Modeling modesty in dress


Lea and Alice have shared thoughts that need careful reading.

One idea I have seen in reading one or two posts above is that the understanding of modesty can vary [I hope not radically] from one home/family to another, yet both remain valid expressions of modesty. How true is this?

I leave you with a quote from Msgr Cormac Burke to help draw some more thoughts.

“Modesty in dress and behavior tempers a woman’s natural desire [to portray oneself as] attractive , with her even more natural determination not to be provocative. She should have enough self-respect and know enough about life to realize that only a certain class of women set out to be sexually provocative.” (Faith Magazine,Nov-Dec 2013)


Just women want to conform to society rather than be a good influence, not some men?

What if a person isn’t conforming to anything or actually is trying to be a good influence just not in a way you approve of?


The same way everybody doesn’t raise their children the exact same way, but many families raise good children nonetheless.


Interestingly, because of this there were no problems between my parents regarding clothing issues. They simply saw it as a “different culture” thing, and tried to discuss the modest mind more than the modest dress. The dress was left to us children, and I think every culture and every generation would shouw modesty in dress different.


This is true. My mom would let me have it if she thought something looked indecent by “showing too much”, but she didn’t expect me to follow the dress code rules that were in place when she grew up.


As you want your children to be modest even after you have no control over them, you would want them to not resent the idea of modesty when they’re at the stage of development where their friend’s opinions are more important than yours. And the way to do that is to make sure they genuinely like the idea of modesty. Now this can obviously be different to each individual, but looking at society today, saying that modesty is only for women leaves a sour taste as it would imply that women’s bodies are inherently bad or sexual compared to men’s. Idk if you have a son, but telling her that all of us have to practice modesty is better than only focusing on women, imo. I spent a lot of time on social media and believe me when I say that guys are just as immodest as women too! Thus is just my personal opinion and it can be different from each girl but I prefer hearing about modesty from women, not my dad or any other guy, so the idea of a father teaching a girl not to dress sexually is just a weird concept to me.

Or saying that women who dress a certain way deserve less respect would just make your daughter think less of you when she grows up and holds the view that all women deserve respect regardless of their clothes. So I hate to say it, you gotta be a bit PC. My dad recently started talking about immodest girls in my school (bc this is the first time I don’t have to wear uniforms, and he’s shocked that people could wear anything here) and honestly I lost respect for him. He honestly thought insulting these women would make me want to dress modestly, when at this age, I really don’t care about his approval anymore.

My parents never really had meltdowns whenever I wore something that was a bit immodest, they just trained me to prefer clothes that cover more since I was young, so I guess I didn’t see modesty as oppressive. But I will say that my parents weren’t really strict on modesty compared to others. Of course the usual no cleavage, no midriff, no short shorts, but I could get away with tight fitting clothes (maybe because I have no curves…sigh).

My friend’s father was incredibly strict, and she’s one of the most provocatively dressed person I know. Rebellion is tempting.

I’m not saying I have always been modest, I still prefer the way I look in more skimpy clothing because it flatters my body more than covered ones, sadly. But at least I know what I need to know and I usually end up wearing something that covers more.

Anyway, we will question everything our parents teach us, especially when everyone else seem to be doing the opposite, and THEN make a decision on who we are. So ultimately, there is only so much you can do. The most effective way to me is to give them the version of modesty that doesn’t make them feel oppressed by you in the future when they’re exposed to the whole PC culture.


OP, please don’t get mad, but you seem extremely anxious about the modesty of a three year old child.
Sometimes we transfer our own fears/experiences/childhood experiences to our own kiddos. And we have a natural desire to raise our children the way we wish we had been raised.
I don’t want an answer, just wanted to put this out there, if you have some unresolved conflicts with the people who raised you, like if they were at either extreme of being overly modest or overly permissive.
If I’ve stepped over the line, I’m sorry, no offense, truly.


Please let us stick to issues and avoid concerning ourselves with the person of those posting here. We understand the human tendency to easily find faults in others, but please stick to responding to what is written (not who posters seem to be because of what they have written here!). Thank you.


One thing came to my mind yesterday regarding the whole modesty discussion:

maybe those discussion (with older children especially), fail so often because it is to often a “women should not attract men with their dress in a sexual way” topic.
But modesty is for men also, it is a state of the mind, too. Maybe one should say this to daughters as well as to sons and they will listen more easily…



Dressing with Dignity by Colleen Hammond might answer some of your questions.

My two cents…


Gotta throw myself in front of that car!

Colleen Hammond is likely a very nice lady, but, she has some very odd ideas. Like a fundamentalist pentecostal merged with a Catholic.

To the OP, we do not have to wear boxy dresses (because pants draw a man’s eye to the genitals, yes, that is what Dressing with Dignity teaches).

Few people realize that the Catechism defined modesty and there is no check list of “hoodies YES, crop tops, NO”

2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

2523 There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements, or against the solicitations of certain media that go too far in the exhibition of intimate things. Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies.

2524 The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.

You can read the entire section here

As my mom aways said, pretty is as pretty does. Modesty is more about the heart than about the length of the skirt.

And, yes, I wear modest two piece swimsuits.


I’m not really sure I’ve ever found a one-piece swimsuit that was modest and actually fit on my body. I swear tankinis are a gift from God when it comes to swimwear!

On the original topic, I would just ask your daughter to stand up straight or something similar. Pretty sure at 3 years old I was still flipping my skirt over my head as a hood because I had no concept that I shouldn’t.


I’m wondering if you might consider encouraging in your daughter a love for blouses and dresses, as well as dress pants. I’ve noticed many kids wear tight leggings when they’re three, and continue to wear some form of this in their tweens, such as Ivivva clothing. Then it’s on to Lululemon. It’s very hard to get them off of this dance/active wear. So if you can encourage non-Spandex fabrics like cotton, linen, rayon, and such by increasing interest in fabrics in general, it would go a long way towards being counter-culture. Then there is more likelihood your daughters will like modest clothing later on.

Also, as parents, you need to decide whether you’ll go along with the culture or try to go against it. I would not put a girl in dance class these days because the girls really want to be alike, wear makeup early, wear nail polish, wear similar tight leggings. There’s just too much peer pressure there, and too many hours spent away from the family. But if dance was their thing, I’d hope for ballet only or maybe ballroom dancing, but not hip hop or jazz dance. The idea would be to encourage counter-culture ways of being. My goal would be to teach them how to be different.

Also, you really should consider living without the t.v. if you want your daughters to act in good ways. So many things on t.v. are really bad, such as the Ellen Degeneres show, which teaches girls how to dress like their grandfathers, the Social and the View, which teaches them how to be backbiting vipers, cooking shows, which teaches them to be decadent in their desires, crime shows, which underestimate the force a woman needs to overcome a man in a fight, etc… In short, the t.v. rarely does much that is positive.


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