Do Women Need to Dress Amish To Look Modest?
Yesterday, I posted about slip extenders – my new obsession.
It just so happens I stumbled upon a modesty article on fisheaters.com, which I found interesting. I snipped a little section below:
Catholics appreciate beauty (or should anyway)
Just because a Catholic shouldn’t dress “sexy” for strangers doesn’t mean that we should look ugly and boring! Clothing with brilliant color and texture, wonderfully cut, accessorized and worn by a nicely groomed person — this is a good thing!
How modesty and beauty are reflected in our clothing is a matter of personal taste and ethnic identity. With regard to female fashions, you will find some women dressed in clothes with a modern Western cut, all in the latest colors and with the latest accessories. You will find others in beautiful historical styles — e.g., drop-waist and cloche hat 1920s styles; sumptuously-colored fabrics shaped into Victorian skirts; or clothes that are considered fashionably “retro,” such as what Jacqueline Kennedy might have worn. Others prefer a more “Bohemian,” peasant, “Gypsy,” “Goth,” or ethnic look (think of some of the beautiful outfits Stevie Nicks used to wear). And what is more beautiful than those gorgeous saris worn by Indian women? Some modest Christian women in the Middle East might look more like Muslims than typical Western Christians. Still other modest women like a “preppy,” “tweedy” look such as what the Princess of Wales would have worn when she was still Lady Diana, an upper-crust English schoolteacher. Some look really hard to find clothes from the latest designers that fit all the right criteria for modesty, and talented women might make their own patterns, with their own styles.
The point is that there is no need to believe that we all have to look like cookie-cutter, calico-laden “Little House on the Prairie refugees” with “Peter Pan collars” and tent-like skirts (Christ, spare us!). No! It is good to dress attractively! Proverbs 31:22 speaks of the “valiant woman” as being attired in “tapestry, fine linen, and purple.” Psalm 45 speaks of the “the Queen” in “gilded clothing.” Apocalypse 21:2 speaks of the Church as a bride “adorned for her husband.” Queen Esther, a type of Our Lady, is described as an “exceeding fair” woman whose “incredible beauty made her appear agreeable and amiable in the eyes of all” (Esther 2:15). Pope Pius XII wrote in an address to the Latin Union of High Fashion that the “penchant for the adornment of one’s own person clearly derives from nature, and is therefore legitimate.”
No, there is nothing wrong with adorning oneself and being attractive! As we Italians would say, it is good to “fare una bella figura!” — to “make a good showing” by making things beautiful! Why allow something to be unattractive when it could just as easily or with little effort be lovely? (this Italian attitude goes to everything — one’s home, clothes, dinner table, etc.!)
I think it’s extremely important for people to feel comfortable dressing in their particular style, as long as it is modest. There is nothing wrong with wearing pretty things or different things that others might not like.
If you’re style is to wear Mennonite styles, more power to you.
If you like wearing punk or haute goth, awesome.
I had to learn this lesson as I grew in my faith. As a traditional Catholic, I thought I had to give up on my style. I was wrong. Although we should always be aware of vanity, we all have to buy clothes to wear and as we are different people, we are attracted to different styles of dress.
So wear what you want, as long as it is not an occasion of sin for someone else or even for yourself.
Have a blessed day!