Wednesday, May 31, 2006

i wish they all could be Califor ... Modest ... girls


As the weather gets warmer, the clothing seems to fly off.

What are your thoughts on the attire of Christian women during the hot days of summer?

48 comments:

ckhnat said...

This post was actually a request.

I was asked to pose this question to the Christian community that reads this blog, because (sadly) it is an issue that needs to be addressed.

We cannot blame it on Target or JCrew for not selling modest trendy swim wear.

We cannot say that the occassion warrants it.

Why is it all of a sudden okay to wear the equivalent of undergaments in public and before our Christian brothers just because it's hot and it's the garment of choice at the local pool or beach.?

We have no excuse.

Priscilla said...

Well...I don't like it. I dress modestly and strive to teach my daughter's modesty. It's challenging to shop...but it can be done.

I'm just hoping the more modest styles will come back around soon.

ckhnat said...

I don't doubt that it will, Priscilla. If you look at some of the more recent trends in clothing, they *are* quite modest.

Tony K. said...

modesty doesn't even translate into the modern American worldview - the question must be addressed theologically not just from moral angle. Why did God invent sexuality? How have we perverted his designs in the way we parade it?

I would like to see Pastors and Christian leaders speak out on this issue. John Piper sent something to his local paper about 10 years back.

Catherine said...

I tend to agree. I feel fairly exposed walking around in a bathing suit -- admittedly, part of it is a shallow and self-critical fear that I don't meet the standards of beauty that I see in magazines, but another part of it is an awareness that I'm nearly naked in public. As far as summer clothes in general, I've really been loving the longer skirt trends and the layered longer tops -- a major victory in the modest-shopping battle for a tall girl like me. In that respect, the last year has been one of the best for modest fashion options in recent memory. But swimsuits just aren't going to get any bigger. So what do I do? I miss out on swimming on a lot... I usually only go swimming once a year or so, with a girlfriend and her mother in their backyard behind a tall fence, where I am perfectly comfortable in a bikini. All girls, no men, no problem. But then there are family vacations and trips with friends and other times when I want to be able to be comfortable at a public beach. My usual solution is to just try to wear the most modest suit I have and keep covered up outside the water. I guess my question is this: what do others feel the best approach to public swimming is? What are other women doing?

Katie said...

GREAT topic and a hard one to tackle. Funny, I use to work with my church's youth group and we had an interesting solution to the summer wear of many of our high school girls - FREEZE THEM OUT. Yep, we would set the thermostat to about 60 in our youth building. It solved the problem of the scantily clad girls on sunday mornings and wednesday nights. But this only solves the problem in the short run. As to the long run, I'm up for suggestions.

ckhnat said...

Ha ... freezing them out?!! I'm sure you'd be the first to admit, Katie, that this only solves the problem on the surface. But when it comes to the girls' hearts, they are completely unaffected. I've seen churches do similar things. However, the girls will continue wearing their less-than-modest clothing but just cover themselves up with a bulky hoody while they're inside.

The young girls watch us. We need to be good models for these girls ... and perhaps it's as Tony said ... it's a theological matter.

lcp said...

I'm actually not a fan of bathing suits at all. I've worked at a summer camp for the past four summers where we raft, swim, etc. in shorts and tees. It was more fun than anything, AND no one had to worry about body image, tan lines, the opposite sex ogling. It's not that I'm being legalistic, it's just that--let's be honest--would we really walk around in the public wearing our underwear? No!!! That's all a bathing suit is anyway...oh, except in a different material. Does that make it okay? I think not.

ckhnat said...

Many churches make it a set in stone rule that girls are only permitted to wear one-piece swimsuits.

That doesn't solve anything, either.

Believe me, I've tried on scores of one-piece swimsuits in an attempt to find the one modest suit that is flattering and properly fits my long torso so that I can abide by the ministry's standards.

I haven't found ONE! The neck line is plunging. The back is non-existent. And the legs ride up to my elbows.

I don't own a swimsuit.

Like Leah, I'm thinking a tank and shorts are the way to go. They sell swim shorts (not the spandex kind).

Catherine said...

I've never been able to win the one-piece battle either. Not made for tall girls. I've had slightly better luck with tankinis -- tank top with "boy short" bottoms... not the ideal solution, but substantially more coverage than most other options. But I'm intrigued by the mention of swim shorts -- what are they and where could I find them? (I go to lakes with guy friends a lot, and I usually wear ordinary shorts in the water and on jet-skis and things. Wet cotton is not the most comfortable thing ever.)

Ruth said...

I think teampyro had something about this a few weeks ago. It was an interesting article - worth looking up.

Something to be aware of, I think, is cultural "climate" - in some places what is seen as modest is vastly different to others.

It is important to be loving to our fellow men in what we wear - and to be setting a good example to others.

It's also important not to hide our femininity - because that's part of how God has made us - potato sacks are not the way to go either.

Katie said...

It was a surface solution and I for one struggled with getting the girls I mentored to understand why modesty was so important. It also didn't help that the good Christian guys still seemed to pay more attention to the more loosely dressed gals. I'm not blaming the guys, I'm not blaming the girls, I'm not blaming society or culture. Well, maybe there is enough blame to go around actually. I've tackled the issue with high school girls, college girls, and my own peers. There doesn't seem to be a quick solution other than getting into girl's lives and really getting to the heart of the issue. Because let's face it, dressing in a way to garner attention from guys just by showing flesh is a heart issue, it isn't a fashion issue, it isn't a comfort issue (I live in Texas for goodness sakes, land of the 100+ temp for three months straight), it is an issue of the heart, and until we can get girls to listen to their hearts, to see the value in themselves as women and to see that modesty is something that is precious and good, then we will be left with the surface fixes as our answers. I didn't really give any answers here, I don't think I have any. All I know is that I've known the hearts of a lot of girls and dress is a issue that is always difficult.

Priscilla said...

I don't have easy answers either...but interestingly enough, this year at our church's mother/daughter banquet the topic was modesty! Yeah! They talked about the importance of it and the talk was followed by a wonderful fashion show put on by several of the teen girls and a few of the older women as well. Everyone looked great and very modest. It also opened up some neat conversation time between my daughter and I on our way home.

So there's an idea. Get some women together in your church who have the same concerns and put on a fashion show to promote modesty. The Bible says the older women are to teach the younger.

Christine, I have noticed that more modest trends are coming around again. I noticed that it is significantly easier to shop for my daughters this year!

As far as swimsuits go...ugh! I have a one piece which has lower leg openings and a pretty modest neck line...but I still prefer to wear a pair of shorts over it...especially when I'm out of the pool.

Check out www.ohanaswimwear.com

Ruth said...

If I may take us off on a slight tangent....

Perhaps we should also be thinking about 'modesty' in manner as well as dress?

In society I think what can also mark us as different is a humility that is related to modesty of character.

Any thoughts on that??

The Borg said...

Go boardies!

You're right Christine, there is no excuse for immodest dressing. Some of the warmest places in the world are some of the most modestly dressed. Not that I'm condoning bhurka donning. A long sarong or knee length skirt will keep you just as cool in summer as a mini-skirt will.

Priscilla said...

Ruth, I agree. Modesty in dress and modesty in manner must go hand in hand. You can take a very "immodest woman" and dress her modestly...she will still be immodest in her actions. But it certainly helps to dress the part!

Bethany said...

Me too... I have a one piece that I ALWAYS wear shorts with because of the high cut nature of it. Just plain old cotton (or whatever it is) shorts that I bought at old navy. Works for me... not that I go swimming with guys very often, but if I was in a situation that I would feel uncomfortable in, I throw a cami over my suit, just for added comfort. These kind of conversations are encouraging. It reminds me that I'm not the only one concerned about these issues.

sajini said...

I like the board shorts. And I am a tankini fan!!

John said...

I highly respect any woman who wears modest clothes during the hot days. I am also shocked when I see a mature Godly woman wearing a two peice bathing suit. There are for sure some one piece bathing suits that don't work to well either. The two piece tank top and swimming shorts are by far the way to go!

I was telling Lenny the other day that it was so great that you were down at the pool with a long skirt. Highly respectful! I can't say that enough!

Hannah said...

I've heard it said: "if it's not on offer, don't show it..." I like that.

ckhnat said...

I wish I could say that all women/girls who are modest in character are also always modest in dress. But that's not there case. For many there is a general cluelessness concerning the matter.

ckhnat said...

Team Pyro

Girl Talk

Two good articles/resources on modesty.

ckhnat said...

Modest Mary Mohler has some thoughts, as well.

ckhnat said...

John, it's going to be rough for you ... you being the pool lifeguard and all.

CraigS said...

lol Hannah

I don't think it's helpful to mandate skirt lengths etc (as has been done in the past). The best way to address this is to grow women (especially young women) in spiritual maturity. Then they will make reasonable decisions.

world champ stephen neal said...

I understand where you are coming from. However, this is the 21st century. The youth of today don't stand a chance with the bombardment of images from the mass media. It's a surprise that any of them make it past high school.

Melissa said...

A one-piece with board shorts solved my dilemma. <><

ckhnat said...

You're right, WCSN. We cannot take away the images in the media. But that doesn't mean that we give into them.

Craig, this issue doesn't merely refer to young people. Like I said before, there are women of godly character that are clueless about the way they dress.

world champ stephen neal said...

I should have known that a liberated woman such as yourself would get the last word in on me.

Yes Dear, You're right.

mike said...

rofl WCSN.

What I want to know is say for example you were a fairly immodestly dressed girl. A christian brother then tells you as much in loving and kind way. How would this be taken? Is this approach helpful? Or is it better comming from a girl?

Anonymous said...

What about Christians who wear clothes that are covered in advertising? They pay top $ for the privilege of advertising a label. Adults & young ppl talk about their favourite designers! I just don't get it. I think this behaviour and attitude is immoral and offensive.

world champ stephen neal said...

Come on anonymous. Have the guts to leave your name. I've said plenty of things that weren't popular, but I stand behind them. If you don't stand for something ... well, you know the rest.

Ruth said...

Mike - I think it is hard to hear criticism no matter who it comes from - and for most girls, what they wear can be incredibly personal - so anyone saying, even as nicely as possible, that what they are wearing is perhaps not really all that modest - is prob not going to be taken well, initially.

So, it's good when it comes from the Bible/ pulpit/ Bible study first - because then it isn't targeted at someone in particular - and it can give a girl time to think about it.

After that, I think it is probably better coming from a girl than a guy....although, it just depends on how it is said at that point. I think girls are pretty naive when it comes to understanding what is unhelpful in dress.

Prayer before speaking to someone is always a good start - and I think choosing to chat when what they are wearing is modest - so they don't feel embarrassed the whole rest of the time they are with you - e.g make a reference to something they have worn in the past...

ckhnat said...

Mike - I think that 95% of the time the conversation should come from another woman. Like Ruth said, the woman would likely get defensive no matter who told her. However, because it's a matter of discipleship, it is best handled by another woman. although, I could see a shock value in it coming from a concerned brother. it might help the woman to understand the weight of the matter.

Anon. - Sinful. I'm not certain that it is. Perhaps you could be more specific. Perhaps you are more referring to the attitude in which the clothing is worn. For me, when someone compliments my clothing, I am more likely to say, "You like it? Target! On Sale! I paid only $10 for it!"

I'd say that wearing something that fits well, attractive, and of good quality is not sinful. However, if the attitude of the wearer is to flaunt the brand, it's more a matter of a prideful heart that is sinful than the clothes themselves.

If the clothing is modest, not causing the brother to stumble, the issue is more likely pride ... or from the viewer's point ... jealousy.

RodeoClown said...

CK, what made you choose that particular image for this post... it seems a little... self-defeating (not that it's bad or anything, just seemed an odd fit).

ckhnat said...

shock factor

G. F. McDowell said...

Christine, (Hnat) I think you've hit the nail "right between the eyes" as we say in VT when you talked about general cluelessness. I am convinced that if most women, non-christians included, knew how much they were being ogled by men and boys alike, they would at least be grossed out, and hopefully be concerned for their brothers out there. From the male perspective, it is difficult to believe that women are clueless about the reaction they are causing. Most men figure that provocatively dressed women WANT to be ogled. I think in most cases, it is a matter of education, and I agree that it is best for women to educate women in this matter. I was catching up on my Albert Mohler Show podcasts, and I heard the episode on modesty in wedding gowns just last night. The anger that many of the female callers expressed was understandable. To a race who want to be the center of attention (all humans) and put themselves first, it is not natural to consider others as more important than ourselves. The youth group I work with, when we go on trips to tropical areas and during our annual summer youth retreat campout, our Pastor has set an excellent, completely non-legalistic standard for what types of swimwear should be worn: Men and women alike should wear swimsuits that consider the opposite sex as more important than themselves.

Priscilla said...

Great discussion. I agree that it should be a woman who should approach the immodest clueless woman.

This is not just a problem in "church" circles. Our local highschool had such a problem with immodesty among it's female students that they came up with a dress code. If girls broke it, they were made to go down to the nurse's office and put a shirt on...sometimes even sent home, parents notified, etc. This caused a big uproar in the community. Some parents were even making a stink about "thier daughters rights being encroached upon" and "those perverts who can't control themselves" (mostly clueless women of course). Even ended up with an article in the local newspaper.

Frank Martens said...

I agree, as the summer months less clothing becomes popular. HOwever, I expect it among non-christians. What bothers me is when the women in the church start to follow the same trend.

Priscilla said...

What I meant was it is not just a concern in "church" circles. I mean some secular groups are finding it to be a problem as well. Thus the example of our local high school.

I would agree that I do tend to expect it among non-christians.

Martha said...

For anyone who is interested, there is a woman on Utah, I believe she is Morman, and she has designed a whole line of swimwear, for both girls and women. They are very modest and cute too. She even has swim shirts for boys and men. Her site is http://www.swimmodest.com/

As for the dressing modestly issue, I think it is a matter of our continual slipping away from God's standards. We are both clueless as women and sometimes careless as well. If only we would learn early to listen to our fathers and the Godly men who care. There are just too many women, moms included, who don't get it and don't care to.

Frank Martens said...

Priscilla,

Oh I see. Out of curiousity (and not that I don't believe you) is there an article where you are reading this? Or how are you finding out it's becoming a concern in the secular circles?

ckhnat said...

Not to speak for P, however, word of immodest dress concerns in public schools across the US even reached my ears this summer all the way in Prague. A friend came in one day and she looked around and said that she couldn't believe what was going on in the States.

"Can you believe it!? Schools are banning shirts that show the midriff!"

(her's was showing at the time).

In the Fall, I noticed that all the stores in the States were selling their shirts a bit longer than normal. Could it be because they would have lost money because their largest consumer base weren't allowed to wear the clothes they were selling?

ckhnat said...

She had heard it on the news and read it in the international papers.

Elissa said...

I cannot find a decent bathins suit, either! So, I resorted to a better (and cheaper!) way--a dance leotard! They make them now with pretty much the same material as a bathing suit, just a little thicker (YES!), and the leg line is lower, the neckline is higher, and the back too. :) I feel comfortable in one of those, not a regular bathing suit now.

Priscilla said...

This is a small enough community so that word gets around. A good friend of ours is a history teacher at the high school and talked about it. It was NOT just an issue with him..it was a concern of the whole faculty and they were trying to figure out how to best tackle the issue. Thus the rules of dress code that I mentioned earlier. And...there was an article in our town newspaper...which generated a lot of discussion and letters to the editor, etc. It was already about a year ago now.

I DO think that generally speaking...the secular community doesn't find it to be a problem.

mike said...

I bravely asked a question thinking I might get my head bitten off... I think I was a little scared. I loved your post and I started to build a great respect for you

mike said...

Love you