Monday, January 3, 2011

Fashionable and modest are not contradictory

As the time has gone on, and I have discovered (or should I say re-discovered) my faith in the Lord, and working towards understanding what it is to be a Christian, I have seen my wardrobe change drastically. Slowly at first, then more and more the clothes I choose to wear reflect a much more modest code. I remember wearing clothes that in all honesty I don’t know how I didn’t fall out of them. I guess it was my way of giving a big middle finger to the world, I wanted to cause outrage and shocked whisper, which is exactly what I did whether I walked in my street and neighbours saw me, or walked downtown in places that were more conservative. I apologize here and now to everyone for that, forgive the rashness of youth as they say.

Even before I started to read the Bible more often did I start to go through my wardrobe selecting my most outrageous pieces and throwing them out or giving them to friends and buying more serviceable pieces that hid more so that I did not have to move a certain way so that I didn’t flash anyone. And once I wore these clothes more often did I discover how really uncomfortable I was in shirts that had more cleavage than fabric. And I am not just speaking about physically uncomfortable, the awkwardness came from inside. I would be alone in my apartment and feel like I wanted to throw a sweater, cardigan, whatever it was over my shoulders for me to just sit and be. And when I finally admitted to myself that I just did not like cleavage tops anymore, I couldn’t believe I had eluded myself into portraying this I-dont-give-a-f#$% attitude believing to the core of me that it was OK if I disrespected my body and dressed the way I did. How does one go about pushing an instinct so far down that one doesn’t even realize it’s there anymore? I have no idea how I went about it.

So I redefined myself, my clothes and my view of what modest is. At first I researched it, read a few articles and a few books, talked to friends and family to try and see what their view of modest is. It varies so much from person to person, that I decided that if I wanted to define modest and buy clothing according to what it was, I just had to listen to myself and see what it was that made me uncomfortable vs comfortable. So it came down to this: cleavage is a no, sleeve-less is a no, shorts and skirts that are shorter than at the knee are a no, and pants that either fall down or show underwear (or shirts with bra straps) are a no. I read a few articles where they had it down pat to inches and centimetres and where the neckline should fall, etc. But I am not about to measure all my shirts and shorts. I seem to especially love shirts that have sleeves that fall to the elbow, but I don’t limit myself to those types of shirts.

I have to admit though, that I find it hard to find clothes that are feminine and chic while being modest. Just because I want to show less skin doesn’t mean I want to dress in a potato sack, much the contrary. Maybe it is because I am plus-size, and truthfully speaking I have a large bust which means many shirts that wouldn’t show inappropriately on other girls seem to demand that I put a camisole underneath. Choices seem to be limited, and what I often have to do is combine clothes that aren’t modest (like a tube top) with an open sweater or little top that would cover my shoulders. I also have a problem with swimming wear. I always wore the suits with shorts, but I find it very difficult to find a top that doesn’t create a huuuge bosom gap.

In the end, I am starting to live my belief that my body is a temple, and that I feel better about myself now that I respect myself and show it by being modest. Isn't it funny I have much better self-esteem now that I cover up than when I told the world I didn’t care and busted out from everywhere?


  1. I hear you! I'm sure you remember me in high school so you know that I know what you mean haha!
    My tip for swimwear is to look for "athletic" tops, which are like waterproof t-shirts. They have a whole athletic section at La Senza on St Catherine for example. I wear a top like that and soccer shorts over a one-piece. Nobody needs to see my thighs, thanks. Haha.

  2. Hey thats a great idea! I swear we should open a store of modest modern clothing! Im pretty sure we could make a fortune LOL