My faith influences my wardrobe year round, though of course that influence is more noticeable when we all want to dress  (or undress) for the heat.

In the LDS faith, we believe that all of us are children of God, made in His image, and that our bodies are temples and should be treated with respect. We are commanded not to abuse our bodies by drinking alcohol or using tobacco or recreational drugs, or by abusing prescription drugs. We are advised not to have tattoos or multiple piercings, out of respect for ourselves and Him, in whose image we are made. And because of that respect, we also believe in dressing modestly. Of course, modesty is in the eye of the beholder and dress standards vary according to times and cultures. But, right now, in general, we typically cover our upper arms and legs and avoid very tight, short, low cut, or midriff revealing clothing. Of course, when we participate in sports, we wear sport-appropriate clothing such as swim suits (when swimming, not as leisure wear), basketball uniforms, etc., as the situation calls for. But even within the constraints of sports specific attire, there are usually more modest choices that we can make.

I view my dress standards as a positive, not as a list of things I can’t do, but I will admit to frustration when shopping — so many cute clothes don’t work for me, and it's been 30 years since I had time to sew my own clothes. My secret desire, for which I am in no way qualified, is to start a line of women’s clothing that is stylish, but with skirts just a little longer, necklines a little higher, short sleeves instead of sleeveless, etc. Since I don’t have the skills, time or money for this business venture, I  wish some smart designer would realize there is an untapped market of women who, whether for religious or personal reasons, choose not to wear much of the clothing currently available but who would be happy to buy modest but stylish clothing if it were available.  (And can someone tell me why our culture pushes immodest clothing on women more than on men?)

Aside from my religious beliefs, quite honestly, I seldom see an adult dressed in skimpy summer attire who can really carry off that look. Yes, it is attractive on models and actors in photos, especially after airbrushing. But on the general population, cellulite, pale skin, stretch marks, back acne, old lady cleavage, shaky upper arms, chest hair, bra straps, boxer waist bands, thong straps, bare skin muffin tops, and, drum roll, the universally despised offense . . . butt cracks! . . . are such a distraction that no one notices the clothing, no matter how cute or trendy.

3 Comments

  1. Diane oh my goodness this paragraph was awesome!

    “Aside from my religious beliefs, quite honestly, I seldom see an adult dressed in skimpy summer attire who can really carry off that look. Yes, it is attractive on models and actors in photos, especially after airbrushing. But on the general population, cellulite, pale skin, stretch marks, back acne, old lady cleavage, shaky upper arms, chest hair, bra straps, boxer waist bands, thong straps, bare skin muffin tops, and, drum roll, the universally despised offense . . . butt cracks! . . . are such a distraction that no one notices the clothing, no matter how cute or trendy.”

    One of THE BEST apologetics for public discretion and modesty that I’ve ever read. Please oh God let this little piece of womanly wisdom find its way into the skulls of the people who are subjecting humanity to such medusa like moments!

  2. Body shame much? O_o

    Seriously, as a Fat Guy, it took me a long time to properly enjoy summer weather at the pool or the beach because of how much body shaming there is. What does an ideal beach body look like? It looks like you or me, at the beach, having fun, and not feeling judged for how you look. I don’t think we should be ashamed of our bodies. It causes people (that vast majority of whom do have bodies that don’t align with a media-designed caricature of human beauty) immense suffering and I do feel a little put down by your statement.

    Also, making a mandate for “modest” dress (typically only in women) actually severely objectifies them, reducing the person down to some sexual body parts. Women may either be gazed at, or averted eyes. There’s no room for the other things a woman’s body can do, comfort, or preference. There’s an implicit acknowledgement that women are at the mercy of men, and that it’s the woman who provokes a man into taking advantage of her. This is a nonsense notion that has not one shred of scientific or ethical reasoning behind it. There is no reason a woman can’t dress how she wants, even if that’s sexy, or what you happen to think is sexy (or immodest, depending on your bent) and still be a faithful, spiritual, and decent person.

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