On Being Modest

August 30, 2011

Dear Clara and Nora,
I sometimes wonder if it's that big of a deal to be so strict with what my little girls wear (or what I wear, for that matter).  Some of the cutest outfits are sleeveless and I want to buy them so bad.  Does it really matter what you wear now as long as you learn to cover up eventually?  That's the thing.   If I let you wear whatever you want now at what age do you start dressing modestly?  I think it has to begin early so that it won't ever be an issue.

I want you to respect your body.  I want you to dress appropriately so that you're never purposefully causing boys/men to think inappropriately.  Do I want you to wear dresses to your ankles with sleeves to your wrists?  No.  I believe a woman can still be stylish, feminine and gorgeous while being modest.  I believe righteous men find women even more desirable if they are trying to live the Gospel fully.

Sometimes people just don't get my strict standards and that's okay.  They think I'm strange and they might think you're strange too.  Being strange isn't such a bad thing.  Different is good.  Embrace it. :)

adj. strang·erstrang·est
1. Not previously known; unfamiliar.
a. Out of the ordinary; unusual or striking.
b. Differing from the normal.
3. Not of one's own or a particular locality, environment, or kind; exotic.

The poster and the following information is taken from the Friend magazine.

When you get dressed to go to school, church, or just be with your friends, look over this checklist to make sure your appearance reflects what you believe. Ask yourself, “If I were with Jesus Christ, would I feel comfortable with my appearance?”

  •  My shoulders are covered.
  •  My shirt covers my stomach.
  •  My shorts or skirt go to my knees.
  •  My shirt is not low-cut.
  •  My clothes are not tight.
  •  I don’t look sloppy.
  •  My hair is combed.
  •  My clothes are not saggy, torn, or holey to fit in with a style.
  •  Labels or words on my clothes are respectful, not rude or offensive.
Tip: Sometimes you might think your clothes are modest—until you start moving around. To make sure you will still be modest if you bend over or run around, sing the Primary song, “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”and do the actions while you sing. If you can still be modest with all that movement, you’re ready to go!


From me:  I've recently been wondering if this applies to sports as well?  What about swimsuits (even modest ones) that reveal so much of our bodies?  I ask these questions because I myself, don't know the answers.  I mean, I think tanks and regular swimsuits are okay under certain circumstances (ie sports & swimming).  It's all so fuzzy, this area between right and wrong.  Do what you feel good about my loves.  I suggest looking to the prophets for counsel.  I know they're inspired.

Sincerely, Your momacita

P.S. As always, these are my opinions and I don't expect anyone to adopt them as their own.  I'm just sharing lessons I've learned along the way of life.

P.S.S. Update 3-27-13:  I think it's totally ok and appropriate for babies and toddlers to wear tank tops and sleeveless clothing.  It seems like the time to start dressing more modestly coincides with the time kids start spending more time around other adults and children.  Preschool age.

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