September 26, 2007

My Modest Dress Journey

(get this print at allposters.com)


I have been thinking a lot about feminine dress lately. Namely, wearing only dresses. I don't remember exactly where I was, but I know that it was on the internet through Ladies Against Feminism that I first learned about modest and feminine dress. It was such an epiphany- I mean, I had never heard about modest and feminine dress before- at all! As I began to learn more I became very convicted, and then frustrated. How was I going to change my wardrobe? I didn't know how to sew, was a weird size, didn't have a lot of money to spend on clothes and I had a 19 month old and an 8 month old.

But, it was in my heart to change. My mom sort of pushed me into sewing, and after several blunders I started to understand the process. I started making clothes for my girls and began attempting to make some for myself. I've gradually either made or bought skirts and dresses over the past three years. However lately, my attitude has changed. As I've been seeing a lot of other moms when taking my daughter to preschool or when going to MOPS, they all look the same. The uniform is blue jeans, capri pants, knit tops (some are quite tight and low cut) and tennis shoes or flip flops. (I do love flip flops though)

In my mind I reason, 'Well, they dress like that and they look fine.' 'It sure would be easier for me to just wear what the stores carry.' ' Maybe it doesn't really matter what we wear, God is concerned with a right and obedient heart.' No one I know or see dresses femininely. Most ladies I know do try to be modest, but as I've been learning, pants can't really be considered that modest.

Thanks to a link on Candy's site, I started reading the articles on feminine dress. And wouldn't you know, those just happen to be the very first things I ever read about modest dress. Monday I was really struggling- I was tired of trying to look nice and wear dresses all the time, I wanted to do what everyone else did because it was easier and I wouldn't stick out. So I really started praying about it and made time to read those articles about modest dress.

It is very eye-opening. One of my main reasons for dressing modestly, was for the sake of others. I can't get specific, but someone very very close to me has always had a hard time with lust. In this day I almost can't blame them- everywhere you look women are exposing all they got. I don't want to cause Christian men to stumble, I don't want to tempt other women's husbands. I want men to be able to go to church and be safe from all of that. As I sit and wait my turn to pick up Alexa, I see other moms and grandmothers going in the church to get their children, and you know what I notice first? Their midsection and rears! I didn't think it was true at first, but that is the first thing I notice, not their face. I don't want someone else's first sight of me to be my leftover baby belly and surplus rump! How nicely a flowy skirt or dress would skim over those areas.

Now I'm taking an even deeper look at the issue, because I have three daughters to raise. I am their example and if it's better to be modest than hip, then I want to teach them that. It is better to do what the Bible says than what the world says. Now I have to live it out before them. I am still struggling a little- I have a rebellious attitude flaring up at me, and I'm trying to crush it with the Word of God. I don't look forward to dealing with other people in this area, but this could be an avenue to sharing the Gospel. It's really not about me and what I would like best, but about what would glorify the Lord and lead others to Him. Big change.

I am trying to decide if we should get rid of all pants, or keep a pair for each person in case we have a sudden blizzard or some other strange circumstance. I'm still chewing on it. If anyone is interested here are some of the articles I read.

The Sin of Bathsheba

Let's Talk Modesty

Bible Guidelines About Clothing

11 comments:

Laura said...

Very interesting post... I wear pants & capris only, no dresses - I never was a girly girl. I've discussed the dresses only issue with hubby before, and he doesn't like the idea, probably because he knows how much I hate dresses. When I explained I could wear comfortable dresses, showing him examples, he said they were frumpy - then he showed me what kind of dresses he wouldn't mind me wearing, and while they weren't immodest by any means according to the world's standards, they really didn't look comfortable to me in any way shape or form.

*Sigh.*

Still praying on it, and asking God to guide me (& hubby) in the way to go. Blessedly, our DD (age 3) primarily loves to wear dresses and/or skirts, always with shorts or long pants underneath, so it wouldn't be hard to make the change for her.

Thanks for the insight - I enjoyed seeing your week of feminine attire, and reading your thoughts here today.

Susan said...

I stumbled onto your website from keeping the home website. I have been feeling the same way as you, but I don't know where to start either. I'm so used to wearing pants & shorts when not at work (I work as a preschool teacher at a Christian school), but the more I read about modest clothing and being feminine, the more convicted I feel. How is it going with you? Did you get rid of all your pants? Any advice or encouragement would be appreciated.

michelle said...

I've been wearing dresses/skirts almost exclusively for nearly 3 years now. My only exceptions are when I exercise and when I play in the snow either with the kids or skiing. All the other times, even walking around outside in the winter I wear skirts/dresses.

Please keep in mind this is all my opinion and I just wanted to share with you some of the things I've found out/found helpful. I apologize in advance if my opinions are unwanted.

I've found that it gets easier wearing feminine dress everyday. In fact, it gets so easy, that on the rare occasion I find pants necessary (above mentioned reasons) I feel VERY UNCOMFORTABLE and can't wait to change back.

Also, longer, flowing sorts of skirts work well because they really don't inhibit movement. You can squat down to talk a child without immodestly displaying anything. Most of my skirts/dresses are knee length or longer. I tend to wear the knee length ones during the hot months and am always excited for cooler weather and longer skirts.

On the topic of longer skirts and cold months--I personally think a long skirt with the proper undergarments is warmer than pants! No one ever believes me though but think about it like this--what's warmer--mittens or gloves? Mittens--because your fingers are together. Ditto for skirts--Adding a few slips (or if you are comfortable sewing a slip made out of thicker material) keeps a very nice warm pocket of air surrounding your legs. I tend to pair my skirts with knee socks or over the knee knee socks because they are thicker and warmer than pantyhose or stockings.

Lastly, a practical pair of shoes makes all the difference. I have a few pairs of different color shoes in this style: http://www.skechers.com/catalog/browse.do?function=displayProductList&gender=W&catId=-1&index=0&viewAll=false&sort=newest&prodId=23207
and I find them to work really well because they can be made to look dressy--but most importantly they have soles like sneakers so it makes chasing children and running errands a snap. Of course they wouldn't look right with very dressy outfits, but I think they look cute with everyday feminine dress.

Anyways, I hope I haven't bored you with perhaps telling you stuff you already know but I just wanted to share these few things because I enjoy reading your blog and like hearing about your experiences with dressing in such feminine way. =)

prayzgod said...

I had a harder time dressing modestly when I was living in the previous state I lived in, because for the longest time I was the only one I knew that dressed this way. Shortly before my move to my current location, I did meet ONE person who also dressed like I do. :-?

At my previous location, people would look at me like I was a very religious person who should be in a segregated religious community.

Some people would think I was Mennonite, and just lost my snood. :-)

Out here, it's a different story. Almost each lady in my church dresses the same way I do. Whoa! :-D Most of the families in my church homeschool as well, so it's nice that I'm not the odd one out on that issue anymore either.

So, I've been on both sides... I've been where it seemed I was the only one, and now I'm where it's somewhat of a norm.

One things has remained the same from both locations, though... I'm treated much more nicely, and men aren't afraid to be gentlemen around me, because they're pretty sure I'm not a feminist.

I get doors opened for me all of the time. And yesterday I had to run to Wal-Mart, and a nice man bent over backwards to just take my cart for me when I was done, even though I was park right next to a cart return. :-)

I used to be a feminish tomboy who lived in jeans, tight T-shirts and combat boots. I used to say "I hate dresses." Now the only time you'll see me in pants is when I'm exercising. :-)

Anneatheart said...

Laura- in my opinion, unless your husband has absolutely said he does not want you in dresses, then give it a try. Wear something comfortable and practical, yet nice looking. If you don't have anything like that, just keep your eyes open at stores until you see something that might work. My husband has been 'iffy' on the subject as well, until recently when we both started reading about it more. Most men are probably used to seeing women dress immodestly and don't realize it. Once my husband and I started talking about it, he really began to take note of how women are dressing.

Susan- I am still thinking about getting rid of all pants. I wore some white knit culotte things today, and they were ok. They'll work well to go under a dress! It is definitely a process- finding what is comfortable and what is your style. I'm still trying to figure out my style :)

Michele- thanks for all the great tips on dressing for cold weather. Where I live, it isn't cold for long, but last year I went to Upper Michigan and me and the girls wore dresses at least half the time. We wore tights and long dresses and good coats. We were still cold but hey, at our coldest we only get to 20-30 degrees at night, so it was a major shock to us!

Anneatheart said...

Hi Candy- by the way I got your email the other day and just haven't tried to send the picture again yet.

It is strange to be the odd one out. I have always prided myself on being 'non conformist' but now it's being put to the test. Do I really want to be different and go against the grain? One of the things that I fear is that other women will feel they can't approach me or that I think I'm better or something because of how I dress. I do know that I don't want to look like some of them :)

I've never been mistaken for a Mennonite though, LOL!

Whitney B. said...

I, too, happened upon your blog from Keeping the Home.

I agree that it is hard. I have been wearing skirts only for almost a year now. I have been picked on by family, called a Pentecostal almost all the time, and been challenged by the lack of clothing available in stores for my "style".

I am also the only person I know that dresses like I do except for the Pentecostal women in our area. My skirt wardrobe consists of mainly long bluejean skirts.

I am 19 years old and have yet to find anything to wear that isn't "too old" for me.

It's so hard. I pray for guidance in this area for you.

Have a great day!

Daughter of the King said...

I am browsing your blog this morning and really enjoying it...and I too am only dresses..I do have jammies for at home but I am even reconsidering that...
I do not like the word FRUMPY....why because I do not think it is a fair word...I think it is a word for excuses....for women...I can almost guarantee you when you see a woman out in a dress or a skirt they are a Christian...(if they are modest)...I have even gone so far as to ask them....
great posts....great teaching..
Deby

modestdressesandmore said...

I have been wearing modest dresses for 19 years, I also sell modest dresses, jumpers, if you would like to see them let me know, seeing77thetruth@yahoo.com
Karen

Also I sell head coverings, and make them.
Dressing modest is a blessing.

modestdressesandmore said...

I Know of this site that you can buy modest clothes, dresses, jumpers, head coverings for a affordable price, it is this site
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homekeepermodestandmoreshop/
Karen

Carrie said...

Jessica,
This is a really great post! I am struggling with this issue too and have been wearing skirts/dresses for several weeks now. It is amazing to me how rare it is for women to dress modestly all the time, and especially at church.

I am trying to find modest styles that my husband likes as well as ones I like. I find that I like skirts and dresses longer than he does and I also like plain colors and fabrics, while he says he thinks florals and brighter colors are more pretty. So I'm trying to find a happy medium!

This is a really nice post on your thoughts on modesty!

I think I'm going to have a hard time of convincing my husband that I would really like to be skirts/dresses completely because I feel convicted about it. I mentioned to him last night that I was thinking of getting rid of all my pants, and he just said, "Oh honey, you don't have to do that, you are no less of a Christian for wearing pants." I think he's right regarding being a Christian (that salvation has nothing to do with the clothes I wear), but at the same time I want him to see how I feel like my daily dress should say something more about who I am in Christ. Any pointers on how I can gently show him scripture on this matter??