A couple of weeks ago I asked my "baby" sister, Joy, to do some guest posts on how we can be modest and fashionable at the same time. She always looks great. She has a real sense about what looks great. I didn't buy much without her when we were both single and living at home. I still ask her for advice although it's a little harder long distance.
One of the most intimidating things in the world is a blank piece of paper. Well, I guess in this day and age it would have to be a blank computer screen. When my sister first asked me to write about the subject we’ll be discussing today, I had a million ideas flood my mind at once, but they all seemed to start in the middle, and I couldn’t figure out where I should begin. I finally realized, why not start with the basics?
We all know the reasons why we should dress modestly so I’m not going to go that basic. But the other day it occurred to me that there may be many women out there, like me, who although we know we should dress modestly aren’t sure how to accomplish that without looking like we just got out of a time machine from the 1800s! I am truly blessed because in my home I have my own personal fashion consultant/stylist. Yes, it’s true! Believe it or not, it’s my husband.
Now it may seem strange to you that a man would know so much about women’s fashions so I’ll explain why. My husband is the youngest of only three boys born and raised in Panama. His older brothers were already living in their own homes when my husband became a teenager and learned to drive. He then became his mother’s chauffer whenever she wanted to go out shopping, which she likes to do a lot. Now Panamanians as a general rule love fashion! My mother-in-law is very stylish, always appropriately dressed for the occasion and always modest (as is my own mother by the way…so I don’t know what happened to me for a few awkward years!). In the high schools in Panama they actually teach classes to both boys and girls on how to coordinate outfits and match colors…not a bad idea if you ask me.
Even just going to the mall window shopping in Panama can be an event. You may only be wearing denim and a t-shirt but it will be clean, ironed, everyone’s hair will be done, make up on (the girls), perfume or cologne applied and accessories will be present and well-coordinated. We lived there for almost a year several years ago. I must admit that I learned so much during that time, and I loved it!
God has created little girls, who then become grown women, to want to be pretty and feminine. I have learned that it’s possible to be pretty and feminine, modest and “up to date”. I have found several sites online that give ideas of outfits, colors, accessories, etc. and how to wear them but almost all of these places, of course, use pants, miniskirts, skin tight clothing or low cut tops or dresses. But one thing I began to notice is that with very little effort, these looks can be transformed into something that honors God’s plan for modesty while still staying fresh and modern looking.
Let me give you an example. This is an outfit that I created, copied from one of these sites by simply substituting a skirt for the jeans which always accompany casual outfits. I would use something like this for a date night with my husband.
This next outfit would work great for a shower, baby or bridal, a trip to the zoo or even a picnic. Maxi dresses are popular this year but so many times they are designed with spaghetti straps and low cut. So what is my solution? First I will use a coordinating color, skin tight tank top as the first layer under the dress. “Skin tight?” you may ask in shock! Yes. The reason for this is because it won’t bulk up your outfit. The purpose of the tank top is not to show off your curves, it’s to raise the neckline. It also has the added benefit of helping to absorb the sweat on a hot day. Then, because it’s still sleeveless, you can add a light, short sleeved sweater on top to create the look of sleeves if you’re uncomfortable with bare arms. When wearing light fabrics in the summer don’t forget to wear a slip or you’ll be throwing away the whole point of being modest! The result could look something like this.
On another occasion we can talk about which colors look best on what skin tones, heels vs. flats, how to know what kind of accessories go with which outfits and more, but for now I just wanted to start with a couple of basic outfits which show how you can take an idea or style that is modern and with just a little bit of tweaking, transform it into something that is modestly stylish.
One of my favorite outfits is something that I copied from one of these style sites. As you can see by the first picture, the skirt is not something I would be comfortable in being just a little too short. Honestly, I never would have even contemplated putting these colors together either, but that’s a different subject. I fell in love with this outfit though and began the hunt for something that could modestly duplicate what I had found…the second picture shows the result. I decided to go with the neutral bag and shoes because it brings more value to my wardrobe as I can wear them with other outfits instead of just this one.
As you can see, fashion is my passion, but being able to accomplish this passion in a way that brings honor to God is even more important to me. One of my favorite verses was given to me on one occasion by my sister Jen. “The king’s daughter is all glorious within. Her clothing is of wrought gold.” As daughters of the King, we are to be glorious within, (good character), but there is nothing wrong with pretty clothes either. We can be pretty, modest and fashionable all at the same time.