Modest dress tidbits

I’ve been pondering modesty today. What are some reasons (excuses) women give not to dress modestly? Are they good reasons?

I’ve been dressing more and more plain the past few years. I’ve always had a secret fascination with plain dresses but until recently, didn’t have much experience with them. I wore what most women do when starting to dress modestly: skirts, simple dresses and jumpers.

This summer I stayed with a wonderful community of conservative Mennonites for about 10 days. I was impressed with the variety of plain dresses they wore. Most were cape dresses or prairie button-front dresses. The fabrics were beautiful. They are loose and flowing, hanging mid-calf. It was summer so most were elbow length or 3/4 length sleeves. One of the women I stayed with was my size so she let me try on some of her dresses. I was then convinced plain dresses are they way to go for me.

You don’t need to wear prairie dresses or cape dresses to be modest. I just choose to do so because I think they are pretty and comfortable. They are also easy to take care of. The Tropical Breeze fabric is poly/cotton so it’s wash and wear. No ironing! I don’t know if I’ll wear them forever, but for now they are what I’m wearing.

Cost is a factor no matter how you choose to dress. Custom plain dresses cost about $45 new. However, you can get them on e-bay cheaper. You may also find some at thrift stores depending upon your area. I had one cape dress when I went down. While there I had 2 more dresses made for me. They also gave me the pattern so I could make more. Most plain dress and cape dress patterns cost between $10 and $15. Since getting home I’ve ordered several more dresses from e-bay. My husband told me the other day not to get any more dresses because my closet was full enough now. 🙂

If I want to pass on the importance of modesty to my daughter, I need to be a living example, not just theory from some book once she is a teenager. I detest hypocritical parents. I’m wearing long dresses and skirts most of the time. My daughter has always liked dresses. However, it is hard to find them that aren’t above the knee. I have bought several longer dresses for my daughter from e-bay, which she loves. I am making her a flannel dress from a pattern for a plain girls dress.

I have come to the realization that being overweight is not only unhealthy, it also isn’t modest. That may sound strange since the clothes fit fine. I’m not that large compared to some overweight women. Sadly, I would say I’m just a little above average for American women my age. However, the large size draws attention as much as an overly skinny person would. I figured out a few months ago that if I loose just a pound a week, I’ll be at my goal weight in a year. That’s not much of a change at once. I’ve ordered 4 dresses a size or two small in the hopes of motivating me to keep loosing weight (plus, I got a great price).

Some women believe you must wear pants in the winter to stay warm. I live in interior Alaska where temperatures are below zero for weeks at a time. Just like with other clothes, it’s just a matter of layers. We wear sweat pants, heavy tights, or long johns under our dresses in winter. T-shirts or long sleeve turtlenecks can be worn under dresses for added warmth up top along with a sweater if necessary. Also, winter dresses can be made with heavier cloth than those for summer such as flannel, heavy knit, or even wool.

Along the same line is that you need to wear shorts and skimpy shirts to stay cool in summer. I’ve found the opposite to be true. If I wear a loose cotton dress, it creates its own shade and breeze as I walk and I’m cooler than if I wear shorts. Since I’m overweight, I will wear thin cotton bloomers under the dress instead of a slip. These keep my legs from rubbing and chaffing as I walk and work outside. Another benefit of a dress is better sun protection. Add a hat and you don’t need much (if any) sunscreen.

If you’re worried about keeping your dresses clean, just wear an apron over it. That’s what they were designed for. There are many styles available other than the basic kitchen apron. Aprons are cheaper than dresses. They aren’t just for adults either. My daughter has a pretty new dress I didn’t want her to get dirty. My husband said to get her an apron. I replied that I already ordered one. After wearing dresses for awhile, your dresses will get old, faded, or stained. Then as you get new dresses, your old dresses could be worn for everyday or messy tasks, thus saving your new dresses for nicer use.

These are a few of my ponderings about modesty today. I’m no expert, but learning as I go.

One last excuse before I go. Perhaps this is the biggest one. I don’t know a truly good answer. Peer pressure when none of your friends dress this way. So start a trend! Ok maybe that sounds lame, but I think it may be more true than not. Explain to them why you are dressing different. Stand up for your integrity and don’t let them change your mind. Challenge them to change instead. There will always be those who mock and are scornful, especially at first. Remember your reasons for dressing modestly are (hopefully) Biblical not worldly. Therefore, they should take precedence.


6 Responses

  1. What a beautiful post!

    If you’d like a list of resources online to find modest clothing for you and your daughter, I have compiled a list here:

    You’re not alone in your conviction! I’ve also written a best-selling book called DRESSING WITH DIGNITY You can read a free chapter here:

    And a copy of some “Outfit Guidelines” based on biblical principles may be found here:

    God bless you for your efforts and loving attitude about it!!!


  2. Colleen,
    It would appear we have the similar ideas as to what is presentable in clothing. See my Appearance & Clothing page. I have also written a post about Clothing or Advertising.

    I don’t remember who said it but I’m not out to change the world, just my little corner of it. If we all change our little corners, soon a big change has happened. I hope this post encourages anyone who is considering dressing modestly. Thanks for the links and I’m glad you liked my post.

  3. I used to be a minor fashionista, but I so love Plain and modesty. My husband tells me people notice me more now, and usually with respect. We went to a new church yesterday, and a retired (Anglican) priest called me sister! Then I introduced my husband…but I always say, better to be mistaken for a nun than a woman making her living on street corners. (And I don’t mean the Sally Ann captain.)

    By the way, love the boat! We are boatless, but living near the water again.

  4. Magdalena,
    😦 Yes, with some of what young people are wearing as fashion today, it’s hard to tell who’s the street walker and whose just walking the street.

    Unfortunately, we haven’t been sailing in 3 years due to business commitments but hope to get some free time this summer. Where are you? If you’re on the west coast we may sail by someday.

  5. Just peeking about on the internet and came across your blog. Wonderful to know that there are others that want to demonstrate modesty and purity for the Lord before the world!
    If the world sees an example that doesn’t scream condemnation, but holiness to the LORD, it will leave a lasting impression. Thank.

  6. Oh, one last thing, I find that Coldwater Creek has modest clothing at a good price, especially their outlet website.

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