Amanda’s Practical Modesty Tips
Dressing modestly is not as difficult as you first might think.
First, in order to be fashionably modern but modest, you must know your body type. For example, I am pretty short, so I do not have problems finding shorts or skirts that are long enough. But, I have taller friends who constantly struggle with finding a fashionable, but modest pair of shorts. So what works for your friends may not work for you.
Secondly, you must be committed to dressing for God’s glory. If you have a question about a certain outfit, err on the side of modesty. Here are a few tips that I have used to purchase modest – but cute (!) – clothes:
1. The “bend over” test—Does your cleavage show when you bend over? I use this test when I am concerned about a top gaping or falling forward when I bend over. Because I have small children I am constantly moving, bending, squatting, and etc., and I do not want to spend my time worrying about my clothing. Before I leave the house, I lean forward to determine if my shirt will fall forward. If it does, then I put a camisole under my shirt. If you’re not wearing a cami, be mindful when you lean forward that you may need to place your hand on your chest to keep your top from gaping.
2. The “bra” test—Does your bra straps show when you wear a certain top? If it does, then either pin your bra to your shirt, or get a cute, seasonably appropriate jacket or shrug to go with it. I love jackets, so if anything is questionable, then I normally put one on!
3. The “back” test—Does your shirt or dress show a large portion of your back? This normally occurs when you wear strapless or spaghetti strap tops. Once again, get a seasonably appropriate jacket and wear it together.
4. The “belly” test—Does your stomach show when you raise your hands above your head? If so, then wear a longer tank top under your shirt, and it solves the problem.
5. The “panty line” test—This one is pretty straight forward…Are your pants too tight? If you are wearing pants so tight that your panty line shows, then you may need to consider a different style of pants. Once again, you must know your body shape. What is “in style” may not look appropriate on you.
6. The “short” test—Are you shorts/skirts too short? If you have questionable shorts/skirts, sit down and cross your legs in front of a mirror. If you can see up your skirt, then wear tights under it (winter) or buy a longer skirt. If your shorts are too short, then consider capris or longer shorts. A good rule to use in determining the appropriate length of shorts is to put your hands by your side and see where the hem of your short lines up. If you touch skin, then they are too short. If you’re ever on a stage, be very cautious about what type of skirt you wear and how you cross your legs. You will be eye level with the audience, which means what is not too short off stage is sometimes too short on stage.
7. The “sitting/squatting” test—Do your pants show your back or underwear when you sit or squat? If so, then put a longer, cute tank top or camisole under it.
8. The “bottom” test—Do your pants/shorts have writing or flashy designs on the bottom? These types of shorts/blue jeans are really popular right now. They are cute, BUT they draw attention to your bottom. Instead, look for the same type of shorts/jeans but without the writing and glitter.
9. The “swimsuit” test—This one is a little tricky. Please be aware that bikinis that cover only what your bra and underwear cover are never appropriate. There is no way around that one, and you cannot make it more modest. And think about it, would you really wear your underwear around in public? The amount of fabric in a bikini is no different –sometimes even less! I recommend going for the tankini, which is a two-piece bathing suit that has shorts and a top that covers your stomach.
10. Layer, Layer, Layer—Dressing modestly does not mean that you have to give up the latest fashions. Layering helps you dress appropriately and with style.
And remember, the reason we choose to dress modestly not about us. It’s not because we’re ashamed of our bodies us. It’s because He created our bodies, calls them good, and designed them to be for His glory. For more about why we are called to dress for God’s glory, check out my article about modesty, body image, and self worth.
Amanda Walker is in the Doctorate of Educational Ministries program at Southwestern. Her greatest joy is serving alongside her husband who is the University Minister at Cook Baptist Church in Ruston, Louisiana, and being the mother of two beautiful daughters. In her “free” time she enjoys a good chat over a cup of coffee. Connect with Amanda on Facebook!