I, for one, am not a fan of the word ‘modest’. As someone who too often sees women being objectified, and have also been on the receiving end of it, I can understand dressing in a specific way so that certain groups of men won’t catcall, so I feel safe and unthreatened. Despite this, I understand the word ‘modesty’ to be completely unrelated to clothing – a woman could be wearing a burka or a bikini and it would have no relation to how much modesty they have.
To me, modesty is much more about the kind of person someone is, a lack of vanity and unpretentiousness about their work, appearance, personality qualities etc.
“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewellery, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” [Fig1]
Saying this, I need to come up with an outfit which could be deemed ‘modest’ by the public eye. I find the 1950’s style comfortable and elegant, and although I am rather short at 5’4”, I prefer wearing knee length skirts which pull my waist in. I chose a pencil skirt which falls to just above knee length with a slit up the back, and paired it with an ever so slightly sheer, black camisole. I frequently wear camisoles and feel comfortable in them. They’re not too fancy, but also show my décolletage whilst hiding (restraining) my cleavage.
Skirt – Papaya at Matalan – £17
Camisole – River Island – £9
Shoes – New Look – £19.99
Alongside these, I chose a pair of black, square heeled pumps with an ankle strap. They’re comfortable, and not too tall. To me, this is quite formal, reserved for cocktails, or dinner with my family.
A woman’s self respect and modesty is not inversely proportionate to the amount of clothing she is wearing.
Fig1. – Peter 3:3-4, King James Bible
Fig 2 & 3. – Piper, Ffion (2014) Modest Outfit [Photograph]