Is There Such a Thing as Too Modest?

modest girls clothingI just returned from an outgrown clothing sale at a local church. My good friend, Amy and I, along with my littlest boy had a good time hunting for bargains. I think we moms both made out well, especially for our girls, but even at this church-sponsored event, there was quite a bit of immodest or inappropriate clothing, I thought.

When did our little girls go from pretty dresses in pastel colors to belly shirts of dark purple and black or from rolled up jean shorts to booty shorts with attention-getting sayings on the behind? When did the boys start wearing T-shirts with leering and suggestive writing on them? I know it is an old rant.

Sorting through some girls dresses, I narrowed down my selections and decided to put two dresses back. They were pretty dresses, one a white eyelet and the other with pink ribbons sewn at the hem. As I passed one of the tables on my way to return the dresses to their rack, I stopped to offer the dresses to two moms who were sorting through girls clothing of the same size. We had chatted earlier for a bit about our daughters. “Oh, no,” the one mom replied. “My daughter is too old for those styles.” Her little girl is eight. The other mom just shrugged and went back to sorting.

Later, while I was sorting through some boys jeans and chatting with some other moms that were browsing through the same sizes, I examined and put back one pair of jeans. It had a number of strategically placed holes, and I thought they were immodest. “I can’t believe someone would sell something like this,” I muttered when I should have been quiet. The lady next to me snatched up the jeans and proceeded to tell me that this was the style, and I must not have any style. She talked about how she used to work in the fashion industry and knows these things. “I think you are right, I muttered,” and then made my excuses to move on. I don’t have much style, admittedly, but…Dejected, I left the piles of clothing with a sense of ickiness.

I promised my little guy that we would look at the toys, and he had been so good through the clothes shopping. As we walked to a different section of the sale, up the stairs and into a different room, it was easy to see the excess out there. That is the topic for a different rant.

Anyway, we made our way over to the toys, and my child selected a small blue teddy bear that he insisted on paying with his own money. Thinking back to the many, many stuffed animals we have at home, I almost said no. I did sort of try to talk him out of it, but I am proud of the fact that I stopped myself. It was one stuffed animal. How could I deny him the chance to embrace and hold on to his childhood, when society will want him to grow up before his time?

So I ask you…am I making too big a deal over the clothing choices that are out there? Am I dooming my kids to always look old-fashioned with longer skirts and plain shirts? Is there such as thing as being too modest?

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Is There Such a Thing as Too Modest?

  1. Tashi

    Making a big deal? Too modest? Resoundingly, I say, NOPE. I am “just an auntie”, but I have noticed how inappropriate some children’s clothing is. Yikes!! I used to work at several department stores, and I remember even back then, some stuff was…. “too much”, with some items going too far for what kids should be wearing. Thank goodness, my siblings don’t dress their kids inappropriately. Fun, yet, age-appropriate is the key, in my humble opinion. As for that woman who told you that you must have no fashion sense or style, how rude of her. Then again, I’d like to think maybe she was having a really bad day, and took it out on you (just trying to give her the benefit of the doubt). I am eternally grateful for anything at the thrift store (my main place these days) that is affordable, as well as appropriate for my figure (and not just “stylish”, as per whatever anyone may deem “stylish” is, anyway — whatever toots your horn, right?). I am grateful to even be able to afford anything, period. 🙂

  2. Of course there’s such a thing as too modest, but your standards aren’t it.

    What bothers me most (and my son, too) about boys’ clothes these days is the violent themes. At least half the shirts in stores depict skulls, military themes, gigantic rampaging vehicles, snarling monsters, and/or slogans about being tough. He’s 8 now, and it still seems inappropriate, but there’s some of this even in infant sizes, and it’s really prevalent in the clothes for boys 4 and up.

  3. Lori Birch

    I too have found it tiresome and frustrating to shop for kids clothes. It seems harder and harder to find just that… clothes FOR KIDS, not just little versions of whatever trashiness is being sold to teenagers and young adults. Sigh, it makes me so tired. BTW, I have been a faithful reader of yours on the families.com site for YEARS. You have been a big mentor for me in the realm of frugal living. I am just discovering your blog. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Lori! I’m so excited to meet someone from Families.com.

      Most manufacturers tend to group infant to 5T and then 6 through size 14 or so, which means that the same styles available for a high school girl are also available for a first grader.

  4. Satoshi

    No, you’re not being too modest. Society jams war, violence and aggressiveness down the throats of boys while promoting sexuality amongst girls as young as three. As a result they don’t understand the deeper connotations of these items but do understand the superficial “cool factor”. Additionally I find that many parents are also caught up in the “cool factor” crap. They are scared they’re for their children that they will be rejected at school, daycare, in sports, etc. AND that other parents will judge them harshly (or even bully them?) for having such standards. I say… save your money. Forget designer brands, forget the “cool clothing”. There is nothing wrong with plain polo shirts and khaki shorts/pants, reasonable jeans, one piece swimsuits… etc bought at reasonable prices. Kids also have the advantage of not paying for these items monetarily…

  5. Actually, there is such a thing as “too modest”. If girls grow up thinking their bodies are inherently dirty, sinful, and shameful, and that the sight of their skin will be the cause of a man’s sin, then that is “too modest”. Sadly, this is exactly what churches teach by putting all of the blame on a man’s lust on a woman’s (or girl’s) body and not on his own mind. As someone who is a modest dresser but who has been blessed/cursed (depending on your theology) with a curvy body, I can promise you that a dirty-minded man will lust and make excuses for doing it no matter how much a woman covers up and hides her body. By all means, dress modestly; but balance it with the recognition that a woman’s body is good and well-designed by God, and that some men will lust even if you’re in a full-body robe and headscarf because lust is a heart problem.

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