Monday, July 8, 2013

Yes, you can be modest and fashionable

We've talked before about the importance of being an ambassador to the World.  We don't want to scare them too badly - the World has a pretty bad image of the Church as it is.  At the same time, we don't want to dress in a way that would dishonor our King, or tempt our brothers to sin. 

How can we run under the radar of "normal" without sacrificing modesty? 

First:  Decide if "running under the radar" is important to you.  If you have chosen to dress like all the other women in your denomination (Amish or Mennonite for example) and you have a specific dress code... well, frankly you can stop reading.  You've made  your choice and I'll stand behind your choice.  You do need to understand that in this day, those choices make you as distinct (and stare-worthy) as a nun in her habit or a Muslim lady in hijab.  You are dressing not to run under the radar but to fit in with your circle.  Nothing wrong with that - but that's not what this article is about.

Second:  Decide on your own modesty rules.  What are you covering?  Under what circumstances will you reveal it?  Hair covering?  Athletics?  Swimming?  Pants?  Accessories/jewelry?

Things that help:
1) Layers.  A camisole can change a neckline.  A bolero can camouflage a silhouette.  Translucent layers?  Add a slip - or add a translucent layer on top of fitted items.

2) Mind your fabrics!  Please, please - let's leave the quilting cotton for cute day dresses, children's clothing and ...quilts.  If you are wearing calico, you need to know that the fabric is talking.  This is great!  See how she's got two solid colors going and a belt?  She's covered from the ground to her clavicles and past the elbow, but while she's modest, her clothes aren't talking. Calico.  Oh dear.  Pretty ladies.  Pretty dresses.  How much nicer would these dresses be, if they were in more sophisticated fabrics? Jumpers.  This fabric is kinda cute, and it's a decent silhouette.  But.  Jumpers.  Jumpers are like a uniform for the very conservative Christian - you're definitely not going to be flying under the radar in a jumper. Go vintage!  Hem below the knee, little sleeve, very feminine - but she doesn't stick out.  And the hair? Makes it.  Vintage is all the rage - and the way it becomes wearable is by the use of modern hair and accessories.  Just as you can be rockabilly in jeans and a tshirt if you put victory rolls in your hair, you can wear a vintage frock and look absolutely in the moment with a modern hairstyle and jewelry. Vintage inspired, modern interpretation.  I love what the Russians are doing with fashion lately.  You take an ultra-feminine silhouette, add some tailoring - instant "lady". All white dresses, flowing fabrics, translucent looks that aren't really translucent:  How floaty and summery can you be? Accessories.  The boots take this long denim skirt and white blouse from stuffy to country chic.  The further from "normal" you want to travel in your sartorial journey, the more attention to detail you need. Denim.  Use denim as an accessory whenever possible - it reads very normal, and breaks up the sugar.

The most important step of all?  Decide what image you want to convey, and accept that what you put on your body *does* set an image, will ye, nil ye. 

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