Some additional thoughts on modesty

Funnily enough, I had been thinking about this topic again prior to the whole “virgin, no debt, no tattoos” incident. Imagine if that also including being “modest” in there. A bigger storm would’ve been had.

Have had a couple posts on modesty before:

Conceptually, I’ve now leaned toward descriptors as a good way to explain things to women (and men for that matter):

Don’t:

  • Don’t dress for attention
  • Don’t dress to be ‘sexy’

Do:

  • Do dress to be classy
  • Do dress to be elegant
  • Do dress to be feminine

Most people can look at an outfit and tell whether a person is dressing for attention or to be sexy. Also, most people can see if someone is wearing something elegant, classy, and feminine. The “don’ts” tend to be more selfish in nature, while the “dos” show you can handle yourself with poise and grace.

There is a time and place for attention and sexy: for your spouse and the marital bed.

Same goes for men, as men can be immodest in the way they dress (or don’t dress) too.

The irony is that usually when women or men dress for attention/sexy they will attract the lowest common denominator men and women who are only looking for sex while if you dress to be classy, elegant, and feminine you will attract men and women who admire you for standing out in a good way.

Why is dressing feminine included in the “Do” section?

For most cultures, that tends to be things that men don’t wear such as dresses and skirts. For these it’s pretty obvious when someone is trying to dress for attention or sexier as usually the bottoms of the skirt/dresses are rising and the tops of blouses/dresses are lowering.

That’s why it tends to be thrown in the “do” section as you can tell when someone is trying to be classy with feminine clothing as opposed to attention. Things like jeans which are more neutral clothing (or at least were invented as male style) tend to have more issues because women have many more curves than men that are more accentuated in male or neutral style clothing.

For the women that read this, Hearth(ie) has a bunch of stuff on picking good styles and colors:

https://hearthroses.wordpress.com/style-and-color-prescriptions/

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39 Responses to Some additional thoughts on modesty

  1. hearthie says:

    Thanks for the link. 🙂
    For those interested, I have a business blog @ hearthrose.com – and I’ve written extensively about how to dress femininely, although those pieces are fairly well scattered across an assortment of blogs and years. LMK if you want links to anything.

    Note for fairness: Our current society is clueless. They have connected sexual power with self-worth and femininity with weakness/lack of power. We no longer explain to our women how to differentiate between dressing as an available young woman or a married older woman who still cares about her looks. Modest young woman who would like to be asked out on a date? Can be conveyed, but there’s little in the stores and nearly nothing in the aether that explain how this is done. I make a LOT of my own clothing – for reasons.

    I like to be charitable and assume ignorance before malice. 🙂

  2. earl says:

    ‘Most people can look at an outfit and tell whether a person is dressing for attention or to be sexy. Also, most people can see if someone is wearing something elegant, classy, and feminine. ‘

    That’s why I think a lot of women get offended when you point out the simple fact how they are dressed denotes what they are trying to acheive.

    If a woman looks good and has good character…she doesn’t need to dress for guy’s attention by wearing immodest clothes…she will still be seen by guys.

  3. Ame says:

    my kids are used to me being very blunt with them. i don’t like to leave them to wonder exactly what i’m saying, so our conversations are very clear.

    Aspie-Girl was telling me about all the videos she’s watched on how to dress and present yourself well, and she said that every single one she watched mentioned that if you dress like a slut then don’t be surprised when people treat you like a slut.

    sooo … me being me had to take that a step further and tell her that good men like a woman who’s classy in public and a slut in the marriage bed. “MO-OOOOOOM!!!!!” 🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. @Ame:

    Properly feminine dress says “class but not frigid”. It also broadcasts exactly what a Woman is after.

    Actually, related to that. Humans constantly broadcast information about themselves. Most communication is non-verbal, so appearance always matters.

    Reality is when a Woman broadcasts she’s just meat, that’s all you’ll ever treat her as. Christians will, generally, attempt some decorum, but clear signals are clear signals. This wraps right back into the Tattoo issue, though that’s physical marking that’s broadcasting Slutness.

    I still find it semi-humorous that so much of this realm of the web has circled all the way back to classic style & dress. How to be the most Edgy? Dress appropriately. haha

  5. Picking up my boy from football practice the other night I wondered if any other the moms ever thought about NOT wearing tank tops and yoga pants when they were going to be mixing with a bunch of young tween-teen boys.

  6. Ame says:

    Looking Glass – I still find it semi-humorous that so much of this realm of the web has circled all the way back to classic style & dress. How to be the most Edgy? Dress appropriately. haha

    🙂

    it is amazing, isn’t it. truly … there is nothing new under the sun.

    even more amazing is God’s patience with us as we figure out all these things. He tells us how it is, but we seem to have to go through treacherous life obstacle courses to figure out, “Oh, yeah, that’s what He means!”

    kinda funny example – both my babies were reflux babies. when i’d drop them off at the church nursery, which was rare b/c of other health issues, i’d let the worker know this baby has reflux and spits up a lot. they’d brush me off and say, “Oh, we know!” then when i’d pick them up the lady would say to me, “OHHHHH! You mean, she’s a REFLUX baby!” LOL! ummm … yeah … isn’t that what i said?

    i wonder how many times God wants to say the same thing to us … “Ummm, yeah, Ame, isn’t that exactly what I said right here in My Word?! Silly Ame!” 🙂

  7. Ame says:

    Headhunter – ummm, yeah … i began thinking about that a LOT when my girls hit about fifth grade … and the average height of the boys was chest high on me. not having boys of my own, that was a weird place to be.

    however … i’ll tell you … most women do not think like that at all. or if they do they over-think it. here’s how it plays out in christian circles … usually either one extreme or the other:

    “I’m a Christian, and God told me it’s okay to wear yoga pants!”

    or

    “I’m a Christian and God told me it’s a SIN to wear yoga pants!”

    ugh.

    how about … i’m an adult female with a brain … and wearing tight clothing on a tight body, and then bending over in front of boys going through puberty, is not a good idea. so i’ll dress more appropriately in public.

    sadly … what i think it says that women don’t is that they crave and adore the attention of males of all ages more than they care about what they’re presenting … or, rather, Who they’re representing.

  8. hearthie says:

    KH – I don’t think most women wearing tank tops and yoga pants think past “comfy”. Sad but true. It’s a consequence of the great casualing of society that began with the post-war backyard barbeque set and got up to steam in the 60s with the youthquake. We all feel the need to dress like we’re 22 forever.

    It’s tragic because it divvies women up into those who look good in yoga pants (a small group) and those who don’t – yet those who don’t still wear the dang yoga pants. Whereas nearly all of us look nice in a skirt….

  9. “I don’t think most women wearing tank tops and yoga pants think …”

    I’ll agree with that.

  10. fuzziewuzziebear says:

    I think that a lot of this is a natural consequence of hypergamy. As women have narrowed the acceptable portion of men, the competition for those men has gotten all that more intense. It has turned into a race to the bottom. What gets to me is that married women are participating in this when they should be off the field.

    Hearthie,
    You are being too kind.

  11. earl says:

    ‘What gets to me is that married women are participating in this when they should be off the field.’

    You’d think their hypergamy would stop when they land a man…but marriage doesn’t stop our base inclinations (much like married men will still like the sight of tight young things). We should have some better morals as to why you don’t dip outside who you chose to commit to.

  12. @Ame:

    The thing I find lost on most Christians, and especially the more theological, is the concept of “just don’t”. I know why it happens (lack of interior understanding of what is correct to do because they’ve rejected Wisdom), but it’s still annoying when everyone just wants a rationalization with exterior validation.

    @Fuzzie:

    The ride never ends. Human physiology is what it is, but we’re also supposed to develop levels of control. For Women in the modern era, the core problem is easy divorce. Even if a Woman will never actually divorce, the female mind operates on the “well, there’s a chance!” principle, when it comes to instinctual impulses. (In other places, I’ve delineated it as such: For a Man, 85% is “generally true”; for a Woman, 3% is “entirely likely”. Women exist in a relativistic world; Men, of sound mind, exist in a world of Rules.)

    So, whenever the Hamster gets going a little, the mere existence of a low consequence, “trade up” divorce gets in there and rolls. It drives all sorts of actions that a Woman really isn’t thinking about. A Woman is more than capable of “stopping to think” but, sadly, only a few ever really will. Yes, the young boys do notice. Frankly, there’s even a song on the topic. (“Stacy’s Mom”.)

  13. Don Quixote says:

    As someone who frequents restaurants it is common to see waitresses with lots of ink. They just look like sluts. They may not be sluts, but they look like sluts. They are polite when they serve you but I can’t help but wonder; what makes them think tattoos are a good idea??? They are truly “clueless”.
    Went to a local pizza joint last night, the waitress lots of ink, she even had a tat on her neck behind her ear. It is a strange contrast to the Vietnamese restaurants, the Vietnamese waitresses haven’t got ink yet. At least not in my area.

  14. fuzziewuzziebear says:

    Looking Glass, I am reminded of the Greeks. While they would allow unmarried women to attend the Olympics in pagan times, for a married woman to do so was a very different matter.

  15. Ame says:

    Looking Glass
    8h ago
    @Ame:

    The thing I find lost on most Christians, and especially the more theological, is the concept of “just don’t”.

    i.absolutely.agree.

    Even if a Woman will never actually divorce, the female mind operates on the “well, there’s a chance!”

    this is because it’s taught to them from the cradle. girls are taught that they need to get a degree and have a career ‘just in case’ … meaning … just in case you get divorced (b/c he’s an a$$, of course, not b/c she did anything wrong), and you need to support yourself. parents teach this to their children.

    Yes, the young boys do notice. Frankly, there’s even a song on the topic.

    i’ve heard this over and over, and it’s totally ignored by women in how they dress/present themselves and how they teach their daughters to dress/present themselves.

  16. Ame says:

    earl
    10h ago
    ‘What gets to me is that married women are participating in this when they should be off the field.’

    You’d think their hypergamy would stop when they land a man…but marriage doesn’t stop our base inclinations (much like married men will still like the sight of tight young things). We should have some better morals as to why you don’t dip outside who you chose to commit to.

    what is taught either by overtly or subtly is that once you find your ‘Prince Charming” you will never, ever again be attracted to another man, ever, and no other man will be attracted to you.

    this, of course, is a lie.

    the truth is that getting married does not turn off attraction, but it should put up barriers to protect yourself from being attracted to other men and receiving attraction from other men. it’s a discipline that needs to be taught and learned.

    btw – it’s not necessarily bad or wrong that a married woman is attracted to men who are not her husband … it’s what she does about that that determines whether it’s wrong or not. does she immediately acknowledge it for what it is and put up barriers to protect herself from that man? change a seating arrangement, or a walking/drive route, or a routine, etc. does she engage that man in unnecessary conversation and allow herself to be alone with him? does she hide it from her husband and everyone else? does she nurture it and feed it, or does she tell her husband and confess it to God?

    and if a woman is fairly attractive, getting married does not mean other men will not be attracted to her ever again, even if they know she’s married. does she know and understand this? does she have some things in place to implement if this happens and she’s aware of it?

    i remember being a 21 year old newlywed and two guys inviting me to go out-of-town with them for a weekend of fun, and i was shocked! it’s not something i would have done single, but it certainly wasn’t something i’d do married. when i reminded them i was married, their response was, “So? Are you coming? We’ll take the boat out, go skiing, etc, etc.” i learned really quickly that being married did not mean anything to some men, and i was the one who needed to be prepared and put up barriers to protect my marriage.

  17. “btw – it’s not necessarily bad or wrong that a married woman is attracted to men who are not her husband … it’s what she does about that that determines whether it’s wrong or not.”

    I second the motion. Laws or customs don’t negate biology, but are meant as guide rails and safety nets. There is no wrong in biology, though there are things that are mal-adaptive or dead ends. Wrong is a moral construct, so saying a man or woman who is attracted to someone of the opposite sex is wrong to do so is a category error.

  18. I always worry that food service workers with tattoos don’t wash their hands often, or at all. Their poor decision-making being so obvious and all.

    Sadly, even nurses are now being allowed to show up at work with “tasteful” visible tattoos. My advice, “Don’t get sick”.

  19. earl says:

    and if a woman is fairly attractive, getting married does not mean other men will not be attracted to her ever again, even if they know she’s married.

    Yeah I notice how attractive married women are. But if I notice the rock on the correct finger…that’s a ‘don’t bother’ sign. I want my own wife, not some other guy’s.

  20. @earl:

    There’s a reason wedding rings are worn on the “off” hand, so they’re prominently displayed when doing anything public.

    @Kentucky Headhunter:

    It’s not the thought, it’s the action, that is a sin.

    Interrelated to that, Western Civilization should always be viewed as coming about by executing those that couldn’t handle basic decorum. Your not-ancestors couldn’t follow basic rules, thus you’re descended from people that could.

    @Ame:

    While that’s the modern teaching to Women, what I’m talking about is purely in-born understandings. Given what people will do to themselves these days, we have a pretty good understanding of what sex-specific hormones do to cognition, along with the very stark differences that come from genetics.

    Most humans “think”, but most of the activities are around rationalization of desires. Strict Logic is simply beyond most people, which is fine. The issue is ignoring that instincts drive most actions, while at the same time denying the massive differences between the genders. (This also applies to differences between nations. That’s why identity *always* matters.)

    In this specific case, we’re dealing with “Fallen Human Nature”. Trying to remove the fallen aspect, we can see a pretty effective safety system. Men, who bear far more risk regularly, view things in terms of probabilities. “If I do X, I have a 25% chance of dying. I’m not taking that risk.” For Women, who’s safety is dictated by staying within their peer group, they will go along with whatever the group is generally doing. Thus, if there’s even a fairly small chance for disaster, that the Woman understands, she’ll try to move the group away from the disaster. (This also works on iterative Chance Opportunities. The more times something is attempted, the higher chance for failure accrues.)

    But, in the fallen case, a Woman’s hypergamy overruns the safety instinct, inverting it. Thus, there is room for the “Hamster” to spin up destruction. This ties back into the reason Men prefer virgin wives. Non-virgin Women know, for a fact, they can find another Man. At least for a night.

    On the discussion about mothers at youth sporting events/practice, it’s probably important to remember that there are going to be physically active, attractive Fathers running these shows. The tank tops aren’t unintentional.

  21. Ame says:

    Looking Glass –

    @Ame:

    While that’s the modern teaching to Women, what I’m talking about is purely in-born understandings.

    Can you be more specific on:
    – what part is ‘modern teaching,’ and
    – what is purely in-born understandings.

    thank you.

  22. Just want to kick in, the one attractive (by that I mean f*#kable) woman on my office floor, where I thankfully only have to be once or twice a week now, has finally gotten engaged at age 32. Her always flattering clothes, while still tasteful office-wear, have gotten tighter than ever since some guy “put a ring on it”. You would think modesty would call for the opposite…

  23. @Ame:

    Modern teaching is, “you need a career”. Pre-1960s, the teaching to Women was how to subtlely manipulate Men. By whatever local means were possible, while keeping it incredibly quiet & away from the knowledge of Men. There’s a reason there seems a complete blackout on understanding of Women from about 1880 on to recent times.

    In even older times, there was things like finding a “naturalist” to make abortificants for a Woman. On rare occasion, someone will point out the lack of “herbal medicine tradition” in Western countries. There’s not a lack of tradition for it; it was executed out of the culture during the 1400s. (In Botany terms, most of a garden contains plants, eaten in specific doses, that’ll kill a fetus, so it’s not exactly the hardest information to come by.) They’ve scrubbed that little detail from history pretty well, but you can find information if you really go looking.

    As for “purely in-born understandings”, you’ve watched your children grow up. Think of 2 year olds. How much do they understand already? Most of that understanding wasn’t taught. They already have an extremely defined personality, which wasn’t taught to them. Parenting ends up being about defining Right, Wrong & Order for a child. They already have in-born understanding of the concepts, being fallen humans, but they lack definitions about them. (This is part of why both Positive & Negative reinforcement are necessary. It can’t be all of one side.)

    In the Nature vs Nurture discussion, it’s 70% Nature/30% Nurture. And you can only make a child into the best “them” that’s possible, they cannot be someone else. As a result, if you understand a person’s temperament, some of their background & their general health, you can actually accurately predict their reactions to certain events. More scary is that if you manipulate certain hormones & energy sources in the body, you can actually change they way they will “think”.

    Humans operate on “auto-pilot”, mostly, because even that requires massive amounts of energy. Most cannot sustain the energy necessary to be in a constant state of “active” thought. Thus, you have a situation where what most people do is rationalize the actions they want to take, whether the action is good or bad doesn’t matter. Major energy is spent on convincing yourself to do some action you had already decided to do.

    This is why Hard Work & Discipline are valued so highly among Christians. It’s why Budgets work, and why preparation is always more valuable than reaction. It’s also why “good habits” really make most of the difference in life, as you improve your life by your actions that you do without thinking.

    God calls us Sheep rather commonly in the Bible. This is neither an insult nor a term of endearment. It’s just the nature of the way most humans operate. The calling of the Christian is to choose to be different, then implementing those differences in your life. You don’t stop being human, but you are to move into a “new life in Christ”. However, you still have to make it through this life and you’re still in the fallen flesh. You will still operate, as a result, in certain ways. That doesn’t change.

  24. Oscar says:

    @ Ame & hearthie

    how about … i’m an adult female with a brain … and wearing tight clothing on a tight body, and then bending over in front of boys going through puberty, is not a good idea. so i’ll dress more appropriately in public. ~ Ame

    I don’t think most women wearing tank tops and yoga pants think past “comfy”. Sad but true. ~ hearthie

    Nope. False. How do we know that’s false?

    Think about it. You know what’s comfy? An old pair of sweats. Why are women wearing yoga pants, and not an old pair of sweats? Because the yoga pants are more comfortable than the old pair of sweats? Bull crap.

    Women wear yoga pants, and not the old pair of sweats, because an old pair of sweats isn’t sexy on anyone.

    The reason a woman wears a tank top and yoga pants and bends over in front of a bunch of boys going through puberty is that she wants those pubescent boys’ sexual attention.

    Let’s call it what it is. Let’s not make excuses for women by allowing them to claim ignorance.

  25. OKRickety says:

    Kentucky Headhunter,

    Her always flattering clothes, while still tasteful office-wear, have gotten tighter than ever since some guy “put a ring on it”.

    Although many, maybe most, women seem to make a reasonable effort to look as good as possible in a wedding dress, perhaps this one is already letting herself go weight-wise so the same clothes are now tighter?

  26. Ame says:

    i still think it’s scary that they even need to put up signs saying employees are required to wash their hands. that befuddles my mind. i mean … i’m glad that the assumption is that they DO wash their hands … but that they need to be reminded? as adults? as neurotypical adults? eeeek!

  27. Well, the importance of regular hand washing has only been around for 100-125 years or so, so its not “baked in”. Plus most people are lazy, filthy slobs.

    We still have to hit people over the head in the hospitals about washing their hands.

  28. Not in this case. Always slender, with a nice rack, she’s showing more skin and wearing heels more often as well. Hair also seems to be more “styled” than previously.

  29. Ame says:

    perhaps it’s how her fiance wants her to dress?

  30. @Ame
    So she’s marrying her pimp? I mean business manager?

  31. Ame says:

    bwahahahahaha!!!

    glad i wasn’t trying to drink anything when i read that! 🙂

    my bff from high school married a man who liked a more … well … provocative kind of dress, so she dressed for him, and still does. she was a “Laura Ashley” kinda girl before she met him, so it was a big change. they’ve been married almost 30 years with four daughters on earth and one in heaven. they’ve been through all the normal highs and lows of marriage and are still going strong.

    anyway … that was my first thought when you mentioned it. but, you know … i’ll be the first to admit i have not a clue what goes on in the minds of any men and most women 🙂

  32. Ame says:

    okay … i’m admit … i’m a germ-a-phobe … so … ewwww!!!!! *shivers!*

    the first thing my kids were always, without exception, required to do when we got home was wash their hands. and … clean things in clean sheets – meaning bathe and put on clean clothes that haven’t been worn out of the house. if it’s been worn out of the house, then it’s automatically germy.

    and … i will distinguish between dirt and germs … or at the very minimum outside germs 🙂

    and anytime i go to a dr’s office or hospital (both of which i avoid if at all possible) all i see are germs everywhere … and all i want to do is come home and bathe from head to toe and wash my clothes.

    i have to admit … i’m proud of myself for giving up bleach – it’s bad for you, especially asthma. but i do use a lot of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  33. @Kentucky Headhunter:

    I’d read her actions as trying to make sure to “stick the landing”. This is literally her last chance at a Husband + Kids.

  34. Novaseeker says:

    The reason a woman wears a tank top and yoga pants and bends over in front of a bunch of boys going through puberty is that she wants those pubescent boys’ sexual attention.

    I think it’s more likely it’s a combination of (1) competition with other women moms who are there, in terms of sexiness of appearance, (2) wanting to be attractive to the similarly aged men there (coaches, fathers of the kids), and (3) not considering the impact on the pubescent boys. “3” happens because the culture literally pounds into women’s heads that they are not to consider the visual impact of their sartorial choices on the men and boys around them *unless* that male person is someone they actually ate actively trying to attract — they are told to literally ignore and not take into account any “collateral attraction” that may occur other than the target(s). This is more or less ubiquitous in thought now, such that for many women it just doesn’t come to mind. What does come to mind is the ever-present intra-sexual competition among women in terms of appearance (whether there are any specific male targets around or not) and any specific male targets around that they want to attract. I am pretty certain that for most such women any impact it has on the boys never even comes to their minds.

    —-

    Modesty in 2018 isn’t just about showing skin. Jeans were mentioned upthread as a “neutral” clothing. That may have once been the case, but it isn’t in 2018. The jeans that are designed for women, and which seemingly all women who wear jeans choose to wear today, are anything but modest — in fact they are more revealing than a skimpy cocktail dress in many ways. On any given day there are several women in my workplace who are wearing such jeans with heels, and it can’t possibly be described as modest, even though there isn’t technically any skin showing. Essentially for a woman to dress modestly she has to go out of her way to do it — if she is following fashion trends at all (as most women seem to do to some degree), she won’t be modest by default, even if she isn’t revealing a lot of her actual skin.

  35. earl says:

    I don’t think most women wearing tank tops and yoga pants think past “comfy”.

    I’ve worn long underwear type leggings when it’s really cold outside and put jeans over them. They are in no way comfy. They are constricting.

    Now if I was trying to highlight my rear end for the ladies to see…it would do the trick. However ladies aren’t (usually) like that.

  36. earl says:

    I’d read her actions as trying to make sure to “stick the landing”. This is literally her last chance at a Husband + Kids.

    Then I’d think she’d wear that type of clothing around him…not so much for other fellas to see at work.

    Granted I don’t know how the female brain operates…but if their goal is sticking the landing why are they doing the things that would easily not stick the landing.

  37. OKRickety says:

    Novaseeker said: ‘… they (women) are told to literally ignore and not take into account any “collateral attraction” that may occur other than the target(s).’

    Unfortunately, they do not ignore a response from a non-target. Instead, it is considered sexual harassment and they are expected to act appropriately appalled. The most egregious complaints are from the Christian women who, rather than taking any responsibility for the situation, vociferously complain if a Christian man admits that he finds their attire sexually enticing and suggests that they modify their wardrobe.

  38. feeriker says:

    Granted I don’t know how the female brain operates…but if their goal is sticking the landing why are they doing the things that would easily not stick the landing.

    Two words: “cause” and “effect.” Words that women are hoplelessly unable to grasp the meaning of when they are paired together. This explains much in these situations.

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