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Dressing Modestly Doesn’t Mean You’re Ashamed of Your Body

By: Bethany Baird

I will never forget the day that I was accused of being “insecure” and “uncomfortable in my own skin” for desiring to dress modestly.

This accusation happened several years ago when I was exploring the modeling world. The agent I spoke with told me that my modesty standards were due to insecurity in my life and advised me to “get comfortable in my own skin.”

Up until this point I had never attached the word “insecurity” to my modesty convictions and I was offended that a grown man would label me that way. I left that conversation with a strong desire to further establish my beliefs on modesty and encourage girls around me to do the same.  

The title of this blog post, Dressing Modestly Doesn’t Mean You’re Ashamed of Your Body, really captures the main objective I want to share with you today.

Sadly, we live in a culture that has this modesty issue totally backwards.

According to popular opinion a girl who dresses in skimpy and sexy clothing is considered confident. Why? Because she proudly shows off the body she’s got and isn’t uncomfortable with people giving her the up and down.

On the other side of the coin a girl who covers up and dresses with decency is considered to be ashamed of her feminine curves and insecure in her own skin. She is given labels like: old fashioned, insecure, uncomfortable, self-conscious, etc.

I don’t know who came up with the silly idea that immodesty equals confidence and modesty equals shame/insecurity.

Last I checked dressing modestly requires a TON of confidence and security. Here are a few reasons modesty equals confidence…not shame.

1. Dressing modestly requires a willingness to go against the crowd.

Girls who dress modestly are willing to stand out and look different than those around them. I’m speaking from personal experience here. It takes a lot of security and confidence for me to wear long board shorts and a surf top when I swim. If I wasn’t secure in my beliefs and worth in Christ, I would cave to the cultural pressure around me. But because I know the value of my body and the great worth Christ places on my femininity, I’m willing to dress modestly even if nobody else is.

2. Dressing modestly requires confidence in one Person’s opinion alone.

Dressing in slinky/sexy clothing is typically accompanied by a deeper yearning for attention and approval from others. When a girl intentionally dresses modestly (out of a desire to honor God) she is concerning herself with the only opinion that matters. In reality it doesn’t matter if other people like you, like your body, like your curves, like your style or like anything about you. It only matters what Jesus thinks of you. Choosing to dress in a way that honors Christ is very, very, very difficult. It takes a lot of guts to go against the culture and live out this lifestyle.

3. Dressing modestly requires humility.

When a girl dresses modestly (out of a desire to honor God) she is basically saying, “it’s not about me.” She is choosing to honor God with her body and is striving to keep the focus on her face, personality, and character qualities rather than on her body. I can attest that humility is not my strong point. I typically find myself wanting the eyes on me rather than on Christ. Dressing modestly is one way that I can practice humility and work on this difficult but essential quality.

4. Dressing modestly acknowledges the beauty and power of femininity.

When a girl chooses to dress modestly she acknowledges that her feminine beauty holds a unique power. She realizes that she was created to be different than men and was designed to be extremely attractive. She realizes that her femininity is a good thing and should be taken care of and respected. She isn’t willing to display her feminine curves for any passerby. She keeps her body tastefully covered in a way that portrays humility, elegance and respect.

The next time you hear the words “shame” and “modesty” put together, I want you to remember this.

Modesty in no way, shape or form should ever relate to shame, embarrassment or insecurity.

Modesty is simply acknowledging that the woman’s body was designed by God to be breathtakingly beautiful and extremely valuable.

“Modesty doesn’t mean that you’re ashamed of your body. Modesty is simply you valuing what has value.”Project Modesty

I want to challenge you to rethink your perspective on modesty.

To you help you rethink your perspective I want to highly recommend our new e-book Project Modesty: How to Honor God with Your Wardrobe While Looking Totally Adorable in the Process.\

This e-book is jam packed with our thoughts on why we believe modesty is important, tips and tricks on how to dress modestly fashionable, and a full list of where we shop. For more inspiration check out this fun video we made along with our three younger sisters. 

P.S. The picture used for this blog was taken from the Project Modesty E-book.

Dressing Modestly Doesn't Mean You're Ashamed of Your BOdy

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Radical Purity
  • Ayla

    Amazing post!! Thank you. I hate it when modesty and shame are linked. I’m always thinking to myself how back to front that idea is. Modesty takes a ton of confidence, and i know this from experience. It takes a lot to be modest for God instead of dressing as the world wants you to dress, or how you may be tempted to dress.

  • Madison Mullins

    Thank y’all so much! Although I am firm in my beliefs and know why I dress modestly, it always helps and encourages me when you post like this!

  • Moriah Mari

    I love that you’re running this series as school starts. This is my first year at a public college and I’m so grateful for you ladies sharing on this topic!

    • CT

      I’m in the same boat as you too! Prepared to shine for Christ!

  • Liz H

    There is such truth in these words! Thank you for this Bethany. :)

  • Allie

    Thanks so much for this :)
    I have a question, how do I know my jeans or pants are to tight?
    How tight should a shirt be?

    Thanks!

    • @Allie Great Questions. We answer these questions in-depth in our new Project Modesty e-book. I would highly recommend reading through that. -Bethany

  • Elisabeth

    I have a question, is it too radical a thing to want to only wear skirts, when pants are needed for at least some of everyday life?

    • Katie

      Hey Elisabeth! I don’t think it’s “too radical” a thing to only wear skirts, if that’s truly what you enjoy and what you think GOD (not someone else) wants you to do. There was a time in my life when I wore skirts EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. :) It’s really quite ‘do-able’ 😉
      But you are right, once in a while, pants are inevitable :) Here’s the thing: I’d encourage you not to be legalistic about it. Wearing skirts w24/7 doesn’t make you a “better Christian” but it certainly can help you be more modest/feminine. Something in the way of pants guidelines that my youth pastors wife once said was that you should wear pants when THEY are the more modest option (helping your dad/brothers on a roof, for example, doing something on a ladder, maybe even gardening? could actually be Immodest in a skirt 😉 and some things, such as summer/winter sports, would be simply impractical to wear a skirt for lol.
      I’m definitely not trying to tell you what you should do, but God calls us to be radical :) MOST OF the Christian life is radical living if you really think about it and do some comparing :) I’ve always found it’s easier for me to be a witness without saying a word if I’m in a skirt (at least before maxi skirts became the trend 😉 ) People would be able to guess right away that I had religious convictions :)
      Just some thoughts!

      • Elisabeth

        Thank you so much!!This was very helpful!!

        • Katie

          Glad to help! :)

    • @disqus_TaI5znAfWZ:disqus Great question! I do not believe that it’s too radical to only wear skirts. I know many girls who have chosen to only wear skirts and I’m very impressed with how active and feminine they are in their skirts. I think it’s totally possible to wear only skirts if that’s something the Lord has convicted you of. -Bethany

      • Elisabeth

        Thanks, that’s what I’m gonna do!!Unless there loose fitting pants or bellbotoms , or long spilt skirts.And dress of course!!

  • I rediscovered this blog today (I read an article or two awhile back but forgot about it) and I’ve been reading through just about every article that pulls up! Thanks so much for the encouragement in the faith! Keep up the good work! 😀

  • Sarah Horner

    Hey there :-)
    I’ve come across this blog a few times on Pinterest and the internet in various spheres, but I thought I would have a bit of a look. I respect what you’re doing and find it encouraging, good on you guys, and for making the point of it “not about us, but about Him”. I just have a couple of questions.
    1) ok, so in keeping with the idea that women’s bodies are attractive, is the whole point of the design of the women’s body just to please the man? Whether yes or no, could you please expand on this and explain it a bit more?
    2) this is a bit more of a personal concern but when it comes to me finding clothes to wear…I tend to feel frustrated, for a few different reasons. I’m trying to be modest, so I cover up my features which are quite noticeable (a big bum) but I find most skirts don’t completely obliterate the sheer size of my behind (even A-lines and flared skirts). I feel more comfortable in jeans however that doesn’t help either, for obvious reasons. And then I feel anxious that I could possibly be encouraging people to hone in on unhelpful thoughts and sin. And struggle because I’m not exactly stereotypically feminine, which leads one to feel in being part of the Christian community that that’s not acceptable (for lack of a more fitting word) and don’t fit in, or it’s a transitional phase ’till their confidence picks up. Stemming from that, (now this may possibly be not a good extrapolation but) James 2 seems to talk about being welcoming and not showing favour of two different people…could this be the same with clothing too? Also does the focus on dressing femininely seemed to be proportionally in some way geared towards eventually being a wife and such? I know it’s not the main point (God is) but perhaps it does seem significant? And when I do wear things I feel comfortable and modest in, then it’s either I’m not showing my feminine curves (respectfully) or I look butch or whatever…I simply don’t want to ‘market’ myself or represent something as something I’m not, or really waste time and effort on something when I really need to serve God and be in a relationship with Him; to get out of my own head and serve others! Has anyone else had the same experience?
    Anyway hope the best for you GirlDefined and God bless, thanks for your time

  • Charity Meyer

    Loved this post. I am actually a mother that came across your site for my daughter. When I was in my early twenties I attended Bible college in England. At the time I to was struggling with the questions of what does this modest Christian wonan look like today. When walking through the city center one day I noticed all of the young girls that were very provocatively dressed in the very cild wet weather. The way they were dressing was completely inappropriate for the weather. At that moment my heart really broke for them as the Lord impressed on my heart that it was actually insecurity and desire for love that was the driving force behind the immodest attire. I believe that this is one of the lies that the world wants us to believe. Immodesty is not body confidence it is actually insecurity, a desire to be noticed and loved. As Christian women we are loved and cared for by Love Himself. When we know our identity as His child, His bride, his masterpiece we then realize that we have no need to dress for anyone but for Him!


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