Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dress to Impress?

I overheard/was part of an interesting conversation today...

I walked up to a table at school and bent over to sign my name on a sheet. I had to fill out a few things and so I was bent over for a couple of moments. While I was straightening up this conversation occurred between the man and woman who were manning (and subsequently sitting on the otherside) the table:

(For the record I was wearing this dress with a trenchcoat over it).

Guy: I'm glad that group of girls with the low cut shirts just left - I was like woah! Super awkward.

Girl: What does it matter to you? Just look away.

Guy: I know, I try, but seriously - (acknowledging me now) I'm married and take my toddler to this tots class at the library and the moms are bending over to pick up their kids in these shirts that let everything hang out. I'm like, seriously - you are with a bunch of kids! Who are you trying to impress?

Me nodding in agreement

Girl: So are you saying that girls are supposed to take "responsibility" (very sarcastic) for your thoughts and actions and curb how we dress? If it bothers you, look away.

It was interesting. The girl was obviously very offended by the guy's thoughts on the matter (or even brining it up as an issue in the first place). When I commented that I thought it was a woman's responsibility to be conscious and respectful in how we dress she gave me looked that clearly indicated she disagreed.

Personally, I was impressed the guy mentioned it at all - and I thought that was neat. Other than my dad and brothers, I don't often hear male opinions about modest clothing...especially in a non-religious setting. I think there is a lot more to dressing modestly than just the argument that "girls need to dress modestly because guys are more physical and we should not be a stumbling block", but clearly, as demonstrated in this conversation, there is some truth behind such an argument.  Plus it's not just guys - as a woman I don't have any desire to have a full-on view of another woman's cleavage or backside.

When I think about my personal views about modesty I think about respect.

-RESPECT for my future husband by guarding my body for his eyes only

-RESPECT for those around me by not dressing in a manner that is distracting or offensive

-RESPECT for God by honoring the body he gave me

-RESPECT for myself - I think it is pretty safe ot say that we live in a judgemental world where people are frequent to stereotype other individuals and make presumptions based on first impressions. How you dress and conduct yourself makes up a big part of those impressions. I want people to respect me - so I dress in a way (or at least I hope) that is worthy of respect.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20


  1. Modesty is definitely one of those things that goes both ways. On the one hand an individual needs to take responsibility for their own sinful thought life, but on the other hand an individual needs to be cognizant of others and the message they're sending through their appearance and attitude.

    Regardless of how you personally feel about it, people will judge you on what they perceive. This can be who your friends are, how you dress, brand names you wear, etc. Getting 'offended' and all caught up in 'what should be' is only going to cause a lot of unnecessary anger and frustration at the situation.

    I really try to let my outward modesty be a reflection of my inward state. I dress nicely, but not in a way that grabs a certain kind of attention. This is where it goes both ways. With some people it doesn't matter how many measures you take to be modest in appearance and attitude, they still have a nasty thought life and will think a certain way regardless. They see your boundaries as something to push, not respect.

    That is their responsibility now, not mine. I'm not going to shelter myself completely from the world and go to the extremes of wearing a berka. If I have a clear conscience about my manner of appearance, then the sinful thought life of others is between them and God.

    I find that in dressing modestly I'm taken a lot more seriously and treated much more respectfully by both genders. The joking with double meanings that I frequently witness at work isn't normally done around me because 1) I dress modestly. 2) I don't initiate or partake in any conversations like that. 3) I'm warm in demeanor, but not personal with my coworkers. 4) I firmly and respectfully rebuke anyone who does push that boundary around me.

    If someone continues to push, then I go to the proper resources at work to stop the behavior because I've done what I can. That's what I mean by it going both ways.

  2. This was a very nice post. So glad there are godly young women taking on this issue. God bless you.

  3. I agree. Its nice to see that there are young women who are going to continue spreading the word of God. There are so many who are living by what others think of them and not what God thinks of them. I am teaching my children to be respectful of others and especially of themselves. Hopefully they will come across friends like you when they are older that will live with the same plan. Love your blog. :)

  4. I enjoyed reading this post! I agree with what you said. I think that the issue runs both ways. Guys need to learn to avert their eyes when they come across women who are inappropriately dressed, but we as women need to be conscious of how we dress out of respect for them. Men have a lot more respect for women who make their job easier. :)