Dressing too conservatively? Help!

I hope I post this in the right place, because this might also fit in the Back Fence.

The question is about my style or how I like to dress. I went to a catholic school before college and get used to wear a traditional school uniform (unlike most, I actually liked wearing the uniform) with plated skirt, white blouse and a school tie for my whole childhood and teen years. At home my mother was also very strict about the clothes I was allowed to wear.

Anyway, maybe because of these things I still dress very conservatively or formal, some could say. I wear mostly blouses with shirt collars, skirts, cardigans, v-neck sweaters and etc. I wear almost always my blouses fully buttoned to the top, which is a very rare style I guess, combined with a skirt. I prefer wearing a little shorter skirts, always above knees, sometimes even quite much, but not any miniskirts anyway. A tight or form fitting blouse (I don’t like baggy or loose clothes) with few buttons unbuttoned and showing a deep cleavage with shorter skirts is not a style or image I want to project and I think that kind of clothing is not a good choice for a good catholic. It’s not anything that I don’t like my body, not at all, I’m pretty slim and I like myself and my body a lot, but I just don’t feel I want to show a deep cleavage and lots of skin to everyone, I just feel more comfortable with my collar snuggly buttoned around my neck, especially when wearing shorter skirts.

So what’s the problem then. My boyfriend often complains about my looks and says I should dress more “casual”, relaxed and more like everyone else. It bothers me because I like my style and the way I dress. I would understand if I dressed slutty and he complained about that. My friends often complimets my style, but they also often tells me to relax and not to be so formal. Is it so strange these days if one wants to wear her collar buttoned?

So, am I dressing wrong and should I change my style or what should I do? Do you consider this or my style so strange for a girl in her early twenties? I’m tired of listening my boyfriends negative comments. :frowning:

Thanks for advance and God bless!

This may sound harsh, but I don’t think you need a different style, you need a different boyfriend. If he can’t love you for who you are, then there are serious issues there.

I don’t see any issues with you dressing the way that makes YOU comfortable. You are not offensive or inappropriate, so what difference does it make? But you are clearly making HIM uncomfortable, and that’s his issue to deal with, not yours.

And as a side note, if you are discerning marriage with him, think very carefully about whether or not you can live your life with someone telling you constantly how to dress.


I think your clothes sound fine. But this is speaking fom experience: men who complain about what their girlfriends wear tend to be controlling in other things as well. Not good.

Sound very nice young lady. At least you no look like floozy. No dressing wrong. Boyfriend wrong.

I agree with Contra Mundum; beware he may turn out to be controlling in other aspects of your life if given the opportunity. I do understand your concern is with the style you project and I believe we wear who we are. You are a proud Catholic woman and that is what you wear. Continue to be proud and wear your personna as your style. Don’t be surprised of others don’t follow suit. I bet if you think back you will recognize that your style has been mimicked by others along the way. Kudos for having the confidence to set your own trend rather than follow the ‘flow’.:thumbsup:

I will relate a story that was told by our bishop…

A new girl arrived at a public high school. She dressed in skirt & blouse or wore a dress. Very conservative compared to the other girls.

Then one day a young man felt the urge to open doors for the new girl… Well, his girl friend (who often wore as little as the school rules would allow: tight fitting jeans, short shorts, spaghetti strap tops, etc. ) was offended saying “You never open doors for me” … To which his reply was "She’s a Lady"


I wish more women dressed the way you describe, not less. (I’m male, in late twenties.)

Laura, may I ask where you buy your blouses? It’s hard to find really elegant blouses, like the kind that they used to sell. If they have a collar, they’re almost always too tailored or too sporty for my (personal) liking.

Maybe you want to tell your boyfriend you’re trying to dress to please God. Maybe you should ask him if he wants other men to look at and be edified, or does he want other men to look at you and be physically attracted? :wink:

I think it would be one thing if you came on here saying that you were so used to dressing a certain way, and looking for advice about other styles of conservative clothing you might try wearing. There are more casual ways to dress that are still conservative, but it sounds to me like you are perfectly comfortable with your style, and I say good for you.

It is concerning that your boyfriend complains about this. Is it because he would like to see you in jeans and dressed more casually, or because he would like to see you in more revealing clothing? I think that makes a difference.

Either way, you shouldn’t need to change how you dress for anyone else.

I think you are very considerate and well grounded in your choice of attire. You can have a discussion with your boyfriend and hear his side. Sit down with a catalog and have him show you what he considers casual dress. You can certainly say " No Way " if your ideas are far apart. You also may find a middle ground that will suit you both. Good luck and God Bless!

I am going to disagree with you on this point. Her boyfriend should accept her for who she is, 100% all the way. If she compromises herself now, it is very likely that he will ask for further compromises, if he is that sort of controlling person. Because to that sort of person, if you open the gate just an inch, he will enter in and destroy the whole structure.

I think she should maintain her standards and look for someone who can accept her just the way she is. Or not date until she is discerning marriage.


In a relationship there needs to be compromise and the ability for both to meet in the middle. This is a good test of the strength of their relationship. It will be an opportunity for the two of them to see how each other responds. I am in no way implying that she has to radically change her fashion of personal choice. Their may be a perfect resolution to the dilemma, but if you never choose to have a dialog and see where your partner is coming from, a huge opportunity for growth in the relationship may never occur.

So you are suggesting that this young woman, who is doing nothing wrong, change her personal dressing habits so that she is uncomfortable and feels exposed, inappropriate, or immodest?

That is abusive if you ask me.


The kind of compromise that is appropriate at this level is where to go for dinner, or what movie to see. Not something that is part of the person’s identity or moral code. There is no dilemma here except that she is dating someone more concerned with worldly standards than who she really is. He is trying to change her, don’t you see that? There is nothing wrong with who she is right now. Why should he have that much power in her life?

I’m a 54 year-old woman, a mother of two grown daughters. I’ve been married to the same man for 32 years.

I’m going to tell you something that you may not be aware of and that is disgusting, but true.

The type of clothing that you describe as your wardrobe is actually considered “sexy.” There is a whole fetish group of “Catholic school uniforms,” and the people who are part of this find your type of attire sexually provocative.

Your boyfriend may be aware of this, and he may be trying to tell you in a “nice” way that you are actually accomplishing the opposite of what you intend. A “severe” Catholic school girl look can be very arousing to certain people who have this fetish. Perhaps…he might be one of the people who find the “Catholic school girl look” provocative. :frowning:

So my suggestion, as a wife and mother, is to “temper” your look just a little. Soften it up, without sacrificing modesty.

As for “how” to do this, I would suggest inquiring whether your diocese has an office of “Family Life” (or something along those lines). There is a good chance that this office has an older woman in an authority position, and perhaps this woman, who is no doubt a wife and mother herself, would be willing to advise you on modest but fashionable clothing for a young career woman.

If she is not able to advise you, she probably knows Catholic women who do have these fashion and image skills who would be able to help you create a wardrobe that is modest and feminine, but does not have the appearance of a sexual fetish.

I’m really really sorry to have to tell you this, and I’m so sorry that this is the way our society is. It is perverted, I know. Satan has taken something that should be decent and twisted it.

But this is the reality we live in, and we can’t ignore or deny it. I think as women, we need to pay attention, and do what is wise, not what we want to do.

No,No,No, absolutely NOT!!! I am in now way saying that she should compromise her comfort or standards… Please do not go to the extreme. All I am trying to do is promote dialog and show that they may be able to sit down and agree on some outfits that are pleasing to both. I would never promote someone to go against there sensibilities or do anything inappropriate.

bolded parts for emphasis

You are doing the right thing! If your boyfriend wants you to change the way you dress, it is HIS problem, not yours, and you should seek out a boyfriend who will accept you for what you are. I think it is admirable that you dress the way you do, and I think you should ignore what others say, and continue dressing in that manner.

When I was in votech school, I felt like I was the only guy wearing long pants and a tucked in shirt. It always felt a bit awkward, like I should dress casually in shorts and t-shirts like all the other guys, but over time, I realized that I didn’t have to live my life worrying about what others dress like compared to me, but instead do what I think is right, and dress in a dignified and masculine way.

If a guy wants you to show more skin, that is big issue, and guys like that should be avoided. No upright man would want his girlfriend/wife/fiance to show more skin or be more “sexy” or anything in public.

God bless, and remain confident! :thumbsup:

I think you are misinterpreting the “Catholic school girl” look. In my experience, that term would mean a VERY short pleated skirt, a shirt that is either midriff-exposing AND low-cut, or either one, white knee-high socks, and some sort of platform shoe. It is a parody of a school uniform, much like the “nurse” sex costume is a parody of a regular nurse’s uniform. I would put up a link but it would be considered porn.

If there is a group of people who are aroused by very modest dress, like this young woman is describing, there is not much she can do about that. That group would probably be aroused by a woman wearing a burqa, so :shrug:

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