It’s a complicated problem.
First, there is a lot of improper dress out there for men.
Low-rise tattered jeans, wife-beaters, T-shirts full of X-rated sayings, mesh jerseys, tight tight pants. . .
The idea of proper dress and the idea of modest dress are not 100% entwined.
A “proper” dress for a butcher might entail a bloody apron at work. .but that would certainly not be ‘modest’ dress. It might cover his body but it would certainly cause some squeamishnes if he wore it to go to a concert.
Also a ‘proper’ outfit for a fisherman in the Caribbean could be a wet suit. Covers everything but tightly, and certainly not ‘proper’ at Mass, or even walking through the local store or going to the movies. . .
Now, moving to the idea of short shorts, minis, etc. for women.
I’m old enough to have, as a preteen and teen, worn the original minis, and had the figure then to look good. That’s why we wore them THEN: They were ‘the fashion’, they made us ‘look good’ as magazines, media, and MEN were quick to tell us. The girls who weren’t the right ‘shape’ wore shapeless dowdy things and nobody wanted to be a dowd!
Time went on and the ‘fashions’ spread. You couldn’t find ‘cute’ (i.e., ‘daring’) clothes in the regular stores first, .,then they spread, first into small ‘junior’ sections.
NOW you can’t walk into a store without finding it full of nothing BUT ‘fashion’. If the fashion is for tops that look 2 sizes too small, that is basically ALL you will find except for the cheap, poorly made, ‘oversized’ and unisex type looking SWEAT SUITS or Ts.
And not only are they sized for the ‘slim’. . .they are sized now for the size 5X! And for the infants and toddlers!
Our babies MUST wear bikinis that say, “your girlfriend is jealous of me”, “Too $$ for you”.
It’s not about showing off a ‘fashionably slim’ body now. The stuff gets made, big business makes you pay for it whether you actually look decent in it (and a lot of stuff nobody even looks attractive in any more!), and tough luck for you, ladies. You get sneered at if you don’t want to wear what some anonymous ‘designer’ wants to design in order to get personally rich on YOUR bodies.
And a big problem is that people don’t WANT to be made to feel that ANY occasion (Mass, going to a nice restaurant, even just going to the store) should be something that requires anything other than wearing what is ‘comfortable’. What they are 'used to wearing.
And for 30-40 years, American women have become USED to wearing clothing that has become more and more aimed at utilitarian “Trash”. Women who have spent 30 years wearing ‘the latest style’ keep on wearing it. Thongs are WICKED UNCOMFORTABLE but millions of women actually have convinced themselves, because they ‘look good’, that they ARE comfortable. Low cut shirts are often too thin as well, but because women have worn them for decades, shivering and catching cold but oh how GOOD they look and why wear a DOWDY COAT–they will keep on wearing those low cut skimpy shirts. And minis. Etc. etc.
And they will wear ‘fashion’ everywhere and insist that it’s ‘comfortable’, looks good, and is perfectly APPROPRIATE. After all, they’ve worn it for years. Their moms wore it. They let their children wear it.
It would be embarassing to admit that they have let themselves oh so slowly grow accustomed to cheap, trashy, downright disgusting outfits, and that all the time they thought they looked hot, they looked. . . ugly. Like pieces of ‘meat’ garnished to show off only the ‘cuts’ (Bosom, thighs, etc.) that have been ‘deemed’ to be their MAIN ATTRACTIONS.
Women are so ‘equal’ now. Equally packed. . .infants and grannies. . .into packages that showcase the parts of their bodies related to sexual activity. Because that’s what a woman is judged on. . .
At first, the ‘hot’ woman was the one who let her bosom show.
Now, women are EXPECTED to let their bosoms show, at all ages. Not to ‘look good’, but because it is EXPECTED of them. They are women, they need to ‘show’ they are women. . .and that is most obvious when a woman’s secondary sexual charactistic areas are ‘showcased.’
Mind you I am not laying all the blame on men. There were plenty of women designers, models, and women themselves, who bought into the hype and started looking on other women as ‘the enemy’ (men of course were the enemy too, but it was a woman’s duty to land a man, even if she despised him, so long as she could ‘take him’ from another woman, and show that other woman that SHE was the power! )
We’ve built a culture of emasculated men, backstabbing women, parents who abrogate their responsibility, and angst-ridden lost souled children, and oh my, we have, in the name of ‘being ourselves’, dressed for it. . .in all our tarty, tawdry, slobby glory.