When I moved into this ward I had a neighbor tell me that she thought I’d be the next Young Women’s President.

“No way, “ I countered, “I don’t dress modestly enough.”

To which she replied, “Then it’s about time you start.”

A year later, that calling came and I thought I’d feel a massive spiritual attack to clean out my closet in preparation for a more reserved collection. Conversely, I have felt somewhat of an undertaking to redefine LDS fashion. And right now I am using big words so that you will think I am intelligent—and–undoubtedly right. But truth be told, this is a lonely calling in life. I get a lot of “What in Lucifer’s House are you wearing child?”

Ahh the fine art of dressing up for church. I’d like to think that I give it my full attention (it’s a spiritual gift really.) Before I head out the door, I look in the mirror and ask “Is this lovely or is this sexy?” Because to me, that is the all-important difference. (But what do you do with those of us who feel that nothing is lovelier than feeling sexy? There, I said it.)

I had a remarkable experience at the World Wide Leadership Training a couple weeks ago. There was much to learn and insight given. But I will never forget the beautiful woman in the front row of Elder Holland’s “class” who wore knee high black boots, tights, a short plaid skirt topped off with a black turtleneck. In all my life I had never seen someone from Church HQ in such a semi-hip outfit. It was as though the clouds had departed and the sun shone through “There is room in this church for me and my knee highs boots!” I warmly proclaimed in my head.

I’d like to think that there is also room in this church for pencil skirts, and converted kimono dresses matched with high heels. Ultra-feminine. I mean, if you are going to be a woman, why not go all-out? As someone who was raised in the heart of Mormondom, I have seen enough women hiding underneath floral tents, once claimed as dresses from the Dress Barn. When did modesty mean clothing lines of subtle deviations from men’s clothing wear? Where in the handbook does it recommend jumpers?

How far do we go with modesty? Can we go too far? I mean some of us are one step away from wearing hijab. And part of me would like to teach the youth of the ward that feminine doesn’t need to be hiding all the time. Like my mother always said “A little cleavage never hurt anybody.” (Please don’t tell my mother I just quoted her, she’ll kill me.)

Furthermore, don’t we believe that women’s body, though absolutely sacred, is also virtuous and of good report? Where is the marriage between celebrating a figure and using it for disadvantageous plots?

And most importantly does “one pair of modest earrings” dangle? How far?

February 19, 2007
February 22, 2007


  1. Maralise

    February 21, 2007

    Cjane–Amen. I love mixing and matching my rather eclectic wardrobe (as much out of necessity as creativity). I am sure that my flip-flops and sequin combo did not go over well last summer. Niether does the mohawk that my two year-old sports. Or my husband’s long hair. But, one thing that I learned while growing up in Utah is that (I know, controversy ahead) there are many different kinds of mormons. I need to fit no mold to be considered more/less mormon. I still feel awkward sometimes. I still question the motivations for my choices. But, I don’t think it’s a question of righteousness. It’s more a question of choice, and the freedom to look different, or the same, whatever you decide.

  2. lyle

    February 21, 2007

    cjane- way to post this after our ward confernce when the stake presidency admonished us not to get caught up in sayings things such as, “I can’t beleive so and so does or doesn’t do this or that…” So now how can I comment about your dangling ear rings without feeling guilty?

  3. Natalie

    February 21, 2007

    do you ever watch “what not to wear” on tlc? they did a mormon girl from provo once and taught her that dressing modestly doesn’t mean wearing baggy, hide all your skin, clothes. i really liked it.

  4. Emily

    February 21, 2007

    Not to be contentious, but I really do not enjoy looking at a woman’s cleavage. Especially at church. Especially if she’s speaking in Sacrament or teaching RS. Sexy? I’m all about that. But pull the shirt up just a tidge.

  5. Geo

    February 21, 2007

    So my adorable, hip baby bro-in-law gave me a cool t-shirt on Sunday(!) with former communist leaders in party hats carrying red party cups and gettin’ down . . . Communist party, get it? I thought about wearing it to YW last night, to test the girls’ wit while I taught them Crochet 101, but I opted for a subtle, green, no-message long-sleeve instead. Good thing, since ELDER PERRY happened to be at our building last night and we all got to meet him! (Look for photos of the shirt and Elder Perry on my blog later today . . . .)

  6. Geo

    February 21, 2007

    P.S. I spotted Darlybird even before reading your challenge, plus I also spotted Carolina Dominquez.

  7. Jamie

    February 21, 2007

    I am never more comfortable than when I am wearing a perfectly fitted (not too snug, not too loose, not too short, not too long) modest dress and my black knee boots (when it’s cold, I mean–when it’s hot, it’s wedgey sandals). And I agree that cleavage isn’t all that fun to see at church. But in my double-D defense, sometimes it is reeeeally hard to keep everything covered the way I would like. A dress that would sufficiently cover the nicest “C’s” still tends to look a little trampy on me if I don’t pin it up or something. So if perchance you DO see some cleavage peeping out at church, give the sister a break–it’s probably totally unintended. Also, with the recent rash of immorality & pornography that has infected some locales, I would recommend all women to lean toward the lovely at church and save the sexy for your own husband. I said “lovely,” y’all, not “frumpy.”

  8. cew-smoke

    February 21, 2007

    Alright, alright. Enough already about women’s fashion problems. Let’s talk turkey, let’s talk men’s fashion. What can a poor schlub of a guy do to look sharp and hip at church while not looking like an idiot or like he’s trying too hard. How about an article on helping us find our inner sexah, you know without flailing into patheticness?

    Back to your regularly scheduled comments.

  9. Pflower

    February 21, 2007

    This is a tough subject because one person’s lovely is another person’s sexy. I am in the same boat with Jamie with my DD’s as well. Sometimes they just don’t want to be or even can’t be contained in a way suitable to EVERYBODY. And if I just cover them up then I look about 10 sizes bigger than what I am. Not a good look. So now I just dress to my comfort level and if the little old ladies have a cow …well, let them eat steak!!!

  10. Carina

    February 21, 2007

    Jamie, I feel your pain. Sometimes I have to tell my mom: I can’t help it, no matter what I wear they look big.

    I spied Jenny D. and Brandon too.

    I honestly think that it is our duty to take care of our grooming and that includes attractive attire. Since I work with the girls too, I try to follow the same standards to which they are also trying to adhere. This does not mean frumpy, dumpy or tent-like, it means avoiding extremes (to which I ALSO lump in some of those dresses approaching burqa-dom.)

    That said, I do not wear my “I’m a feminist and I’m ok” shirt to Mutual.

  11. metamorphose

    February 21, 2007

    Couldn’t have said it any better myself! What’s wrong with feeling sexy?

  12. Casee

    February 21, 2007

    My Mom always said, “Flaunt it, if you’ve got it.” During my teenage years I hid under big t-shirts and baggy pants… nothing form fitting for me. I think I was more afraid of people seeing my shape than being immodest, but ever since that time I have thought about what my Mother said and I totally agree. I don’t think you need to be overtly sexy, but I think that lovely and sexy can co-exist. I wear knee-high boots to church (gasp) and I am not afraid to admit it!

  13. Cari

    February 21, 2007

    Very well said. As a mom of a former Laurel of yours, I thank you for your fashion influence on her (and other influences as well!). I had tried for years to get it through her head that it was okay to wear a skirt once in a while and not just to church. It wasn’t until you became her leader that she started dressing more feminine outside of church. Thanks for your example and for the post!

  14. Carrie

    February 21, 2007

    lyle-could we be in the same ward? We just had ward conference repeating those exact words…over and over again.

    cjane- I LOVE this post.

  15. The Wiz

    February 21, 2007

    I wear knee high boots every week. I had no idea people thought they might be too hip or something for church. I always thought they were extremely modest.

    I say if you’re covered, you’re good. I look really bad in things that are not somewhat form fitting,since my form is so straight up and down, if I want to have any curves at all, they have to be cut into my clothes, and my clothes have to be somewhat tight. Baggy clothes make me look like a boy. This does not mean I wear clothes that are too small for me. But I have stopped wearing clothes that are too big for me.

    It helps immensely that I have a woman who does fashion for a living in my ward. She gets up and teaches RS in fish net hosiery, and nobody says a word. She is never immodest, but VERY hip and cool.

  16. Sue

    February 21, 2007

    I do not remember anything in “the manual” about having to dress lika a frump to be a good LDS woman. My philosophy is if it covers your g’s, go for it. I would much rather see a sharply dressed woman in something hip, than a tired lady in a sack with cracked heels.

  17. Emily

    February 21, 2007

    Jamie, et al, good point about the DDs. I have quite the opposite problem (no cleavage if I tried), so I ought not pass judgment.

  18. cardine

    February 21, 2007

    I noticed the outfit at the leadership meeting, as well, but I’ve been to a ward where 95% of the females were wearing knee-high boots. I always thought that they were a mormon favorite. There are always people in my ward wearing boots like that, and my coworker is currently wearing them. In fact, I view them as a fad. A cute fad, but nonetheless, a fad.

    One time an elder from my mission made the comment that BYU girls dressed like frumpy pioneers and that he liked visiting the U because they didn’t. Discuss.

    Also, I don’t like seeing other people’s cleavage, but I also don’t notice what people are wearing that much, so, in my opinion, people are free to be pioneers, lovely, sexy, or whatever they feel like. Some of it just may not be flattering.

    Also, I’ve worn a Chinese dress to church gatherings before. I thought it was appropriate.

    Earrings: whatever you think is modest, go with it. I think dangling earrings can be modest.

    I have a hard time finding outfits for church sometimes because I don’t do floral dresses. It’s always been a difficult thing for me to fit in with people who wear big bows in their hair and floral dresses.

  19. texasgal

    February 21, 2007

    Fashions come and go and are of no eternal significance. Modesty, however is a virtue of character, not a mode of dress. It has to do with you, your God, your feelings for other people, reverence for what is sacred, putting off the natural man, obedience, humility, etc.

    “If you got it, flaunt it” and “a little cleavage doesn’t hurt” are both ideas very distasteful to me. Our church is one of the last holdouts against a society that cheapens sex, objectifies women and celebrates smut. Has anyone taken their kids to a shopping mall lately? Try it, you’ll blush and be pointing their eyes the other way. I’d way rather be among the “peculiar people”, even when fashion is lacking. Some of those dowdy ladies are saints, literally.

    “If you’re covered, you’re good” is a nice starting point, but you are really not “good” until you are modest inside. That has more to do with our hearts and minds than our skirts and blouses.

    Meanwhile, spring is coming and here we go again on prom dresses, swimsuits, shorts and what Elder Holland calls “beach attire” in sacrament meeting. Hope the Moms and YW leaders are ready for some fun:)

  20. Lindsey V.

    February 21, 2007

    This post made me laugh for so many reasons, mostly that Yearbook photo. Talk about fashion! Tool? Stussy? Mountain Fever? Oh man, those are days of fashion I do not wish to re-live.

    Oh, and I agree with what “3. Natalie” said because I saw that episode of What Not To Wear.

  21. JP

    February 21, 2007

    I am always amazed at the lack of respect so many LDS women show towards men. So much in the modesty discussion focuses on having respect for our bodies-but what about men’s bodies, their thoughts,feelings, etc?
    Save the feminist jargon. Let’s be totally honest here. Men are hardwired to be attracted to the female body. It isn’t fair to a good man, who loves his wife and is trying to do what is right for all of us to be parading around “sexy”. It only hinders their efforts in trying to overcome that whole “natural man” thing.
    That said, I don’t want to be frumpy and I agree that the difference between lovely and sexy can be like walking a tightrope. But it is worth thinking about.

  22. Megan

    February 21, 2007

    I have to agree with you CJane. We can be stylish, cute, and sexy all at the same time while being modest. Sexy doesn’t have to be immodest, it’s a feeling we have about how we look. That has nothing to do with showing off our body parts. I feel sexy and lovely when I wear a cute pair of jeans, boots, hip t-shirt, and some cute jewelry. I don’t believe that is immodest one bit, yet I feel sexy. I especially like to look good at church because it’s the only day of the week I actually like to get ready. I get dressed up and it feels good. You absolutely do not have to wear a floral tent to be modest. I would feel 100 years old if I started doing that. There is a happy medium. You can certainly be fashionable and modest.
    As for the men that we might be distracting. If what a woman wears causes him to go crazy, that is his problem and he needs to control himself. I think the “natural man” is societies cop out for men not being able to control themselves. Or so they say. Pretty sure my hot little outfit that my husband loves is a t-shirt, pepto-pink cut off sweat shorts (to the knee) and athletic shoes. I wear that when I am sweaty, and gross, playing softball. He can’t get enough of it. You could say any outfit then, could drive a man wild and we’ll be back to wearing dresses from head to toe with no room to breath.

  23. Maralise

    February 21, 2007

    JP: No woman or man should be held responsible for someone else’s thoughts.
    Megan: Agreed. Feeling sexy is an attitude, not a lack of attire.

  24. Dalene

    February 21, 2007

    In my stake you can’t even be a YW leader if you refuse to wear hose.

    Which is why they have me working with the Activity Day girls.

    I can’t speak about fashion, because I am fashionistically impaired. But I do notice when someone else looks good and in a church where we embrace that which is lovely and of good report I think looking good is no sin. Fashion and modesty should not be mutually exclusive.

    I can’t speak for sexy either, except to admit that I purposely wear the one color that frequently elicits “You have the most beautiful eyes.” Is that a bit manipulative? I don’t know!

    What I can say is that I once learned a very important lesson regarding modesty.

    Having spent my younger and in much better shape years sporting tiny tanks and Daisy Duke shorts (don’t be alarmed, they were all the rage in the late 70s and back then–at least where I lived–modesty was only defined in terms of swimsuits), I used to be completely oblivious to the other side of the equation, how what I choose to wear affects the opposite sex. It wasn’t until I was in the MTC and heard a young elder comment on how he wished a certain sister missionary wouldn’t make things so hard for him that I started to see things from a different point of view. Like JP said, men see things and react to the things they see in entirely different ways than do women. Feminist though I am, having once been strongly attracted to someone I did not want to be attracted to simply because of his choice of cologne, I think I get an tiny glimpse of what it might be like.

    While I refuse to judge what anyone else wears by my own experience, I am grateful to have learned what I did. (And oh did I have sorrow for not having learned it earlier.) I do hope, however, to use my experience to teach both my boys and my daughter what I wished I’d learned earlier about modesty.

    This is a great post and an excellent discussion!

  25. Dalene

    February 21, 2007

    In regards to Maralise’s comment, no we are not responsible for others’ thoughts. But I do believe we have some responsibility to not be completely oblivious of how any of our actions–how we dress, what we say, how we act–affect those around us.

    Maybe it’s about looking at things from another perspective. How we look from our point of view while we’re standing in front of the mirror in a certain great skirt can be entirely different than how we look from the point of view of someone who may be across from us or even below us while we’re sitting in a chair or on the floor.

  26. Veritas

    February 21, 2007

    JP – what you are saying is the root cause for the burqas. Would you prefer we wore such attire? YOU and only YOU are responsible for what you think are what you attracted to. Im sorry, but the old ‘men can’t control their thoughts’ line is plain and simple, a LIE. You are on this earth to learn self control, so start trying. I seriously doubt anyone around here is advocating letting it all hang out anyway.

    I think its pretty rediculous that you would say that how I or any woman chooses to dress shows MEN a lack of respect. Its unbelievable that you would suggest that when a woman gets dressed on sunday morning she should consider if any of the men in the ward would be attracted to her. Maybe I should quit shaving my legs and bathing, that would help wouldn’t it?

  27. Veritas

    February 21, 2007

    So Dalene, we should consider someone who might be under our chair when choosing what to wear? Or only wear clothes we can sit on the floor in? I don’t understand your point.

  28. Maralise

    February 21, 2007

    Dalene–I do think we should be considerate and aware of others. Others obviously see my clothes choices and make judgements/have responses. But, I think I only answer to myself and to God. I, in no way, can predict how others will view my image. And trying to do so is just another way to make myself crazy (got that one taken care of already, thank you).

  29. Kati

    February 21, 2007

    It is true that we can’t control other people’s thoughts, but we have the full responsiblity to be aware of what message we are sending and thoughts we are inspiring. I know of a situation that happened at the MTC where a sister missionary, completely oblivious, bent over in a too-loose shirt, revealing everything to the world, and one elder saw and was so ashamed and horrified that he felt that he was now unworthy to serve a mission and it took the convincing of several priesthood leaders to tell him that he had done nothing wrong, that he could still serve a mission. He was completely and utterly devastated, all because of the dress of this one sister. It would have been really tragic if he had gone home because of that, and I can’t help but thinking that even though it was not done on purpose, she would have had some responsiblity in that. A little cleavage CAN hurt. We have to be aware of what we are doing.

    As always, we have been counseled to exercise “moderation in all things”, which applies here to modesty. We need to dress in a modest, respectful manner, but that doesn’t mean we need to all go around in jumpers and muu-muus. There is a happy medium of dress that covers up but is attractive and fashionable. We need to try and look our best- there is even a class at the MTC for sisters to teach them how to wear makeup if they don’t know already- we aren’t supposed to be a bunch of dowdy sisters who don’t care about our appearance. We need to put our best foot forward, and that can be done tastefully and modestly.

    Another thing to remember is that the women of the church are the example for the coming generation of girls. I have heard several times from various temple workers that the number one problem they deal with as far as modesty goes at the temple is not with the bride- it is her mother. The mothers are the ones trying to break the rules, stretch the boundaries, more worried about fashion than being modest. Of all places, the temple is the LAST where fashion should be worried about, but I have many horror stories where modesty took a backseat to other concerns, even at the temple.

    Basically, you can be modest and fashionable at the same time- we are supposed to care about our appearance and try to put our best foot forward, while being respectful to ourselves and others by covering ourselves appropriately. However, when in doubt, modesty should always trump fashion.

  30. Dalene

    February 21, 2007

    Veritas–You may or may not get my point and that’s fine. I’ve just spent enough time teaching or speaking on the bottom level of rooms with staium seating to realize that sometimes women–including myself–are oblvious to what they expose in certain situations.

    That’s all.

  31. Rachel

    February 21, 2007

    The story about the elder is so tragic only because of the insane guilt he felt about something so minor. It’s this culture of guilt that drives a lot of people away from the gospel. We need to teach coping strategies to our youth—they’re going to see a lot more than a little cleavage peeking behind a calico blouse with a Sister Smith nametag. Good grief, I feel sorry and empathy for this elder. I’m the one who went to the bishop to tell him I’d pinched my fiancee’s butt. I sweat bullets as I walked into his office and he laughed at me, saying I was forgiven as long as he could share my story with the bishopric (through laughter). That was a bit of a wake-up call. We need to lighten up and stop looking beyond the mark. Sure, we don’t need hoochies at Sacrament Meeting, but I don’t think Courtney was advocating mall-rat hoochiness. Go, femininity!

    Cjane—thanks for the pic on your blog. I laughed my guts out. Memories. The Provonian.

  32. Courtney

    February 21, 2007


    Your comment has inspired me to disclose two things:
    1.) I wear and advocate muu-muus on my personal blog.
    2.) I saw a whole lot worse than cleavage on my mission. And lots of it from members. I mean, I went out a humble servant and came back a wise steward. I wonder, along with Rachel, how this elder survived the rest of his two years?

    Also by “a little cleavage” my mother meant nothing more that the length of these consecutive dashes ——. How is that for show and tell? (Pardon the pun.)

  33. cardine

    February 21, 2007

    If we’re sharing mission experiences, I’ll just say that I had a particularly hard week where, in the chapel of the church building, a member had taken the opportunity while I was putting my sweaty hair up in a pony tail, to get a little touchy-feeling with me in what I would consider to be a slightly frumpy jumper. I also had an elder telling me that he couldn’t wait to multiply and replenish the earth with me and another one tell me that my lipstick made his blood boil. I don’t feel that any of this was my fault, especially considering that I am not one who normally turns heads. Yes, be modest, but I can’t stand the rationale that we should do it to respect the men. We should do it because we respect ourselves and the Lord.

  34. cardine

    February 21, 2007

    PS And, I think that modesty is what we believe it to be ourselves, in accordance with church teachings. That’s all.

  35. Kaimi

    February 21, 2007

    “He was completely and utterly devastated, all because of the dress of this one sister.”

    Um, no. He was devastated because he was amazingly immature, and apparently sadly uninformed about church doctrine.

    On my mission, I probably saw a thousand boobs. So did every other elder and sister on the mission. That happens in third world countries, quite often. It’s both comical and horrifying to think of what would happen to any elder so mentally fragile as to freak out and want to be sent home at the mere sight of a woman’s breast. That elder wouldn’t have lasted a day in Guatemala. And as a general matter, I saw elders with exagerated and melodramatic senses of their own fragility — and they always managed to create lots of extra work for mission leaders.

    So let me recast your story, with a new moral: It’s an awfully good thing that Elder Fragile-and-Immature got flashed at the MTC, where there were apparently plenty of good people around to talk him down from the ledge. Hopefully, this experience gave him a little bit of perspective and a thicker skin, such that he didn’t have a complete meltdown in the mission field when perhaps a woman in a tank top opened the door during tracting, or when he heard someone use a bad word while at the grocery store.

  36. Henry

    February 21, 2007

    Veritas- Don’t be so quick to judge here. It’s not as easy as it seems. How many women get caught up in sizing up other women [in a constant state of comparison] or wishing they looked more like the latest model in a movie or the cover of a magazine? Yes. It’s all a lie, a very difficult lie to overcome for men and women. Satan has had several thousands of years to get ready for the second coming. Hardwired or not, attire [or lack of it] does have an influence on what guys think. Modesty was a quality that first attracted me to my wife [no she was not dressed in a tent, yet she never had to compromise her wardrobe to accommodate her temple covenants].

    The way we dress, men and women alike sends a message for good or bad. Where do you draw the line at vanity? Think about the whole temple experience. Everyone is dresses the same for a reason. It helps eliminate vanity. Kati has some valid points, are we going to be a light or a beacon set on top of a hill or not? This is not an issue about being sheep or a bunch of clones unable to express themselves in a different manner. Bottom line, would you feel comfortable wearing what you’re wearing in an interview the Savior? Again, easier said than done.

  37. Elizabeth

    February 21, 2007

    I also recognized Rachel and Jenny D. (and is that Lindy?) before I read your challenge. Hurray!
    Interesting post. I think it’s possible to be both. I think what women (and men) choose to wear DOES affect the opposite sex (for good or bad). Period. And I also think that in dressing modestly you are respecting yourself (as a daughter of God), but also respecting the priesthood (not because they can’t be strong or anything like that — but we are here to help each other, and immodesty certainly doesn’t help any of our thoughts).

  38. annegb

    February 21, 2007

    CJ/Courtney (?)–I love your mother. She rocks. That is my philosophy. I am more bothered by the pious modesty I hear in Relief Society than I am by girls whose butt hangs out of their thongs. Although that’s really more than I want to see of other people.

    I think a lot of people use this modesty issue to exclude and embarrass others, especially our youth. My first husband was thrown out of a church dance because he didn’t wear a tie and he didn’t go back to church. I really feel Jesus would not do that.

    I really feel that Jesus wouldn’t even notice if a girl comes to church in flip flops and a skirt. I think He’d notice how much He loved her. There has got to be a happy medium.

    Now I’m going to try to read as many posts as I can in the next few minutes before Bill busts me off the computer.

  39. Dalene

    February 21, 2007

    Courtney can make even muu-muus look like the latest must-have fashion item. And she practically personally funded Wal-Mart’s third-quarter profits for last year with her viral shirt.

    Cardine–mission experiences are so funny. I remember sitting two months worth of grooming classes they had for the sister missionaries and being bored to tears. Then I went to France and learned very quickly that it was all for naught. Even with our hair pulled back in pony tails and little or no make up–even wearing sweats under our clothes on the very coldest days of winter–we were still prey to all sorts of cat-calls and propositions.

    By the way, thanks for the hot topic. I just had the most interesting discussion about this with my teenage boys. It was good to hear their perspective and to reinforce the values I am trying to teach them. Frankly it also confirms my opinion that at the very least we need to be aware.

  40. Anon

    February 21, 2007

    I too like being hip and fashionable. I don’t feel bad about wearing cute clothes or looking stylish at chruch. I also didn’t think twice about knee high boots, fish nets, and fitted (not tight) clothing. Before I got married I enjoyed tank tops that I felt were still modest and covering. Being fashionable and hip does not equal automatic immodesty. With that said, I can see where people are going with the idea that we need to be careful. To say we are responsible for others thoughts is not accurate, but to say our actions never play a part in someone else’s actions is also not accurate–that goes for many aspects of the gospel. I agree with the idea that modesty is much more than what you wear–what are you TRYING to convey (be honest with yourself), how do you feel, are you comfortable in your own skin? Do you recognize what you’re wearing is possibly borderline and instead of admitting that you say to your defensive self “this isn’t inmmodest, if someone thinks that, well that’s THEIR problem . . . ” or do you really not think twice about it and feel totally comfortable?

    In my experience we all grow into the gospel at different paces. My modesty-o-meter might not be the same as someone else’s, and likewise we might have different views of what it means to keep the Sabboth Day Holy, etc. This is where it’s important to consider your relationship with the Lord. If you truly don’t feel immodest than don’t worry about the 1-2 people who may be judging you . . . BUT if you find that you’re making justifications to yourself a little too often, and you feel an inner pull to dress differently than you know . . . maybe it’s not just what other people think . . . But again I don’t think this has that much to do with being fashionable and hip.

  41. JP

    February 21, 2007

    First of all, CJane, I am an avid reader of your blog and an adoring fan. Thanks for starting this discussion. I feel like maybe I should have remained a lurker but what the heck, here goes:

    Veritas-just in case you missed it-I am a woman.I didn’t mean to offend anyone nor did I expect to illicit such a hostile response. I was just talking about being considerate of the male sex. I have been married for 15 years and four of my seven children are boys. I have been actively trying to understand the male psyche and the very different struggles that they face.I have learned A LOT. And yes I do think that it is worth asking yourself if the way you are dressing is going to make someone else uncomfortable -male or female. Frankly, when it becomes obvious to me that I have turned someone on it embarrasses me. I honestly ask myself if I did anything that could have been prevented and then I deal with it. Of course men will always be attracted to women -even in burqas. I am just simply saying that life on this planet is hard enough. Why make it harder for people if you don’t have to? It is called “loving your neighbor”.

    I didn’t say that men can’t control their thoughts. I am just saying let’s help them out a bit. If you don’t get that men are very different from women than you are either really naive or dishonest. I love men, have reverence for them and believe that they deserve respect.

    Maybe I have a different definition of what “sexy” means. To me it means to make others think about sex. I don’t want anyone to look at me and think about sex except my husband (which he will no matter what-even if I were to wear a burqa)

    My daughter and I just went on one of our “Pride and Prejudice” binges. I realized that the BBC production made my 12 and 10 year old sons extremely uncomfortable. That is the reality of it. Better now than in the MTC I always say!

    At any rate this has been a great discussion. It is always good to discuss and think about things.

    -JP (who wears big boots to church)

  42. Carrie

    February 21, 2007

    For a little while when I was at BYU, the hot editorials topic in the Daily Universe was a debate on whether or not sling backpacks were immodest. Finally, someone wrote in and said that maybe we should stop wearing seatbelts too, since they have the same effect on our chests.

    If my husband was so swayed by what every other woman was wearing, I would be in a perpetual state of panic and despair–or divorce. And yes, he’s normal and hard-wired just like any other man. But he’s also an adult, not out looking for someone else to get his motor revving.

    That said, I agree that we ought to dress modestly out of respect for ourselves, our God, and eachother.

    But maybe I’d feel comfortable and modest wearing something you wouldn’t. I think I’m following Church standards in my v-neck that probably shows cleavage if I bend in half. Because I’m not trying to get anyone’s attention and I’ve felt the Spirit in said
    v-neck. (And He didn’t tell me to put on a scarf.)

  43. Pflower

    February 22, 2007

    Wooowzers…..This has been a wonderful discussion to read through. This obviously is a hot topic on all of our minds. I wish that we had more men to comment on this to know just how our fashion choices that we make each day effect their world. We all know how it’s effecting our own world. We should also keep in mind that mature men are not the only males that see us.

    Great topic Cjane!!

  44. Pflower

    February 22, 2007

    By the way, can someone please explain to me what immodest earrings might look like??? Has there been a rash of people wearing earring in the shape of those “ladies” that we see on the mud flaps of some trucks????? I don’t understand.

  45. Anonymous

    February 22, 2007

    One of the things I love about being an actress is getting to wear clothes I wouldn’t have the opportunity to wear in real life, and those clothes are not always garment-friendly. I will turn down costumes that I feel cross the line (like the time I was handed fishnet stockings, a bra made of clam shells, and not much else), but sometimes it does a girl good to see herself in an off-the-shoulder, cleavage-producing ball gown! It doesn’t matter if an audience sees me or not: I just love the way the dress makes me feel. In real life, I’m not totally comfortable wearing form-fitting clothes, so maybe I’m not SO wicked. (Maybe.)

  46. pollyjk

    February 22, 2007

    Anonymous, I sometimes do costuming for theatre and my challenge was of a character that needed to wear a bra and panties through most of the show. I wanted to make sure they were fairly modest and yet sexy. I spent many hours in lingerie shops before I ended up in Wal Mart with plain white attire. The panties were above her hips and the bra almost a halter top. She looked beautiful, but not slutty.
    I have 3 girls, 12, 14 and 17. We have to search, but we can find very cute (cheap) things that are modest and fashionable. Thrift stores are great for hidden treasures. Thankfully my girls are not too picky or too proud to shop there. My oldest always looks good and has been told she is a great example to the younger girls at church. And we see nothing wrong with clothes that fit well. I am SO tired of seeing our youth in baggy clothes.
    One more thing, I have a very bad habit of pulling the pants up on store models. I really hate it when even a mannequin shows crack.

  47. Kati

    February 22, 2007

    The elder immature? I guess I have a different idea of what maturity is. To me an immature elder would be one who giggled and joked and poked his buddies. Of course this elder was extreme, and didn’t need to be so worried, but I’d rather have one on that end of the spectrum than the other. Of course somewhere in the middle is best. I don’t know the background of this elder, but unless he lived in a hole, I doubt this was the first time that he had seen this sort of thing. I don’t believe that the extent of his embarrassment was merely based on what he had seen- I’m sure because of the world we live in it was nothing new to him. I think he was more embarrassed not by what he saw, but who it was- this was not some woman on TV or walking down the street, it was a sister missionary. This was not the world, it was the MTC. Of course it was an accident, one that I’ve done myself, we just need to be careful and aware.

    Also in defense of this missionary, the mindset that they are in needs to be remembered. I have occasion to visit the MTC from time to time, and I’m lucky if I can get the elders to even look in my general direction, let alone make eye contact or acknowledge my presence. Their awkwardness is almost palpable. I believe I’ve had one shake my hand. To even see me in my Sunday best causes them great embarrassment. Does that mean that all of the dozens and dozens of missionaries I’ve been around are horribly immature and not going to survive on their missions because they are so uncomfortable around a young adult woman? No, they’ll do just fine, when they get out in the world, because they’ve lived in the world up until this point- it’s not like they’ve never seen a girl before or anything inappropriate. It’s all around us all the time. But they are in a different mindset at the MTC, and want to be safe there. Of course there will be accidents and situations in any setting, but there should be safe havens where this doesn’t have to be worried about the majority of the time. Yes, we live in a world where nothing is sacred anymore and we have to deal with that in a mature manner, as will the missionaries when they get out into the field. But at the MTC, they aren’t in the world. At church, they shouldn’t be in the world. We are not the world. There should be a difference.

  48. Marilyn

    February 22, 2007

    Just read through essay and posts. Very interesting reading…So many opinion, ideas, and thougths to sort through that I’m not sure I should comment right this minute. But I will say this. One of our greatest gifts is the gift of free agency. We get to choose for ourselves…what we wear, how we wear it, and when we wear it. So if a women chooses to wear something “sexy” and show some cleavage so be it. If a woman wants to wear something “frumpy” and “dowdy” so be it. I don’t have to make the choice for anyone but myself nor should I judge another for the choices they make. But, there is also the accountability half of every choice that should and must be taken into consideration. Even in our choice of clothing there are and will be consequences for good or ill. No we can’t be held totally accountable for the thoughts that men might have as they look at our cleavage, but there will be some accountability on our part I am certain. Always consider the eternal when dealing with earthly, temporal, choices.

  49. HGB

    February 22, 2007

    Kati, did you serve in Wuerzburg, Germany?

  50. RahRahSisBoomBah

    February 23, 2007

    I don’t consider myself too prudish, as I also went through the dirty dancing era and cut up my shirts to my father’s horror, but I can truly say, it REALLY bothers me that these “undertees” shirts are word as outertees. They show everything and are extremely immodest to me. Oh, yes, they cover the skin, but a person can see every curve, nipple shape, and hip bone. It is a Satanic trick to claim one thing and really be another. I am not sure why they bother me so much. I’m offended by the hypocricy.
    Then, there is language. My brothers say the most vile sexual references all the time. Not in swear words, but descriptions. They are young and single, but really stupid. It is extremely immodest to me and I consider it an offense to God.
    And let us not forget modesty at home. Is it okay to walk around in your garments? Discuss.
    I also struggle with the cleavage as I wear a 34J bra. But, I don’t take my struggle to church. I work very hard to find clothes that cover my girls without looking frumpy. They are mine and I would feel wrong if they are showing. They are not for Brother Turpey or old man Brother Howard to gaze at. I don’t cover them out of respect for them and their body reactions. I cover them out of respect for me.
    So, all that I’ve written here seems pretty shallow as I reread it. In my heart, I have learned what modesty means for me. It is a state of mind. It is feeling comfortable with yourself and pleasing the Lord.

  51. Angie

    February 23, 2007

    I don’t like the idea of judging other women for what they wear–be it too frumpy or too sexy. I wish as a RS that we could just embrace each other. My style of dress has gradually changed since I became active in the church. I imagine many other women see their tastes and personal style evolve over the years. It cracks me up when people peg me as Molly Mormon–which I am–because the person I am and the experiences I have had transcend the stereotypes in so many directions. I think that’s true of lots of people.

    I will say, though, that the idea of trying to look sexy in public doesn’t work for me; it just seems really misguided. Attractive? Yes. With well fitting and flattering clothes? Yes. But to me the word sexy goes beyond that in its connotations. Bottom line in my book is whether what I am wearing helps me to be an ambassador for Christ. I think looking attractive (I’m not capable of being hip) is a plus. But intentionally flashing cleavage (assuming I actually had any)? I’m not so sure.

  52. Michelle

    February 23, 2007

    But intentionally flashing cleavage (assuming I actually had any)? I’m not so sure.

    I have to agree with this. Just cuz mommy said it was ok doesnt make it so. 🙂 (I learned this the hard way with other ‘lines’ drawn by adults I respected in my life…and now I know they were simply wrong.) We can appreciate our bodies without expecting others to appreciate them. 🙂

    In my mind, if we are dressing to “show off” the body, it might be worth rethinking. I like to think of clothing as something that shouldnt’ detract from the person. If the clothing gets attention in an of itself (too frumpy or too sexy) then I have to wonder if it’s a good thing. Our leaders have spoken about BOTH extremes! I like to think that modesty (dress, action, speech) allows people to look beyond the surface and not be distracted in any way by what I look like, sound like, act. *I* often feel distracted if I try to dress too “hip” (never been “capable” of it either), and I feel others might be too. I’d rather just be “neat and comely” without drawing attention to myself, if that makes sense. Again, my approach.

  53. Kati

    February 23, 2007

    Nope, I didn’t serve a mission in Wuerzburg, Germany. That would be an awesome mission though!

  54. Michelle

    February 23, 2007


    Gotta say that that is one of the best handles I have seen in a while. 🙂

  55. andy

    February 26, 2007

    Couple things about that little missionary anecdote:

    –Sounds like he was raised in a righteousness via guilt, upbringing. Cause seriously, there’s been discussion of him getting a look at the hapless and ‘immodest’ sister’s breast. Please, a fraction at best. They don’t let unendowed sisters into the MTC. Was the “whole world” really peeking out from behind temple garments, bra and sister clothes? Anyway, it’s too bad, righteousness via guilt is not part of the Gospel.
    –Poor missionaries, they send ya smack in the middle of your sexual prime after all. Go easy on the poor kid. I’m sure he’s better now. I was a missionary who felt like he had to quietly hum “Ye Elders of Israel” in the presence of a certain pretty, and hyper-modest sister. Please, the sister could have been in a nun’s habit.

    –The modesty hard-liners might consider that garments used to be to wrists and ankles. Take Brigham Young (read, Victorian) era Mormons to today’s sunday school and they’d likely be apalled. They might think we were all gonna burn in the bad place. Modesty is so relative. So much of our cultural take on modesty comes from the Greeks, Victorians, Puritans, Calvinists, etc. Let’s stay with what the Gospel and the Spirit says.

    Next thing:
    “I am always amazed at the lack of respect so many LDS women show towards men. So much in the modesty discussion focuses on having respect for our bodies-but what about men’s bodies, their thoughts,feelings, etc?”

    Just wondering, are you around Mormons much? cause my perception as a “hard-wired” (funny word choice, by the way) man is more like– poor Relief Society ladies, can’t find anything to wear that might make them feel or look a little like a woman.
    Please, let’s go easy on the occasional cleavage (when bending down) bearers. Seriously.

    Steven Robinson said in the best religion class I took at the B.Y. “If I could say one thing to Mormons everywhere it’d be, stay the hell out of each other’s lives.”

    Not a bad bit of advice. He also taught us how much Pauls talked about Christian liberty, and that we should have a healthy take on sexuality, and that Paul wasn’t a hard-line anti-sex mysoginist. Being hyper-prudish doesn’t really help girls, women, men, marriages, etc. And there sure as heck aren’t any commandments against having a personal sense of style.

    We have commandments, prophetic counsel, and the rest is between the individual and the Spirit.

    Thanks for reading my blab.

  56. Michelle

    February 26, 2007

    Being hyper-prudish doesn’t really help girls, women, men, marriages, etc.

    I’m pretty sure everyone here would agree.

    As a side note, I think staying out of other’s lives doesn’t prohibit talking about principles, which is what I think we’re trying to do here. 🙂

  57. card

    March 2, 2007

    andy, I would like to stand up and cheer for your comment regarding modesty being relative.

    I also agree with people staying out of each other’s lives. Yay!

  58. Hip Granny

    March 2, 2007

    I love this thread of discussion! Very insightful.

    While in high school (1975)I befriended the mother of a “hottie” I had met at a party. She actually aided me in my pursuit of said hottie and he became my husband of now 31 yrs and my best friend. My story applies to this thread of discussion.

    My mother in law was the epitomy of the old days Mormon mother of 12 children who never learned to drive, married at 15. She was definitely no fashionista and when I met her she was 65 (older than my own grandmother.) My husband is the youngest of the 12 children. Oh, if I could ever be like this woman I would be on the right track! Fashion aside.

    The most interesting thing is that “she” would be “my” advocate for hooking up with her son. I would come to visit her in dresses cut down to there and if the dresses were any shorter they would have been shirts. I believe the term in that day was “hussie”. My point is that my mother-in-law saw my heart not what I was wearing. She saw my potential not my hemline or neckline. I did marry her son and she loved me unconditionally. I didn’t join the church until after 7 years of marriage (my husband was inactive when I met him) but I never felt one little hint of judgement even as I was parading around in my daisy dukes and plunging necklines (maybe there was and I was oblivious but I don’t think so.)

    The most interesting part of the story though is that my husband was not even the least bit interested in dating me until he stopped by my house one Sunday afternoon some months after we had met. He arrived unannounced to confront me about an incident that had occurred the previous evening and when he arrived at my house I was in my house robe. He said he had never considered dating me before that day because the way I dressed had caused him to form an opinion about me, and not that he didn’t like the way I looked, it was just that he never visualized me as having a domestic side or that we would relate to each other. Farm boy meets city girl. He saw me as a fashionista career girl. I worked at a fashion store, modeled and had to sew many of my clothes to fit my 6′ frame, thus the less than usual clothing.

    So I find the comments about how we shouldn’t judge people by the way they dress interesting. We all do it and it is human nature to do so. The way I dressed had a dual effect in this particular situation. It is funny that my husband wasn’t giving me a chance because I dressed provocativly (even though he really liked it)and his mother did.

    We are drawn to people of a like mind. Had my husband never seen me in anything but red lipstick and the latest fashions or one of my vintage outfits I might have missed out on “my” perfect match and my bestest friend on the planet.

    I can say that I have changed the way I dress over time, especially after joining the LDS church, but it didn’t come easily. I had a hard time changing to modest clothing, finding my groove. Like Pres. Hinckley says “it takes a lifetime to beoome a Mormon” (born members inclusive).

    I still like to be “hip” and am approaching the age where I am wondering if I am too old to be wearing some of the clothes I wear and if my hair isn’t too extreme or too long for my age (grandmother of 8.) I have served in the YW and as a RS Pres. My clothing evolves and what I loved yesterday I hate today. Tastes change and what is considered tasteful changes. I have my “sexy” clothing that I wear with my husband because that is the intent to draw his attention in that manner. Isn’t that what we expect clothing to do, make a statement or express how we are feeling? Casual, sporty, sexy, tired.

    I must tell you that my husband still loves me in a house robe – one of the qualities I love about him. Being attractive is a relative thing as metioned by previous individuals comments. Some men are turned on by high heels, and others love a certain hair color, and then some just flat out like big breasts and you can cover them all you want and they are still going to know they are there. I have even met men who love women’s hands and find them sexy. So what’s are girl to do? We are human and will have this human experience. Ultimately we are accountable to our Heavenly Father for our thoughts, actions and our intentions and that is what really matters in the eternal scheme of things.

  59. Maralise

    March 2, 2007

    Hip Granny–Thank you. I loved your story and your insights.

  60. Tiffani

    March 10, 2007

    CJane, thank you for discussing this topic. I loved Hip Granny’s story. So many times I have gone to church in my knee high boots (sharp intake of breath!)and never once have I felt that I am immodest or disrespectful in any way. I too believe that modesty is a combination of our state of mind and of course the way that we present ourselves. If we are clean and pure in our thoughts and actions, we will be able to feel the Spirit. And guess what!! I can feel the Spirit in my knee high boots too! Yay!

    I have a 7 year old daughter and I think the most important thing that I can teach her is to love and respect the body that Heavenly Father created for HER! The best way that I can do that is to be the best example I can. Does that mean that I have to wear ankle length tents and 4 sizes too big tops? No. I can show love and respect for myself, my body and others around me by dressing modestly, and if I want to throw a little bit of fashion in there(or a lot…as I love it!) that’s okay.

    I think we all know what modesty is. I agree that if we would feel comfortable in the Savior’s presence, then we know we are doing well. If not, then maybe we can re-examine some of our fashion choices.

    And I love a dangly earing!!!

  61. RL

    March 11, 2007

    I always considered modest to mean covered appropriately. That is, until my husband expressed his deep frustration about a co-worker’s tight clothing. According to him, her super tight shirts reveal (on a daily basis) just as much as tank tops and the like. His definition of the attire included such descriptive phrases as “wet-suit” fit and “you can see every curve, bump, dimple and underwear/bra outline”. He told me that she wears these long tight, stretchy undershirts as just an actual shirt. I remember when these were just worn as an undershirt. This co-worker’s dress is sometimes so distracting that another colleague (her manager) often sends her out of their immediate office to the shipping department and other places. Now I would not necessarily condone his passive/aggressive way of dealing with her distracting dress; however, upon hearing two (respectful, honest and good temple-recommend-carrying) mens’ comments and frustrations, my own opinion of modestly evolved into something more. It is not fair to wear the “wet-suit” fit. The sexiness factor simply invites thoughts of sex. This has no place in the workplace or at church, and for that matter–anywhere public.
    There is a difference between fitting well (not being too big) and the wet-suit fit. Many people do not understand that difference.
    I feel that modestly has nothing to do with knee high boots or a pair of earrings. I choose properly fitted clothing– not always easy in D cup. I have made my choice and no longer have to choose to be modest or to justify what I wear. Modesty has to do with your personal relationship with God, your respect for the body he has given you and your respect for your other people. Oh–and the aforementioned wet-suit fit factor.

  62. Kevin

    May 14, 2007

    An excellent thread here, folks. Like everything else we get to choose how we dress and present ourselves. I like the notion of modesty and beauty coming from the inside out. I always enjoy seeing women at church who dress well. But I delight in both men and women who smile from the heart and speak gently and without guile.

    I’m as hardwired as the next guy from Mars. My daughter has never let me forget the time she and I were driving down the street when I noticed a woman in a bikini and kept looking during the split second I should have slowed down for a speed bump in the road.

    I was intrigued, then, to find myself a bit uncomfortable several months ago when a woman got up to give her talk in sacrament meeting. She was wound up enough and her top was form-fitting enough that it revealed her nipples. In the spirit of my missionary days in Thailand I chose to focus on her face and her message and just got on with it. I didn’t struggle or dwell on it especially but I realized I was expecting and prefer public modesty. She was one of those who smile from their hearts and speak gently.

    A curious fashion tradition from Thailand: Instead of emphasizing their breasts, women among several of the hill tribes in northern Thailand emphasize their hips by wearing brightly-colored cloth belts and beautiful silver jewelry belts. Not a single v-cut T-shirt top in sight.

  63. TanaH

    May 17, 2007

    Great Topic. When I read open minded discussions like this it gives me a boast to know I have like-minded sisters out there.

    I started taking Middle Eastern Dance lessons almost 4 years ago and the best teacher I’ve ever had for modesty has been my dance instructor, who is not LDS.

    She insists that we wear a shawl or veil over our costumes when we are not dancing and that when we are waiting for our turn to perform we act in an approriate way (i.e. no making out with boyfriends/husbands, no flirting or sexual innuendo). (Just for the record I am the only LDS person in my troupe, which should explain these rules. I just wait until I go home to make-out with my husband) 🙂

    When we do dance we never bend over far enough to show anything and when we take our bows we always place a hand over our cleavage so no one sees anything they shouldn’t.

    She has fought very hard to change people’s perception of what Middle Eastern Dance is and she wants people to see it for the art form it is and not confuse it with exotic dancing/stripping which it most definately is not.

    From her example I am now careful to place my hand over my shirt openings when I bend over to pick something up and I bend my knees when I pick things up instead of bending at the waist. Small things but they do make a difference. I’m really greatful for her.

  64. Slob

    May 31, 2007

    I am a man who has been married for several years, and I have a question maybe someone can answer. Why do women continue wanting to dress attractively when at church and in public even after they get married? I’m not saying they shouldn’t, but this seems to be a uniquely female phenomenon. I don’t see too many guys checking out what brand of trousers each other are wearing. Since I’ve been married I haven’t cared what others think of how I look. For me it was a huge relief to get married and not have to worry about that anymore. But for women, getting married doesn’t seem to make a difference in how they want to present themselves.

    So is it only for your husbands? Is it to impress other women? Or do you like the feeling of being attractive to men in general?

  65. Hip Granny

    June 1, 2007

    Dear Slob, I am not sure whether you are expecting a response (and I address your chosen moniker hesitantly) or you are just throwing in your 2 cents, but you are going to get a response from my point of view.
    You said: “For me it was a huge relief to get married and not have to worry about that anymore.”

    Your very attitude is what both my husband and I find disturbing. I observe that your point of view is not exactly unique. I am under the impression from your comments that you put on your best self just to “lure” in your mate like a fisherman uses bait, and then you pull the old bait and switch routine. I would love to hear your wife’s take on this. Perhaps it is the same as yours and that would be great.

    Can you imagine any member of the First Presidency or any other General Authority or Auxilary Presidency with that kind of attitude?

    I recall once teaching a YW lesson to the Mia Maids that our outward appearance is an expression of our inward feelings, so if someone is dressed provocatively that very well could mean their dress is a reflecton of those feelings.

    As for both my husband and I, we try to present the very best of ourselves as much of the time as possible. Now when we are working in the garden that is not the best that we would present at church or on most other occasions. I don’t know anything about checking labels nor do I dress to impress. I was taught that I ought to present my best self (dressing, behavior, etc) at all times. My husband often comments how men let themselves go while they expect their wives to take care to make sure they are in “pre-marriage” condition. This is his obeservation not mine.

    I do view a decline in how people present themselves today as I see a lot of ill groomed people in public. Do I judge them. Most definitely not. It is their choice, but I do know that we behave in the manner we are dressed. While my husband and I were serving in the Young Singles Branch in our area we noticed that the sisters did not present their “best” selves and came to church dressed like they were heading to the beach in flip flops, cotton skirts and t-shirts which seems to be the fashion today (and is quite acceptable in the appropriate place) yet the
    brethtren were expected to be in white shirt and tie. I noticed as well, because of how casual the sisters dressed they also acted casually and this in turn does have consequences.

    I have been married for 32 years and to this day I think will what I am wearing be attractive to my husband and will it please him (and me). I consider it a blessing to continue to have the opportunity to court my husband, as does he court me. As a result we are more in love today, and still feel like newlyweds after all these years. I might suggest you reconsider your “Slob” moniker and think again about your attitude of dressing. Heavenly Father created the “best” dressed world for us, the best thing we can do is to return our best to him, inside and out.

    I might suggest you do some research into what our Church leaders have said on this subject and look toward how they dress and follow that lead. Just a thought. Thanks for sharing your feelings with us all. It was enlightening to say the least.

  66. Elisa

    June 21, 2007

    I really feel strongly about this topic. I’m just having a hard time finding my voice. I’m always looking for ways to balance the lovley and the sexy. I agree with it all being in the attitude and the way the clothes are worn. I really love earings especially if they dangle.

  67. Johnna

    June 21, 2007

    And I’m looking forward to my first issue of Eliza Magazine.

    Modest earring used to dangle long enough to bruise my shoulders (hey, that was the 1980s). Now fashion seems to be an endless negotiation between my age and whether or not I’m taking care of myself. One thing about being old and respectable, I miss being dressed guerilla badly.

  68. salma

    June 23, 2007

    Well, after wrestling for years, I decided that being modest is refraining from calling attention to myself based on my words, actions, clothes, hair, etc. It takes the “lovely or sexy” question away for me, and it is just a matter of being humble enough to dress modestly. Anyway, I’m not that good at it because, Slob, beauty and sexiness are like money– easy and fun powers to use to show off and get special treatment from people. Also, if we are modest about it, effective to use to make people happy. Maybe we need another post on this subject?

  69. Jean

    September 11, 2007

    Hi, I’ve never been here before; I followed a link here from another website.

    I’m not Mormon so my apologies if I don’t belong. I am, however a conservitive Christian. I don’t wear jewlery outside my simple wedding band. I wear dresses and skirts to church each week. My question is this. With all this discussion about clothing, what does it do with your relationship to God? Does wearing knee-high boots somehow dimish that special love for God in your heart, or does it meet some manmade code.

    After glancing thorugh all the comments from knee high boots to should earrings dangle, all I do is shake my head and say to myself “It seems to me all this is taking away from the love and fellowship of Christ.

    Since when does the length of your earring or the “frumpishness” or “lovliness” or “sexiness” of your clothes dictate your relationship with God?

  70. debi

    October 17, 2007

    There is nothing wrong with being stylish at church. But cleavage??? Ummmm… that’s my son standing there passing you the sacrament. He’s 13. I think I’d rather him not get an eye full of your breasts…thanks.

  71. Wendy

    October 19, 2007

    Amen, Debi. Not that I have kids yet, but I’ve got a husband who prefers modest dress, and I’m sure I’ll have sons someday who on some level, would also rather not “get an eye full.”

    I like the idea of lovely, instead of sexy. My wardrobe really lacks in both areas right now, but lovely (which certainly can include stylish) is my goal.

  72. LeiGul

    October 19, 2007

    The issue of modesty is an easy one for me, if my DH thinks I look good, but not too good for the neighborhood then it is a go. He usually says you look nice, and then there are the occasional outfits that he says, are you trying to pick up the Pizza Guy. hehe! 🙂 He is a good check and balance for me. He likes me to look nice and doesn’t let me look frumpy or slutty. Of course it works both ways for me too. I don’t let him out of the house looking like a slob.
    Sexy is an attitude not also your attire. I think if you feel great about how you look you can pull off anything. I think you know when you cross the slutty line, it is how comfortable you feel in your clothes.

    Dangling earrings are great, just NOT for little girls…yuck!

  73. Johnna

    October 20, 2007

    Jean–great questions. My relationship with God reaches my core identity like nothing else, who I am is most informed by knowing the great I AM. However, it seems sometimes like my silly accessorizing is going to impact my sense of who I am, which might impact how I’m relating to God. If dressing for church feels awkward, not-self, that can be a barrier to relating to anyone.

    Sunday’s the only day I wear a dress.

    Fellowship probably takes the bigger impact in the clothing questions, if we feel like our knee-high boots are rebellious, or worse: judge another for wearing them. Though in my experience, everyone is usually much more worried about what she’s wearing than even noticing what anyone else is. Something about the rush of getting all the children ready, perhaps feeling inadequately prepared or having inadequate time when it’s time to dress up.

    In practice the wind bloweth where it listeth. Many times I’ve arrived at church grumpy, because my spring dress won’t button after a cold inactive winter, or I notice my shoes are more worn than I realized. Maybe my hair is still wet. But somewhere in the singing all that drops away.

  74. Colleen

    November 28, 2007

    Fantastic article, great comment thread. I actually read the entire thing! I wanted to give my Stake President’s wife a high five the Sunday she wore knee-high boots and fishnets. (I refrained.)

    I thought of the BYU backpack-strap-across-the-chest article as well, so it’s funny someone else mentioned it too. Obviously some guys need to find a hobby if they’re so easily titillated, but I do think that men are wired differently and that we have a responsibility to be considerate of others when we dress.

  75. Sweater with a skirt

    March 31, 2008

    I have one dress at the moment….can’t afford another, but I do want to comment on the “dressing like a slut and put a t-shirt under it” thing that is happening! I’m so sick of it! We were walking down the hall at church yesterday and passed a 30 something dressed like this and my husbands comment, “she looks like a hooker with a t-shirt!” Maybe I’m just clueless! I won’t let my daughter’s dress like this, even though it seems that the entire ward is! If it isn’t modest by its self, don’t throw a t-shirt under it and call it good! You still conjure up ideas…..!

  76. liat

    August 26, 2008

    By way of introduction, my name is Liat Bensimon, and I am from Miami, FL. In my quest to combine my desire to participate in athletic events and remain modest, I created a patent-pending Modest Exercise Skirt (i.e. EXERSKIRT). This skirt has “gym shorts” attached to it and allows for the full range of mobility, all while adhering to the laws of Modesty.

    I feel that my skirt would be perfect for the modest women in the Modest community, for both exercise and for casual attire, since they care about modesty, yet are engaged in the every day world.

    In the meantime, you can view more information on my website at http://www.miraclothes.com, or email me at liat@miraclothes.com

    Thanks, and I look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Liat Bensimon Mira Clothes, LLC “Fashionable & Modest Exercise Clothing” http://www.miraclothes.com Liat@miraclothes.com

  77. Kristine

    January 16, 2009

    I just found this site and have to say it drives me nuts about Utah girls and the leather boots/fishnets. The only girls in Vegas to do this were Utah girls. Same thing here in Idaho and when we lived in Iowa. Church isn’t a fashion show . . . and a lot of husbands feel uncomfortable seeing other ladies in fishnets. We not only have to cover ourselves we have to think about what is appropriate – appropriate for the temple, appropriate for church, appropriate for mutual. Not just – does it cover? Fashion is fine, but focusing on fashions and trends is a little dangerous IMHO. Remember fine clothing is always the first step . . .

    That’s why BYUI has the dress code, everywhere you stand on campus is dedicated by a prophet for building the kingdom of God – and the widow’s mite goes towards that. When you wear flip flops, torn capris, etc. (casual dress = casual attitude = casual worship) it shows less respect. It’s not about the fact that showing your knees is sinful.

    Although the rule is there because college kids (and most of us by nature) always push the limit; you let em wear capris, they’ll wear shorts; let em wear shorts they’ll wear daisy dukes, etc.

  78. Kristine

    January 23, 2009

    ohh, I totally forgot to add that Bednar also mentioned that those people who judge harshly those who break the dress code were likely to be the bigger sinner . . . or something like that. It’s a test of our christlike love to not focus on it. . . and let us all choose for ourselves.

  79. Ross Campbell

    January 4, 2010

    Megan you said “If what a woman wears causes him to go crazy, that is his problem and he needs to control himself.”Yes I agree the man should control himself but you said that your sexy dress drives a man wild -well then how can he control himself? You know that men are turned on much more by the sight of a sexy woman than a woman by the sight of a man – for men its visual stimuli that turn him on – so the sight of a sexy cleavage at work will arouse a man -he cannot help it or control his sexual urges.

  80. Johnna

    January 4, 2010

    Actually, Megan said her knee-length sweat pants and t-shirt drive her husband crazy, which just goes to show how impossible it is to prevent men from having sexual thoughts or responses by how we dress.

    Your hypothetical man darn well better control his sexual urges, no matter what his co-worker is wearing.

    Women can usefully think in terms of showing self-respect in how they dress, and awareness of context. It’s insane, however, to ask us to be responsible for men’s mental states. Not even women in burqas have such power over other people’s minds.

  81. Ross Campbell

    January 5, 2010

    Hi Johnna

    thanks for you reply below – what do you mean by you hypothetical man. I did agree with Megan that the man must control his sexual urges in the presence of his female co-workers- so what’s your point- are you saying its wrong for men to have sexual thoughts at work because of what women dress. They cant help it -its involuntary -theyre just turned on. its not fair for women to tease their male colleaugues at work by dressing sexy


Comments are closed.