Modesty in Future Wife


I’m a young Catholic man who aspires to be married one day with a family of my own. Before I’m attacked for not being ready to marry just yet, I admit that I have a lot of work to do on myself before getting married should even be on my radar. Additionally, I do not wish to propose that I, in any way, will be telling my future wife what to wear or scrutinizing what she already wears. But, I am looking for some general advice on what is actually modest in a woman and what is not.

I’m in college. I attend a solidly Catholic university. A lot of girls here wear those jean shorts that many teenage/college girls wear. A lot of Catholics one too, that is. While they do not show anything, they are still pretty short shorts that show from the mid thigh all the way downward. Are these immodest in the eyes of the Church?

The reason I ask is that I know that my wife is going to teach my own daughters, God-willing that I have any, how to be a woman of God and I’d want to ensure that she knows what true modesty consists of, as this is of huge importance especially in today’s world.

Let us pray for one another.


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There’s no rules on what is specifically “modest”

I wear jean shorts and my butt doesn’t stick out. Same with all my catholic friends so I don’t see a problem with that.

I don’t think this is something you should even be thinking about or worrying about especially now


Shorts aren’t immodest


Hi Matt!
When I saw the title of your post listed on the main page I briefly thought to myself; “Did my son start posting on this forum?” Reading your post I see you are not him obviously but there are many young men who feel the same way you do!

I think that ultimately, you will be attracted to a woman who has the same beliefs as you in modesty and other important traits.

When you find someone you would like to invite out for coffee, a movie, whatever - to get to know better - it’s probably because you found her funny, interesting, attractive and friendly… and more than likely she’ll be dressed in a style you like; or you probably wouldn’t be interested in getting to know her in the first place. :wink: And likewise - young women also like certain traits in their Catholic husbands - including modesty (no Speedos please! ha ha ha) and the same things; funny, attractive, kind, polite, etc.

It will all fall into place when it’s time.


Culturally, in USA it’s generally acceptable for women to wear shorts, including jean shorts, for athletic or outdoor activities, casual wear, and clubwear. It’s generally not acceptable for women to wear shorts to an office job, and some churches and schools also don’t allow them (except the school might allow them for gym class/ athletics).

Shorts are generally not considered immodest unless they are so short that they show the woman’s buttock peeking out of the bottom, or so tight they show a cameltoe.

If you don’t like women who wear shorts, feel free to choose a woman to date who doesn’t wear them, or only wears knee-length shorts. There are women out there who dress more conservatively. Traditional Catholic Mass is a good place to meet them.

As someone said, the Catholic Church does not keep a running list of what clothing it thinks is immodest, since a lot has to do with cultural norms and what is appropriate clothing for the particular setting.


@BabyWitch I’m sorry that I want to know what virtue looks like so that I can find a virtuous woman? Pretty weird…

@BabyWitch Courtship, by definition and in its traditional sense, is basically a tryout for marriage between two people to see whether or not the other has adequate virtue to help you and your future children get to heaven. Nobody’s going to test whether you’re a virgin or not, that’s not at all what I mean when I say this. There’s absolutely nothing wrong about choosing your spouse based off of a certain degree of virtue.


The issue is more that you seem to think that length of shorts is a reliable indicator of virtue. You figure out what someone’s values are by actually getting to know them, not by applying some kind of “jean shorts” test.


I could see if you had a problem with booty-boom-boom shorts.

But mid-thigh?



I would point out that even way way back in the dark ages when I was in college, there were men who did not like women to wear shorts of any kind. Some of them also didn’t want women to wear trousers, or skirts above the knee.

Usually these guys were from a cultural or religious (Christian or non-Christian) background that had different standards for women’s clothing than the United States. It is possible that some of them also had a fetish.

One guy was well known for running a long personal ad for years in the local weekly seeking women who had never worn any kind of shorts, trousers, skirts above the knee, variations on the same. It ran for at least three or four years. The girls in my dorm used to joke about it because the ad was so comprehensive (it listed literally every type of trouser-like garment one could think of) and weird.

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When I was a kid, the conservative Jewish girls in our neighborhood and the girls who went to the Spanish church all wore skirts below-the-knee.


Yeah, it’s not all that rare among some groups of Christian fundamentalists as well as Orthodox Jewish and certain ethnic groups of recent immigrants, at least back in my day.

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Listen, I like what I like, okay? :rage:


Yep! And long sleeves or 3/4 length, no lower necklines to include boat or V neck lines and a scarf, snood or wig on ones head. Not only mid calf skirts but also leggings or knee socks as well. Other than the Hasidic Jews now, most Orthodox have relaxed many of these but they will still tend to be more modestly dressed than “the world”. I still loathe snoods! :joy::joy::joy:

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That’s not surprising. Religious Jews often adhere to tznius rules. One must be covered below the collarbone and below elbows and wear skirts that always cover the knees.


I can only assume that the OP has little to no experience with dating or much knowledge about relationships.

Having a checklist of criteria for a possible future wife that includes shorts down to a certain length as a starter is actually probably going to be a non starter for you in the relationship world. You could attend some Assembly of God, or Holiness churches, you will probably find girls/women there who dress according to your criteria, then you just have to convert them to Catholicism.

As far as finding a virtuous woman to marry, the only way you will do that is to get to know them and find out if they are virtuous or not. The old saying, beauty is only skin deep, or you can’t judge a book by its cover comes to mind.

Time will let you know if someone is virtuous or not. You must spend the time with them to really get to know them in order to know their true nature.

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I am careful about what I wear so I understand one wants a wife that values modesty in general, but my understanding of the word has matured with time. A lot of people wear things simply because it looks good on them, the thought that it could be an occasion of sin does not occur to them, so, don’t judge a woman harshly, get to know her first and then, exchange ideas. We learn every day.

I applaud you for trying to learn. My opinion is that modesty of a woman isn’t really for a man to discuss beyond trying to understand the woman’s point of view. Why do you believe the future woman you love enough to marry, who meets almost all your other criteria for spouse-worthy material, wouldn’t also have a solid understanding of modesty?

Nothing wrong with you caring about this as something in a future wife you might have. Young people (SOME) don’t stop and realize all the time that what they are wearing to them as comfortable might easily be immodest. Just steer away from the girls who wear things you aren’t comfortable seeing on them. Also realize that people do change. I’d pay more attention to how they talk and act around everybody. That tells a lot about a person’s character. Again good for you for caring.

The church does not make such determinations.

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