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Question for modest dressing mamas

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

Hi mamas!


I "converted" to Judaism around 10 years ago - my mother is Jewish by birth but my father is Catholic and that is the faith I was kind of raised in.  So I guess technically, I did not convert, but I accepted Judaism as my true faith when I was in my mid-twenties.  


Anyways, I am not Orthodox nor do I plan to be, but I do find somewhat of a calling towards a more modest-dressing lifestyle.  I am curious as to why women choose this way of dress or stick with it if it is something you were raised with.  I guess I am more curious about personal satisfaction and fulfillment and not necessarily following a specific teaching or doctrine. 


What do you consider modest dress and why?  How do you feel about pants, specifically, and what makes you either avoid them or wear them even though you cover your head or would never show your neck?


I guess in sorting through all my own feelings, I am finding I have a lot of questions and things to think about and was hoping for some insight from those of you who have worked through all this already.  Thank you for your time, mamas!


post #2 of 30

I am Orthodox and dress as is custom. I started about 3 years ago and it has just become natural for me. I would feel naked in shorts or even pants and with my head uncovered. When my DH and I first discussed it about 8 yrs ago, I thought no way will I ever be orthodox and dress like that but it really has become just the way I am.

Dressing modestly for me is elbows, knees, collarbone covered and my hair because I am married.

I love dressing modestly...the only thing I really miss is tshirts for comfort but I have found that dressing modestly forces me to dress nicer and not like a bum...lol. It makes me feel more girly.

post #3 of 30
I dress "religiously modestly," but I am not really fond of those kinds of terms, or terminology of "modesty" in general, really. I dress to my own comfort zone, which has to do with the body and privacy, adornment, and also to do with cultural values and group membership. Like almost all forms of dress. And so when terminology is set out that my clothes warrant a whole other level of discussion -- where they stand in relationship to other cultures, what is their spiritual value, what is their symbolism with relation to broader gender roles, etc, etc, etc, personally I am put off a bit. Clothes for me are not a lifestyle or challenge or a means of putting myself in visible opposition to anything or anyone. I'm rambling a bit, sorry, I'm just trying to think what to do with the idea of clothing categories being something involving "personal fulfillment." orngbiggrin.gif And all I am thinking is about how when someone asks me about the meaning or experience of covering my hair I just want to ask in return about the meaning and experience of their covering their ribs, or what have you. There is meaning there, sure, costume has meaning, but for most people there is very little in the way of conscious meaning, beyond perhaps the level of ordinary self-consciousness. And for me as well. I "stick with" this way of dress because, well, it is how I dress, and dressing as I do does not feel like fighting a tide. I am not up against anything; I'm comfy. Why do Americans stick with their jeans? orngbiggrin.gif

If I had to define it, I would say modest dress is dress that isn't intentionally sexually ostentatious, but that really has very little to do with square inches of flesh showing. And I think questions about specific garments -- pants vs. no pants, that sort of thing -- usually fall off of the modesty discussion and onto the topic of the meaning of and cultural markers for "femininity."
post #4 of 30

I don't do pants.  I am huge, and there are not pants that I could find that would be sufficiently loose-fitting and simultaneously feminine and nice looking.  Skirts are simply easier to fit me.  I did love the salwar kameez that I wore a few years ago, and would be OK with very loose pants and a long tunic but haven't found anything western-made that is anything close to as nice as salwar kameez.


For me, I am just not comfortable wearing things that are form fitting or expose a lot of skin.  Short sleeves are fine with me, but that's as much as I'm comfortable showing.  Now I personally think I am too fat and floppy for anybody to be attracted to me whatever I'm wearing, but dh seems to find me appealing somehow, so apparently it is possible.  lol.gif  So, even though I don't think there's any worry about someone being drawn to ogle me, you never know, so I play it safe whether I'm feeling ugly or pretty.


post #5 of 30

I dress fairly modestly, but it's only partially for religious reasons. I'm on medication that makes my skin very light sensitive, and so I cover as much as possible to avoid the sun. While I do cover my hair, it's not unusual for me to have my neck uncovered and wear a high scoop neck long sleeved t-shirt if the UV isn't too high.


I do wear pants - I already have them, they are comfy, and cover to the ankle. Right now I can't afford an entire new wardrobe, so I wear what I have. Plus skirts offer less sun protection for me as it often is windy here.

post #6 of 30

I wasn't raised to dress modestly but I do now or else I'd feel like I were running around naked. Part of it has to do with getting hit on very rudely when out in normal clothes before, people take me seriously dressed like I do now. Mostly it just has to do with finding my style and wearing what I like. I do wear skirts exclusively, long loose ones, if it's cold I add leggings underneath. Pants are too form fitting, shape showing, and uncomfortable. Skirts of heavy fabric don't blow up in the wind or anything like that. Also I'd never show cleavage in public or too much of my upper chest, neck and arms are fine though.

post #7 of 30

I dress pretty modestly most of the time.

I cover my head and most of my hair (sometimes a little shows at the crown, and I don't always cover the length, sometimes it hangs down beneath my headscarf).  I don't wear pants (though I've started a krav maga (which is aggressive self defense pretty much) class (co-ed, mostly men) and decided the most modest thing to wear for me seems to be a pair of form fitting pants to below my knee, with loose shorts over them, and a loose t-shirt.  I couldn't find exercise clothes with sufficiently long shorts or loose pants (the pants all hugged my butt).  I usually wear skirts down to below my knee, though occasionally to right above it, no higher.  I wear short sleeves regularly, and sometimes in extreme muggy heat, I will wear a tank top. It depends on where I'm going or what I'm doing.

Figuring out what sort of modesty/dress is most comfortable for me is a work in progress.  I find that if I get too modest, I forget my "sexy self" which tends to have repercussions on my libido, however I don't want to be showing everything off, or be too sexy in front of strange (non familial) men.


I don't know how I started dressing more modestly, I think I started covering my hair first, and then enjoying wearing skirts because they were feminine, and then it started to feel strange how much my butt showed in jeans.  There was a long period of time I wore jeans only to work, and then I figured out how to wear skirts to work, so now I wear skirts pretty much always. I just do what I feel comfortable with, trying to be appropriately and classily modest, without feeling too covered up (btw, I'm significantly more modestly dressed then almost all of my friends, coworkers, acquaintances etc, not many people here dress modestly. at least in my circles)

post #8 of 30

We became anabaptist.  (not anti-baptist! =) 

So I wear cape dresses, in styles and fabric that I pick out, and I feel very nice in them.  I also cover my head with a 'veil' style covering.  I guess it looks like a bandana kind of, but is rounded at the bottom and they are in different solid colors.  I get some of them online at Garlands of Grace, and they are really pretty.  I wear my hair up, and usually also wear socks, although I am not a sock person by nature, it is the 'done thing' at my church, to cover the legs.


This is modest to me.  =)


I do have pajama pants that I wear under my nightgowns sometimes, and some women in my church wear snow pants under their dresses when they need to.


I also do not do any adorning with cosmetics or jewelry (although I admit I do have a bit of cover up just in case).  =P


I am trying to follow the Bible when it says to dress modestly, which I think translates into a free-flowing let-down garment, and some believe it also means to be double-covered on top, based on the exact Greek words.  The Bible also says not to have fancy hair styles and to wear expensive clothes and gold, etc.   That is the "why" behind it.  Also, because I *love* my church and my community, and this is how they dress.


post #9 of 30

When I became a Muslim in my twenties, I vowed that I would never ever wear hijab or anything like that.  Fast forward about 4 or 5 years, and I felt very called to wear it.  For me, modest dressing was a gradual process.  When I was shopping, I started buying longer skirts, less shorts, etc.  My sleeves went from short to 3/4 length...and now, pretty much 99% of the time, they're true long sleeves (to the wrist).  I do wear pants--but I know many Muslim Mamas who do not.  For me, pants are fine as long as my shirt is not tucked in and reaches the top of my thighs (tunic length).  I don't feel that skirts are feminine and pants are masculine but then I know there are those who do.  I guess when we visit Egypt and I see a lot of men wearing galabayas (long robes)--in kind of throws out the skirt/dress only for women thing. (Although, I know they'd object 1000% if I said they were wearing dresses. :))  Same when I see my Pakistani friends in their beautiful salwar kameez.  They are definitely very feminine.


I don't know if I find it personally fulfilling, but it just seems right to me.  I have to say, that it does make me aware of how immodest some people's dress can be--and how it is pretty much the norm here.  Ironically, one will get much more flack for being covered up than being uncovered in most places in America.  


As for the scarf I wear... some days I love it, some days I hate it.  I don't necessarily think it's required for my faith except when praying, but I do feel that it's required for me if that makes any sense.  (Prayed about it, and that's the feeling I have.)  If, when I put it on, I put it on consciously--that I'm wearing it to please God, to protect my modesty, as a reminder of my faith--it has much more meaning than if I grab it in a rush out the door. 


My advice would be to start slowly and see how it feels to you.  When you buy something new, buy something that fits in with how you think you want to dress.

post #10 of 30
Originally Posted by umsami View Post

My advice would be to start slowly and see how it feels to you.  When you buy something new, buy something that fits in with how you think you want to dress.

 I agree with this!



I like to dress modestly, although sometimes I dress more for comfort (especially while pregnant!)


For me this means mostly long skirts or split skirts, or if I wear pants I try to keep my hips covered.  I try to keep my shirts fairly loose and covering my chest, and never wear tank tops without a cardigan over.  For me this has meant switching to mostly shirts made of woven fabric so it's not too tight and clingy, but it can be hard to find affordable things that fit and are made of natural fibers.


For me it is partly spiritual, and partly just comfort.  Once I began dressing modestly I became much more comfortable... it takes some of the stress out of my life if I'm not tugging at tight pants or worrying that my shirt is gaping or too tight. I also feel like I am setting a good example for my daughter.


post #11 of 30

I know I am joining in late to this conversation....  I was raised to dress modestly and continue to do so, although not for any particular religious reasons.  I do not have any hard and fast rules, just go by more on how comfortable I feel in an outfit, and if it is showing too much, I'm not comfortable.  I love to wear dresses (although more skirts and tops for ease of nursing these past many years!) & when I was WOHM, I almost never wore pants. I just like the way skirts and dresses look/fit on me.  My 'dilemma' is now I am WAHM, and we DO live in the forest (no offense intended PP !)....very rural, super casual area. Many months of the year, I NEED to wear muck boots just to get to the car.  I feel sort of silly and overly 'dressed' up going about my day wearing skirts/dresses, although I have been known to stuff a skirt into my snowpants!   At home, I suppose it is just me feeling a little odd, but when I do venture in to town to pick up mail, grocery store or kiddo-related activity, I stick out like a sore thumb if I am wearing anything other than jeans.  I continue dress very modestly--IMO-- but would like to find a way to get back to more feminine attire without sticking out like a sore thumb.  Ideas?  TIA!

post #12 of 30

hey Modest Dressing Momma -- i am haveing a really hard time -- the more modest i dress, and in the past 5, really 3 years i have 'gone up notches' I am finding summer dresses so much harder.  I have 2 big tubs full of sundressed i no longer feel ok wearing.  sleavless or straps.  they are all long enough, and full enough and only a few are too low on the bust -- but they are too uncovered on the shoulders.  so I just packed them off.


But I love sun dresses!!!


so -- any one know of a sundress wioth say 3/4 sleaves, or even elbow lenght slevers? 





post #13 of 30

I am similar to you-- I don't have any official reason to dress modestly-- i.e. I am not under a strict religious/ social obligation to do so-- it just feels right to do so.  I am ok with pants if they are loose and I am wearing a shirt that is tunic length, covering past my hips (I often buy short dresses and wear them as shirts with loose pants).  I am ambivalent about showing arms out in public-- I tend to wear long sleeves in public even when it's hot.  Generally I only like for my hands, feet, and head to be exposed.  Occasionally I will run out to the yard to get something wearing pants and a t shirt/ tank if I'm not giving it much thought but normally I cover up.  I don't wear skirts that are not ankle length.  I tend to shop for plus sizes or even maternity clothes, or at companies that cater to muslim women.

post #14 of 30
Originally Posted by Momma Aimee View Post

hey Modest Dressing Momma -- i am haveing a really hard time -- the more modest i dress, and in the past 5, really 3 years i have 'gone up notches' I am finding summer dresses so much harder.  I have 2 big tubs full of sundressed i no longer feel ok wearing.  sleavless or straps.  they are all long enough, and full enough and only a few are too low on the bust -- but they are too uncovered on the shoulders.  so I just packed them off.


But I love sun dresses!!!


so -- any one know of a sundress wioth say 3/4 sleaves, or even elbow lenght slevers? 





Are any of them wearable with a "shell" (long sleeved t-shirt underneath). A lot of people I know wear sleeveless dresses as jumpers with a shirt underneath.


post #15 of 30
Originally Posted by shnitzel View Post

Are any of them wearable with a "shell" (long sleeved t-shirt underneath). A lot of people I know wear sleeveless dresses as jumpers with a shirt underneath.


That's what I was going to suggest.  I seem to remember a brand being Modest-T's or something like that.


post #16 of 30

There are a lot of cute shrugs/mini cardigans as well to wear over sun dresses; would that be enough?


post #17 of 30

I dress mostly in skirts and dresses, although I recently added some loose fitting capri's to my wardrobe at my husband's request.  He felt that for outdoor activities I would be active if I wore some kind of pant.  I haven't noticed a difference though. 


I started changing my dress because of wanting to feel more feminine and wanting a daily reminder of my purpose in this world. 

post #18 of 30

I am in dresses or skirts 99% of the time...aside from hiking and bike riding.  As soon as I can find the money or a good deal at the thrift store, I'm going to buy a few "active" skirts...like from Patagonia or North Face.  I live in CO, so I do a LOT of outside stuff. 

I also felt called to modesty, although in our religion (Jehovah's Witness) , we dress cleanly and modestly just in general.  Some do more than others, as in all religions.  I am not as modest as some women in my congregation, but for a woman of my age, I am.  


My husband also likes me in skirts, although he actually doesn't care so much about the modesty.  

post #19 of 30

I have a question for y'all...do you go swimming? How if so? My church frowns upon any kind of swimsuits or women swimming in public/mixed company in general and I am pretty uncomfortable being seen in anything too tight or revealing. With my kids I'd have to be in and out of the water all the time though if we take them swimming and it's not fair never to let my little boys in a pool. My husband can't watch them alone he doesn't have the safety instincts I do and takes big risks of them drowning. I do have a one piece swimsuit and a little swim skirt thing but pretty much my whole shape and most of my bare legs show, might as well be naked, ugh.

post #20 of 30

For swimming I like Splashgear: https://splas004.secure.omnis.com/store/index.php 


There are other in-between options out there, though (meaning fuller coverage than modern traditional swimwear but not quite so full coverage as what I wear).  If you want short sleeves, for example, or shorter pants, just look up sun protective swimwear (rash guard, etc) ... like some of these: http://www.solartex.com/servlet/the-Adults--dsh--Sun-Protection/Categories

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