2.05.2014

About Dressing "Modestly"

1: Thrifted Michael Kors | 2: Owls | 3: Puppies in the Snow | 4: 50 Shades of Pink!
I recently came across an blog post entitled, "Why Modesty Is Wrong" thanks to a former co-worker. Honestly, I was surprised to see this point of view, especially on a Christian-based website. As a young Christian woman, I have been told multiple points of view on what is "appropriate" to wear. But also as a feminist, I have been told an entirely different slew of ideas on why women (and men) should be allowed to dress however they want. But most importantly, as a "plus-size" woman, I have been told how I should dress more often than not by everyone.

This post; however, has finally put into words what all three of those defining characteristics have in common, and what I have always wanted to say but somehow couldn't express in quite the right way. My body, my clothes, and me in general, are beautiful, powerful and deserve (if not demand) respect. While I have a high level of self confidence that societal standards say I shouldn't, this post struck me because finally someone (and a man, at that) was putting a feeling that I've always had into a well-written piece of work. This part is what inspired me the most...

"If we can move away from the shrill condemnation of the Modesty Lifeguards and return to a positive view of clothing, we may find ourselves both more beautiful and more appropriate to living as valued persons, honoring and respecting one another. God wants every one of us to reflect him in the earth. Objectifying our beauty dehumanizes all of us. Fearing that our beauty is too much for others to handle shames us and others. There is another way. The God who became flesh wants to see our beauty. Let's dress knowing that he celebrates us as his reflections on earth." - Dale Fincher on Convergent
....

As a Christian, I am tired of being told I have to dress a certain way as to not cause men to "stumble" by looking "too beautiful" or dressing "too sexy." I'm tired of being told that I must dress "appropriately" so that my brothers in Christ do not have impure thoughts about me.

As a feminist, I am tired of being told I have to dress a certain way as to show that I am the owner of my body and that my sexuality is allowed to be expressed and if men (and/or other women) are unable to keep their eyes and impure thoughts off of me that is their problem, not mine.

As a plus-sized woman, I am tired of being told that I have to dress a certain way that includes baggy clothes and dark colors. This way, my "flaws" are covered up or just happen to look smaller because "black is slimming."

As a Christian, feminist, plus-sized, woman, I am allowed to dress as I please. I am allowed to look cute, modest, fashionable, beautiful, even sexy, if I choose. And while I understand that what I wear might cause a different kind of reaction for different people, my clothing choice wasn't about those people. I didn't think about all of you while I was standing in my underwear looking blankly into my closet and thinking the daily thought of "I have nothing to wear." To be honest, in that moment, I was selfishly thinking of me. I was also mildly considering the weather, what activities I might encounter, how I feel, and what I potentially need to be prepared for. But whatever ended up on my body that day, was because I was thinking about me. I was thinking, "It's snowing but I still really want to wear a skirt." Or "how can I dress as bummy as possible and still be within the work dress code?"

I wasn't thinking about your Christian morals, your feminist agenda or your thoughts on curves. Because it's MY Christian morals that tell me, it's what's on the inside that's important anyway and if a man looks at me and only thinks of sex, he needs more than just for me to put on a hoodie. It's MY feminist agenda that says, I'm going to put on whatever I want and it doesn't make me any less feminist if that outfit is cutesy and/or doesn't allude power. And it is MY appreciation for every single curve on my body that always makes me leave the house saying, damn, I look good.



31 comments:

  1. Fantastic post! Society should not dictate how anyone dresses (aside from nakedness outside the home, that's probably a no-no across the board). Everyone deserves to feel beautiful and powerful and confident and there is no "right" way to dress. And I'm loving your very last sentence :) Get it girl!

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  2. what a great post, you put it so well! in the end we should all dress for ourselves, regardless of what style that is!

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  3. I think this post was beautifully put. Trust me, I've heard the "men having impure thoughts" line enough. I do believe people (not just women) should dress appropriately for the occasion - business if you work in an office, yoga pants if you're a dance teacher (like me!), more conservative if you are going to church - that's just being respectful of your environment. On any given day though, I totally agree that we should be able to dress however the hell we want! Let people think what they will, if I'm happy, my outfit is not changing. :)

    Undeniably, me

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    1. Right, Elizabeth! I agree that being respectful of your environment is key. I wouldn't wear what I wore to the bar to church on Sunday, or my pajamas to work, but beyond those limits, I'm over hearing about modesty.

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  4. I love the way you dress, you look amazing, I especially love the look with the skirt!

    xx, rebecca
    awayinparadise.blogspot.com

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  5. So well said from every angle!!! I just want to tack this on a wall somewhere! SO glad I found your site via Shanna's link up!

    L,
    Vicky
    Come link up with me at Whatcha Wearing Wednesday! themummychronicles.com

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    1. Thanks so much, Victoria! Feel free to print it out if you want - next to the mirror would be a good idea. We all need a reminder that we're beautiful no matter what, myself included.

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  6. This is an absolutely amazing post!! So well said!! You should be able to dress exactly how you want! No one should be able to dictate how you dress except for yourself!! I personally dress on the modest side only because that's how I feel comfortable, so every woman should dress in a way that makes them feel comfortable, sexy or modest!
    ~Sara
    P.S. -- I'm definitely putting this post in my Favorite Things post at the end of the month! :)

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    1. Thank you, Sara! I'd be happy to be a part of your Favorite Things post! I typically dress on the more modest side myself, but I don't like when people assume I am doing so because I'm trying to be modest. I'm just trying to be comfortable and I love layers, so there's that haha

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  7. No matter what you label it (modest, sexy, trendy), I don't think it's "too" anything. You look beautiful and absolutely perfect no matter what you want to call it! I love that you embrace YOU and dress the way you feel. I'm still trying to retrain my brain into trying to look past what other's say is appropriate or "in" and start thinking from my own opinions and tastes. It gets hard to get down to what we really think when we're bombarded daily with what's trendy or stylish or appropriate. I dressed so bland and felt horrible about my appearance for so long because I was a "mom" and moms can't look sexy or hot. It still takes a lot to step out of my comfort zone and push past expectations so I admire you so much for being confident in yourself and what you want! Kudos, girl! :)

    Lindsey
    High Heels and Training Wheels

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    1. P.S. thank you so much for posting that article also! As a woman who feels guilty for simply wearing heels or a dress because it is deemed "too sexy" or inappropriate for a mom of 3 to wear, it was enlightening and really made me feel better about my personal tastes and choices in clothes. I've recently challenged myself to start dressing more with what I like but there's still that little voice in the back of my mind that always says "Are you sure this is ok? Is this appropriate?". It causes me to constantly second guess my choices and keeps me from having confidence. It's really liberating when do you don't have guilt and shame on your back! So thank you for sharing the article and being open about your personal story, Chelsea! Seriously, this was a great post and I'm glad you shared it! I will definitely be passing it on! :)

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    2. Awe, Lindsey! You're welcome, and thank you for you sweet words too! I love your style and I never think that what you wear is inappropriate for a mom. You are gorgeous! Clothes surprisingly make people feel a certain way, if you're in sweats and a t-shirt with spit up on it, you're not going to feel the same way as you would if you're wearing a cute dress and heels. But that doesn't mean that either outfit is "bad" - it just means you are dressed for your particular environment for that day. I'm glad this article and my words with it were inspiring to you, but I hope that you also are able to see your worth and how beautiful you are on your own as well. You are an amazing young woman and you are doing a fabulous job with your littles. Never let someone else tell you that you are dressing too sexy to be a mom, that doesn't even make sense to me. By feeling good about yourself and dressing in a way to reflect that, you are setting a prime example for you daughter (and your sons) to know what beautiful really is no matter what the media says, and that is a powerful message that only you can send to them.

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  8. Wow, I reallly love this post girl! You have such a great message to share, and I agree wholeheartedly <3

    The Dragonfruit Diaries

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  9. Loved this. I think all of us are the owners of how he want to dress, modest or not. We dress in a way that makes us comfortable inside and out, and that's all that really matters, right?

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  10. I whole heartedly agree with you. I think a woman is the most beautiful when they dress to impress themselves. Because that's when they are happy and confident. We all know there is nothing more attractive than happiness and a confident woman. I think that God wants us to be who he divinely created. Do you because it's fabulous!!

    Xoxo-Joelle
    Countrylivinginheels.blogspot.com

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  11. I loved this, Chelsea! I'm so with you, I stand in the closet in the morning and I'm not thinking about others and what they're going to think about my outfit. I stand there and I think to myself what am I going to put on today and feel completely confident in. And I don't know about you, but what I am wearing can control my entire day. If I love my outfit, I feel like I can conquor the world, but if I don't and I walk out of the house in something I don't love, it just ruins the feel to my day. That's why it's so important to dress for yourself! I love that you don't hide yourself in baggy clothes. You look amazing in what you wear, keep it up!

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    1. Yes, I totally agree! Clothes do make you feel a certain way. And thank you!

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  12. I think you look great! You should dress how you feel comfortable. I think you are doing a great job, keep it up!!
    www.amemoryofus.blogspot.com

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  13. I've never seen a post like this, so you touched upon something that maybe others were thinking but couldn't express as well as you have. There are rules for fashion, body types, seasons, beliefs, personalities, age, etcetera, that for whatever reason, are still meant to be broken or don't apply to everybody. I happen to really like your outfits and never considered that they weren't for you. Honestly, too many people let popular media dictate what beautiful is; the less we allow popular media to control our own self-images, the happier and more content we will be. -Jess L

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  14. Wow, I just found your blog through High Heels and Training Wheels, and I love your writing and your attitude. I'm a Christian as well, and while I prefer to dress more modestly (mostly because I love vintage/ladylike clothing) I totally support women dressing any way they want to! Our bodies are beautiful, and nothing to be ashamed of. I'm of an age where I dress for myself. Being almost 40, it doesn't really matter what others think of my style! I can't wait to read more of your writing and look at your outfit posts.

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    1. Thanks so much! Glad you'll be following along!

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