Monday, May 12, 2008

Modest Chic

I've been reading a discussion online about modesty. I'm a big believer in modesty. However, I'm also a lover of fashion. Most of the discussions I read about modesty pit these two against each other as if they could not possibly peacefully coincide. Unfortunately, most of what I have seen forwarded by the "modesty camp" as acceptably modest is appallingly frumpy. I think this is one reason why those who love fashion have been reluctant to embrace the concept of modesty. They automatically picture baggy sack dresses and assume that membership in a cult must be next on the horizon. Not so... I decided to take the strictest definition of modesty that has been given to me (high necks, long sleeves, at the knee hems, not form-fitting) and show some fashionable variations that are most decidedly NOT Frump Girl Material.

These are by Kenzo, one of my favorite designers.



And some others from my "Sew Someday" File



I think there are plenty of options for the woman who desires to dress modestly and still look chic, have a strong sense of personal style and express her love for fashion. Sewing your own clothes gives even greater freedom to tweak a pattern to meet a personal requirement of modesty - in all its wide and varied definitions.

Charity

12 comments:

Paula said...

Great post, Charity. With a 16 year old daughter, this topic is frequently discussed at our house.

myvintagecharm said...

I think this is the main reason I sew for my 11 yo dd using vintage patterns. They have an undeniable style, and yet, there is something innocent and ladylike about the cut and lines. I'm firmly in the camp that modest, ladylike and fashionable co-exist beautifully! As you say, sewing it yourself means complete control over the outcome- just how I like it ;) :D

great post and wonderful inspiration pics!

Karen said...

Amen to your modesty post. I made most of my girl's clothes when they were growing up because of the immodest ready-made clothing that was in the stores. They even made some of their own as they got older. They were always complimented on the way they dressed.

Thanks, Charity, for the cute hen pillow and other fun little goodies that accompanied it. I posted pics on my blog. I will cherish them.
Karen

Beth H said...

Thanks for this! It's nice to have the anti-frump properties of modesty pointed out from time to time.

Tany said...

Beautiful garments, I love them all!

Cathe said...

While I understand and agree with your point, I must say that none of those exotic outfits are really "wearable" in real life. At least, not in the daily lives of most of the kind of people who worry about modesty. The raincoat would work.

I would like to see some stylish things that are modest but not so over-the-top! :)

Cora from Nelia's Primitive Place said...

I grew up looking like a frump ----and that was highschool back in the 60's!!!!! My family believed that whatever was in style had to be bad, from hair, to makeup, to dress, and even shoes. If loafers were in, then I had to wear bucks. If straight hair was in, then I had to have a perm. If pleats were in, my skirts were gathered. If mohair was in, I had the old type of knitted sweater. And so on down the line.

I, too, believe that modest does NOT have to mean frumpy, grumpy girls. Thanks for the great pictures and caring enough to make girls proud of what they wear and still be modest and guilt free!

Cora

CharityinAlaska said...

I must be over-the-top then. :) I would totally wear these (if I was thinner). LOL! And I live in a semi-rural valley where the women live in sweatsuits and goat-hair covered jeans. There is hardly any sense of fashion here. I tend to wear what I like and let others just scratch their heads if it doesn't make sense to them. *G*

Maybe we should all post our ideas of what is modest and stylish? That would be interesting because definitions of modesty vary so much. I was going to post my idea of frumpy, but I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings who favored the look for themselves.

suzof7 said...

I love it! We're a very conservative, homeschooling family, but we love fashion! I know at times it seems like those two ideas are diametrically opposed, but not in our house! All of us girls sew. I believe that creativity glorifies God, and creativity in fashion is no exception.

We aren't in the high neck, long sleeve, no form fitting camp. We aim for no cleavage, knee length, no spaghetti straps, and not too tight. Generally, we don't want to stumble the guys. However, you can't please everybody, someone will find issues with even these pieces.

Bunny said...

Your are spot on! Even if these couture outfits aren't "wearable' for some, there certainly is clothing in the stores that is modest. I have never been a big skin show-er but have never been unable to find nice clothing. And I am a bargain shopper too! I do like Suzof 7's approach, very healthy in my opinion. Great post Charity!

Shana said...

I agree - 1. Modest does not have to be frumpy and 2. It really is hard to find modest clothes for inspiration in fashion magazines.

I live in Pakistan, and traditionally clothes are supposed to be modest, hence the concept of a shawl/dupatta and long shirts etc. In different colors and prints, they can look cool.

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