Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Bonnie's Opinion // Feminine Modesty

Aaah, feminine modesty. What a delicate and much dramatised subject. I thought today I'd offer my thoughts on it and maybe (hopefully) get you thinking about your opinion on the subject.

So, without further ado, my opinion on feminine modesty.

I follow a few modest fashion blogs. Three of my favourites are Fresh Modesty, Sunday Best and All the Rest and the Boyer Sisters (this last one combines fashion with several other things). I even started my own fashion blog (I know, surprising, right?!) about a year ago, I think, although that quickly fizzled out because I was discouraged by the lack of comments/views etc (which was silly because I set it to 'private' so you had to request to view because I didn't want the whole world reading it lol) and I couldn't be bothered keeping it going. Phew, long explanation.
TL;DR: Fashion blogs are awesome and I had one once and now I don't.

I find it really interesting reading about other people's approach to modest dressing.

There are all kinds of different standards of modesty in Christian circles. I know girls who have committed to wearing skirts only. I also know others who wear the same sort of things you'd see average people on the street wearing (some of which I wouldn't neccesarily classify as particularly modest :P).

So the question is, why is there such a differing standard of modesty? Why do some people go to one extreme while other people go to another extreme?

The thing we usually end up coming to when we ask questions like this, is that modesty standards are something that are governed by a personal conviction. There are Bible verses that pertain to this - Deuteronomy 22:5 talks about women not wearing men's garments and vice versa; and 1 Timothy 2:9-10 tells us to adorn ourselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self control.

But there is no verse in the Bible that says "Thou shalt only and exclusively wear skirts if thou art a woman".

The Bible addresses the attitude behind how we dress (1 Tim 2:9-10, Prov 31:30, 1 Peter 3:1-5). It doesn't really discuss exactly how we must dress.

Which brings me to my opinion.

I don't think pants are wrong. I wear pants. Probably more often than I wear skirts, if I'm being honest. They are just so much more practical! I do find skirts really comfortable and would quite like wearing them mostly, but pants are just practical and easy and yeah, practical and easy (sorry, I know that sounds like they are practical and easy but the thing is that they are).

I really admire people who have convictions about wearing skirts or headcoverings or things like that exclusively. I think it's awesome. It's just not for me.

Doing kids camps (lots of activity and running round etc, wearing skirts isn't so practical) and living on land and working at a place where the uniform includes pants makes it difficult for me to wear skirts exclusively. It's not impossible, just difficult.

Actually, something interesting to note is that I always wear a skirt to church. I was thinking about that and asking myself why that is. Do I subconsciously think that it's more holy to wear a skirt to church?! Not sure. I'll think about that one. :P (If so, that's wrong! Lol.) Every Sunday I pick out an outfit that includes a skirt. Our church has no rule about it, most of the women wear pants, it's just something I (and most of the other females in my family) do.

I love the freedom that being able to wear pants or skirts brings. I don't feel there's a Biblical command to wear skirts only. So yeah, that's why I wear both (and if you wear only skirts, then you go for it, you're awesome!). Amy from Corner of Joy wrote a FANTASTIC blog post about skirt wearing that I highly recommend if you're thinking about this sort of thing.

So now we've got that sorted.

But we've still got this grey area. How short is too short? Can you wear short shorts? Bikinis? Show cleavage, midriff, straps etc?

Katie Gregoire has a very thought provoking video on this subject. She addresses the double standard in Christian modesty which is worth a check out if you feel so inclined. She brings up some things you probably haven't thought about before.

I don't wear things like singlet tops, super short shorts and midriff-showing outfits in public and I'm careful to wear a rash suit (t shirt and shorts) over my togs when I'm swimming. This isn't so much because guys are around and imagine things, for me (you've probably heard that one before :P).

I guess my standards could be summarized as follows:
- I don't really wear shorts, (and especially) skirts etc that come more than halfway up the thigh.
- Don't show midriff
- Don't show cleavage
- Try to wear clothing with sleeves (I occasionally wear singlet tops at home, just not really out in public)

And my reasons?
- I feel way more comfortable in modest clothes. Example: If I bend over and my top sort of flops open at the front (I don't know how to explain it better) I still have that much more 'leeway' before anything is obvious.
- I don't want to come across as a certain type of person. Explained well in this post on A Lovely Calling from a guy's perspective.
- It makes it so much easier to just be me. I'm lazy. I'm a terribly lazy person, unfortunately. (I'm going to be real here). My legs are terribly white, often even during the summer. This is because I can never be bothered spending time and sunburn tanning them. If I wear super short shorts it's really obvious how white and pasty looking my legs are!! I don't need to be self conscious if I wear a skirt or longer shorts. Because who wants to be self conscious?! Wearing longer clothes and more modest clothes means I don't have to worry about doing annoying and time consuming things like tanning and shaving. :P :P :P :P :P
- My main reason: I feel it's more glorifying to God. There were three verses in particular that I mentioned earlier. There are also verses about our bodies being temples of the Holy Spirit so we should glorify God with ourselves. That, for me, means not dressing trashily and trying to leave certain parts of me to the imagination.

So yeah. Yay, I'm so happy I actually managed to get all that across and you read it all! Go you!

What are your thoughts on feminine modesty? Girls, what are your 'standards'? Why?
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  1. Hey Bonnie,
    Lovely post! I just want to add on the subject of why we tend to wear skirts on Sundays. For me it is that I want to wear a really nice outfit on Sundays so that I can look my best for the Lord on His day. For me that is why it wouldn't include pants, yes pants can look nice but I think a skirt looks nicer for a special occasion like Sundays.:) Pants just seem casual.

    1. That's actually a good point, and probably the one that my tired brain couldn't think of. Thank you, sister dear.

  2. Sophie's already said what I was going to say, that you wear what you think looks best at church. I wear trackpants a lot because they're comfortable and easy, but I try to wear my good jeans to church!

    1. True, true. Thanks for sharing. (I would like to point out, however, that there is a big difference between wearing *more good* jeans and wearing a skirt over trousers.)
      Thanks for being the brave male commenter on a post about feminine modesty, Michael! :P

  3. Hiya!
    Great post :)
    I guess for me, part of the reason I dress the way I do is for practicality, particularly given that I bike nearly everywhere....I would love to wear skirts more than I do, but until I don't have to bike so much, I guess I'll just have to keep doing what I'm doing.....

    1. Hey Laura!
      Exactly. Biking makes it difficult to wear skirts. (Although, have you seen the recent Gloriavale documentary? Those ladies bike all over the place in super long skirts!)

  4. Lovely post! I actually have written a modesty post that will be posted on my blog tomorrow.

    Have a good rest of your week, Bonnie!

    Allie D.

    1. Thank you! I enjoyed your post, too, Allie. Have a fantastic day.

  5. I totally agree with your thoughts here, although I do sometimes wear jeans to church, but then I usually wear a longer shirt/tunic with them or a long jacket, I have a favourite really nice long jacket that kinda looks odd with most skirts. But often I feel prettier in skirts, and do enjoy wearing them. But trousers are more practical so during the week I do wear them quite a bit.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Clare! Interesting to hear your opinion. I love that even though different people have different convictions and standards about different things, we can still be a blessing and encouragement to each other! Have a fantastic day.

  6. Loved your thoughts, Bonnie! I think you actually pretty much summed up my opinions too! I am not against pants entirely - I do wear them here on the farm (and my sisters and mom prefer them) but I'd say skirts are my go-to about 60 percent of the time...they just feel so feminine and pretty! {{Smiles}}
    And I used to be worried about swimming and going to the beach because I could never find a suitable, fairly modest costume...then the Lord led me to a modest costume shop on Etsy and this lady creates costum swimwear! Yay for that! I too feel way more comfortable dressing respectfully and you say, it gives you more freedom ''just in case''! Loved this, Bonnie! Thank you for sharing!
    Have a blessed week...

    1. Thanks, Kelly-Anne! Swimming and going to the beach is always the biggie, isn't it. That's so cool about the Etsy shop you found!
      God bless

  7. Great post! I too always wear a skirt to church. I don't necessarily have a problem with wearing pants, but it's just something I have always done and probably will do for a while.

    This was a really insightful post! It's always good to re-evaluate my clothing choices and make sure I am keeping modest. Thanks, Bonnie!!

    ~Megan <333

    1. Thank you, Megan! Lovely to hear your thoughts. I've emailed you back by the way.
      Have a lovely day

  8. As an older women, I usually wear skirts for morning church, try not to have them too short as I usually sit in the front row but if they are shorter than just above the knees I will wear really dark tights. I like to wear trousers at night this is cause when the Holy Spirit touches me I usually end up on the ground this means I can relax and let him do what he wants to do. There is no rules about dressing but when we are in relationship with Holy Spirit he will guide us,usually I check with him if I suspect my skirt is too short. I haven't a problem with wearing singlet tops but make sure there is no cleavage showing. By the way Holy Spirit is great at fashion, I love shopping with him, he does remind me if I have the same colour similar item already in my wardrobe which helps me not to waste money.

    1. I really like your sense of style, Aunty Michelle! :) (95% sure that's who you are :P)
      'Twas a nice surprise to see you had commented. Interesting what you said about the Holy Spirit being great at fashion.... he is certainly a wonderful guide and counselor.
      Have a blessed day and thanks for your comment!


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