Interested conservative/"ultra" conservative dress

Hello, I have a question for the ladies/families here. Have any of you had a personal reform in dress after a conversion, reversion, or at any point in your spiritual life?

I reverted to the faith about 4 years ago, and I’ve recently decided I want to start dressing differently. I grew up in shorts and tanks and the like, and I’ve no problem with them, or pants, sleeveless shirts, etc, but ever since I was a little girl I felt that I was a lady and I wanted to dress like one, and that God wanted me to reflect the feminine ideals I held as a part of my Catholic faith. No issue, right? many women today are doing the “dresses only” thing, going for more traditional attire.

Well, I’ve always been drawn especially to old-fashioned gowns. Regency to Victorian to Edwardian, and especially to ruffled prairie dresses. In late high school, I started wearing long peasant skirts and jumpers and button up blouses and denim dresses, all of a fairly modern sense, though. But now, being away from a judgemental family, I’m feeling drawn again to show my personal sensibilities of modesty and feminine dress with the long, collared dresses I’ve always thought were so pretty. WE have a large German menonite population here, and their pretty dresses always make me more aware of my own style of dress, and my desire to follow my sense of personal dignity. I feel so joyul, feminine, and find my prayers, my religious studies and my Church attendance are much more orderly and focused when I feel like I’m dressed to reflect my beliefs.

I still feel somewhat self conscious, though. The clothes I want to wear are NOT fashionable at all; think FLDS in the nineties; wide ruffled collars, pintucks, patterns with roses and trellis flowers. I don’t want to dress in a way that suggests I’m a Menonite, or Amish, or fundamentalist mormon, bt I do find the style of clothing they wear reflects what i want to show in my Catholic devotion.

Anyway, in conclusion, what are your thoughts on Catholics following an ultra-conservative style of dress? I’ve seen sites on the PLain Catholics, but I don’t mean that simple, as I enjoy lace, patterned clothes and varied necklines. Do you think a Catholic can dress this way without being seen as a wrong religion? Do you know anyone who’s made a change to something like this?

Can you find a way to do it that isn’t costumey or stagey? I’m drawing on my inner Stacey & Clinton here so as to come up with some practical advice first :slight_smile: . If you were to modify the look somewhat so it didn’t look totally out of place with the 21st century, then it would be less likely to draw undue attention to itself and would therefore be appropriate for Mass. Say, for instance, if you were to wear the high collared pintucked floral print blouse with a plain longer (but not floor grazing) skirt with a more modern silhouette.

There’s nothing morally wrong with wearing clothing associated with other religions unless it bears offensive emblems, etc. It might be socially awkward at times, though if it looks totally out of place.

…See that’s the reply i get from most people. :slight_smile: very kind suggestions, but…the “mdernising” and updating of the outfit makes it loose all its charm for me. :o dressing in the long, covered, old-fashioned clothes I’m drawn to always made me feel quiet, in a good way. I’ve felt less lazy, more motivated, and more religiously centered…and comfortable and pretty as well :slight_smile: I’m not worried about a costume look (I’ve been known to go all-out Victorian if the weather permits…which isn’t often where I live!) so much as I am the association with other religions. On several threads on this site referring to modest dress and head covering, it’s made it seem clear that it’s scandalous to dress resembling one religion when you are not. is that not truly the case, then?

Could you wear a very large crucifix with your costumes? This would make it clear that you are not Amish or Mennonite.

Frankly, I don’t think you have to worry that people will think you are non-Catholic as much as you have to wonder if people will assume that you are in the entertainment industry. That’s what I would think if I saw you, even if you were wearing a large crucifix, or a button that said, “I’m a Catholic.”

You are right in step with the most modern and popular “stars” of today. Both Zooey Deschanel and Katy Perry are known for dressing in “quirky” clothing, including period clothing. The current issue of Glamour magazine has features on both of these ladies and their fashion tastes.

Before them came Madonna, Annie Lennox, Annie Hall, and a host of other entertainers who delight in wearing what they like rather than what the style is. Ms. Hall is especially known for wearing clothing that appears to be from another era.

There are clothing stores in the big cities that specialize in “vintage” clothing. In other words, there are lots of other ladies out there who love to wear old-fashioned clothing.

And one of the trends in the entertainment field is wearing religious items as jewelry. My favorite actor has been wearing five medals of various saints for years; he actually does know who they are and professes belief that they are praying for him. But I’m guessing that a lot of the stars have no idea of the significance of their “accessories.”

So in short, you really can’t win on this one! No matter what you do, someone will probably misjudge you. The only way to demonstrate to the world that you are a serious Catholic is to do good works that prove your love for Christ and His Church.

I’ve personally never seen a Catholic dress like this, but if that’s what you want to do, then go for it!

With that being said, in all honesty, if I saw someone dressed like that I’d immediately think they were a member of some fundamentalist protestant faith, and not Catholic. But who cares? If you like dressing like that and if it makes you feel closer to the faith while not hurting anyone else, then why not?

Let people think what they want! :thumbsup:

I would like to just do that, but then what of threads like this,
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=102094&highlight=amish

That seem to be doing very little but either extremely discouraging the OP from dressing in such a way, or missing her point entirely by trying to convince her to dress modernly. If these answers represent church teaching, then isn’t it immoral to dress in such a way

Those answers do not represent Church teaching. The Church does not give us any sort of dress code.

Wearing what you describe would not be immoral. It would be completely morally neutral, so if that’s what you want to do, then go for it.

If you’re comfortable with being different, then enjoy your pretty old fashioned dresses :slight_smile:

Clothing is a part of how we express ourselves & gives a visual sign to others about our values & personalities. It is, however less important than how we act, so don’t stress about it too much.

Hi,
I had a strong calling to start dressing modestly when I had my daughter. Thus began a long path down learning how to sew my own clothes and eventually making modest clothes for sale in my shop. It has been a very rewarding process and I love having clothes that fit me perfectly and are more beautiful than anything I can find in the store. I’m hoping to start a line of modest clothing for women, starting with skirts. They are so hard to find in the stores these days.

I tend to wear a lot of long skirts and pretty cotton blouses and t-shirts, that is what is most practical. I also like long, flowing dresses, that is the style these days. You can wear clothes that are both modest and modern. People tend to treat you better when you dress modestly. Good luck!

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Same here.

I would add, that while it might make you feel good, will it help you evangelize? Will people perceive you as approachable? Will they want to talk to you or will they make assumptions based on appearance (which, granted, we shouldn’t do…) and steer clear of you?

My hope is that when I’m out and about, I look neat, tidy and like someone who seems “ok” to talk to. Just like people make assumptions about someone who might be covered with tattoos, dressed all in black,covered in too much make up or whatever, they will make assumptions about someone dressed the way you describe.

Just throwing out another perspective. :slight_smile:
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I don’t know your marital status, but if you are eligible to join a religious order, prayerfully consider it. Catholic religious sisters traditionally wear some of the clothing styles that you find attractive. :nun1:

A classic little black dress is always in fashion.:nun2:

I’d be cautious about rationalizing a love of ruffles into a dress code that reflects your spiritual beliefs.

Rather, this seems as if in addition to wanting to dress modesty, you like ruffles, you like long skirts, you like floral prints, you naturallly want to wear the most traditional girly-girl costume you can get away with without being mistaken for an actor at a period-dress theme park. Great…go with that. There is a great variety of dress allowed in the Universal Church. Of all the many modest ways of dressing that are allowed, you’ve chosen one of them. Just do not talk yourself into thinking that there is something particularly devotional about the ruffles and the lace. That, you do because you’re happy to have been made a female. That is OK, too.

BTW, don’t be too hard on your family if your dress is all they bother you about. By your own admission, you have chosen a rather eccentric way to dress, and some people cannot watch a family member do that without feeling entitled to chime in about it. That is a very common temptation, because people take their relatives as reflections on the whole family, which is to say reflections on them. It is wrong, but people do it all of the time.

If the worst judgement coming from them is that they think you are a fashion disaster, let it go. If they think you are trying to look like Sister Bertha Better-Than-You, take it into account that they may have a point, but once you have satisfied yourself that their concern is misplaced, let that go, too. (It may help to be a bit more complimentary about dress that is sufficiently modest but not what you would choose for yourself. What goes around sometimes even comes around.)

Yes, I dress much more modestly now than I did in my 20’s–no short skirts, no short sleeves. I have considered wearing a head covering because I think hair can be considered a type of vanity. Maybe though I will wear a scarf on my head instead of something more modest and long and attention-grabbing.

My step-mom wears very modest clothes like the one you described and she is non-denominational Christian. I guess wearing something more traditional than the community you are a part of would by default make you stand out, like it does for her. I don’t see her troubled by this.

I would also recommend the brown scapular as it’s Mary’s gift and it is her approval of modesty.

I do love prairie clothes and used to dress in them when I was a girl. There’s something plain and romantic about it for sure. Also it’s feminine and modest. I don’t see it as being very unsightly or drab at all, but yes it’s out of fashion I suppose, unless there are some more current makers.

How about getting a few black, grey or brown full length skirts and pairing them with some 3/4 lenght or full sleeved plain shirts? These would be neither exceedingly modern and fashionable nor would they make you look like a member of the flds. What would be most beneficial about it would be that they would be plain enough and cut in such a way as to be neither outdated nor dated at all really. It might be more modest and less vain that drawing attention to yourself in the type of dress you are describing. Also such plain outfits could be subtley accessorized with Catholic jewelry.

At times I have considered tossing out my wardrobe for something like this, not out of piety or modesty, just out of mix and match-ability and the comfort of being so covered in long skirts.

I can identify with your affinity for vintage and retro looks. You could certainly go that route as I have often vainly wished to 50’s-ify myself, but it is not really for pious reasons so much as an affinity for a certain asthetic. That seems like it might be what is going on with your preference for the victorian era and prarie dress. Maybe some steampunk community can provide you with what you are looking for.

To be perfectly blunt, it seems like you want to stick out and have people look at you and wonder why you are dressed like that, so that they can conclude that you must be very pious.

Floral prints are in right now, as are dresses, as mentioned. Calf-length flowy skirts are very trendy (moreso for fall and winter). More structured shoulders and even slightly poufy sleeves are in. Plaid is in. All of these have an old-fashioned feel but are cut in a modern way.

Part of being modest and feminine is dressing in a way that makes you look beautiful, and wearing costume-ish clothing simply is not feminine nor beautiful. Rather, it’s weird and off-putting.

That isn’t true, and I don’t agree. I’m sorry you feel that those are my intentions.

It just seems that you are interested in making a statement both to yourself and others about how you identify with a past era and are not really part of the present era. I am getting this sense because you stated that you are not interested in wearing these types of clothes in a more modern way.

I know since returning to my faith, that I am also dressing more modestly. It does not mean I do not dress in clothes completely out of style either. I like the trend of the long gypsy skirts and paired with a decent/modest top, also the maxi dresses. I also like wearing capris that reach my knees with non tank style sleeveless shirts. I also wear non tight fitting pants too mainly for the office. I save most of my dresses and skirts for Mass & hot weather office wear. There are plenty of choices for all sizes and shops in all price ranges, its a matter of looking.

I don’t understand whats wrong with that. I just enjoy them.

I love the long gypsy skirts, but can never seem to find a pretty blouse to wear them with!

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