Friday, September 26, 2008

Modesty - an Act of Love

Modesty is not a simple term to define. Like the word "love", we use it to explain many levels of passion. All these concepts, love, passion, and modesty, came into play in a simple blog post by Heather Paulsen Patenaude, author of "Emotional Purity - an Affair of the Heart," a post which began with a wedding...

The bride wore a flouncy white strapless wedding dress with a filigree bodice displaying her midriff all the way around. Her choice of clothing sparked quite a controversy amongst the congregation, both male and female.Heather wrote:

Modest Formal Wear
I have to say that one of my pet peeves is when modesty is thrown out the window for weddings, school dances, Proms, and other events that require formal wear.
Tonight I came across Beautifully Modest and was so encouraged to see gorgeous dresses that actually were modest! May God bless them greatly!
Posted by Heather Paulsen, 08/22/08
Excited opinions spilled over into Heather's blog. You can see some of the comments here, including thoughts on whether modesty = sleeves. (There are more comments here following the piece, republished below, that inspired this BN post.)

I think eruptions like this are healthy in that they reveal wood-eating bugs in the woodwork. In so many churches and Christian circles today immodesty is accepted and even welcomed -- no one gives it a second thought -- so when it is questioned, many women, being protective of their 'right' to exhibit themselves as they please, allow their indignation to overwhelm their conscience.

A few days later, Heather came up with the best short definition of modesty that I have yet encountered.

Modesty - An Act of Love
What is modesty?

I don't believe there is a "what to wear/what not to wear" list of what is modest. I believe that modesty is a condition of the heart and attitude.

Recently I was chatting with a friend (via e-mail) about modesty. She said, " I love the modesty survey that took place on the Rebelution site and I'd like to see a sweeping movement of its kind, one able to reveal modesty for the act of love that it really is, without impressing young Christian girls as judgmental or old fashioned."

The act of love, yes this is's an act of love.

I tend to think of everything in an emotional sense (hey, I wrote a book on emotional purity, right!?) We women tend to be emotionally charged. Guys, well, they are physically charged.

What do I mean by that? Well, a new handsome, single, solid Christian guy starts to visit your church. Before long the single girls have gotten the lowdown, are inviting him to events in hopes to get to know him better, and maybe even dreaming about being ask out on a date by him.

Or maybe you are friends with a guy and your mind is always in the "what-if" future. You're pondering what you name sounds like with his, your planning your kids names, your dreaming of vacations with him, you long for private time alone, and you just desire to get to know him better.

This is being emotionally charged. We desire emotional closeness with guys (and other women, for that matter).

So guys are more physically charged. They don't think of what a girls name would sound like with theirs, but they tend to struggle more with being physically pure in their mind.

With this knowledge it's an act of love to treat each other with honor and not cause each other to stumble in our respective areas.

Guys need to be "emotionally modest", not leading a girl on, toying with her emotions, flirting, being vague, and overall causing her to being emotionally turned on!

If you take my post from three days ago about Formal Wear and think about it in this way: when a bride is immodest in her wedding dress, it could be compared to her new husband flirting with the bridesmaids at the reception. It would be appalling. But if her dress is causing any man to stumble, what's the difference?

What is modesty? It's an act of love for our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord. Whether we're being emotionally modest or physically modest, we're thinking and caring about other people more than ourselves and that, my friend, is selfless love!
Posted by Heather Paulsen, 08/27/08

The Modesty Survey mentioned by Heather's email friend is run by The Rebelution, who describe themselves as a teenage rebellion against low expectations. Have a look see at what the guys have to say by clicking on the image above.

For a balanced perspective, I highly recommend this book,
"Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America" by Jeff Pollard.

Genevieve Smith introduced me to it -- Kiwis, she sells it from her bookstore here -- and I've been very, very grateful. I thought it was going to be heavy theology and require wading, but instead I found it riveting.

It does examine what the Bible means by being covered, but it also takes an historical journey through the evolution of the swimsuit and is loaded with illustrations of what various fashion designers and others in the fashion industry have said or done. I also found the book amusing -- the guy has a talent for sharing ludicrous information with a straight face. The cover blurb comments that most importantly, he accomplishes what few authors on this subject have achieved: a treatise that avoids both license and legalism.

Vision Forum sells it here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Linen Look

Linen is a comfortable fabric to wear in a hot climate, but it creases abominably. For this reason, I have ignored all the fashion industry's efforts to get me to buy linen garments, however attractive they may appear in the catalogues and on the hangers.

(Two industry secrets include starch that keeps the garment looking pristine until washed, and steam laundering applied to garments in store removes transit wrinkles.)

I have learned, from the unexpected source of an Interior Design consultant, that the modern linen look is designed to be crumpled. Crumpled linen curtains are IN. Linen garments continue to be popular. So if you don't mind the haphazard, lived-in look, by all means line up for linen!

Victoria Hill linen options include this charming embroidered shirt and matching pants,

and this sundress and matching blazer (also available in ice pink).

Victoria Hill's catalogue stylist exlaims, "Linen is the must have fabric this summer! Enjoy the wonderfully 'lived in' look of our 100% linen."

Linen Facts

Highly absorbent and a good conductor of heat, linen fabric feels cool to the touch. Linen is the strongest of the vegetable fibers, with 2 to 3 times the strength of cotton. It is smooth, making the finished fabric lint free, and gets softer the more it is washed. However, constant creasing in the same place in sharp folds will tend to break the linen threads. This wear can show up in collars, hems, and any area that is iron creased during laundering. Linen has poor elasticity and does not spring back readily, explaining why it wrinkles so easily.

When freed from impurities, linen is highly absorbent and will quickly remove perspiration from the skin. Linen is a stiff fabric and is less likely to cling to the skin; when it billows away, it tends to dry out and become cool so that the skin is being continually touched by a cool surface. It is a very durable, strong fabric, and one of the few that are stronger wet than dry. The fibers do not stretch and are resistant to damage from abrasion. However, because linen fibers have a very low elasticity, the fabric will eventually break if it is folded and ironed at the same place repeatedly.

Mildew, perspiration, and bleach can also damage the fabric, but it is resistant to moths and carpet beetles. Linen is relatively easy to take care of, since it resists dirt and stains, has no lint or pilling tendency, and can be dry cleaned, machine washed or steamed. It can withstand high temperatures, and has only moderate initial shrinkage.

Linen should not be dried too much by tumble drying: it is much easier to iron when damp. Linen wrinkles very easily, and so some more formal linen garments require ironing often, in order to maintain perfect smoothness. Nevertheless the tendency to wrinkle is often considered part of the fabric's particular "charm", and a lot of modern linen garments are designed to be air dried on a good hanger and worn without the necessity of ironing.

A characteristic often associated with contemporary linen yarn is the presence of "slubs", or small knots which occur randomly along its length. However, these slubs are actually defects associated with low quality. The finest linen has very consistent diameter threads, with no slubs.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Modest Prom Dress Contest

Here's another Latter Day Saint company offering a gorgeous range of modest gowns. From bridesmaid to prom to undergarments and casual options, there's plenty to delight the eye at Modest By Design!

You may specify sleeve and skirt length, and for some designs you may request a free fabric swatch. Sign up for their free monthly email newsletter and they'll keep you up-to-date with new styles and discounts. September's special is 20% off selected in-stock formals.

Every year Modest By Design holds a Prom Dress Contest and the winner gets to have her dream prom dress created specifically for her as well as a photo shoot and accessories for her prom.

This year's contest will begin September 15th and run through November 15th, 2008. Their winner will be announced at the Annual "Modesty in Motion" Fashion Show at the Egyptian Theatre in Ogden, Utah on January 3rd, 2009. The Fashion Show will start at 12:00 noon and 2:30 pm.

All contestants must be high-school age. Forms will be available on the website on September 15th, 2008.


Dress Like Royalty
by Tomoko Goddard
Orlando, Florida

Why I Make the Choice
by Leslie Gerber
Viewmont High, Centerville, Utah

'A wise man once appraised the value of modesty. He declared, “When virtue and modesty enlighten her charms, the luster of a beautiful woman is brighter than the stars of heaven, and the influence of her power it is in vain to resist.”

'The weight that modesty carries is absolutely incredible, but to live modestly is a lot more than just dressing appropriately; it is a living, breathing, principle that demands nurturing and constant attention. That nurturing comes by the way you live your life; what you say and do, and how you treat others in the world around you. Modesty shows a person’s love and respect for their God, themselves, and the people they are around. Although the price of living modestly is difficult to pay, I wouldn’t choose to live any other way.'

Friday, September 5, 2008

The New Jacket Dress

The new season's formal styles bring us a welcome option - the jacket dress. It's IN, it's CUTE, and it can help solve your 'what to wear and be modest' challenge.

These examples from Chadwicks may not provide the coverage you wish for, but I hope they'll give you ideas for what's possible.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fashion Show Celebrating Modesty

2pm on Saturday, September 6th, at Layton Hills Mall, Utah

For more information, visit
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