Fashionably Modest – by Carlee (age 16)

Modesty, in my opinion, has a lot to do with self-respect. Everyone wants to be respected, but how can someone expect to be respected if they don’t respect themselves? Being ‘modest’ shouldn’t mean that there is a list of rules for everyone to follow, but it should mean taking a serious heart check. A persons attitude and manner is definitely important when it comes to modesty, too. Is there anyone out there who would rather be ‘loved’ for their body or their popularity than their heart/mind/personality? I think nine out of ten dentists would say no.

This can kind of be an awkward topic, I’m not an expert on modesty, and I’m 100% not an expert on fashion (although my mom’s assured me I don’t have to be to write this), so I’m not going to try to be judgemental about different people’s standards. I’m going to tell you my own standards (I actually have to figure out what they are because I’ve never tried to set modesty to rules before) and let you draw your own conclusion.

Firstly, some verses.

“Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control…” 1 Timothy 2:9

“..but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious”. 1 Peter 3:4
Read that again! Twice.

Secondly, something else I have to add which doesn’t fit into the structure of this writey thing anywhere else (feel free to not read the link, it’s not necessary for the rest of the post).

This is an allegory kind of thing that I wrote on my blog a few months ago. It has pretty much nothing to do with modesty, but it’s based on the woman of Proverbs 31: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
Dressing immodestly draws attraction. Attraction isn’t a bad thing, but suggestives clothes or attitude isn’t going to instantly make people think “oh…she’s a sweetheart. What a gem. I have a lot of respect for that girl”. It’s going attraction of the undesirable sort that causes people to ‘like’ you for.. you know. For looking like a you-know-what.
No matter how much you might look like a bathing suit model now, it’s not going to last. Let people fall in love with your heart – no distractions.
Be the Proverbs 31 woman.

So anyways, my fashion knowledge is made strictly of what my friend, Grace, and my mom have tried to teach me, which consists of “Don’t wear those hideous pink and brown sweatpants” and “No patterns on patterns” (though I actually guessed that already) and something about Coco Chanel being the first person to mix stripes with dots or something weird like that… and they both hate socks with sandals, though I can’t imagine why. 

But I know that fashionable modesty can happen, because miracles are possible, people.

Some people think it’s bad to show shoulders. No… I don’t think it’s bad to show shoulders (I got a sunburn on my shoulder. I, too, like to live on the edge).
Other people have no shame in having a neckline that is absolutely not even within a mile from their neck. No thank you.
Let me try to put what I think into perspective.  This is what I feel comfortable in and what I believe is close to what God means when he talks about modesty in the Bible. I understand there are different body types out there and clothing isn’t the only issue with modesty, so read this with the filter of: This is what I think God has told me. I wouldn’t want anyone to finish reading this post feeling like they’re being judged or something because they don’t follow the rules I kinda keep in mind for me. God’s the ultimate judge. I’m just a people.

Anyways, here it is:

1. Nothing strapless
2. With my hands at my side, I should be able to touch the hem of my shorts.(except I’d go even a bit farther on the shorts than arms-length because some people have short arms. Like me.)
3. Nothing an inch or two below my collarbone
4. Nothing that shows midsection.
5. The shortest skirt I’d wear about an inch above the knee.

That concludes my ‘rules’. They’re not rules set by the Bible specifically or even by my mother, they’re rules by me. Basically if I don’t think something is modest, and/or I don’t feel comfortable in it, I give myself some respect, because myself wants me to respect me. So I do.

Fellow females, I do believe we got the rough end of the deal. Modesty can be hard, but nobody’s asking you to look Amish (though it looks super comfortable, and honestly, I don’t find it ugly or anything in the least…).
God spent a lot of time making you just the way he wanted you. Just right. Learn to be comfortable in your own skin, and note this: modesty isn’t hiding yourself, it’s revealing your dignity. Oh, and modesty is apparently attractive to guys, if that’s something that worries you. The right guys find modesty in clothes and manner very attractive. I’ve heard multiple of their kind say that. When you’re modest, you’re dignified. You’re even more beautiful, really because people instantly notice whatever your best feature is; your eyes, you hair, whatever. People don’t look at you and instantly judge you as a you-know-what, but instead probably a sweetheart.

I also think, very much, that its important for guys to dress modestly. It’s not just boys who struggle here. Like taking off shirts all the time and all that… I know a lot of girls who would really appreciate a display of respect from the guys in their lives in this area, if only to show that they are making an effort, and it’s not just the girls problem. Some girls I know do have a hard time with this! Like, a really hard time. Guys, without taking this as weird as it is going to sound….
Be the Proverbs 31… person. Be a man who is worthy to be praised.

And to people who disagree, and believe that guys and girls should learn to bounce their eyes, I agree with you, to some extent. Everyone has the responsibility to guard their eyes and to be respectful. But why should anybody, especially Christians girls and guys who know what God wants in this area, have any desire to make it any harder for somebody who, maybe unknowingly to you, is having any sort of difficulty in this area? What is there to gain… from having an immodest attitude/state of heart/clothing choice?



7 thoughts on “Fashionably Modest – by Carlee (age 16)

  1. Barbara Shenk

    You did a great, wonderful, tremendous job with this Carlee!!! I believe that you hit the heart of it and are right on!


  2. Julie Biever

    Wow! Carlee you indeed covered it all – pun there….. Believe you said it all if you are comfortable in your own skin.
    For some of us that took a very long time.


  3. Anne Forster

    Bless you Carlee…that was awesome !!! you and your awesome friends are sending out really good pointers…..wish a lot of our beautiful young people would see this..keep up the good work !!!


  4. Kieran Sandford

    You are fantastic Carlee! You are such a great writer and I love that you always say something about food in your posts. 😛 Spouse sounds like a potato and cleavage sounds like a cabbage. I totally agree with you! Your writing was perfect! You are an incredibly, talented, young woman and I am so blessed that you are my best friend!


  5. Winona

    I think your an awesome well ground person Carlee and just to add to your Bending Down Tests I think people should really please look in the mirror to see if they are showing more than they should behind them : )



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