Dressing too conservatively? Help!

I showed this thread to my husband, and he agreed with me entirely.

The Catholic School Girl Look is very arousing to many men and some women, because it transmits a “challenge” to these men and women–the “Catholic School Girl” is “not available,” and that is the challenge. The man or woman wants to be The One who conquers the School Girl.

Also, we discussed the fact that anytime a woman dresses differently than her peers, she stands out and calls attention to herself, even though that’s not her intent. Some men and women find this uniqueness, especially if it is done unintentionally by an innocent and virginal young woman, sexually provocative.

My husband agreed with me that it would be better for a grown woman to drop the Catholic School Girl look and try for something a bit more grown up and fashionable. This can be beautifully done without compromising modesty or femininity, and without costing a fortune.

Just be careful not to inadvertantly adapt a style of dress that is equally provocative, even though it is modest. Sometimes in their attempts to dress modestly, women end up appearing even more sexually provocative! I know, this sounds so complicated! That’s why I suggested enlisting the aid of a older, wise Catholic woman who has fashion/image skills. She should be able to honestly tell you whether your attempts to be modest are actually having the opposite effect. E.g., long (ankle length) dresses, especially soft, flowing dresses, can be arousing. So can business suits, if they make the woman appear “off limits.” So can jumpers–again, the jumper can give the impression of a young, sexually-unaware, woman who wants to be “awakened.” You have to be so careful! Sometimes the fashions that “modest” women are repelled by are actually the best choices for modesty, with some adjustments, of course, e.g. adequate coverage.

Again, I’m so sorry that the world is like this. But it is. Women have to be wise.

She is doing nothing wrong, and doesn’t need to change. It’s sad and it stinks that society is sick and twisted - and I happen to agree with TheRealJuliane that you are totally off base on this. She is not dressing like a slutty school girl, she is dressing modestly and moderately. Heck - there are crazy people who have fetish over feet, and all sorts of insanity - does that mean that no one should ever wear sandals? No, because that would be ridiculous.

And how incredibly insulting to tell this young woman to seek someone out to tell her how to dress. :eek: Wow.


I didn’t assume that her boyfriend was asking for more " Skin ". If that is truly what he is pointing to, that is wrong! I don’t know from what the OP stated if that is the case though. I would like to see things work out for the young couple. But, if it is the " Skin " thing, the OP should not conform to her boyfriends wishes and make herself uncomfortable.

Look, I know you mean well. But EVERYTHING can be sexually arousing, and this is how women in the Middle East end up clothed from head to toe with only a mesh screen to see out of! If a woman is dressing modestly, why should she worry about the possibility that some random person will get off on her modest dress? If she starts to dress in REACTION to that supposed person, she has already lost herself in someone else’s opinion! I mean, some people like women to wear make up. Some might like and be aroused by women with no make up. Does not mean I should not wear make up because someone, somewhere, might be aroused by my make up? Think about what you are saying here! Women are NOT TO BLAME for men’s arousals!

I am European currently living in Germany. Until a couple of years ago we were living in the US. On the whole people in America dress extremely casually compared to the average European. The look you described would be very fashionable over here done the right way. Here is an American example brooksbrothers.com/BlackFleeceOutfit.process?IWAction=Load&Merchant_Id=1&Section_Id=970&Parent_Id=594&topParent=Women

I admit it’s expensive but I wanted to show that a clean, conservative look can be very fashionable. In fact an American look that has been copied worldwide is the Preppy style. As an example wikihow.com/Look-Preppy

It can be done well and right. It doesn’t have to automatically be a look that implies a fetish.The clothes don’t need to be expensive either, but the clean and classic look will always be in style. You sound like you have your own style and I’m sure that’s why your boyfriend originally noticed you. I wouldn’t take the fetish comments too seriously as people can make a fetish out of anything. Just being an attractive woman who is dressed well will draw people’s attention, and whether you are a schoolgirl, nurse, doctor, librarian or car mechanic if you’re a woman they will claim it’s your clothes that are causing them to be attracted to you. Whatever women wear someone has a criticism. Stick with who you are.

I think you misunderstand the OP.

She is not dressing in a “catholic school girl look.”

No, I’m sorry to say that it’s not just the very short pleated skirt, etc. It’s the “real thing,” the real Catholic School Girl look. As I said in another post, men (and women) find this arousing because it signifies that the girl is not “open” or “available.” Men and women consider this a “challenge.”

I think that there IS something a young woman can do–don’t wear something that is a fetish. Yes, obviously there is a fetish group for almost anything a woman wears. But the Catholic School Girl look is a well-known fetish. Why play into it?

Besides, it is a look for school girls, not career women. When we grow up, we don’t wear the clothing that we wore when we were children or teenagers.

If there were no other options for modesty, I would agree with you, that she should continue to wear what she wishes to wear. But there ARE plenty of fashions that a young Catholic woman can wear that are modest, beautiful, and fashionable, that aren’t an obvious, well-known societal fetish. Most young Catholic women do not continue to wear the clothing of their youth. It is not necessary for modesty or femininity.

Exactly! She said she liked her school uniforms but not that she is still wearing a school uniform. She said she likes to wear blouses that are buttoned up with an above the knee skirt and a sweater over the blouse. How is that a Catholic school girl look?



I urge you to go back and read the OP again. She said nothing about looking like a Catholic school girl, you have misinterpreted. She said she wears buttoned up blouses with a sweater and an above the knee skirt. The only reference to a uniform was that she said she had worn a uniform in Catholic schools. Who would know that by looking at a woman wearing a blouse, a skirt and a sweater?




Why on earth is it insulting to tell a young woman to seek someone out to tell her how to dress?!

This is what the BIBLE says that young women should do–learn from older, wiser women. See Titus 2: 3-5, also I Timothy 2: 9-12.

We women constantly seek the guidance of older, more knowledgeable women in all kinds of situations. For example, many of us ask an older woman to teach us how to cook, or can vegatables, or sew, or garden.

It is part of American culture for younger women to learn from older women. It’s part of Christian culture and Catholic culture, as well as Protestant culture.

I consider it a privilege to sit at the feet of an older woman (now I am becoming the “older woman!”) and soak up their knowledge, experience, and try to acquire some of their skills.

Just a few months ago, I asked a woman to come to my home and give me advice about my bathroom colors and styles before we paid a contractor. This woman has a good sense of design and color, and she gave great suggestions. Our bathroom looks beautiful now, not tacky. (If I had made the decisions by myself, it would have looked really tacky.)

When it comes to makeup and fashion, I admit that I am a mess, because my mother was not wise in this area. So I try to avail myself of the fashion sense of other women who have a better eye than I do about colors, styles, etc. I don’t feel “insulted” about consulting with other women about what I wear. In a way, that’s what women’s magazines do–they take the place of a “real” woman and tell us all how to dress, wear makeup, cook, enjoy leisure time, etc. Unfortunately, many magazines do not have the same “modest” sense that Christian women have, hence my suggestion to go ask a Christian, specifically a Catholic woman.

I don’t get this at all! I don’t consider it insulting to ask older, wiser women for advice and help. I’m rather taken aback by your response to my very sensible and traditional suggestion to consult with older women.

You probably look quite nice dressed as you are. Dress in whatever style you choose. I agree with others who say that the problem might be your boyfriend.

OK, I’ll grant you that.

A few weeks ago, I played for a Catholic school. The “uniforms” that the girls were wearing looked exactly like what the OP described. Exactly, even down to the sweater.

So perhaps when I see this look, I think “Catholic school look” or “private school look.”

Certainly. When we actually need help. This young woman isn’t doing anything wrong.

Why is it that SHE is getting all the heat on this and being made out to be the one with the problem? Why is it that women are always the cause of men’s inability to function? Hasn’t anyone considered that it may just be the boyfriend who is totally off base here? Now if anyone needs to consult a wiser and older individual for help, I would say it is the boyfriend and not the OP.


I entirely agree with you. Women can get ridiculous about fashion to the point of becoming paralyzed about what to wear.

And that is why I suggested that the young woman consult with an older, wiser, Catholic woman and ask for advice live and in person.

It is difficult for us to make a judgement from a distance. The young woman should NOT post photos on this forum; that would be not safe. Besides, a photo would not tell the whole story. We would not be able to tell from a photo how the young woman walks, carries herself, speaks, etc.

So we are left to make our assessment based on our own experiences, and my experiences are what they are, different than some of your experiences.

My assessment is that perhaps the young woman is perhaps dressing a little too “fetish.” I may very well be incorrect in my assessment.

But some of you may be incorrect in your assessment.

We cannot tell from this distance.

I think that my assessment deserves to be voiced, and that the OP should at least consider my suggestions and not just ignore me as a crank or a crab, or accuse me of trying to insult her because I am voicing a different point of view than other posters on this thread. If she wanted people to agree with her, she should not be posting in an online forum and asking for advice.

I still think that the best thing for the OP to do is consult with a real, live, Catholic woman, a wise woman who is strong in the faith, a woman that the OP trusts and admires, and a woman who is respected by others in the Church and community. Ask that woman for an honest assessment of her wardrobe. If the woman says that everything is fine and dump the boyfriend, then that’s good If the woman says, “Honey, I think you need a fashion update,” then that’s good, too.

A live, in-person woman will be accountable for her advise and actions. If she gives the younger woman bad advice, then she will suffer for her unwise words. This motivates the older woman to seek out the Lord and give the best advice that she can because she KNOWS that the younger woman will have to live with the consequences of the advice (should she choose to follow the advice), and that bad consequences will reflect badly on HER, too.

It would be good if the Biblical model of older women teaching younger women (and older men teaching younger men) could be followed in the Church. There is a reason why St. Paul gave these instructions. In-person teaching from older, wiser ones (of the same sex) is a great way to pass down wisdom and skills. Computer forums are not the best way to get good advice. They can be helpful, but they are not a substitute for real, live people.

She probably isn’t doing anything wrong. We do not need to be doing something “wrong” to seek out an expert opinion, or to try to broaden our knowledge base by consulting someone who is wiser or more experienced than we are.

Also, often we don’t realize that we need help. We think we have it all together, but we really don’t. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and if the person we are asking is truly wise, they will tell us, “You are doing everything well, go in peace.”

I absolutely agree that the boyfriend should also be under the advisement of an older, wiser man. Titus 2: 6-8. Definitely. Good call.

This is a Biblical and a Church model of passing down skills and wisdom, namely, that the older and wiser should train the younger and less wise. This is not some crazy plan that Cat has come up with on her own. This is not a “new age” thing that came out of Hollywood or Harvard.

If Cat were to create her own “plan,” it would be “Do what you want to do as long as it appears right and proper to you, and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks of you.”

But that is not what the Bible or the Church says.

My first impression was that maybe he thinks you’re uncomfortable because HE would be uncomfortable dressing more formally in casual situations and he wants to reassure you that you don’t need to go such great lengths around him. It’s okay…really.

I don’t know the whole story but on a less offensive level (meaning it’s more of an inside joke than something that is an actual bother) I have a similar relationship with my husband. Only I’M the one telling *him *to relax a little. He’s always wearing his buttons buttoned to the top and his shirt tucked in…even when wearing a Hawaiian shirt and jeans.

I personally find the buttons buttoned all the way to the top to be uncomfortable and I wouldn’t want to see anyone else go through that when it’s not necessary. Especially for my sake.

So sometime I jokingly unbutton my husband’s top button “You’re wearing jeans and a Hawaiian shirt for crying out loud. You can let loose a little.” But he usually makes a face and buttons it up again. It took a while before I realized that’s just where he’s comfortable (though I’ll never understand why). It had nothing to do with me or anyone else.

You should tell your husband that he is violating one of the primary rules of male fashion (if there is such a thing today): never button a shirt all the way to the top unless you are wearing a tie (and you have to leave a button unused when you wear an ascot)! I used to button polo-shirts all the way, and my mother pointed out that it looked “dorky.” However, I am one of those men who has tuck in everything that is not a thick sweater unless I am wearing a visible layer underneath (e.g. a crewneck with an Oxford shirt). I think that one can tell that I fall into the “preppy,” though I like some facial hair and have never been crazy about sports. Because I also wear eyeglasses and a fairly sophisticated demeanor, I have been mistaken for a professor at times. One boy whom I know initially thought that I taught mathematics or physics. While I like physics, I always think of mathematicians and engineers (well, in at least some fields of engineering) as being boring and robotic people (very *mechanical *if you know what I mean).

grins :smiley:

Well…“dorkiness” is kinda ingrained in him. Photos from his early childhood years indicates he was dressing like that since at least the age of 6. I don’t know if his mom encouraged the practice but I do know she’d never say he looked dorky. You should have seen him in high school. Looked like he fell out of a high school comedy. :wink:

Totally OT, but in my experience, mathematicians are anything but robotic. Closer to flaky/on another plane of existence, but far from boring or robotic. Just not really explainable to most of us.


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