, or a lust for attention. There are also guys trying to project an issue they fight with as being the girls fault (wrong!). Modesty isn’t about being set above others as that perfect example and it definitely isn’t about making your husband look good in his ministry position (not that either would be bad side-effects!). Also, at the risk of sounding shallow, modesty is not an excuse to not take care of yourself or look like a slob (you can be modest and still be fashionable!).
    4) Be careful when addressing/teaching it to others: While I’m sure the people discipling girls meant well, I’ve met some that have developed some interesting side effects due to the teaching they received. Some examples, all of which are, sadly, things I’ve seen in girls that I have known over the years, include: pride over their self-perceived level of modesty (and a judgmental attitude to go with it); a poor-self image because they happen to be naturally beautiful according to “the worlds” standards (did we completely forget about Ester?); no desire to take care of themselves physically be it how they dress or how they take care of their body (“looks don’t matter anyway”); and an extremely poor view of males (think stereotypical college frat-boy kind of views). All of the above are things that can hurt not only a person’s testimony but a future marriage.

  56. SueQ says

    Wonderful and positive video. Truly we don’t have adopt Bill Gothard standards to be modest and I like your approach. I am turning 50 and I have a normal body, but a larger chest. I live in a very warm climate and in summer I like to wear thinner clothing (we have 25 days over 100). I too have found that layering tanks, sleeveless shirts and thinner tees is the way to go. I like the ones with lace on the bottoms for a feminine approach. I also have a few camisoles that have built in bras for modesty under lower neck dresses. In summer our church is full of people in sleeveless shirts, men in shorts and women in skorts and sandals/flip flops. I think where you live/your climate has much to do with this and needs consideration. Lastly, modesty is a heart issue more than the outside appearance…it starts inside and then the outside follows suit.

  57. Treasure says

    I have a 12 year old daughter who wears tank tops but we sometimes have trouble finding ones that are not low cut–I will definatly be visiting the men’s section for some white ones!! Thanks so much
    Also i have been sharing Opposite World with her and it has led to great discussions

  58. marie says

    Modesty is an issue God has been dealing with me about. Or rather being an example of what modesty should look like. You are absolutely right that modesty isn’t just how we dress, but that our heart is shown by our dress.

    I came from a church where modesty was defined by yardsticks. We were even told how long our sleeves should be! We were to always wear dresses, no make-up, no jewlry, not cut our hair not even a trim… Even in that church there were some who dressed modest, but weren’t so modest in other areas.

    The church I now attend has much different standards. Now it seems that as long as the breasts are covered you’re good. The young, (and some not so young) ladies wear mini skirts that barely cover their butts. I went to a church conference earlier this year and almost every girl in her teens and 20’s (and some older) were wearing mini skirts even though it was below freezing and we were in a tent!

    I admit the mini skirt with tights look cute, but not modest. These young girls don’t even seem to notice the way men look at them. Of course, for them having boys their age look at them is thrilling. As a mom and a victim of rape seeing the way grown men check them out is scary. Yet these girls seem clueless to the message they send to the opposite sex.

    God has been dealing with me on becoming an example for these young ladies. I have been purging my closet of the drab clothes from my old legalistic church and replacing them with nice but still modest clothes. For me that means breasts are covered and the skirt comes below my knees when I sit. If you sit and have to cover your legs with a blanket or jacket the skirt is too short, (yes, I have seen these young ladies bring a small blanket for this purpose).

    I am still trying to figure out just what being modest means to God, not to the world. I do wear jeans now and for a while I wore jeans and t-shirts every day except at church. Now I am trying to find a style that works for me kind of a dressy casual. Even though I’m a SAHM I don’t want to look like a mom who quit caring. However, I don’t want to look like I’m going to church on a hiking trail either. I want to dress for the occasion, but modestly always.

    • Sherry says

      Here’s a link to an ebook that addresses the Biblical worldview concerning our bodies (part Bible study, part history lesson, and part practical application). I think if you’re looking for info on the topic, you would enjoy reading it! (it isn’t even too long…took me less than an hour and a half to read it) God bless you in your endeavor to find and do His will!

  59. KellyK(@RNCCRN9706) says

    I hate buying clothes. It’s a pain trying on clothes in tiny fitting rooms. I haven’t bought myself any new clothes in over a year. I find certain stores, like Target, their sizes run smaller than normal. Same with Aeropostale. I can BARELY squeeze into a woman’s L tee when a regular Hanes tee in a L fits just fine.

    I have a tank style swimsuit with a skirted bottom to cover my inner thigh area that I love. Got it at JCP before they changed the stores for $40.

    I have two nieces who are 12 and 14. They are tall and thin. We hosted a baby shower for my sister in law last Sunday. The 14 year old niece had a dress on that was so short it barely covered her bottom. Even her mother(my sister) agreed that it was too short but didn’t make her change or bring leggings to put on underneath. These types of clothing are being worn by the Youth leader, a young girl of 20 who my nieces IDOLIZE! I don’t think the way she dresses is appropriate either and she’s setting a poor example for the younger girls.

    The pastor of the church my Mom, sister and nieces attend took issue with an innocent picture he was texted of the youth group away on a trip in the hotel pool wearing bikinis but has no problem with those same girls walking around church wearing skirts and dresses that barely cover their butts. I don’t get the double standard there.

    My brother took the two oldest girls camping with them last summer. Of course they wore their bikinis and were attracting attention from the boys at the campground. My brother went to Walmart and bought them each a teeshirt to put on over their bikinis! I say good for him!

  60. sherry dale says

    Loved reading all these opinions. How about not wearing tank tops at all! Then no worries about bra straps showing. As we get older, which I am…..I will say that most of us do not have beautiful upper arms….they are either too fat, too floppy, or whatever. And I have always felt that little cap sleeves are much more flattering (and sexy) than tank tops.
    And about bra straps…..when I was young….we would have been sooooo embarrassed if our straps showed. I can not, for the life of me, see why women want to show them now…and….eventually bras start to look worn or old or a little discolored anyway…..
    Just saying.

  61. says

    I don’t know if this is true, but what a nice read: GOOD ADVICE TO GIRLS….Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammed Ali was visited by his daughters, who arrived at his home wearing clothes that were immodest. Here is the story as told by one of his daughters:

    “When we arrived, the chauffer escorted my youngest sister, Laila, and me to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. And we exchanged as many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.

    “My father then took a good look at us. He sat me down in his lap and said something I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said: ‘Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down and in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get them.’

    “He looked at me again with serious eyes and said, ‘Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.’”

  62. cindy says

    I have something funny to share about your tank top ideas. I took your advice and picked up a 2 pack of the tank tops from WalMart. I am short – under 5′. The tank top came down to my knees. I laughed so hard. I never thought about that. My friend said I need to go to the boys department. Thank you for always sharing your ideas with us.

  63. Catherine says

    I think that there is a small issue with younger women not always modestly dressing but honestly I think that most women in the church who are 35 and older dress like frumps. They think “casual service” means ugly sneakers, jeans and t shirts. I get comments often from other women about how “dressed up” I am if I wear a simple dress and heels. My understanding was that I am to present my best to God. And on Sunday morning I try to look my best. If I can dress up for a date I can certainly fix my hair, put on a skirt and look pretty for my Lord. No one is writing about how sexless and careless most Christian women appear these days.

    • says

      You are very right Catherine. This is a really good topic that I think would be interesting for Courtney to address. i think a lot of women are confused about how to be feminine and beautiful and modest at the same time. This mom http://tricias-take.blogspot.com/ has really cute feminine outfits.

  64. says

    Love this Courtney!!! As you know, I feel like dressing modestly is a witness on itself. Just as you said, our outward appearance is a reflection of our heart on some way. We don’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention. I love sharing modest outfits that are trendy/fashionable without the opposite world’s opinion of plunging necklines skew my style.

    xoxo,
    Jessica
    http://www.proverbsliving.org

  65. CatherineB says

    I love your hints on the guys tops. I also have found great necklines with eddie Bauers tank tops, they come higher and with wider straps. I never show my shoulders but if I have a shirt slip the EB tanks cover my straps (and I am very heathly up top as is my daughter). We wear a tank under every single top, so we buy tanks anywhere we see them on sale.

    Another great book to read is called Dressing with Dignity by Colleen Hammond and it opened my eyes to how a guys sees us in pants!!! I haven’t really gone out in pants in almost a year. For my job I have to wear pants, but other than that it’s knee length skirts really. Most stores now sell really cheap flowy skirts for $10 and under. The best quote I ever read was “Always dress the way you want other women to dress around your husband!” This stuck with me.

  66. Amy H. says

    I really like what you have to say. You address the issues on both sides: the need for a woman to feel pretty and the need for modest/decent behavior. I recently found this company whose goal is to sell modest clothes that also support young women coming out of the sex trade industry. Check it out at http://elegantees.com/

  67. Faith says

    Courtney, I love this ‘Opposite World’ series! Thank you so much for doing it!!

    I was always raised in a household where girls wear skirts (to the knee or below) and dresses and men wear pants and shorts (long shorts to the knee or below). When I was younger, I didn’t understand why we did this but I obeyed my parents in this because it was ‘their house, their rules’ but I couldn’t wait to grow up and be able to wear jeans and pants and really whatever I wanted. Then when I did ‘grow up’ I understood my parents’ point, their decisions were for modesty and not to purposely be different or stand out like I thought they were, and I realized that I agreed with their convictions on this. They based their convictions off of Deuteronomy 22:5 so that’s why the women/girls in our family wear skirts and dresses (of modest length) and the guys wear pants. I’ll occasionally wear pants if I’m working around the house or outside but I find that I’m just more comfortable in skirts and dresses so that’s what I prefer. I’m also big into tank tops for modesty too. I find it very distracting when anyone around me is wearing something extremely low-cut/revealing and/or too tight so I try to make sure whatever I’m wearing isn’t distracting for anyone else.

  68. Ann says

    Courtney,

    I praise God for the way your ministry of Women Living Well has positively impacted my walk with Christ. I am always finding your posts helpful and considerate. I appreciate your concern for your brothers and sisters and I will continue to pray for your progress! Thank you!

    Ann
    Wife and Mother

  69. Joy says

    For those struggling with finding modest affordable swimwear, especially for growing girls who will grow out of the swimsuit by next year, we did something different this year. We bought each girl a black lycra (stretchy) tank top with adjustable straps, black leggings that come to mid calf, and a cute cotton dress that came down to just above their knees. We found all of these things at Walmart, and they cost about $24 total. And the tank top and leggings can be worn this winter as an extra layer for warmth. Their “swimsuits” were modest and cute, and they worked well at an indoor water park all day.

  70. says

    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your heart on this issue! I thank God daily that He is helping me to grow in this area of my life and to see that yes I should dress my body in a way that glorifies Him since my body is His temple.

    God bless!
    Rebecca

  71. says

    I have to say a HUGE thank you for this series in general let alone this post. I had a conversation with a co-worker and said “Ive always believed in covering up. If you cover it up it creates a mystery. And it will also attract the right kind of man.” Your post lead to a great conversation about modesty and how to show our Young girls how to cover up and be a respectable woman. :)

    I really like the story about Mohamed Ali. What a wonderful way to express that to your children. I also worry about where to buy clothes. At times its hard to find clothes that actually cover girls! My oldest is 18. There was a time finding shorts a suitable length was horrible. I’m Glad I own a sewing Machine and have Pinterest now! I have two younger girls whom I can take and up-cycle their winter clothes into summer clothes and not worry about thighs and bellies showing. :) Its a habit I hope to keep up until they are grown.

    God Bless
    Christina

  72. Lola says

    I’m a young n new wife and had this issue with my husband when we were newly married. He is from a deeper christian background and frowned against clinging trousers, body hugging dresses, skirts above the kneel cap etc. i felt bad at first but God helped me and made me see that intelligent women dress modestly because we are to dress the way we want to be addressed. i still look fashionable and beautiful with my bolero on my evening dresses, my long office skirt suits are beginning to get contagious at my place of work and my free pant suits are setting good examples to the young people around me. i don’t need to advertise to anybody that i am married because I’m not dressed in anyway suggesting that i might be available. Praise God for revelation and a Godly husband.

  73. mandy says

    Most tanks are still too low for my body type….themodbod.com has great alternatives for me….their tanks are very modest and still cute!!

  74. says

    I thought you did a great job with the article. I think that you must feel beutiful inside before it reflects outside. Its not so much what you wear its your attitude. I wouldn’t want my nieces (I have an 8 year old son named travis, no girls @ my house) to dress provactively I want them to be of high moral value. Keep up the good work.
    April

  75. Kat says

    I’m glad that you addressed the issue of some of us being more well or less endowed than others. My problem is that I am also heavy. Now, I haven’t tried the men’s tanks (but I’ll try anything once). The biggest problem with being bigger is that the stores seem to think that because you’re heavy you have to make up for it by flaunting what you have, (which on many heavyset girls, is the chest area). I often find myself getting overheated when I wear layers. I have found some solutions for these issues (those lacey bands that go around your bust), but are there any women out there who could possibly give me some tips on where to buy modest clothing? I might sound picky, but I only have one black and one white one and I would feel better if I had more options so I could feel more modest and help protect my brothers in Christ. Am I making sense? Lol

  76. Shantelle says

    I too was confronted by someone at Church regarding my clothing during a choir performance. I am very busty, especially for my 5’4″ frame! On top of that, if I cover my chest when the weather is warm, I break out in a very painful rash. As such, finding tops that allow my chest to “breathe” while still being modest is a HUGE challenge. I allowed myself to be very hurt by that confrontation for a long time and did not sing in a choir again until over 5 years later, and only when I was literally begged to! I regret letting that get to me. I let the hurt of how I felt mean more than the issue at hand. I still struggle with this issue every week when I get dressed to sing with our worship team, but I am getting a handle on it over time and with maturity in Christ.

  77. Patricia Webster says

    In Titus 2, Paul spoke of this issue, telling Titus to appoint older godly women to teach the younger women to be in submission to their husbands, to love their children, and to dress modestly…that the word of God be not blasphemed. Modest dressing is taught by older godly women who dress modestly.

  78. says

    This is interesting…I think that as women we need to be careful not to defraud our brothers in Christ. For me modesty is wearing skirts (calf-length and below) and tops that cover the cleavage. Of course we don’t want to make modesty an idol (which I have seen alot of). But we do want to make it a priority that we represent Christ in a way that will not ruin our testimony. Christian women need to understand something….when you step out of the house…you are representing The King. Look the part! It’s not about “legalism” it’s about representing Him! I’m sorry but you cannot try to witness to someone when you look just like the world. We are called to be set apart (Romans 12:2 KJV). So don’t be mad about it…just obey! If you have an issue with obedience maybe it’s time to see if you’re really in the faith.

    • Sherry says

      I agree that we are representing Christ and we should be separate from the world. When I was first married, my husband and I moved across country to California. I remember after visiting the local library a number of times, that one of the librarians asked me about which Church I attended. I had never verbally spoken a word to this lady about my faith, but she could SEE enough in what I wore/ my attitude or something that caused her to make the inquiry. That was a turning point for me in my internal attitude about dressing for Christ. I had dressed the same before, but after that, I knew that it was a visible part of my testimony (something my husband would later describe to me as the “low hanging fruit” that all Christian women can exhibit!). What’s on the inside counts most, but it will be reflected by what is on the outside….especially if we don’t let “Opposite World” set our standards.

  79. Emmie says

    I don’t like tank tops much, it’s too hot to layer in the summer in my opinion. But I regularly buy “boob tubes”. They are meant to be worn on their own as something seductive and they only cover my boobs but when I wear them underneath something that is too low cut they cover me up without adding that etra layer of clothing anywhere else. They are also generally very inexpensive and come ina ll kinds of colours. I would deifnitely recommend them if you are someone who wants to be more covered but doesn’t like being too warm.

  80. Tiffany says

    I am the oldest of 3 girls and I am the sister that always trys to be modest or covered up. I am well endowed and am always trying to find ways to cover my clevage so I love the tip to just use men’s tank tops! I usually wear the tank tops that have the lace on the top and bottom but even if I adjust the straps as far as I can I still feel like I’m hanging out and then the shirt cuts into my armpits! My sisters on the other hand I feel like to show off their bodies in a way to get attention from guys and like you said in your passage that it usually attracts the wrong kind of guy. My first husband liked me to get all dolled up and show me off like a trophy, which made me uncomfortable, well he ended up only wanting me for one thing and trying to get me to dress more unmodest was his way of trying to stay attracted to me. My current husband is even more modest than I am! He likes my well endowed top but wants it covered up so only he can enjoy it! Clothes are easier for me because if it shows any more of my chest than I want I just don’t buy it but I have a horrible time buying a swimsuit that will cover the girls! I wear a skirt and tank top bikini to cover more of my legs and my stomach but not much covers the girls. I’m so embarassed to go to a public pool or get in the pool at family picnics because the girls are all over the place!

  81. says

    Wonderful post! Thank you for talking about modesty. Often times I find myself saying “it’s not that bad”. But if it is a little bad, than it is still bad. I need to bring this theory to how I dress. Thanks for sharing!

  82. says

    A reader sent me a link to this post knowing I would love what you had to share! It’s so great to have a conversation going about being more modest. Wonderful!

    I hope you don’t mind (not trying to promote, just sharing) my giving you a link to my weekly series about modesty. It’s not a link party….just our family showing what we were wearing that week and how you can be modest AND stylish. It has been really well received.

    http://thepenningtonpoint.com/embracing-modesty-gallery/

    Thanks so much! Lisa~

  83. Carol says

    Sometimes the issue is not just how low cut a shirt is, but that when you bend over, the shirt leaves a gap revealing more than you want. And, sometimes a somewhat loose shirt gets tugged down lower in the front than you want. This may be especially for girls like me who are short and well endowed. But I found that you can use the double sided tape to make the shirt stick to your skin to solve that problem. This is especially good if you live in a place where the weather is hot and you don’t want to wear 2 shirts all the time. I don’t love having the tape on my skin, but to me it’s worth it.
    By the way, this tape can also close a gap on a button down blouse.
    Thanks for the posts and the videos.

  84. says

    I love keeping up with you, Courtney! You are such an inspiration and a true Proverbs 31 woman. I started following you when my husband and I traveled across country with his nursing job. I love your honesty and your sincere heart. You’ve inspired us to homeschool and I’ve recently started blogging. It’s awesome how God works! Praying for you in all your endeavors!

    Brittany
    http://Www.lifeunscriptedministries.org

  85. Anastasia says

    I would love to hear how you ladies dress to be lovely for your husband, while being sure to be modest, staying on a budget, and thinking through if the clothing we were is important…
    if we are serving the Lord, does it matter if all we wear is long jean skirts and a white t shirt, as long as we and our husbands feel the attire is modest… I guess in “opposite world” dressing cute and looking put together is important… but I feel the Lord looks at the heart… I do tend to be in my head about all these things…

    Courtney & ladies, how do you balance dressing cute (for your husband) and knowing that God looks at the heart… like that sweet Sunday school song “man looks at the outside appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”?

  86. Karen Chamblee says

    I just found your blog for the first time after googling “modesty and bikini” in the search engine. I’m so grateful to get the encouragement and affirmation I needed as the mother of a teenage daughter. Especially tonight , when my daughter went to a boy/girl pool party where she was the only girl in a one piece. She struggles with being the outcast in “opposite world,” but I tried to reassure her that her husband one day will appreciate her modest lifestyle. Then I asked her how she would feel if she went to school in her bra and underwear? She laughed at me; but she got the point. I truly know how hard it was for her to (literally) “swim” against the current! I’m proud of her for standing up in a world that is sitting down. More importantly, here is the final thought that I want her to take hold of… I reminded her that her student pastor at church is adamant about girls only wearing one piece swim suits at church retreats. So I asked her if she will dress modestly at church events only and then dress as the world dresses at all other times? We, as Christians, must decide if we will walk with the King only on Sunday or every other day of the week too. Our actions, even at the age of 14, speak louder than our words.

    • Emilie says

      Good for you, and your daughter! I am so thankful I had a mom who insisted that we go against the flow :)

  87. says

    I appreciate you taking the time to touch on this topic. I practice modesty and it is great struggle to find clothing that is modest. And it is also hard to explain modesty when we live in a world that is the extreme opposite. I want to be holy inside and out.

    Hope you have a wonderful week!

    Frances

  88. says

    I think you cut right to the heart issue of modesty! It’s a out our HEART and our attitude about being modest as much as it is what we adorn our bodies with. My heart breaks to see so many Christian women making poor clothing choices. Thank you for taking a stand on this!

  89. Tamara says

    The whole modesty/dress issue is relative. I live in Arizona where the weather is hot, especially in the summer. The dress here is very casual and typically women wear shorts and tank tops.

    I used to live a legalistic lifestyle. Now, I’m free in Christ to dress however I’m comfortable and God is good with that. :) I love fashion and enjoy putting outfits together, not for others but because I enjoy fashion – God wired me this way. :) When I go to church I no longer focus on my dress and how others are dressed (whether I think they’re appropriately dressed according to my standard of modesty). I’m now simply focused more on worshipping God and not on all the external stuff.

    I’ve discovered whatever we’re focused on (i.e. the way we dress) becomes our focus, not only for ourselves but how we see others as well. God looks at our heart, not the way we dress.

    Just my thoughts. :)
    Blessings.

  90. Nikki says

    This is for the Judgers: I live in Texas and swimsuit modesty is always an issue. I learned a long time ago if you are wearing clothes because you are comfortable in them and not using them to seduce then go with it. Modesty has changed it’s course over the years so does God go with the times or is it still don’t bare your ankles and wrists :) If a man looks at a woman with a lust is it her or him? Well if he’s staring with lust at her in a t-shirt and jeans or a bikini then a woman cannot stop his lust with clothes. He has to ask God for help. While we judge other women for clothing choices and the response they might invoke from men we should be looking at our own hearts. Why are we judging? What is wrong with our heart; jealousy, envy, contempt,pride, our own lust? Dress the way you feel appropriate and mentor the young girls in your neighborhood and Church.

    I mean seriously Deut 22:5 was gone against in the suggestion of wearing a man’s shirt. There are several verses about mixed clothing/blended fabrics not being worn. You must pray about it and listen to God on your lifestyle. I say listen to Matthew 6:25-33 and Romans 8:5. In those verses find truth and make peace with yourself and others.

  91. Emilie says

    I just found this on Pinterest today and I love it! Thank you for this resource to share :) As a well endowed woman this has always been a challenge for me, but I have never once regretted diligence in this area! My husband has told me many times how much he appreciates my modesty, that is one of the things that originally attracted him to me :) There are many great men out there who want modest women.
    One of my tricks is to buy tank tops too big, since most are made to fit tight then sew up the sleeves to make a higher neckline, but buying men’s would be so much easier! Sometimes I’ll buy men’s t-shirts and then use tricks from Pinterest or add my own embellishments to make them more feminine. You can also use thick lace or fabric panels to cover low necklines or lengthen short shirts or bottoms. My favorite store bought tanks are the lace camisoles from Maurieces with adjustable straps. I buy the smallest plus size ones because I can get them higher. They expensive, but they are so feminine and pretty and I often find out of season colors on clearance :)

  92. says

    Hi Courtney! Another great post and fun video! When I was younger, I grew up in a home where bikinis, short skirts, midriffs were okay to wear. But I was confused for a while. I attended a Pentecostal church where every woman was dressed very modest. I followed that model for a very long time until we left that church. My Dad tried to get me to understand his view that that way was judgmental and I needed to be young. Well I eventually gave in and wore swimsuits revealing my top half more than I should have, you know? I also wore tight jeans and low neckline shirts. I was very small and petite and thought I’m comfortable like this. As I got older and grew more in my relationship with God and gained friendship with girls who practiced modesty I began to examine myself and asked God to help me know what was okay and what was ‘opposite’ of being a modest woman. Now a days I use lots of tanks, cute cover ups, and looser pants. At the moment I’m 27 weeks pregnant and so with that comes a bigger upper portion that needs special attention to cover. When it comes to my swimsuit I like to get a tankini and then find a non see through tank top to go over that and then regular swimsuit bottoms with nylon shorts to go over that. Really I look at my swimsuit as a bra and underwear I can get wet with my clothes on. It defeats the purpose for me to swim with a see through shirt over my swim top. My husband greatly appreciates this from me as he feels very respected and honored. I also feel like I’m showing my daughter how to dress for swimming and my son what a godly woman dresses like. I do feel that we honor the Lord when we make a conscience decision to be modest, speak with grace and kindness, are slow to anger and etc. We turn off the channel during commercials so that our eyes are protected from seeing immodest scenes and inappropriate behaviors. I’m glad we can encourage one another and help each other grow closer to the Lord. God bless you friend and all your readers!

    P.S. Congrats on your new book coming soon! Between you and Michelle Duggar and countless other women with like mindeness like you, there is an amazing effort and work to help other women live holy, righteously, and purely before our King!

    • Megan says

      I like what you said about respecting your husband. My husband has told me so many times that he feels respected and he feels proud to have a modest wife. He says that it make it so much more special and intimate when he gets to take me home and have me all to himself. If I were showing too much of myself (like in shorts, bikinis, low cut tops- he says) it wouldn’t be so special because other men would have some of me to be visually stimulated with and he doesn’t want that. He wants all of me. My husband says that I don’t need to dress that way to get him “excited” for me during the day. All I need to do is be warm, affectionate, loving, gracious, compassionate, generous, and display other godly qualities and just give him warm smiles and show him kindness and he is pleased. He says he doesn’t need “sexual stimulation” out of the bedroom. I believe most men are this way…. they have just been exposed to so much of “opposite world” that they forget what God wants of them. We need to pray for our men, but mostly our women. I say our women because if the women can get back to acting a godly wives then we can be a fresh start I this culture.

  93. Hannah J says

    This post really touched my heart. I’ve been trying to dress modestly for a year now. It’s just so hard with what’s in stores. Thanks for the tank-top tip!

    Check out my Christian Mommy Blog at:
    dreamingofperfect.weebly.com

  94. Megan says

    I approach this subject always with the view that I never wear anything, and I mean ANYTHING, that I would not want another woman to have on in front of MY husband. (that includes swimwear). So, if I don’t find it appropriate for another woman to put on and wear it in front of my husband or if it would make me upset, then I don’t wear it either because chances are that I have those feelings for a reason! Maybe I’m second guessing that item of clothing because it might cause a man to look or a woman to feel badly about herself and I would never want to make someone else uncomfortable with the way I dress. I don’t want men looking or women thinking I look great! Why do I need approval from another’s eyes? I only need to please my husband. Also, why do I need to wear a bikini? Doesn’t a one piece do the same job with more healthy skin benefits? Skin cancer in on the rise and as someone with an uncle who is a doctor of pathology, he says the more skin you cover in the sun the better! The SPF stuff doesn’t work like clothing does!! I never wear shorts, only skirts or dresses because a man said to me once that shorts are very visually tempting to a man because of the nature of how they sit on a woman (the tightness, the length, the area in which they lie) So to stay cool in the summer, I just buy feminine skirts and dresses. Come to find out, my husband prefers this and it’s been driving him WILD for me!!! BONUS!!! :) SO, I’m pleasing God and my husband! Ladies, this world is temporary, God is eternal. Let’s forget about the world and please God! We don’t need the world’s approval! Who cares if the man or woman sitting next to us thinks we look nice or pretty?! Dress to please God. Don’t dress to impress!

  95. kristi g says

    Thank you Courtney! Have you done a post on bathing suits? Could you? My friend and i are struggling with this.

  96. Rice says

    I’ve been using the men’s tanks for a long time, but for a different reason: NURSING! I cut slits in the front of them and then when nursing I can pull my shirt down or up and still be covered across the bust or up my front/side! It took some trial and error to find the right placement and size of the cuts (better lower and to the side if you’re pulling a top down, better a bit higher/smaller if pulling up) but they’re cheap enough that a couple of “at home only” ones were a small price to pay to get a good template for the rest! (Copying an official “nursing tank/shirt” works, too.)
    Thanks for spreading the word! I’m enjoying the series!

  97. Naomi says

    I just started reading your posts for Opposite world. Since having two girls of my own, (one is 3 the other 5), I have become more conscious of what I am wearing. My most recent adventure was swimwear. My oldest wanted a two piece, and I said NO. “But Mom, you have a bikini, why can’t I wear one, too?” Lighting, Thunder…I was struck down. In my mind I knew my main reasons for dressing my own daughter modestly was because I didn’t want some “pervert” eyeing my daughter, but the more I thought of it the more my own reaction to her question was a reflection on how I was dressing. Was I attracting a “perverted” eye because of my swimsuit choice?!?! So this, a first for many years, I bought a two-piece: a modest tankini (long) top and a skirted bottom. I was proud of myself. Reading your post (and similar about dressing modestly) had made me more aware of what I’m wearing and how my own attire choices will be passed down to my own daughters.

  98. vivian says

    Being a youth leader for over 13 years I have seen many styles and trends come and go with our girls.Its seems that the thight shorts, thight dresses, and see through tops are taking over our youth departments . I personally have never had any issues dressing with modesty.At a very young age there was clothes that would make me feel uncomfortable amd decided not to wear it.For todays styles we have a lot we can pick from especially during summer.We just need to have patience and be creative when shopping. I was told a couple of years ago in bible school “Never buy anything you wouldn’t wear to church, You never when they will call you to go to the pulpit”.

  99. says

    I actually blogged about this not too long ago! When I actually stopped and thought about it… what’s the difference btwn wearing a swimsuit and running around in ur under-garments? At least from a man’s perspective…? I asked my husband and he said there isn’t much difference btwn the 2 options and it’d make life easier for the men TRYING to live with a pure mind/heart if everyone wasn’t running around in skimpy swimsuits, regardless of how “confident” they are… I just think that’s a selfish way to look at it now – my actions affect others, I shouldn’t cause a brother to stumble, and I have to get my own heart right before God in how I carry myself around other men and to be sure I don’t judge others who are not at the same place as I am right now :) We’re all a work in progress… My blog on ‘Why modesty is important’ can be found here: http://metamorphicmomma.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-importance-of-modesty.html – thanks for your thoughts on this one womenlivingwell.org – I must agree!!

  100. Janice Franckum says

    I’m teaching my girls Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.
    Head- hands on your head. Does your shirt come up and show your back or belly?
    Shoulders- hands on shoulders. Do the arm holes show more than you expect? like your bra.
    Knees- hand on knees. Stand in front of a mirror. Can you see down your shirt when you bend over? Time to layer.
    Toes- fingers on toes. Does your dress come up to high when you bend over?
    ALWAY have a full length mirror in your house. Then you can see what others are seeing.
    Love this post. Thanks for the tank top tips!

    • K.C. says

      That is BRILLIANT! I may show my girls that. It may take away some of the guesswork (they try by themselves to be modest).

  101. K.C. says

    I have always dressed modestly; it’s just how I roll. I never had much of a figure so that wasn’t the issue. I just felt more comfortable “covered up”. I will wear shorts and tank tops, but the straps HAVE to be wide enough to COVER the bra straps. I can’t stand jeans, and prefer to wear skirts or oversized tees with leggings (I do not wear leggings if the shirt doesn’t cover my bottom).

    I have two daughters, ages 8 and 10. Not only were they seemingly born with my “modesty gene”, but they take it to interesting levels! My younger one has a “sweet freckle” on her chest that she says MUST stay covered. My older one refers to herself as a “fashionista”, but won’t wear too-short skirts (unless with leggings) or too-low-cut top. Even when they’re experimenting with looks, I never have to talk to them about covering this or that.

  102. Amelia says

    I know this is an older post, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone I can really talk to about this that I haven’t already talked to.

    It’s regarding spaghetti tops with bra straps. Some say tacky, but I live in a hot climate and wearing something like this would be so much cooler. I’ve talked to my dad and my mum, neither of whom have a problem with it, but I did a course at my church, and they mentioned publicly as part of the course what someone else here called the “5 B’s” – “No briefs, bottoms, bellies, breasts or bra straps”. The first 4, yes, fine, and I even agree that if you can hide your bra straps, you should (Ie, no contrasting colours underneath, etc) , but what about wearing a bra that’s the same colour as your top? And it’s not showing other than the straps? It’s kind of hard to avoid showing the straps with a spaghetti top.

    Particular reason this is a dilemma – I come from a charismatic church, and I love to dance as a form of worship. I’ve always tried to be very sensitive to the guys in this, checking that I’m not showing cleavage when I lean over, that skirts don’t rise up when I spin, that stomach isn’t showing when I lift my arms, loose clothing, etc. I’m there to worship, and anyone who sees me should only be inspired to worship themselves, not be distracted. But dancing is a hot and sweaty business! I don’t want to be wearing multiple layers, especially in a subtropical summer!

    I feel I can’t really be using a strapless bra when dancing, it doesn’t have enough support. I’m reasonably small, so necklines on spaghetti tops generally aren’t a problem for me, covering everything that needs to be covered. Besides which, is it really better to have a strapless bra and show that slight bit of more skin in the name of not having your bra straps show? I mean, really?

    I honoured their dress code while at the course, and since then I’ve assumed that they would probably prefer it applies to the church in general, but I’m frustrated because I don’t understand. My other options that fulfill all the other requirements are just so frumpy, they don’t even really seem respectable for church. Maybe I’m overthinking it, but I’m just a little frustrated. I definitely want to honour the guys around me, but I just don’t see how this particular combination could be immodest. I do understand how visual guys are, and I try very hard to find clothing that fits all the above requirements, but in this particular situation, it just seems… legalistic. I kind of want to go up to one of the guy leaders in the church and ask, but that doesn’t seem appropriate. And would one of the women leaders be able to tell me whether or not it’s actually a problem for guys, or would they just take a hardline approach? I just don’t know, but I don’t really want to just go ahead and do it either.

    Is anyone able to offer some clarity? At all?

  103. Amy says

    I’m sorry that the woman addressed you in such a way. How can anyone expect ladies to dress modest in America. It is very difficult with so many viewpoints by the multitude of churches, and the multitude of opinions. I actually dress modest but I never say anything to anyone about it. One reason is that it has to be in the woman’s heart. It is hard to dress modest. Where I live I get attacked by women telling me that it is against Christianity to wear dresses or skirts and that you have to wear bikinis. I have been called stupid and against God. And as your deacon’s wife tagged you for being immodest I have been tagged as against God and unchristian for wearing dresses. There are pastors stating that dresses and skirts are against God. Some even say that skirts and dresses are men’s wear. Some pastors state that the Bible says that the Jewish men and women have always worn the same things. And it goes on and on. We have a serious problem in the United States and I think it can only be solved by prayer.

  104. says

    Great post! I also really appreciate your practical tips on necklines. Necklines have been one of my most difficult changes to make/areas to monitor over the years. Layering is super helpful – I just have to be sure and do a “bent-over check” in the mirror or in front of my hubbie so I know how well my layer stays put. :)

    Modesty (and the confusion surrounding it in Western culture) is one issue that really burdens me. Dressing more modestly was a difficult journey for me, especially in the beginning (and I’m sure I still have much growing to do!). Looking back I see now that the difficulty was primarily in my believing the lies of ‘opposite world’, my ignorance of God’s Word, and my own prideful heart, combined the confusing mixed messages within Christian circles. Once my eyes were opened to basic truths like Sanctification, modest clothing choices fell more easily into place along with other areas of my life as I grew. Modesty is simply one aspect of holy living and obedience to Christ, and “adding knowledge” from Scripture about these things to our faith and virtue enables us to better obey. (2 Peter 1:3-8) <3

  105. Tirza Vivianne Horvath says

    To be honest, I have only decided to dress modestly recently (about 2 weeks ago). I am currently a teen/young adult, where looks and fashion is very important, and with friends (non-christian) who like to show their figure and flesh here and there. I usually dress differently, meaning; don’t show as much flesh, but I still haven’t dressed modestly. My mother told me many times that I have nice long legs – which I don’t believe, BUT – I wanted to find out if it was true. So I used to wear tights with T-shirts, skinny jeans to basically show off my legs. I still do wear them, but not for that reason, but I do feel uncomfortable in them. So, I have decided to wear skirts, knee lenght, and longer which stops me from showing off the shape of my legs and generally everything about my legs. Though, I’m still a little bit unsure what can be immodest within dresses.

  106. Samantha says

    Hi Courtney-

    I love this post! Modesty is also hugely important in Judaism, for the same reasons! You cover your body to let your inner beauty take center stage, so to speak. Your words, deeds, smile, and generosity become the things people notice about you, instead of your nice legs or cleavage. That’s why I don’t understand modern secular feminism which says you can wear whatever you want, and men should be expected to control themselves. While in theory this is true (I wouldn’t support compulsory modest dress on the state level) I think women are kidding themselves if they think that this will ever be a reality. Men will ALWAYS look at skimpily dressed women- they are programmed to do so- so while you SHOULD expect them not to assault you for it, you can’t expect men (or women for that matter) to focus on your “inner beauty” when so much of your outer beauty is showing. I also think it makes it more special when you do take off your clothes for your husband if you are normally much more covered, as opposed to if the difference between how you look “covered” and uncovered is really not that big. This, unfortunately, is an unpopular opinion nowadays, as you explained so well in this post. Love and blessings to you and yours!

  107. Jenny says

    On the sunbject of our clothing influencing others. I notice your Aero shirt. You may want to google issues about finacial modesty as well. My girls do not wear brand names on their clothing even though we can afford them. Due to the bully epidemic on young girls for the brands they wear. I know 7 yr olds who daily get ridiculed for not wearing Justice brand. It doesn’t stop there. Even if it was free or gifted or purchased used it still does contribute to the issue. Just something to consider as we influence other young ladies.

  108. Cindy. says

    Hi there, I am a more well endowed sort of girl and I have found great swimsuits and tanks at divinemodesty.com. They even have tanks with cap sleeves to avoid having your bra straps show. It’s a good resource.

  109. Heather says

    Thank you for this article and for yhe video!

    I moved to Saudi Arabia about 8 months ago, and as you know, the men and women are pretty segregated.

    Back home in the States, I was pretty modest with the way I dressed. High school, college, family, professional jobs, even parties, you mane it.

    Here in the Kingdom, (outside of wearing abayas to cover even our clothes) I feel like I’m the most modestly dressed girl around! This may seem like a great thing for me, but when I visit my fiancés family and friends and their families and their friends… it’s like I’m at a who-can-wear-the least, or who-can-wear-the-most-see-through-clothing-around contests.

    Do I judge them? Heck yes! They are religious women who know we are suppose to be modest and conservative. Am I right about judging them? Heck no! The sentiment still remains, though, that I feel ENTIRELY uncomfortable sitting with them with the way they are dressed for h-o-u-r-s (we live in a city which never sleeps, so we usually stay up til around 7am…) and quite honestly, I don’t like looking at it!

    Even at weddings (also segregated) they dress like that. I am half tempted to request the attendees of my upcoming wedding to dress appropriately!

    Obviously this is the way they dress, especially since they are fully covered when they are outside of their homes, and I wouldn’t go telling people how to dress… but my fiancé tells me I shouldn’t worry about how im dressed when I’m with his family and friends because it is just women. To this day I dress modestly in front of them even at the risk of looking like a teacher (which I am, haha). How can I get him to understand this is the way I’m taught in my religion and how I want to continue dressing in front of others, and how I want my daughters to dress (in the future, and God-willing)?

    When his family and their friends ask him why I dress this way, I hope he will come to understand and give them a great answer with Godly reasons.

  110. Shan says

    Your writing got me thinking so it did the trick! Unless someone comes to church repeatedly dressed like a hooker, I think the deacon’s wife was out of bounds. Sometimes people have ulterior motives in their admonitions. What if that Deacon’s wife chased you from church because it embarrassed you? Shudder nee plus ultra. Now, that said… If you spend more time thinking about your outside than about your relationship with Christ, ya might want to shuffle that up.

  111. Kenzie says

    I just wanted to say thank you. I am almost 21 and in college. I was a cheerleader in school and have long thin legs. The smaller the size shorts the short they are and the longer the legs the shorter they look. This has been a struggle for me. My mom is not a Christian and encourages “embracing being a woman.” The clothing she bought me was not modest and that is what I was used to. So changing what I wear has been really difficult for me. I have been really convicted about it. It is so refreshing to hear other people striving for modesty. I am not well endowed at all, so I know my struggle is not as bad as others but I loved your tank top tip. I would never have thought of man’s tank tops. Do you have any advice about formal dress shopping? Thank you for following Jesus and telling others. You are awesome! Gob bless.

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