Home for the Holidays, by Thomas Kincaid

Sunday, September 7, 2008

My Modesty Story

Inspired by Kelly over at The Barefoot Mama , I would like to describe my journey towards modest dressing.

I was raised by two very goodly parents. They were pretty strict, too, while I was a child. My mother always dressed me with taste and appropriateness. But when I became a teenager, for some reason, my mother did not crack down on me when I began to follow after immodest fashions.

Now, we moved usually every two years because my father served in the Coast Guard. So, I was often the new kid in school and had a hard time breaking into a new social group. In my early teens, we were living in the South again and I remember that I started out dressing well, but then the "bra-less" look came into fashion, with extreme minis and halter tops (boy, this is dating me, huh?). I resisted for a time, but disliked being labeled as a "square" (nerd), so I changed - and how! I remember having my mother hem up a shirt-dress that originally had ended at the top of my knee all the way up to just below my panties! Other examples I could give you are too embarressing for me to describe, but I think you get my drift.

However (!), I began to notice some very bad and, in some cases, sick attention that the "new me" began to get from much older adult men when I still basically looked VERY young. It really disturbed me and was not what I wanted. I desired to by liked for who I was inside and to be respected. I also didn't want to attract men that were only interested in one thing. Besides, I saw myself as a follower of Christ and that just didn't square with my parading around in public half naked. So, almost overnight, I went back to dressing conservatively and covering myself again.

And that shirtdress? I began to wear it as a shirt under one of my skirts, never again as a dress.

Then when I was 16, I experienced a spiritual conversion to my present faith. I had loved Christ before that, but now I was even more determined to let His light so shine through me. I also believed that my exterior should reflect my new commitment, so I became more determined to be modest, appropriate and feminine.

My story doesn't completely end there...I was involved in the entertainment business for a number of my single years and I had to constantly stand up for my standards amidst much pressure to show some skin. I am proud to say that I never faltered, though it got pretty rough at times.

Now, I have a 13 yo daughter and we teach her that "modest is the hottest". So far, she has given us no trouble with that. I hope that she will always make good choices in this area.

So, there you have it. I've been on both sides of the line and I must say, I feel so much better about myself when I treat my body like the sacred "temple" that I believe it is and keep myself more private.



Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

We certainly live in a society that over-sexualizes its children. I think it must be very difficult to guide a daughter toward maturity and independence so that she can make appropriate choices for herself while still keeping your own standards clear. Blessing on you in your work as parents.

Trish said...

Interesting post there Elizabeth. Raising a son I guess I am not as exposed to today's clothing issues. Suffice it to say though...I am so proud when I hear my 17 year old critique the skimpy outfits of teenage girls, saying he would never let his girl go out of the house like that and how it makes him think differently of girls who flaunt everything...too much 'in your face'. I am grateful he goes to a private school where uniforms are the order of the day. Even his casual clothes are modest I think and he resists trends....preferring to wear 'non-labelled' clothing. Grin...yes...I too have had my rebel 'uniform' days...the uniform of the 'world'. Mini skirts, high high high stellatos and the like....some of that leaves with maturity and age....the passing of time!

Rosezilla said...

Thank you for this much needed post. I went through a brief period in my teens where the skirts were too short, etc. but thankfully changed. I still dress modestly, and my husband appreciates me saving everything for him. My four young nieces find it challenging to find modest clothes, but insist on it. I have sons, but they greatly admire girls who dress and behave modestly, and aren't temptresses. They find modest girls much more attractive.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

HI, Elizabeth, thanks for leaving me a note & shopping by! So nice to meet you.

I love this post! Our culture has really slid down the slope on the modesty issue & it's almost as bad in the church as outside. I think more women need to teach the younger ones what it means to dress modestly.

I'm a PK & my mom was very strict. There is no way she would let me out of the house in those short skirts. I hated it then, but now I appreciate the way she raised me.


Kelly said...


I was so excited to read your story and LOVE that about modest is hottest. ;o) Ain't that the truth? Your story sounds so similar to mine. That's so neat about "the conversion of the shirt dress" and also how you reaffirmed your faith to Christ later in your teen years. I had a similar experience.

What a blessing it is to other women that you've shared your modesty story!

Have a wonderful week, mama!