Thursday, June 14, 2007

Modest summer

Summer is here again – without a doubt, the most 'modestly challenged' season! When I was in the process of changing my style of dress and committing myself to dressing modestly, I was a bit anxious about how I was going to handle the summer. Wouldn't I simply boil if I didn't allow myself to walk around with bare shoulders anymore?

My first modest summer went surprisingly smoothly, much better than I expected! I always try to keep the following points in mind:

1. The type of fabric is what really matters. I wear long, flowing skirts and blouses from light cotton that let my skin breathe. It feels so much cooler than for example a tight strapless top from synthetic fabric.

2. By the way, tight clothes feel much hotter since they don't allow sweat to evaporate! I'm not saying we should all start wearing sacks. Gently fitting clothes will do.

3. Colors matter. Light colors are much less heat-absorbent than dark ones.

4. Along with sunscreen, clothes serve as protection from the sun! Do you know how Bedouins dress for example? You don't see them walking around wearing shorts! We could learn something from them.

Summer is not an excuse to compromise our modesty standards. On the contrary! It's the perfect time to show we don't have to conform to cultural standards in order to feel pretty and feminine. If you want to make a transition from pants to skirts and dresses, I think summer is the best season to do it. Wearing skirts is more common during the summer, so you can start right now, and then just continue with skirts and dresses. I did it this way, and it worked wonderfully for me.

Swimming suits are another sore point. So far, I haven't found a truly satisfactory solution (though Wholesome Wear has some offers which are definitely better than what you normally see in stores). I only swim when there are no people at all, and when I'm pretty sure no one is going to appear all of a sudden.

Ladies, I would like to ask you something. Have your convictions about modesty changed in the last couple of years, and if so, how?

I wish everyone a lovely, enjoyable and modest summer!

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

You will be VERY happy with Swim Modest. This is where I got my suit. It is fabulous!!!

Anna S said...

Thanks for the link, the swimsuits I saw there were much better than what can be normally found in stores. Unfortunately, it still doesn't exactly work with my convictions about dress (I always keep my knees and elbows covered). Of course, our beaches would look SO much more dignified if more women chose to wear something like this and not the invisible bikinis we see so often!!

PaulaB52 said...

I'm still struggling with modest dressing. I go from wearing skirts all the time, to wearing capris, etc. I never let my chest hang out, that's something I'm very vigilant about.

I find I just get so SWEATY in skirts. It's like the sweat has no where to go (gross, I know), though I know it's just going into the pants/capris.

So, aside from staying in the house 24/7, whats a person to do about this summertime issue?

Anna S said...

Paula,

Which fabrics are your clothes normally made of? And what style of skirts? I have found, through trial and error, that in my tighter skirts I indeed sweat more. The solution, for me, was to wear more loose skirts and dresses, and I don't sweat much even when it gets VERY hot. Maybe I should post pictures of myself in my summer clothes of this season. But of course, each lady finds what works for her.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see what you are able to wear while staying so cool!

Autumn said...

I love shopping. But I hate it too. And that makes it no fun at all. Swimsuit shopping is especially hard. I hope that you find something that works for you!

Lydia said...

Loose clothing really does help, and natural fabrics like cotton and linen are SO much nicer than polyester.

I've been having a hard time converting my wardrobe over to more modest things, but since I learned to sew I've been better able to take charge of my clothing and the way it fits.

Kathleen aka Coffee Mom said...

I must say that over the years my ideas on modesty have changed drastically. I was not raised a Christian and consequently was very worldy and not at all modest. I look back at my former self and am horrified. Not only that I dressed and behaved in such a way, but wondering how many people I offended in my manner and dress.
Reading your blog, which I've only recently found, is a breath of fresh air. I wish I was like you at twenty. It would have saved me much heartache. My one comfort is that my children will not grow up the way I did.

Emily said...

This is so true Anna! Thanks for the steps to remember, they are very helpful :)

Anna Naomi said...

I thought I would be so hot when I began wearing mainly skirts and dresses, but surprisingly, I wasn't. Loose, flowing skirts are cool. Granted, sometimes it can get pretty hot, but usually you'd be hot in Alabama weather no matter what you wear!

I'd enjoy seeing pictures of you in summer outfits!

magda said...

okay. i have looked and looked and this is the only thing i could find that actually DIDN'T compromise standards of modesty. really pretty, too!
http://www.ahiida.com/
um, it happens to be muslim. i do not mean to offend you by suggesting a muslim swimsuit, and i hope that you're not offended. they also seemed pretty expensive. probably worth it, but still. or if you wanted to sew one up yourself, it's a good model to follow. then you could make the skirt longer, if you didn't feel comfortable with the pants showing so much. i was going to say you could leave the hijab off, but really isn't an attached swimcap that you can't lose kind of brilliant?

Mrs. Brigham said...

My first modest summer was last year and I came to many of the same conclusions that you have. Modest clothing does keep you much more comfortable when the temperature rise. The sun protection is another great bonus. My fair-skinned, redheaded self did not suffer any sunburn last year! That was exciting. ;o)

My convictions have greatly changed over the last few years, but particularly over the last twelve months. I now wear skirts/dresses that are past my knees and only wear shirts with sleeves. Finding clothing is still proving to be a challenging as I am on the taller side and a bit curvaceous. I also have the added challenging of being a nursing mother, so finding modest & nursing appropriate clothing is quite a quest, but I am hoping that learning to sew my own clothing will help with most of the clothing problems that I will come across. We have also started changing our family's clothing to "non-mixed" clothing per the laws in the Torah.

Finding modest clothing for little girls is already proving difficult. This is very disturbing as my daughter is only seven months old!

Tracy said...

Anna,
I'd love to see a few photos of you dressed in your summer clothes. Actually, I think it would be neat to see an entire week of skirts/dresses. I've seen this done before, and found it very inspiring.

I recently shared on my blog that I have worn a dress or skirt every day since the new year. I LOVE it. I'm so much more comfortable than I was before. I have found that I like my skirts right below the knee or calf lentgh. I'm very short, and look quite dumpy in something that comes to my feet.

Hmmmm. Perhaps you could use a Mr Linky if other women would be interested in participating in showing how they dress modestly for a week. If you're uncomfortable with that, let me know, and perhaps I could do it. (I don't want to steal this from you. )

I'm still struggling with what to do about my daughters. Autumn very rarely wears a skirt or dress except on Sunday. This past Monday she wore a cute skirt and t-shirt. I told her how pretty she looked. I truly meant it. She looked lovely in her feminine attire.

PandaBean said...

Paula - I had this problem too, until someone suggested anti-persperant, the same stuff I put under my arms now goes on my legs too. I haven't had any chaffing at all! I do have to refresh it sometimes after a really sweaty outing, but that's why I put some in my purse for just that reason, travel size works well, tho' not very economical. I've stopped sweating as much as I used to and now I find skirts are soooo much cooler than shorts, because unless the shorts are hot pants, you're not going to get the same breezyness! :P

Anonymous said...

I think it is amazing that in this time that there is a young woman like yourself that is modest and proud; also that you know you want to be a wife and mother. Deep down that is what I always wanted to be too and am now! It is VERY irritating that even in our church the girls dress like they are going clubbing or to the beach. Makes it very hard for the men to concentrate on the message. I would love to see some pics of how you dress. Modest sometimes seems to get linked with homely, which I am sure you are not. You look very beautiful! Thank you for sharing yourself, Elise

marie said...

Well I may be the eldest one here lol. But even when I was young I NEVER wore mini skirts, I went for the maxi-skirt which were much longer.

To me feminity lay in what a lady conceals rather than reveals. Today it is the opposite most young girls(not on this blog) believe in showing just about everything!!! And they do!

But to be honest I was such a dag that I wouldnt even wear shorts lol.

As I mentioned on my blog when I went to buy some sweats to excercise in ALL I could find were these horrible HIPSTERS and I DO mean low hanging hipsters...Sorry I will NOT wear such vulgar clothes. I mean no matter how young a girl is the 'plumbers look' is NOT becoming of a young woman. So I made do with last years sweats. Hopefully next year the 'fashion' will swing OUR way. *fingers and eyes crossed* lol.


Yours in Christ,

Marieeee

Sheri said...

Anna, I so appreciate your heart and passion for modest dress. You are a light in the darkness my dear sister in Christ!

* Have your convictions about modesty changed in the last couple of years, and if so, how?

A BIG yes! I have been a Christian for most of my life, but can honestly say that I was never taught much (if anything) on the topic of modesty. I did have a teacher once tell me that my shorts were too short, but she never explained why it mattered that my shorts were to short… anyhow, in the last 4 years God has really worked on my heart and humbled me in the area of modesty (Thus my “Modest Monday” blog posts). Although we all have specific “rules” for ourselves regarding what we will and won’t wear, I believe it’s our heart attitude that matters most. I seek to dress to please my God and secondly to bless my husband.

In the summer I personally wear skirts and dresses several times a week. I love the very flowing skirts that hit below the knee. I do wear crop pants and a few pairs of longer gym shorts when going for walks and exercising outside. I never wear shirts that show my bra or bra lines. Meaning, nothing tight. No one should see panty lines either. Again, nothing tight. Our family does enjoy quite a bit of swimming, but I have chose an suit that shows no cleavage, not near as much skin as most, and I always wear a modest cover-up when not in the water.

Thanks again for this wonderful “summer modesty” reminder!

Lean Not said...

Paula,
Maybe you could use a split-skirt slip. I think that one of those would help you with your issue. I know it is not fun to let your legs get sticky like that.

If you send me an e-mail at leannot@gmail.com I will send you a link for one, or you could go to jcp.com (JC Penney) and look up "petti pants" to see some.

Anna,
I also do not like wearing a swim suit. When I was younger, I didn't mind wearing one in public as long as I wasn't around people I knew. (but I always did wear the most modest one I could find.)
But the older (and more conservative) I get, I prefer to wear the suit under a T-shirt and split skirt, even if I'm swimming just with women. (the pool I have access to does not allow mixed swimming -- there are separate men's and women's times.)

Honestly, though, I don't go swimming that much anyway. I like swimming, but it is too much trouble to get all the stuff together (suit, towel, sunblock, etc.) and then get all cleaned up afterward, especially if I went to the beach and got sand all over everything. :) Plus, as you have seen on my blog, I like to avoid so much sun! :)

I have a great situation: the Christian ministry I work for has a dress code that is enforced no matter where I am, except for inside my house. (we are well known in our community and are really careful about our testimony.) That makes my choices easy. The dress code really is how I would dress anyway, but nobody really questions how I dress because they know where I work. Plus, almost my entire social circle lives by the same dress code, which is great.

Anna S said...

Kathleen,

When I read blogs of lovely young ladies in their teens (like for example 'Maidens of Worth' by Anna Naomi and Miriam Rebekah), I feel the same - "I wish I had been like that at 16". But God is good, and I know he taught me a lot through my mistakes.

Anna Naomi and Tracy,

You read my mind! :) I already started making a series of photos of me in my current summer dress. Nothing fancy, but I'm going to post it soon, and we can exchange ideas! Using this opportunity, I would really love it if some of you ladies shared what you wear during the hot summer days. If you don't have a blog but want to share pictures, email them to me and I will post them here. Tracy, I've never used Mr Linky before. How do you do that? :)

Since I'm not married yet, I don't know what strategy I'm going to take if I'm blessed with daughters. I guess I will only buy dresses and skirts for them when they are small, and so they will get used to wearing skirts. And of course, they will see Mommy only wears skirts. :)

Magda,

Thanks for the link! Of course I'm not offended. :) Modesty is modesty. I have some very nice Muslim friends and I think they dress in a very pretty and feminine way. Not that you'll ever see me in a hijab, but still. :) I think this is sort of what I need, just with a longer skirt. Or what they have on Wholesome Wear, just with a longer skirt.
I MUST finally master that sewing machine.

Mrs. Brigham,

When you say non-mixed, do you mean male-female, or wool-linen?

Lean,

Separate hours for men and women, that's lovely. I hope I'm going to find a swimming pool like this near the new place.

Mrs. Brigham said...

By no mixing, I mean wool & linen.

Coffee Wife said...

My modesty changes came about with swimsuits and my hair, oddly enough. The swimsuit was a no-brainer: how could I walk around half naked and be modest? My hair came about because whenever I wore it down (and I'm not kidding about this!) I'd get so many lustful comments and stares from men that I felt dirty!! *Some* men would just say, "What pretty hair you have." But most would practically drool. It really hit home one day when I was in a waiting room at a hospital and these two men were totally lusting OUT LOUD - "oooooh man you have such lovely hair! Ooooh it's soooo beautiful!" on and on and on they went - and one man had his WIFE with him and she was glaring daggers at me! So I felt guilty and dirty all at the same time. So now I own a Wholesome Wear bathing suit and I'm figuring out what kind of simple head coverings work for me. I wear a lot of sun bonnets right now and WOW do I get laughed at like some kind of freak! It's very embarassing.

Coffee Wife said...

anna s when I get some of my modest dresses that I'm ordering from a seamstress (I got the idea for a colonial style one from the "Maidens of Worth"!) I'll post the photos on my blog too. What a good idea! It helps people to SEE modest outfits and see how fun and pretty they can be!

Coffee Wife said...

Regarding chaffing legs (sorry, me again) I found that bike shorts, leggings and pantaloons work great at keeping thigh-rub to a minimum!

PaulaB52 said...

Anna,

I have one demin skirt, one khaki straight skirt, several flowy type of skirts, but they are made of rayon/polyester. The khaki is just too straight to wear right now, but it worked great in the winter. The denim is what I had on yesterday and I was BOILING in it, just doing housework. The rayon/polyester skirts, I feel like they stick to my sweaty legs, and that makes me feel self concious.

I'm going to try some petti pants and see if that helps. For a while I was wearing a slip and the slip stuck to my legs instead of the skirt, but that was hot too.

I also wear the anti-persperant on my legs to prevent chaffing. It's much less expensive that the anti-chaffing cream.

Thanks for the info everyone

Perennial Pioneer said...

Anna,
I so agree with you! My family and I have been wearing dresses and skirts, since I was 10 years of age. I wear jeans mostly now, because they are convenient, when you are working. I am going back to skirts, and dresses though, for the summer.
I have had girls come up to me, and ask me whether or not, I was hot in the skirts, and blouses. I told them, that I was actually cool, because of the sweat and the cool breezes we get here.
We must think of our example to the girls of the world. If we wear skirts and such, for the summer, more girls will do so. I had cousins, who because we were wearing skirts, for the summer, would do the same thing. It was so funny, seeing them vacelate between the two sides of the picture.
I have a sister in law, who loves to wear jeans, but if I wore a skirt to town, she would too. I think she is a little confused!:) Are all the young ladies like that?

Following Jesus in All things!
Laura Hines
Perennial Pioneer

Anna S said...

Michelle,

I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of your new outfits! I know what you mean about the lustful stares. Boy did I feel the difference when I made the switch to dressing modestly! This is NOT the type of attention we want! And when the moment comes for me to wear headcoverings, I'm sure people will stare. But I don't care. I'm going to follow what I think is right.

Paula,

I think at least part of what you describe is because of the fabric. I would boil in denim right now too. You could try cotton or linen and see if it helps!

Laura,

I used to wear jeans all the time before, but now I do all sort of work in skirts and feel very comfortable, I think it's a matter of habit. But of course each lady goes with what suits her. As long as we focus on being modest (and feminine! Women are not supposed to look like men and vice versa), everything is fine.

Lean Not said...

Anna,
I would love to hear what you have to say about head coverings.

Anna S said...

Lean,

I believe the issue of headcoverings is very individual, just like for example the issue of skirts/pants. We heard for example Michelle's testimony here, and she says she started wearing headcoverings because she got so many lustful looks. Personally, I'm going to start wearing headcoverings when I'm married.

Linz said...

Hi,

I think these swimsuits are adorable. Might inspire some ideas.

http://www.modest-swimwear.net/swimsuitpictures.htm

Lindsey

Anna S said...

Lindsey,

Thanks for the link! :) I think I saw it once before, maybe through LAF. Well, again, these are definitely better than standard swimming suits, but wouldn't really work for me as I don't wear short sleeves and skirts that don't cover the knee.

So far, it seems that best solution for me is to find a place with separate hours/days for men and women.

Lean Not said...

I am very curious about the whole head covering concept. I don't know anybody who wears one, but the Bible does seem to say that we should. It seems confusing to me. I would love to discuss this with somebody who has actually thought and prayed through the issue, but most people I know haven't. What are the issues involved? Here is what I wonder about:

1. Are we supposed to wear it all the time, or just in church?
2. Is it for modesty, or is it a symbol of submission or of something else?
3. Does it have to cover the whole head? Most girls that I see wearing head coverings only have a small doily or something. I do not understand how that qualifies as a head covering.
4. As far as modesty, I can see where it makes others look at you as a person instead of at the beauty of your hair, thus taking attention off of yourself and pointing attention to more important things. But in a society where almost NOBODY wears them, is the purpose defeated since it will draw a ton of attention to the lady wearing the head covering? Where I am, it would be seen as a fashion statement.

Perhaps this is a difficult issue that you would not want to bring up for discussion on your blog. I wouldn't know, because nobody I know talks about it much. If you feel like writing me an e-mail, that would be great too. (I am going to write you back about the other thing soon! Sorry I haven't done it yet!)

Anna S said...

Lean,

I don't mind discussing headcoverings, but of course, since I'm not any kind of authority figure and this is such a cultural issue, I only express my own humble opinion... well actually it's not even an opinion, I only say what *I* plan to do.

1. Once I get married, I plan to wear headcoverings all the time, except when I'm alone with my husband or with other women only.

2. I think headcoverings are a symbol of modesty AND submission, therefore I will start wearing them when I'm married.

3. While partial headcovering does have a symbolic value in my opinion, I will cover all of my hair.

4. This is a very interesting point! I've been thinking about it too, and I think I will write about it soon. It's not only about headcoverings actually. I see that the way I dress attracts many glances because NOBODY dresses this way where I live. So I suppose you could say that if I wore a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, I would attract less attention than I do now in my long skirts. Does it mean we should conform? More on that later...

Thanks for bringing this up!

Lean Not said...

By the way, (I am filling you up with comments today; sorry for jabbering) :) as I said in a different comment, I couldn't agree with you more about not worrying about culture when making decisions for standards.
I would never consider culture when making decisions regarding modesty, music, entertainment, philosophy, etc. but would use God's holy Word as my guide. It would never cross my mind to dress immodestly, for example, to fit in with society.

My issue with the headcoverings drawing attention was more in consideration of my already-conservative Christian social group -- I know that if I were to wear one, I would have a lot of explaining to do, and I don't know enough about it to explain it to a group of mature Christians.

Just wanted to make sure I wasn't coming across wrong. :)

Anna S said...

Lean,

I understand what you mean. Probably a bit like me when I was considering appropriate length of sleeves. It was difficult to find the balance between dressing the way I think is right, and not making others think I'm implying *they* are wrong.

Lean Not said...

Exactly.

MInTheGap said...

How does the long skirt and working with young ones fit together? I mean, I have seen some young girls on playgrounds in skirts, and I have seen women in skirts, I'm just not sure how a mother would follow her kids on a playground and maintain her modesty as she climbed ladders and things. Would that be a time where pants would be more modest?

I appreciate you ladies taking such care to protect your outward appearance, and I'm sure that it is cooler to have lightweight clothes in the summer.

Anna S said...

M,

In situations like you described (hiking, climbing etc) I usually wear a pair of pants underneath my skirt (the pants then are usually shorter than the skirt). It works fine even in the summer if both pants and skirt are made from light, natural, breathing fabric.

Kristi W said...

Yes, the last few years have seen a big change in dress for me. I grew up in a Christian home and when I was about 13 or so my parents had my sister and me start wearing skirts all the time. At that time in my life, I did not like it (it made me stick out like a sore thumb) and after a couple of years, my parents did not enforce wearing skirts anymore.

It was not until almost 10 years later that I got to be friends with a girl who was a real lady - by that I mean, she wore skirts/dresses all the time. But the thing that struck me was that it was really something in her heart; that she did not want to show off her body.
I began to wear dresses when I went to visit her, and a little more often during the week. This was the start of God's working modesty in my heart.
In 2002, I moved to Illinois, where I worked on a farm where almost all the ladies wore dresses all the time. It was not yet settled in my heart that I wanted to wear dresses every day, but I decided it wasn't worth making a big deal over, and I found a few "work dresses" at Goodwill. Over time, I began to be more and more comfortable in my skirts/dresses, and didn't like how my jeans felt anymore. I wore dresses almost all the time. I now only have one pair of loose-fitting capris and a few pairs of sweat pants for the winter. I wear split skirts often. I have a pattern that I have used a few times and it really makes me feel covered - not showing off my legs - in the summertime.

I also started to understand how the way women dress affects men, and I wanted to make sure I didn't draw that kind of attention.

Finally, I realize how much a godly woman, dressing like a woman, glorifies God. Perhaps I do stand out in a crowd, but I have such a different outlook about it now. I am so thankful that I can honor God and my husband by the way I dress.

Chelsea said...

I was looking back over your archives, (yes, in December!) and will definitely keep this in mind when I dress this summer, but what are your suggestions in the winter? I'm in Canada, and right now it's 0 degrees Ferenheit. It's so cold to wear skirts! The warmest I have found is jeans with high socks and boots, but that's not very ladylike.

Paulina said...

Thank you for this post - I agree with you wholeheartedly.

About a year or so ago, the Lord changed my views on modestly drastically. I used to never understand why my parents didn't allow me to wear certain things such as mini skirts or strapless shirts. Thankfully, I understand now and have gone above and beyond what they ask of me! My dad is now surprised at why I no longer where shorts. Imagine that!

Jocelyn said...

You might like to check out Princess Modest Swimwear. It's somewhat expensive, but I like their styles. Here's their website URL: http://www.modestswimwear4u.com

Abby Y said...

I know this is VERY late, but here is a website for custom modest swimsuits for pretty cheap. I got mine from there, and it is great customer service!!! comstox.com/modestswimwear
Abby