Look, I understand that modesty is a virtue and that all young Catholic women should strive to be as modest as possible when it comes to how they dress themselves. If you’re a young Catholic woman, you should absolutely be as modest as possible in your dress.
At the same time, I wasn’t and hey! I turned out fine.
A Series of Unfortunate Fashion Events
If you have the privilege of knowing me in real life or have read any portion of my blog, you know that fashion and makeup are not on my list of marketable skills. Actually, I was so late to the whole “fashion” game that I didn’t actually realize how stunted I was until more than a year after I started college.
No seriously, thanks Ma.
You see, my mother took a very consistent approach to how I dressed when I was growing up; unless I walked down the stairs wearing something that was completely inappropriate for the event that we were attending – think ballet shoes to a funeral – she would just let me do my own thing. There were no fights, arguments or altercations and if I didn’t ask for her opinion on what I was wearing, she didn’t give it.
As I’m sure you can imagine, I ended up wearing some pretty questionable outfits over the course of my adolescence. Some of them were ugly, some of them were tragically mismatched and yes, some of them were pretty terrifically immodest.
Of course, if you’ve read this far, you probably have some questions. After all, the goal here is to promote stylish modesty and I just spent 250 words telling you how I spent at least some portion of my teenage years cavorting around in far too little. Don’t worry, I am most certainly not advocating that we abandon the pursuit of modest clothing, I’m just telling you how I eventually came to the conviction that modest is the way to be.
You see, I didn’t like the way I felt when I wore certain things. I didn’t feel classy and I definitely didn’t feel respected. As a relatively perceptive young lady, I noticed how people reacted to me when I wore a particular outfit and it wasn’t always sunshine and flowers. Before long, it seemed clear that if I didn’t want people to jump to conclusions about the “type of girl” I was, I should keep things covered.
So I did – but not before I asked – nay, demanded – to know why on earth my mother had let me out of the house wearing certain things.
She shrugged. “Why would I want to have a fight over something you’d figure out on your own?”
And that, my friends, is how I learned to dress modestly – in three humiliating steps.
Elizabeth Kabacinski is a stay-at-home writer who lives with her husband in Chicago. She blogs over at Super Swell Times about all things Catholic and bagel chip related.