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What’s with Modesty, anyway?

Recently, a friend and I started working long and hard on a Fashion Class. It’s a class that doesn’t stick to the mere practicality and technique in designing and making fashion but engages the students to understand what it means to wear fashion pieces – clothes. Because fashion is a big deal to teenagers nowadays, we want to make them think of why fashion is linked to values and the value of our body – as women.

Its a pretty terrifying endeavor considering that I can foresee many nights of working on PowerPoint after PowerPoint and reading one book to another. But I know that it’s well and worth it because of our very Modest Proposition.

Modesty, what’s with it anyway? It’s a virtue and it’s dressed in a sack! Rather, it dresses us in a sack. Ew. I definitely do NOT want to look like a sack of potatoes… I wanna be… beautiful! *cue in high-pitched bells ringing* Wait, we were just talking about modesty, why, did the topic suddenly jump to Beauty? More often than not,  modesty is misconstrued for us to think that it’s a virtue that makes us ugly and worse (allow me to cringe) prudish. But before going to modesty in relation to beauty… let’s get to the very basic of this entire paragraph to begin with: Modesty is simply, DECENCY.

Oh decency, it’s sad to think that the most famous and richest people are those who cannot seem to show that they can afford to wear decent attires. There are celebrities who done a (micro-mini) dress that lacks a lot of cloth  or forget to wear a shirt when they put on their underwear… I can name so much more examples but, for the sake of this post, I won’t.

If you are thinking: “What do I wear, then, smartypants?” First of all, I personally believe that we don’t need a list of do’s and don’t for daily modest attires – if it were that petty, then all of us should have a list posted on our mirrors every time we would have to get ready for school or work.

Modesty, besides checking the length of your skirt or the transparency of your top, is being a modest person.

Allow me to cut this phrase to understand each part.

To be – when we reflect on it – is one of the most profound transitive verbs because we do not have any physical action take place unlike the verbs –  to run and to jump. Instead, to be, is used when you allow it to happen and affect you within allowing what you are to naturally come about. To be modest only connotes that modesty isn’t just about what you put on but the internal decision to live what modesty entails. For me, it always starts out and is most important in thoughts. Thoughts are driven by what we know and love. If we know the truth of what it means to be modest (this takes a LOT of reflection and even acceptance).

Because modesty is most important in our thoughts, here are some thoughts that I think are very positive about fashion and what it says about modesty:

1) You don’t need to tell anyone that dressing modestly is the way to go – just do it and do it beautifully. At the end of the day, people who dress modestly are judged WAY LESS than those who don’t. Yup, I said it, those girls who do bare all cleavage and leg do have beautiful body parts but they are all way too distracting. I am guilty of this… One day, I saw a very sexy lady wearing very short and tight shorts and I noticed that  her legs were just… perfection – no scars, no hair – the works. You could even say I was a bit jealous. But after that incident, I thought, I can’t believe I just looked at her as a pair of legs. Not everyone will realize what they do on a daily basis but it’s good to start to dress in a way that will allow people to look at your face. Think if I were a guy, will this shirt or this skirt allow me to see my face? What you end up wearing will say: I don’t want to be looked on as a beautiful leg but as a beautiful person. Start the revolution.

2) Dressing modestly is IN. Haha this is a funny point but apparently it’s in to wear clothes that what fashion experts call: “RESTRAINED” (Okay… keep going.) So apparently there are articles coming out now about how this new trend is appearing on runway and are even worn by celebrities. Here’s a good  article about this “trend.” I like how it ends and what it proposes to the fashion industry:

Is grace really going to win against in-your-face fashion?

The truth is that it takes a certain courage and conviction to try simple, covered-up clothes. Whereas baring it all looks increasingly like yesterday’s trend.

3) Good news: the fashion industry has items to support this modesty proposal! Unlike before, when fashion was all about the trendiest new looks and having every section in the same taste, we have a buffet of fashion choices – trendy and beautiful pieces that are still modest! You just need to take the time to pick them and gauge what it tells about you!

4) Dressing modestly is a challenge. Instead of complaining that it’s sooooo hard and ‘all my clothes are this and that’, why not buy a beautiful piece and be creative in finding a modest attire in the current wardrobe that you have? Let me give an example, recently, I received a beautiful bag that had a particularly shocking color. For a week, I decided to make it a challenge to pair this bag with items in my wardrobe and my my my was it a very exciting challenge that encouraged me to be way more creative than I normally am with my wardrobe choices.

5)  Dressing modestly doesn’t make you worry. I was reading the blog of a socialite. She was talking about a dress she wore that had a very long slit and a very risque peek-a-boo near her cleavage. She complained about how she had to apply 2 entire rolls of double-sided tape to ensure that she doesn’t encounter a wardrobe malfunction. I admit that some of my evening gowns do need double-sided tape but never an entire roll. How to gauge the rate of the worry-o-meter? Generally, on a normal day, when you  know in your mind and your heart that what your wearing is decent and won’t catch unnecessary attention, you don’t have to worry so much about any malfunction that might occur. One rule that I absolutely believe in is once in doubt about a piece of clothing… be rid of it. We, women are SO intuitive that we JUST KNOW. So why do we try to shut it up?

At the end of the day, modesty allows any woman to be creative in her fashion choices and it allows her face, to shine. Modesty doesn’t make women less beautiful… it frees beauty.

Isn't modesty beautiful?

Isn’t modesty beautiful?


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