Modern Style: Fashionable or Immodest?

October 5, 2011 Rissi JC 22 Comments

Fashion and/or modesty is often a point of contention for many parents and their children – or more specifically teenage daughters. In the small circle of people – primarily home-school families, that I rub shoulders with, most of them, if not all have very strict views on modest fashion. And, I do too. But I also firmly believe that a girl can dress in tune with modern fashion trends and still be modest. 

Modern Style: Fashionable or Immodest? #FWarchives Click To Tweet
Modern Style: Fashionable or Immodest? Talking about my more modest fashion and just general modest vs immodest fashion. Text © Rissi JC

On my own, I didn’t start to develop, what I’d categorize a “style” until my teens because up until then there were rules. The fact that my mom never once let me get away with purchasing something immodest is extremely beneficial to me. Now as a young adult I know just by looking at something if it’s right or not. Honestly, I wasn’t the type of child to try and convince her to buy me something that was the “it” accessory for the season, but still…

There was a point when I wondered why my parents didn’t let me pick out the “cool” clothes. I had two strikes against me in dressing modestly. First it’s twice as hard to find appropriate clothes, and in my little-girl logic, I knew buying a graphic tee had to be less expensive than a nice, attractive, ankle-length dress for Sunday best. Back when my mom gave me more leeway to choose things, I have did enjoy buying new things.


Whether a good or bad thing, I must admit that I don’t think I have a specific “style.” Or I haven’t catered to it if I do. I pull a lot of trendy things off the rack, fall in love with them and promptly buy it. However, I do realize that I probably should make up my wardrobe with “classier” pieces because in the long run, they have style longevity. Of late, my mom and I shop on-line at the likes of Land’s End (love their sales, otherwise, their prices are insane); a place that specializes in classic sweaters and chinos (isn’t that really just a fancier name for cotton dress pants?). With the autumn season upon us comes new fashions, and I’m happy to read that longer skirts are back. How unusual is that? Little by little, I’m adding some timeless pieces

Something that might work for me might not work for the girl next door – whether it be shape, color or style. Different colors look better on different skin tones, and the same is true of make-up and its tonal palette. (I have this whole “thing” about these stars and their cherry red lips, but I won’t get into that!) There is an entire generation who don’t realize how terrible they look; and not because of the wrong look on the wrong person but all because of its immodesty. It isn’t just out on the street in the passerby or at work, but within the church. That is really sad. What is it going to take for girls to realize that how they dress says a lot about them…?

In my life, I haven’t experienced two extremes of modest dressing; meaning I do wear wear jeans and a T-shirt. I was allowed that growing up just so long as the shirt eliminated any inappropriate skin showing. My choice of dress today is much the same. I wear blue jeans a lot and then pair them with a cute jacket or blouse. Sundays I hold myself to dressing up because otherwise I rarely go places that demand that. The majority of those Sundays I wear skirt and top to match, and then pair the right accessories with the outfit to complete the look. The right outfit or style can do a lot for a person. It isn’t “important” to life, but it can sure brighten our day to buy a new, trendy outfit. And, really who doesn’t think a new pair of shoes can add that last missing component to your otherwise chic ensemble? 

I’d be interested in your input and viewpoints: what were your standards? What is your favorite thing about modern fashion? Comment below…

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Rebekah Brielle October 5, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    At one point in my life, I went through a phase where I only wore dresses and skirts.
    I soon got tired of it, because it was just too strict! So, I dropped that.
    I think you can be fashionable, yet in a modest way. I see nothing wrong with wearing jeans or a T-shirt.
    My favorite thing about modern fashion?
    That it is not as strict in dress code as it used to be! Everyone is free to expresss themselves how they like.
    Me? I like to express myself in a modest, yet fashionable way :)
    There is nothing wrong with being in style!
    Great post!

  • Rebekah Brielle October 5, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    By the way, that is Taylor Swift isn't it! <3
    Haha! I'm sure it is :)

  • Ella October 5, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    For quite a few years, I went to a church that pretty much outcried the wearing of pants….from the pulpit. So needless to say, I didn't. The church was more of the "wear a paper sack, because that is the only way to be modesst type of thing"….so I did

    Now, I don't believe that. I believe you can be modest while still being stylish and fashionable. I mean, you might have to do some additional work at the store (to make sure it is modest), but I think it's worth the added trouble.

  • Ella October 5, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    I completely agree with you.
    I think girls can be modest and still wear beautiful and some times modern clothing.

  • Rissi October 6, 2011 at 2:32 AM

    Rebekah – I know one girl who wears dresses even in her day-to-day activities at home. It has never been a standard I have held myself to – nor have my parents, but if it is truly a conviction for someone, I am not going to try and convince anyone that dressing modern but modest is right for them. I wouldn't want to have any other style personally, but that is just me. I do dress up for church on Sundays which normally means a skirt, but that is my choice.

    Yes, the photo is of Taylor. I thought it was such a pretty setting and although it looks more fifties time frame, it still went with the post. Finding the perfect image is almost as fun as writing the post (and it doesn't take nearly as long!). =) Thanks, as always for your input!

    Ella – ironically, my church is the total opposite; they never talk about modesty. Once we did have an associate pastor's wife who tried to work with the younger girls, but I don't think it really stuck with them. Fortunately, I have always dressed with the times but modestly. And, I LOVE that there is little limitation with that. Even if something is a little sheer or immodest in the back, usually you can make something work, whether it be a tank top or such, it instantly becomes perfect. =)

    Ella – glad you share so many of everyone else's thoughts! I love that today's fashion can still be modest – as a shopper, we just have to pick the right sizes and maybe layer something or throw a cute jacket over a blouse and everything is great. =)

    Love all of your feedback, ladies! I knew there were more who believed as I did, but it is great to read all of your thoughts!! As always, keep the comments coming – it makes blogging so much more fun. =D

  • Charity October 6, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Ella (1)'s comment about her pastor preaching against pants and her not wearing them from that moment on kind of made me smile — because I'm a bit rebellious in that manner and if it doesn't make sense to me, I refuse to conform to it. I remember sitting through a sermon once on the evils of wearing black (in black), in associating with Goths (many of my friends leaned Goth at that time), and in the evils of "Harry Potter." I was not in my home church — I was in a relative's church, and as I walked out I hummed the Harry Potter theme song.

    Yeah… I got issues.

    ANYWAY… I agree that it's possible to be modern and modest. I think the best possible way to do that is simply to ask another's opinion whom you trust if there's any question. Your mom (or your dad!) will be eager to tell you, "Nope, that's too short/low cut." But like you, Rissi, I always grew up knowing what was and wasn't acceptable to wear. I don't remember my mother reinforcing it, I just grew up in a conservative environment so it never crossed my mind to wear short skirts.

    Someone in church complimented me on my style the other day and said it was very "New York." I smiled at her and thought, "What style?" I guess I must have a style that I'm not even aware of! =D

  • Jemimah C. October 6, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Being raised in a family that upholds the value of modesty, there were some standards that were set in the area of clothing and fashion. I'm not the kind of person, though, who wears extremely long skirts and that kind of things. Sometimes, it's just not practical. Neither do I like to wear anything revealing. But I believe not all modern styles are immodest. Yes, in fact, some of them are stylish which I tend to like. I guess my standard would be…you can wear stylish, fashionable, and modern clothing just as long as they are still modest.

    By the way, I like what you told Ella. "even if something is a little sheer or immodest in the back, usually you can make something work, whether it be a tank top or such, it instantly becomes perfect." I love finding ways to make an "immodest" piece of clothing wearable.

    Wonderful post, Rissi! I'm hoping to read more posts like this.

  • Rebekah Brielle October 6, 2011 at 10:50 PM

    I usually wear a skirt or dress to church as well, and yes it is my choice. I like looking neat and pretty for church :)

  • Rissi October 7, 2011 at 1:18 AM

    Charity – knowing that a church even preaches anything on modesty is “foreign” to me because mine has never done so in my memory. There are three girls around my age at church who are from the same family and have no qualms about wearing (very) form-fitting clothing and/or revealing pieces. Wearing pants as opposed to skirts is not immodest to me unless you wear them skin tight, otherwise, pants are just as acceptable as a skirt. (Your “Goth and Harry Potter” story was really quite humorous!)

    I don’t remember a time that my mom had to tell me “NO WAY are you wearing that!!” but I know that from a young age, she steered me in the right direction and until I was old enough to adhere to that rule myself, she was instrumental in picking out my clothing. Even today, I still love her opinion, although I know whether it is appropriate or not BECAUSE of the guidelines (and example) she set. (Wearing a short mini skirt was not something I ever thought was appropriate, that is for sure! =D)

    Oh! It’s always nice to be complimented on a style, isn't it!? =)

    Jemimah – I was raised in a family that upheld modesty also, but that didn’t mean that I had to wear skirts. Like I said before, I am not going to say it’s “wrong” that someone does, because it all likelihood, it’s a conviction for that person, but that doesn’t mean it is for me. Sunday best normally means a skirt, but even then, I like A-line and knee-length (that style is so cute nowadays!), and to me, that length and style is modest. Everyone defines it differently. I was interested in reading that long skirts are in fashion now. (I agree with you: skirts for everyday living is not usually practical!)

    I find that almost anything is “wearable” in today’s style just so long as you maybe layer it or pair a cardigan with a cami or something. And, that is what I love about fashion today. =)

    I would love to write more posts like this, Jemimah, so thanks for sharing your interest. It just depends on if I can continue to find topics to write about. I’ve got a couple more that will appear in the next month and maybe by then, I’ll have stored some more similar thoughts. =)

    Rebekah – yeah, I normally pull out a skirt for Sunday best, because I rarely go anywhere else that requires “dressing up”… and after all, it is fun to do so on occasion. =)

    Loving your feedback, girls…

  • Livia October 7, 2011 at 2:39 AM

    Hmmm, this is always an issue with homeschooled kids or grads one way or the other. It was something along the lines of your parents were strict and you felt restricted,or your parents were not strict and you were judged (whether or not you really were immodest)or your parents had reasonable guidelines, but you were confused or some mix of all these. My parents always made us aware of modesty, but we were never required to just wear skirts and dresses-I wore a lot of those when I was little because I liked them (I still do), and I wear them most of the time now because I don't fit in any pants and never bought anymore. I do not remember too many shopping trips when I was small, but we were allowed to wear rather short shorts when we were little, but I remember that Mom preferred mid-calf length skirts. (Yeah, I was one from the confused group). I think I never had too much of a problem with my parents standards because I had zero fashion sense and because I was old-fashioned (not necessarily a bad thing) and because I was self-conscious. I went though a phase were I thought maybe I should wear only dresses and skirts. Right now I am more concerned with my lack of style (I do have some sense of style-I just need to learn to show it in my clothes). Seriously, I looked at my self in a full length mirror (I do not have one of my own)recently and had to acknowledge that I was dressed like an elderly person…yikes! Modesty is not a big issue with me as I believe I am modest most of the time (although I should give it a little more focus) and because much of my teenage legalism has worn off.

  • An Old Fashioned Girl October 7, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    I have a bit of a unique perspective of the skirts vs. pants modesty issue because when I young I was told pants were evil, but it didn't effect me at all because I hated pants. With a vengeance. Like I would cry and sob and throw a fit if we were going hiking and I was asked to put some on. Needless to say, I was a rather difficult child ;P
    As I reached my teens years my older sister were becoming adults and making their own clothing decision and at that time my family came to the conclusion that pants weren't evil, and I was "allowed" to wear them if I choose. Now as an adult, I pay for my own clothing and I have my own style, one I choose, which consists mostly of skirts, but if I want to wear pants I do. My difficulty with that is people assume things about me, that I wear skirts because of religious reasons, or because my parents make me, not because it's the way I'm most comfortable.
    I loved what you said about trendy-ness vs. classic. My ideal wardrobe is stock full of classic shift dresses, trousers and beautiful blouses, cardigans and jackets. Looking your best in a feminine, graceful and attractive manner is much more honoring to God than wearing a sack.

  • Jemimah C. October 7, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    Just to clarify what I said so that no one jumps into conclusions and misunderstandings, I agree that people differ in their opinions of modesty. What's modesty for one person might be different compared to another. I didn't mean to say that long skirts meant modesty (although for some it does). I love maxi skirts and dresses, though I'm not required to wear them always. They are indeed getting back into fashion lately. Normally, I wear skirts/dresses to church as well. But I enjoy keeping the right amount of style…never being an extremist to one side or the other. At least I try to be, though there are some certain styles I prefer.

    Anyway, yes, everything can be wearable–is wearable–just as long as you can find a good way to wear it. I'm with you there!

    I'm looking forward to your next posts!

  • Rissi October 7, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    Livia – I KNOW what you mean about modesty, or more specifically dresses vs. pants being such an “issue” in homeschooled families. At least two families specifically come to mind that I know prefer the former and another one used to hold the opinion that dresses were best, but have since changed their thoughts. In my specific case, my parents weren’t so strict that I didn’t have a say in my clothing, I just grew up knowing that they weren’t going to stand for anything that wasn’t within the perimeters they had set for me, and I can honestly say, I do not remember ever giving them trouble about it.

    Being old-fashioned is definitely not a bad thing, I think a style with hints of fashion from eras past is lovely, but will confess, I am glad we aren’t still asked to wear 1800’s era clothing like dresses, bonnets and gloves… unless, of course, we choose too! My “style” has really become more pronounced in the last couple years, but as I said, I don’t think I can pin down what it is by saying it is “vintage” or “classic” or “whimsical,” although a lot of my closest is “trendy.” Shopping and pairing things together can be fun, but not everyone likes it – my cousin detests shopping, whereas I enjoy it… most of the time, anyway. =D

    Glad you stopped in, Livia – please do so again. =)

    Old-Fashioned Girl – while I don’t believe in that logic (that pants are “evil”), I can appreciate the convictions a person has who chooses to define modesty by wearing dresses over a pair of jeans or the like. If you are most comfortable in skirts, then that is what you should go with. I could (and can) wear what I wanted so long as it was modest.

    Classic is so much better in the long run – especially now I am an adult. Still, what do I always pick out?? Why, trendy stuff, of course. =) I love the sweater dresses (which I wear with jeans) and am finding it ironic that ponchos are in again this year. When I was a young teen, I had like three in different colors, and have since gotten rid of them – of course, the cut of them today is much different. =D I have a cute cuffed cardigan in a gorgeous tomato-like color and I LOVE it – I might even get something similar only in a different color.

    Happy to read your thoughts on this subject – visit again!

    Jemimah – don’t worry; I didn’t feel that you were saying anything that needed clarification. (I apologize if my response seemed that I misunderstood your thought.) It is ironic how everything eventually comes back “in.” Maxi dresses were huge years ago, and now they’re back.

    Funny how one word can hold such different meanings for people isn’t it!? =)

    Thanks again, Jemimah. I’ll be posting some review stuff that I’ve neglected early next week, but will hopefully get another “opinion” post up before the next week is out. =)

  • Charity October 7, 2011 at 11:57 PM

    I'm always disappointed to see young women dressing immodestly in church — because I have to wonder if their dad even notices. Since he was once that age, he should know what a girl wearing immodest clothing says to young men!

    Re: HP story. What can I say? I am a born brat. ;)

  • Rissi October 8, 2011 at 3:02 AM

    Charity – how ironic you should say that; I hear that all the time from my parents… Most people say that the dad is just "tired" and doesn't want to "fight" it anymore – but WHATever! If you've set principals for the kids when they were five, then you wouldn't have an immodesty issue (duh!). Obviously this family did not do that.

    Seriously, you call yourself a brat!? Oh, dear! LOL! (I am hoping you are not totally serious. ;-D Just kidding – I can tell YOU aren't. =D)

  • Charity October 8, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    GURL, don't you be doubtin' my bratty-ness! ;)

  • Anonymous October 9, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    I've developed a more vintage/classy look, or so I've tried to. The best places to find pieces of clothing with lots of digging and lots of looking are definitely thrift shops in my opinion! You find beautiful AND appropriate pieces of clothing that someone probably wore during the 80s lol but you can still wear it now and rock it, plus it's super affordable. I also like there are tons of vintage/classy shops there with very modest yet stylish clothing!

  • Rissi October 10, 2011 at 4:38 PM

    WOW! You girls are awesome! All of your input is awesome! Great thoughts everyone.

    Charity – well, I kind of am doubting it… and still, I am not convinced. LOL! ;-D

    Charli – I think vintage styles are really neat, but I rarely buy clothing or accessories that would "fit" in that category. Recently I have been buying jewelry that is "old" looking like necklaces with keys and/or pearls – they are SO pretty. I am glad you know what your style is and you stick with it. And, yes, styles that are modest is best of all. =)

    Happy you stopped in, Charli. =) Do so again soon!

  • Alicia Conway February 25, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    The upcoming spring gives us an excellent opportunity to exploit geometrical patterns to the fullest extent, since they'll be very trendy this season:
    Geometry ahead!
    By the way, I followed you up with GFC, it'd be great if you follow me back.

    • Rissi February 25, 2013 at 6:11 PM

      Thanks for the fashion tip, Alicia! Didn't know that. :)

      Thanks bunches for the follow – it's appreciated. Off to check out your blog. :)

  • Hannah Elise July 11, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    Your opinions on modesty seem similar to mine. During the week when I go into town I usually wear jeans and a nice shirt (if it's on the cooler side I'll also wear a jacket) and on Sundays I dress up for church. My family has never been the "wear skirts all the time" type, and that's fine with me.

    • Rissi July 12, 2013 at 3:49 AM

      It's nice to have seen this post come up in email as having a new comment, Hannah! How quickly I sometimes forget these "oldie" postings – it's nice to revisit it. :)

      For me as well – my parent's didn't enforce the "skirt rule." I like to dress up because a.) it's done so rarely nowadays and b.) I actually like the styling that can come with wearing a skirt. Lately, I've gone MUCH more casual since even writing this and it's nice. Now (sadly), it's rare for me to pull out a skirt but there are a few occupying my closet and they're favorites! :)

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