Categories
All ya single ladies Things for Teens

What They Don’t Tell You About Dressing Modestly

Fewer clothes, mean more mature, right?

The only thing more unfamiliar to a Californian than snow-days is the concept of modesty.

I was born and raised in the Bay Area where Catholic culture was spat on, crumpled up, and thrown into the wastebasket. I grew up a simple girl who didn’t care about how I dressed, nor did I feel any desire to present myself as feminine. If I could get away with just slipping on a t-shirt, jeans, sneakers, and throwing my hair up in a messy bun to start my day, that is what I did. But after I graduated high school, I dropped my faith. Quickly, I transitioned into wearing thinner, tighter, and less clothing because it was my interpretation of adulting.

My journey towards feminine modesty was not one that I was pressured into by anyone, but merely a curiosity and calling that I felt compelled to entertain. This journey has utterly changed my perspective on the world so deeply that the only thing I regret about it is not starting it earlier. However, arguably the greatest of its effects have directly impacted the way I view my faith and what it means to truly strive to be like The Blessed Mother, the female role model who perfectly embodies feminine virtue.

A fundamental piece to the topic of feminine modesty that is often forgotten is a proper understanding of femininity.

Femininity is not merely dressing in a way that is considered girly with bright colored clothes and lots of accessories.

While these things can be a material way of expressing one’s femininity, they are not the core of what it means. In fact, femininity is not even the opposite of masculinity. Rather, it is the result of embodying virtue. Consider the adjectives that are used to describe Mother Mary: she is nurturing, tender, loving, humble, and protective. These contrast from the unfeminine vices of jealousy, pride, selfishness, and the tendency to gossip. By striving for feminine virtue, modest dressing naturally follows because a truly virtuous woman does not want to attract attention to herself through ways that can harm another persons’ soul.

Arguably the most controversial aspect to modesty is how feminist culture claims that modesty standards take the blame of sin off men and burden it onto women. From first glance, I sympathize with how many modesty talks can be perceived in this manner. However, what I realized is that this understanding completely misses the point of modesty.

Modest dressing is not about the man nor even the woman. It is merely about protecting the soul.

My favorite way of viewing modesty is by imagining that my clothing is a veil. In Catholic tradition, we veil what is sacred, and so when I wear a modest outfit, I am essentially acknowledging and protecting the sacredness of my body. In no way am I blaming myself if a man chooses to lust; rather, I am doing my part in setting both of us up for success in our journey towards sainthood.

Before I became intentional about modesty, my mindset behind my wardrobe came from a place of selfishness. As many girls do, I grew up very insecure about my weight. If I wasn’t worried about the shape of my waist, I was obsessed with trying to close my natural thigh gap. Peaking at nearly six feet tall, gaining weight was an ongoing battle for me. My solution to compensate for this was to use my body as a means to get validation for my appearance since I certainly wasn’t going to feel validated by myself. Never once did I consider how the way I presented myself affected other people, nor would I have cared even if I knew. This was the case up until the point of my reversion.

New lifestyle. New wardrobe.

During my second year of college, I answered God’s call to enter back into the Church. At this time, I felt my perception of the world shift dramatically.

Suddenly, the lifestyle that I was living out was no longer appealing to me. I quit the party habits I had become enslaved by, and eventually, I felt convicted over my dressing habits as well. I struggled with the transition phase I found myself in because even though I was experiencing an internal change, I still had the same friends from before. If quitting my recreational activities didn’t create enough social tension already, switching my wardrobe from club clothes mixed with androgynous outfits to dresses made me ultra self-conscious of how my peers would perceive me.

Thankfully, my friends didn’t seem to mind that I was transforming my entire lifestyle. They respected that I wanted to be sober, feminine, and take back my faith despite that they weren’t making the same changes in their own lives. But deciding to adopt a new way of living is one thing; knowing how to take the steps to achieve it is another.

Immaculate Mary Smiling

The Virgin Mary: Your loving guide to feminity.

Once I fully embraced my reversion, I still had never received any guidance on what it meant to be feminine. While surfing through YouTube, the algorithm led me to a channel known as “Mrs. Midwest.” I remember the particular night that I stumbled upon her channel. I was sitting in my dorm alone, and I began to binge-watch videos that explained how to get in tune with my femininity. Within a week, I changed my wardrobe into skirts and dresses because I assumed that femininity equated to feminine clothing. After nights of prayerful consideration, I soon realized this was a major misconception.

Feminine modesty is not merely a configuration of the wardrobe, but rather it is a disposition of the heart. A woman can outwardly dress modestly, but if she does not strive for virtue, her actions will be just as immodest as the girl whose clothing exposes herself.

As I grew in my relationship with The Blessed Mother, my eyes had been opened to how my dressing affected the souls of those around me. While it is true that each person ultimately decides to act on temptation, as humans with intrinsic dignity, we have a duty to look after each other and not act in a way that can potentially put another soul in jeopardy.

This became especially important when I started sharing photos of my friends and me with my boyfriend from before my reversion. I made it a conscious effort to consider how my outfits in the photos could affect him because it is of utmost importance to me that he is not scandalized by my pre-reversion self. Even if it requires some major lifestyle changes, it is essential to remember that the purest way of demonstrating love and care for someone is through willing their good. This, however, does not mean that girls need to dress in a way that makes us less attractive to our significant others. God intentionally created women to be beautiful and we don’t need to hide that. The key piece we need to consider is if the way we are dressing respects our dignity and the dignity of the people around us.

Women are a beacon of beauty

Another realization I encountered is how women have a lot of power to persuade others. This power has often been used for personal gain, however, we are more than capable of using it to better ourselves and our communities. Men are often initially attracted by appearance and then by a woman’s character. In contrast, women are often first attracted by a man’s ability. This includes his masculine disposition, intelligence, and physical health. As a result, we tend to be more discriminant than men when choosing a partner.

The way we dress is often a filter that further narrows down the pool of men who are likely to reciprocate our attraction.

When we as women dress modestly, we often attract men who are inspired by our virtue and who are less likely to let themselves cave into concupiscence.

In other words, femininity inspires a man’s desire to intentionally live out the virtues of masculinity. These virtues are the foundation for healthy fatherhood, which then helps raise children in a virtuous manner, and thus the cycle repeats.

While I’ve been actively pursuing feminine virtue for almost a year now, I still have a long journey ahead of me. Each day, I need to make an intentional effort to reflect on what I am doing to become more like the perfect female role model: the mother of Christ.

If I could share only one piece of advice to a woman who is feeling called towards this journey but is also feeling intimidated by it, it would be to pray about it. It sounds so simple, but it is a necessary action in every major change someone makes in their lives.

Take Action!

  • Ask God to cleanse your mind of the fear of standing out by living a virtuously feminine life.
  • Ask Mary to hold your hand in this journey that appears to be rejected by secular society. She wants to support you while you make these changes; she is only a single prayer away.
  • Lastly, remember that while the path to embracing femininity looks different for each woman, it is all the same in that it always leads to a more fulfilling life.

By Kristina x

Kristina is a Catholic YouTube creator who shares content regarding her faith and femininity. She is also a pro-life advocate who likes to encourage others to be brave in creating a culture of life in our society. Find her on YouTube