Modeling modesty in dress


Yes. I agree. perhaps I was unclear☺ bathrobe over modest pjs, not over immodest pjs.


I’m confused. Aren’t pjs usually just a shirt and pants? Why is a robe necessary or more modest? What’s inappropriate about pajamas? I always thought people who wore robes were doing it for warmth.


For adults, sure. If you have to answer the door late at night or early morning when you are in your pjs, then you probably want to throw on a robe first.

But for kids? :neutral_face: In a family setting? I have never heard of this.


Maybe this is a generational or regional thing? None of my family members have robes and the only time I had them was when I went away to school or camp, for walking to the shower.


This thread is about teaching behaviors of modesty.This is how I taught my children in a mixed household of boys and girls. And this was question directed to me by the op.

If these things do not make sense to any posters you are free not to do this within your own household with your own children, as I am not here for parenting advice or judgement.

Thank you for sharing your opinions, and God Bless you.


It depends on the jammies. Lots of PJ’S for kids are like a sweat shirt or t shirt and sweat pants, they do not need a robe.


I don’t think most PJ’s and especially many nighties are enough on their own especially when kids are playing before bed or at breakfast with adults (especially anyone other than parents) and children of the opposite sex around.


I very much like the expression “more is caught than taught.” When you are teaching appropriate behavior you have to model your expectations.

So, for example, if you expect your daughter to wear a robe over her PJs it will be more impactful for mommy to model that behavior than for anyone to just tell her.

It’s the reason parents need to talk about and come to an agreement on what modesty means for their family. Once the parents agree, they model the behavior, and then they can reasonablely start correcting their children. I think most of us find inconsistent rules to be unsettling and for children it is more so and confusing.


I completely agree.


Thanks for refocusing discussion on the thread.


In some situations, for a mother or daughter to understand what is immodest, they need to see with the eyes of Dad or a brother.


Ok, then as a father, can you explain to me what on earth is immodest about a t shirt and pajama pants on a child?


Her pose sounds to me like the typical sorority girl one, or as you related, the Project Runway normal model pose. IMHO, it sounds like your daughter is enjoying dressing up and wants everyone to see how beautiful she is which is awesome! Enjoy her lovely display of 3 year old self -esteem!


Of course fully covered pjs on a 3 year old is not immodest. It’s not about judging what is modest now. It is about teaching behaviors regarding modesty at a young age, so modesty come naturally later.

And this is something that helped us to do this.

How do you teach the foundation of modesty to your child or children?


There was a time when the media portrayed modest dress that was not offensive in the least. This was true on TV, in magazines and newspapers and in the types of clothing chosen for purchase by fashion buyers for various stores. Also, mothers and neighbors were good models themselves of appropriate dress. Then, young women were also modest in their speech and attitudes. Behavior is just as important as how a young lady dresses.

So, as parents, try to model clothes that are suitable for girls to see. Dads should be neat and presentable even in casual clothes. Nothing fancy, just another good role model. When little girls grow up and start noticing boys, they’ll be taking cues from both parents.

Girls tend to look at others at school once they’re old enough to start. And the girls they see in stores and other public places, not to mention live-action TV shows.

While children can’t be prevented from seeing everything, they can be gently guided. And modest clothing can be pretty and cool too. If the girls begin to compare their physical features with other girls as they age (and it happens fast), they decide how pretty they are. The prettier, the more difficult it will be to convince them to wear modest clothing later on. When I told a very pretty, teenage relative of mine that I thought her clothes were a bit too revealing, her somewhat angry response was, “Well, this is what all my friends wear.” Fitting in is easy. Being seen as not fitting in may lead to a certain amount of teasing or whispering and giggling. Depending on where you live, being the odd girl out may lead to hurt feelings. Even little girls, when taught about God, should be taught about being Godly or pleasing to God in age appropriate ways. Little kids do tend to imitate what they see unless a parent tells them: this is the right way and this is not the right way to dress.

Sadly, stores are offering bad to really bad clothing choices or very plain clothing choices. And there’s still the possibility of making your own if anyone you know knows how to make or choose dress patterns and sew.

Finally, if you google modest clothing Christian kids, a bunch of sites will appear. Here’s one:


I think modesty is one of those things that what is right for one family doesn’t mean it’s wrong for another family to do things differently.

Cultural expectations and family living arrangements are two examples that I can think of which would make expectations of modesty within the home very different without either family being “wrong.”

I think the need for modesty develops as children age; so, I don’t establish rules for my 2 year old daughter that are the same as I do for my 8 year old son. For example, she’s allowed to come into the bathroom with me; he is not. He’s eight and will remember what he sees and could talk about it :blush:. She needs to learn how girls use the bathroom. There are certainly times I tell her that I want privacy and she needs to stay out and as she gets older I’ll increase those times until my bathroom time is completely mine again (YAY!!!). At that point she will have grown to understand her own need and right for privacy (which I consider part of modesty).

For us, it is a much more gradual learning curve with expectations that ramp up as a child ages. I cannot count the number of times I have walked into my sons room to find him and his sister building a pillow fort, him in nothing but his underwear and her stripped down to a diaper - this is most frequent upon arriving home after being in “church clothes” which my son is anxious to get out of and his sister wants to do whatever brother is doing. I don’t care; they are 8 and 2. No one in our house would view it as remotely sexual, they are just more comfortable in as little as possible. At the same time, my husband and I aren’t walking around in our skivvies. We are not 8 and 2 and are; therefore, under different rules. We model the expectations we will have for them as they age. I am sure at 16 and 10 they will not still be playing near naked together. His understanding and need for modesty will be much greater, as will hers, so the rules and expectations will increase.


She’s only 1.5, so at this point I just make sure I’m providing a good example for her by not wearing anything revealing or slobby when out of the home. Most of her outfits at this point are dresses or tunics with leggings. They don’t really make immodest clothes for toddlers. At least, I haven’t seen any.

Sorry for the tangent, I just really don’t see the issue with anyone wearing pajamas around the house if everything is covered up and I was trying to figure out why some think it’s inappropriate. I didn’t mean to be confrontational.


There’s an article on cheap sex and the decline of marriage in the Wall Street Journal in which the accompanying caricature shows contemporary brides wearing dresses with very long slits.

Many young women today seem to want to conform to society rather than be a good influence.


My parents were strict, religious and Asian, yet they didn’t really freak out over what I wore at home. Especially before puberty. I didn’t know if my mom was doing this intentionally, but she basically ‘trained us’ to think that shorts are for home, long pants/dresses are for outside. My brothers too. We didn’t really question it and even now I hate wearing shorts out, unless I’m exercising. It was hardly a big deal. Looking back I think it’s for the best. Covering up at every waking moment would probably encourage a weird idea of modesty, that the body is bad. That’s why girls see immodesty as empowerment when they grow up, because they believed modesty=covering up because the female body is bad bad bad and we must protect da boys.

My parents focused their energy on other battles, and I don’t mind it. Even now I get a little shocked when people bring up sexuality when talking about modesty because I feel that’s such a weak argument that can be easily over exaggerated and knocked down.

If I had children in the future, I would probably teach them that dressing modestly is dressing appropriately. God knows how I’ll do it, though.

But since I was a young girl here’s the stuff that I experienced or learnt:

-if mom/older female role model has an ugly sense of style, she won’t help at all. My friends and I used to share horror stories of our moms picking out our clothes and rejecting our picks because it was inappropriate. My mom was quite okay (she didn’t dress well but she knew what was fashion and what was just pieces of cloth), but I saw my friends making the association that modesty=mom clothes,and it was over.

-if you’re a guy and you’re not her father, do not tell a girl that she’s dressing immodestly. To you, it might seem almost innocent but to us, it can easily seem like a creepy old man thinking I’m sexy.

-letting your daughters pick out their clothes. (just give them guidelines like no cleavage, etc). They get to mix their own unique style and modesty and establish their taste in clothing,which is helpful when you’re not there to pay for clothes anymore.

-if your modesty talk focuses on boys, don’t. Messages on their dignity and modesty at heart would be better received and more true to the Church anyway.

-Whole family must be modest yet respectful of those who aren’t. One thing I noticed my dad did wrong was that he had a clear double standard when it comes to modesty. Guys posing shirtless or in their underwear for billboards were fine, but when Taylor Swift wore short shorts, it was the biggest mortal sin ever! Calling immodest women sluts, or the more popular phrase used in Catholic circles ‘a collection of body parts’ is just horrible. When that’s the attitude the girl is facing at home, she’ll resent the whole thing eventually and break free.

I guess that’s it for now. Things would be a lot easier if modest clothing are not ugly. As someone living in a tropical country, modest clothing that are appropriate for the weather are just…frumpy or too girly for my taste.


Thank you, this is a good summary of my own thoughts :wink:

I grew up in a mixed middle eastern-european family. My father, who grew up with a mother in veil and long dresses, said never a word in negative or sexual context about this topic, he just made positive comments about my clothing when he thought it was modest and simple, but chic (it helped me that my iranian relatives were always very dressed up, but never too open).
When I was an adult, we talked a little about this. He only said “It is not up to the fathers, as to no men, to care for modesty of women”. I liked this much.
My mum and grandma talked more openly. My grandma, a very conservative french catholic lady, told not to dress frumpy or immodest (…she disliked both equally). My mum always said “clothing will never make a woman modest or immodest, but the right dress helps you to make this clear for the outer world” and "it is ok to dress chic and almost a bit sexy, but never dress availible for everyone. When you are pretty and young, you can´t do anything against people´s immodest thoughts, but you can do something for you to feel dignified"
So long. I wouldn´t oversexualise a 3 year old. When I was a child, I danced to britney spears and half naked women on MTV and thought nothing but “I like dancing”. But I agree in your fear of the popular culture and its view on women. Don´t let them watch those videos too much, rather give them other images in their mind. I got a book about historical costumes as a gift when I was 7 and was so inspired of those long, flowing gowns in the past. Problem solved :wink:

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