Friday, June 26, 2009

The Big Neckline Question

A reader responded to the "Solutions for Plunging Necklines, Part 1" post with the thought that sometimes men interpret the lace versions of the dickey as underwear, and this is a hindrance to them. Her father had warned her about it, and she found similar comments on the Modesty Survey run by

By following this link and clicking on "Layering" then the first statement in the box, you'll see the entire survey results on this topic.

Agree/Disagree Statement: Girls can be modest by layering (e.g. wearing camisoles under V-neck shirts to hide cleavage) even if some of the layers would be immodest by themselves.

Out of 39 specific text responses (additional to the Agree/Disagree vote ratio)
7 commented on lace or underwear.

Mr. Agree, age 40-49 said:
In my opinion, layering is good except for the fact that a camisole makes me think of an undergarment. Most that I've seen have lace at the top or something pretty to catch the eye.

These days, it's hard to know what an undergarment looks or doesn't look like. Even if you look at garments from history, it's still hard to tell. Compare the following images.

Compare this dickey neckdressing provided in "Solutions for Plunging Necklines, Part 1" with the following 3 historic costumes.

Is a certain colour associated with underwear?
White or black?
What about colours?
What about a white panel inserted into the v neck of a coloured shirt?
What about a frill of lace added to a neckline?

Mr. Neutral, age 21 says:
They might be modest, but it could still draw attention to the chest where the shirt is different.

Mr. Disagree, age 16 says:
It's a lot better than not layering, but it still brings attention to the bust.

Are the above 3 white camisoles okay? If so, what about the one below?

Here is the famous JayJays camisole,
one of which is being worn under the white v-neck t-shirt above.

The JayJays lace camisole falls into the 'cause for concern' category, and yet the survey includes many comments that applaud the wearing of these garments. My personal conclusion is that I should not be ashamed of my bust - it is a good and feminine thing - but I should strive to dress in a way that leads the eye up to my face.

The Modesty Survey is a valuable tool giving women insight into how men think, but please remember that it contains many variations in viewpoint.

The first time we encountered the resource, a mature Christian friend and I both came away from reading it feeling overwhelmed, the sort of reaction that makes you want to wrap in blankets and hide in a cupboard, for it seemed that we couldn't wear anything without causing an honest man to stumble.

Armed with the Modesty Survey Overview perspective reminders (see below), we pondered deeply and talked it through with our parents to regain our equilibrium. We decided that in the end it doesn't matter what others think. Our standard of modesty is answerable to the Lord first, then our parents or husband.

Perspective Reminders on The Modesty Petition provided by
As a Christian guy with a deep appreciation for feminine modesty, I hereby affirm and commend the following biblical truths to my sisters in Christ:
* Please, approach the survey as a resource, not a list of rules.
* Always honor your parents above the results of the survey. (Ephesians 6:1-3)
* Seek personal feedback on your attire from the godly men and women in your life.
* Remember, modesty is first and foremost a matter of the heart, not the wardrobe.
* Faithfully pursue the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. (1 Peter 3:4)
* Let your good works outshine your outward appearance. (1 Timothy 2:10)
* Dress for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

This Ezibuy garment is two t-shirts joined together, creating a pre-layered look.
Is this okay? If it is, what about the image below?

How do they compare with this historic costume?

Or this Warehouse t-shirt with a tiny, self-fabric dickey giving a layered look.

Mr. Agree, age 22 said:
I agree, but isn't it simpler just to wear modest clothes, rather than layer enough clothes (some immodest) until the overall outfit is modest?

Yes, it's better, but not simpler! The challenge we're working with is to find shops that sell affordable modest clothing because many of us don't have the time or ability to sew our own. Hence the rescue option-- filling in the gaps -- made easier by the layering trend.

Mr. Strongly Agree, age 40-49 said:
My girls and my wife do this often. I find they look very attractive and stylish, while maintaining their modesty.

Here's another historic costuming example.
Compare with the Warehouse t-shirt with inset panel below.

Here's a close-up colour shot of the same outfit as below,
featuring layers of dainty but transparent fabrics.
Which part is dress and which part is underwear?

My best advice on this complex issue is:

1) You're not going to be able to please everybody so focus your attention on pleasing the Lord and your father/husband.

2) Strive to dress in a way that leads the eye to your face.

3) Take all reasonable precautions to prevent underwear from showing inadvertently. You can secure bra straps to shoulder seams with domed loops or safety pins, wear a chemise to keep panty and bra lines hidden, etc.

Coming soon: FURTHER SOLUTIONS for plunging necklines.


naopllagfan said...

oh so you like road to avonlea? I think that show is beautiful, I wish they had english country dances in australia.

Narelle Worboys said...

Hi Naopllagfan. I know English Country Dances do take place in Australia. The last one I heard of was for a barn warming. I'm sure it was a warm barn before the night was done! What part of the country are you in? Have you tried Googling for clubs or groups who host them?

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