In the recent discussions on modesty, some women have said that they’re uncomfortable wearing trousers because they believe that men’s eyes will be drawn to their private parts. I’m personally inclined to think this is a legitimate concern, and the few men I’ve spoken to about this to tend to agree. (Please note, though, that I don’t wish this thread to reopen debate on the subject of “what constitutes modest dress” in an absolute sense. I’m just talking about those of us who have personal preferences or convictions on this particular subject.)
In the same discussions, other posters have suggested that concerned women can “skirt the issue” by wearing tunic-style tops that come down past the hips. Such an outfit would also have the advantage of being easily adaptable for early pregnancy and postpartum. It’s interesting to note that, in those cultures where women have traditionally worn trousers, these types of longer tops have usually been the norm.
In today’s American department stores, though, such tops are next-to-impossible to find. One poster said that Kohl’s has them, but I was there recently and didn’t see a single one. Same with Mervyn’s… and a friend reports that JC Penney doesn’t have any, either. Macy’s web site does have quite a few “tunics” listed, but most of them are only slightly longer than a regular top. The few longer ones all seem to be immodest in other ways (low-cut neckline, etc.). They also tend to be dry-clean-only, which isn’t very practical for mothers of little ones.
Lands End’s “tunics” also don’t look quite as long and loose as what I’m thinking of. And they’re very casual, like an extra-long t-shirt. I’d prefer something with a bit more style.
Then there are the many online stores that cater to Middle Eastern or South Asian women. Some of their clothes are beautiful… but probably too “ethnic” for the average Catholic westerner. I’d feel more than a little strange wearing a salwar-kameez around my Indian friends, even if I do make a mean batch of pakoras!
After all the searching, I’ve only found one that’s close to what I’m looking for. It’s $80, which is a bit much for many of us to pay for an everyday top. And the neckline might be problematic for some. But it’s the best I’ve seen.
I’m open to sewing my own, or paying a seamstress, if needed. But I think it’s a shame that mainstream clothing stores don’t give women the option of wearing longer tops.