In search of a better understanding of a different kind of "modesty"

My understanding is that modesty is more than just about covering up your privates in public. Modesty is also about humility (correct me if I’m wrong).

With that in mind, are any of the following considered sins against modesty? Why or why not?

-Wearing very fancy/expensive clothing
-Owning a very fancy/expensive car
-Owning a very fancy/expensive home
-Wearing very extravagant makeup
-Having a very extravagant hair do
-Owning and wearing very big, expensive jewelry

And if so, then how come we never talk about this type of sin against modesty… how come we always just talk about the other type that applies to nudity/near nudity?

Hoping to better understand and discuss the concept of modesty, so if anyone can shed some light, please do so!

PS- I know what the CCC says about modesty, so I’m much more interest in hearing about it in your own words! :slight_smile:

I think that, as with most moral issues one has to look at the whole situation.

Some of these things have to do with people’s jobs or role in society.

A real estate agent usually has a nice car to bring people to visit houses. It brings a sense of confidence.

A lawyer dresses smartly for court.

The Dr has a nice office so her patients feel relaxed and secure.

A Church has expensive stained glass windows to reflect the glory of the Lord.

Not all expensive or grand things are for the purpose of being ostentacious.

I think things become immodest when they serve no purpose but to draw attention to oneself, are solely for self indulgence, or to incite envy in others.

What if we just have a fancy & expensive car/house/wardrobe/appearance because we like it?

I don’t have the moral authority or training to answer that.

Maybe it has something to do with why we like it, it is a mere matter of having reasonable comfort, or is it vanity, pride, gluttony…basically are we feeding one of the seven capital sins.

One answer to this question I have heard several times is that nice or even expensive things in themself aren’t necessarily bad, but they can be so when they are purchased at the expense of other obligations, including that of charity (ie, don’t say you can’t afford to help the poor or donate to the church when you’re spending a lot of money on luxury items).

There are also situations where it’s not prduent to wear or display those things. Even if you usually wear expensive clothing, if you are travelling and will be in an area where most people cannot afford those things, it might be a time to tone it down so that you aren’t alienating those around you.

Even in business, this applies. I used to sell real estate and, yes, I drove the nice car much of the time and wore tailored suits and moderately expensive shoes and accessories, but when I was working an an area where people were working-class and not wealthy or in jobs where they wore suits every day, I would dress more casually.


intent, intent, intent…

there is not a one size fits all in this issuse of modesty. As some of the other posters pointed out, jobs requirements, social class, cultural norms etc all play a role in this. You can’t expand modesty to the claim that even wearing more expensive clothes even if they are deamed modest is not modest because they are nice and expensive. This is an over reach of definition. CCC does not spell out exactly what modesty is because that is always going to be a changing definition. There is no way to judge what is in someone’s heart or motivation in wearing “nicer expensive clothes”. Only that person can answer to God if they are wearing expensive clothes to be vain or not. This again is an overreach of definitions and ideas concerning modesty.

As far as modesty for women, please don’t wear skin-tight pants or any pants that show the form of your rear-end unless you are wearing a shirt or something that covers it, or else it’s a temptation for men, and possibly women who may have SSA. I scruple over whether to wear my wrestling singlet (im a wrestler for my highschool) because I don’t want to be a hypocrite. It’s men that are most prone to have concupisense of the eyes, so anything that shows too much or is tight, would be a temptation and an invitation for men to lust. Don’t let me get started on bikinis… and yes, modesty does require humility, as all virtues do.

Thanks for the reply, but I am trying to keep this thread strictly about the other types of modesty (not about women’s dress).

Do you have an opinion on the examples I listed in my OP?

Whoa! I’ve already got enough issues with the current debate on immodesty. I certainly hope the Church never piles this list on that because I will officially declare it as a Church that’s well intent on driving out everyone including me! :shrug:

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