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What a Hat Taught Me About ‘Cute’ (Free Book Giveaway)

By: Guest Blogger

I saved up my allowance (yes, I still get one) all summer in anticipation of the end-of-year clearance sale at one of my favorite online retailers.

As autumn’s first chill threatened to ditch summer like a Hollywood fling, I filled my cart with all those cute lil’ summery clothes I had been eyeing since spring. Including the hat. Not just any hat, my sisters. This black trucker hat with giant, silver “SURF” lettering was the epitome of cool.

The model who had worn it in the spring catalog—with her caramel skin and salt-tousled hair—confirmed it was the cutest hat EVER created. Surely all the girls in sunny Costa Rican surf spots were wearing them. So when I spotted said trucker hat looking trendy and on sale?

It was in my cart faster than you can say “impulse purchase.”

As always, the arrival of my online order felt like my birthday. (Why is it that we can spend our own money on something, but if it comes in the mail it feels like a gift? I catch myself wanting to hug my postman in gratitude—like he’s being generous by delivering my frivolities.) I tore into the package and got ready to stage a “fashion show” for my husband to get his opinion of each item.

He gave a verbal thumbs-up to the sundress, the tennis skirt, and the slouchy burnout T-shirt.

I was on a roll, so when it came time for the hat, I threw together a quintessential summer ensemble—jean cut-offs and a T-shirt—to give him the full effect and got ready for the compliments to flow. A quick glance in the mirror revealed that I hadn’t magically transformed into catalog perfection, but whatevs—the hat was cute. At least, I thought the hat was cute. Something in the back of my mind gave me the teeniest pause. I decided to ignore whatever that was and get Paul’s opinion.

“So, what do you think of the hat?” I asked.

And this was his response: “Uhhhh . . .” Bad start right there. Should have left it alone. But he continued, “I don’t like it. Maybe it would look good on someone with a different-sized head.”

My jaw dropped. “A different-sized head?”

“Yeah. I mean, it just sticks up kind of high on your head.”

“It’s supposed to look like that,” I defended.

“Well, it’s up to you, but I don’t think it looks good.”

Now, I have to tell you that my husband is usually super complimentary when I try onanything for him, so for him to say that something didn’t actually look good—at all—I had to take that seriously. (And have a good laugh later.)

But his words got me wondering . . . what made me think that the hat was cute in the first place? And why was it so hard to return an $18 hat that, apparently, made my head look like Mr. Munster’s?

It took a while, but I’ve finally figured out the answer to those questions (among other questions about beauty and body image).

We girls have looooong been defining what’s “cute,” “in style” or “fashion-forward” by what we see in magazines, on ads, on screen or (more recently) plastered all over social media. So when we look in the mirror, whether we feel cute or not depends almost 100 percent on how closely we think we match something we’ve seen somewhere else.

From our makeup to our clothes, from our hair to our overall body shape, from our skin to our teeth to our arms to our bellies, we evaluate our own beauty based on whether we match our favorite images of other girls.

So when I looked in the mirror donning my long-anticipated trucker hat, I ignored all reason and thought maybe I could pull it off only because someone in a magazine defined it as cute for me.

Obviously, God wants more for us than that.

As His perfectly-designed daughters, we should be the first girls in the world to recognize the beauty He has displayed in plain sight—like the beauty in a smile, in strong legs, and in a body made to bring God glory. Part of being a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17) is knowing—and living like we know—our worth and beauty.

Putting words to how I’ve always subconsciously defined cute has been revolutionary for me. I hope it will be for you, too. Recognizing truth is the first step to living free, and there’s a whole lot of freedom in redefining “cute.”

Instead of looking in the mirror and checking to see whether we look like the latest magazine image or Polyvore ensemble, we can create our own version of beautiful—a beautiful that defies stereotypes, stands tall, and expresses herself with her own unique je ne sais quoi. (That’s French for indescribable beauty. Oui!) Because that’s the way God has made us to shine.

However . . . if you happen to find a cute trucker hat that isn’t twelve inches tall, I’m still in the market (wink).

Your Chance to Win! 

We are SOOO excited to give away a signed copy of, Jessie Minassian’s brand new book Backwards Beauty: How to Feel Ugly in 10 Simple Steps

To have your name entered in the giveaway, simply leave a comment with your answer to one of these questions:

  • What source do you look to define what’s cute and what isn’t?
  • Have you ever made a beauty mistake like my trucker hat purchase because you looked to something other than God’s Word to define your beauty?

Winner will be announced Wednesday (Feb. 10th). 

Get to Know the Author.

Jessie Minassian loves Jesus, sunshine, and sand between her toes. She’s also a speaker, author of a handful of books, and the resident “big sis” at, a Q&A website for teen girls. A native Californian, Jessie now lives near Denver, Colorado, with her husband and two daughters.


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57 Responses to What a Hat Taught Me About ‘Cute’ (Free Book Giveaway)

  1. Taylor says:

    I often look to what the girls around me wear whether I am in the same room or looking at them via social media. God has been teaching me recently to always look to what I should wear through His word. A good verse too look up is Phil 4:8-9. It is very inspirational and helps when it comes to looking for the right kind of people to look for fashion advise.
    I love what Rebekah Baird is doing! Look up her Insta!

  2. Molly Whiteman says:

    I often spend time looking at what’s cute and popular from what others are wearing and I really wish I didn’t!

  3. I tend to draw my “body image” from social media and basically online sources.. That’s probably a really bad place to look to! Thank you for this article. It definitely helped me!

  4. Sharon Stachelek says:

    I definitely look at the world to see “what’s in” and then modestly try to copy that image. Still trying to look past that and see the real beauty within and not be so consumed with outward beauty (although oh so hard). 🙂

  5. Caroline Pennings says:

    I watch what’s in style in the stores, but rarely buy new clothes (unless they’re on the sale rack!). I love thrift shopping!

    • Dolly says:

      I can’t remember the last time I spent full price on clothing. I must have been when I was invaded by that alien dude….

  6. Hannah says:

    Thanks so much for this article and giveaway! I’ve just been skimming through the “look inside” pages of Jessie’s book on Amazon and it looks like a really amazing book. When I’m looking for outfit ideas, I usually go to some of my favorite modest fashion blogs, or pinterest.

  7. Allison Ockenfels says:

    First the otfit must be modest. After that it is how I feel in the outfit. If I feel beautiful and confident, then I make my decision.

  8. Breanne says:

    I recently went shopping online for a Batman sweatshirt, I thought that I would be the coolest one in my church if I had that Batman sweatshirt. Well, after buying it…I read up on some reviews about the place. That’s when I found out, it was a scam. I defiantly will be spending my money wisely next time. 😀

  9. Rosalie says:

    I think that my idea of cute is definitely impacted by what I see my friends wearing, either through pics on social media or hanging out in person.
    The problem arises when /I/ try to wear the same types of outfits because they suite neither my personality and style nor my body shape. :/

    Thanks so much for this post!

  10. Sarah says:

    This is actually something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. I go to a christian university and a lot of my friends have bee wanting me to wear leggings and stop wearing my trademark white tee shirts under everything. To me cute isn’t wearing the hottest styles and looking like everyone else. Cute is wearing what you know is modest and God pleasing. I think a lot of times we try so hard to look our best to please others. While God wants us to take care of ourselves and present ourselves well, this shouldn’t go outside of what He desires for us.

  11. Diana says:

    I look at Pinterest which I yam shameful for 🙁 however, sometimes I just pray for God to close my eyes on those pictures and focus on my inward beauty. When I do this, I stop caring to buy all the cutest, most popular clothes and just focus to dress the way God would like to see me. 🙂

  12. Anna Schwartz says:

    I love vintage looks but I also am a casual person.. I guess I would have to say that I look to Pinterest for my style ideas. Pinterest has many great ideas when it comes to cute fashion but also off the wall weird stuff but it also doesn’t consume my day either. I also don’t like to online shop unless I know for sure its worth it! My birthday is Wednesday so it would be wonderful to win!

  13. Dolly says:

    Honestly, I am not fashionable. I don’t wear skinny jeans, I don’t color my hair, and I wear St. Johns Bay shirts from Penney’s. I get my sense of style from a) what I like. b) what is comfy. c) what is sophisticated and grown up. If I was to meet a future employer in these clothes, I wouldn’t be embarrassed. d) what is modest. I don’t wear blouses that are reminiscent of turtle necks, but they don’t resemble a bathing suit either.

    I have my sense of style. If I had to pick a source from where I get my idea of what is cute and what isn’t, I would have to say my mom. My mom and I are so similar, we go to the same stores, get (unintentionally) similar haircuts, etc. I wouldn’t want to get a sense of style from anyone else.

  14. Moriah Faith says:

    Beautiful post, Jessie! I’m pretty idealistic when it comes to style but because I pretty much only shop at thrift stores, it’s not always trendy. However, it’s a fun challenge (and Lord knows, a trial sometimes) to put together a great outfit. Pinterest has a lot of lovely style inspiration (that I could never afford). And yes, I’ve had far too many of those “this is so cute” moments that have turned out entirely awkward because of my spur-of-the-moment decisions. What I’ve learned is that trusting the Lord with all out hearts can really affect our choices in this arena. Not only does He give us our value and beauty but He is so able to provide exactly what we need!

  15. Olivia Scott says:

    I look at Pinterest a lot for outfit ideas. I used to be terrible with putting stuff together a few years ago, but looking on Pinterest has actually really helped me to get my own style and now I’m pretty good at putting things together! 😉 But I’m not overly concerned with what’s “popular” or what “everyone else is wearing.” I just want to be myself. And I always strive to dress modestly, too, to honor God and be a good representative of Him. 🙂

  16. thehappygirl says:

    Great article, funny and relatable! 🙂 I had an experience similar to this one just a few months ago. I ordered a pair of sweatpants online (with birthday money from my boss), hoping to look like that model. To make a long story short, it didn’t work out. I returned them, and spent the money on some DIY decor for my future home 😉

    God has really, really been teaching me a lot lately, through heartbreak, disappointments and mistakes. It’s definitely been a season of growing for this gal! I’ve learned that, while I still like looking cute and doing my hair and putting on that mascara, it’s how I’m glorifying God that matters! If I’m wearing the cutest dress and shoes around, but I’m not pointing others towards Christ and being a good example, it doesn’t matter! Our worth is found in God alone.-Monica

    I am currently loving my boyfriend jeans and slouchy tees or over-sized plaid shirts (I keep the shirts modest by adding a cami underneath). It takes a lot of work to dress modestly and make it work, but is definitely worth it!

  17. Claire says:

    Fortunately, with a mom and sister on the guard, God’s protected me from making a total fashion fool out of myself–though I’m sure I’ve tried. 😀 I used to not really care about trends in fashion much, mainly because large-build girls like me don’t always look the best in the popular styles, but teen years got the better of me eventually. I’m not a fanatic about style, but thanks to you guys, I actually have some ideas as to how to mix fashion with modest! I have had moments standing in front of a mirror and crying at how not-like-a-model I am, so I’m nowhere near perfect.

  18. kaitlynnR says:

    What is modest yet fits my style, is how I define cute. I guess I have always had a sense of what I liked, I thought everyone did until my friend told me she had the hardest time shopping! So whenever I see something stylistically that I like, I’ll take a mental note and see if I can’t do something similar, but I don’t seek out styles to try.
    I have experienced that “check” (where you know this isn’t really what fits your standards, but you really like it) and most of the time I put it back. But one time I got these black heels that were way to tall for me and when I tried to wear them my father let me know! Unfortunately, I decided that he just didn’t know what he was talking about and wore them anyway, but not honoring your father doesn’t tend to sit well with you and I ended up getting rid of them. Lessons learned 🙂

  19. Melissa VDA says:

    I guess I don’t look to anything for what I think is cute. I’m sorta the type that develops my own style. 🙂 Great post! I enjoyed it.

  20. Anonymous says:

    As a young girl, I was totally unconcerned with style and how I looked….but as I grew up, I began to be exactly the opposite, and become too focused on how I appeared to others. By the grace of God, I think I’m now at a place where I’m cute and modest, but not anxious about people’s opinions of me. Thanks for the great blog and reminder!

  21. Taylor says:

    I think I’ve made several beauty mistakes! Like a certain dress I wouldn’t have picked out on my own but I bought anyway…and have barely worn since then.

  22. Jasmine Luna says:

    Great post!
    I’d have to say that a lot of times, I define “cute” by what I see other Christian girls wearing. But recently, I’ve been wanting to stop being such a people-pleaser with fashion. I am fearfully & wonderfully made, so I don’t have to be comparing myself to others to define beauty.

    And yes, I have made too many beauty mistakes to count!

  23. Jesusfreak17 says:

    I think my source for cuteness is my own likes and dislikes influenced by what I see others wearing.
    Nice to see Jessie on this blog!! 🙂

  24. Marisol Sandoval says:

    My beauty mistake I did was when I was about 14 or 15 years old. I bought a really cool white billabong brand shirt that was two sizes smaller. Why did i buy it smaller than my size? I was determined to lose weight so that one day I could put that shirt on and feel beautiful BUT nope! That determination disappeared right away and I never wore the shirt. I began studying the bible when I was 16 and realized that physical beauty will diminish but never the beauty of a God fearing woman! It’s hard to hold on to the truth when we are living in satan’s realm but it gives me great peace that I have come to know Yahweh, Jesus and, the truth.

  25. Cassie says:

    I look at something I think would accent my natural beauty (shape, eye/hair color, etc.) in. A God-honoring and modest way to determine if something will look cute. 🙂

  26. Allison says:

    Too often I find myself looking to the other young ladies at my church to define what I should wear. They are all such godly young ladies and would be horrified at the idea that I look to them for “fashions” but I sometimes find myself doing that and have to rebuke the thought.

  27. beppy7 says:

    I definitely look to my older sister to define what’s “in” and what’s not. All too often though, I have to remind myself that I need to buy clothes not because I think SHE would think it’s cute, but because I personally like it, and feel it’s a good buy.

  28. Sophia says:

    First, I always like to be modest when it comes to style. I go to a public school that is very lax about our dress code, and it’s such a shame others that others don’t care or don’t know that you can still be in style without wearing revealing clothes. Honestly, being modest and fashionable is very classy. I’m very girly, and I have my own sense of elegant style. When I was younger, I used to want to wear what everyone else is wearing, but now I value honoring God with how I dress, and I don’t follow every trend that is out there because it is either immodest or just not my personal taste. One of my mistakes from back then was when almost ALL my shirts had one particular brand name all over the front of the shirt. While it wasn’t immodest, it was much too commonplace. I think that since we are all God’s creations, it’s nice when we embrace originality. I wouldn’t really say I use other sources to “define” what is cute, it’s more my personal opinion 🙂 I am frequently inspired by what a few of the current trends are, Polyvore, modest clothing online, and lots of modest fashion blogs, including Rebekah’s 🙂

  29. Jessica says:

    I suppose I am guilty of looking to “other girls” to define what is cute and “in style”. I love how you bring out what true beauty is and “redefining cute”. It is so true, a genuine smile, kind words and a serving heart is so beautiful whether you are wearing “stylish” clothes or just a t-shirt and jeans. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  30. Grace says:

    A really awesome place to shop for modest clothes is a Goodwill-by-the pound. There is always something there, because the way it works is it goes to a normal goodwill, and stays there for 90 days. By then everyone has picked through it, and not many people nowadays want modest stuff…Plus it is very cheap, 89 cents a pound, depending on where you live. 🙂

  31. Elaine says:

    I’m not entering into the contest, but I wanted to share how I have done the exact same thing (the buying part). I bought what I also thought was a gorgeous hat. It looked SO petite and pretty on the model (whose makeup and hair were the definition of perfection in this earthly world) that I bought it. My mom tried to get me to see it would probably be too big (all hats are on me) and that it wouldn’t be as elegant but more stiff. But I went ahead, bull-in-a-china-shop style, and bought it. I think it is unnecessary to say it was a mistake. At times I am still ashamed of it. It’s waaaaay too big and as stiff as a board. I am learning to laugh about it now but the lesson was hard. Overall, thanks so much for this post. I appreciate it 🙂

  32. Sandra says:

    *What source do I look to define what’s cute and what isn’t?*

    I look everywhere to make my own opinion about what I think is cute and what isn’t. In
    catalogues, but also in shop windows and what other girls are wearing. I don’t think cute is ‘as small and tight as possible’, but ‘can I see who this girl is by what she is wearing?’ and ‘does she feel comfortable in what she is wearing?’ And than also: can people see who I am by the way I dress? But in the last year I’ve learned you can also dress to honour God. That is also one of my sources now: is the way I dress modest? I think you can look absolutely cute by wearing modest clothing. By that, I think you also show your inner beauty, which – in my opinion – makes someone cute and beautiful in any event.

    *Have I ever made a beauty mistake because I looked to something other than God’s Word to define my beauty?*

    I have to confess that, before I knew God, I had a very very very short period in which I wore clothes which were a little to tight, especially for my body figure. It was what all girls where doing back than. Very soon after wearing them, I found out it wasn’t me wearing those clothes – I didn’t feel good in them. Later, I found out I didn’t show my true beauty by wearing those clothing and just last year I learned more about modest clothing – a way to dress to honour God. And I feel so much better by wearing modest clothes! Now I’m thinking: does God wants to see me in clothes like this? Is it a yes, I will take it, is it a no, I – well – leave it.

  33. Hannah says:

    What source do you look to define what’s cute and what isn’t?

    -Well, I “should” look to the women of the bible… But I am guilty as well for trying to impress the world (including myself) by making myself look beautiful and more presentable on the outside with fancy clothes and make-up. Not that any of those things are necessarily bad but I want to be known as a kind, gracious, and humble gal. Not for what I do and don’t wear!

  34. Kiera says:

    What source do you look to define what’s cute and what isn’t?
    I am inspired by girls like you, Baird sisters, and Olivia Howard of Fresh Modesty, but I am kind of developing my own style of things I think are cute and not cute.

    Have you ever made a beauty mistake like my trucker hat purchase
    because you looked to something other than God’s Word to define your
    I have definitely made impulse buys that I thought looked cute but ended up not being worth it.

  35. Grace says:

    question: do you think it’s okay to wear short skirts with leggings?

    • thehappygirl says:

      Hi Grace, I’m not sure who this question is directed to, but I’d like to share my insight 🙂 We all have different convictions, so I would recommend getting the advise of a parent or a godly older woman, or a wise girl friend.

      For myself, it would depend on the length of the skirt/dress. Knee-length or longer, sure, wear those leggings! Above the knees…. I would say probably not. The reason I say this is although leggings cover up the skin, you can still clearly see the outline of the legs/thighs.I know everyone has different definitions of “too short” (for me that’s anything above that’s above the knees; for one of my friends its anything above mid-calf; for another person it may be above the ankles), but I hope this helps you a little! 🙂

      • Grace says:

        Thank you!! This really helps me. I have a really good friend who I know would help me a lot as well, but she lives very far away, and she doesn’t have an email or anything, so not much to contact her with…. : /
        The question was to anyone, really, but you’ve helped me so much! Thank you again!

        • thehappygirl says:

          Awww, you’re welcome sis! I have always had a passion (I think that’s the word I’m looking for haha) for dressing modestly, and love guiding others in that area as well.

  36. Katie says:

    When trying to define what is cute and what isn’t, I try not to go with what is “in style”. I like to chose clothing based on a few things:
    * Whether it fits my style
    * Whether it covers me and is modest
    * Whether it looks good on me
    * If I feel good and comfortable wearing it
    * Lastly, I will not wear it if it says any bad words on it

    • Avi yah says:

      on my list of factors this I add:
      * If it has bad pictures on it, I also won’t wear it.
      I found this particularly sad for some bathing suits I liked, which I found modest in shape but not modest in printing.

  37. Julia says:

    When trying to define what is cute and what isn’t I try to go with what is in style but ALSO what I think is modest and in style, and if I don’t feel comfortable in it (and I don’t mean comfortable as in comfy like pjs) I won’t wear it. Usually that means it is a little to immodest for me or to out there. I want to feel comfortable in what I wear instead of wanting everyone to compliment me. I do struggle with it though.

  38. Grace says:

    Another thing I’m noticing is that a lot of people are going out in public in their pj’s. Most of them seem to think that it’s okay, but what about the short shorts, and spaghetti strap tee shirts? It is also not reflecting God very much.

    • First Amendment says:

      Why do you care what other people wear? Not everyone believes in God, and even people like myself who share your faith don’t hold your modesty convictions. I don’t think God reflects himself through clothing but through actions. You can be selfless in spaghetti straps and short shorts and selfish in a maxi skirt.

      • Lover of Jesus says:

        While, yes your point about being selfless in spaghetti straps and short shorts and being selfless is better than wearing a maxi skirt and being selfish is a great point… Those of us that are Christ’s children should want to glorify Him in EVERYTHING- actions and how we dress. Also, we may causemany of our brethren to stumble by wearing things like spaghetti straps and short shorts- while they would be held accountable, i think so would we. Yes actions speak louder than dress, but we need to act and dress all for God’s glory.

        This comment is not meant to put you down, so if you took it that way I truly apologize, I only meant to encourage you in the Lord. God Bless you!

  39. Sarah Shaw says:

    I usually look to other fashion blogs to see what the newest “cute” things are. This is a very well written post. Thank you for this! And the giveaway 🙂

  40. GirlDefined says:

    WINNER!!!! We are so excited to announce that Moriah Faith is the winner of the contest. Moriah, please e-mail us your mailing address and we will get the book to you asap 🙂 congrats girl 🙂 @moriahpro31:disqus

  41. Sydney says:

    I live in a family with seven siblings who are all picky- and don’t mind saying what they think. 🙂 So I hear their opinions on my clothes as often as I need them.

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