Since I brought up the topic of clothing and closets in the last post, I thought I’d examine it a bit further.
When I was younger, I got away with wearing just about anything. Tight jeans? No problem. Bare midriffs? Big deal. Tube tops? How cute! Bikinis? Of course.
My parents were too busy to notice, and I took advantage of the situation. But let me be clear, I knew what I was doing. I wanted attention from men, and I got it.
I’m older now, and I’ve thought about these things. Truly, it was really damaging for me to dress that way, for I believed the lie that I wasn’t good enough, but that I had to, in a sense, sell my body for attention and love.
About 15 years ago, when I came back into the Catholic Church, I began to look seriously at how I dressed. These things matter after all, and I found that I was sending the wrong message. No, it wasn’t ok for me to dress in such a way as to make men’s heads turn.
The body is to be hidden, veiled if you will, because it is holy and beautiful. And no, this does not mean that one must wear only denim jumpers and turtlenecks, far from it. Rather, we are called to wear clothing that is simple, but dignified and beautiful, if possible.
In our culture, this is hard. It takes an extra effort to search out those stores that even make suitable clothing. But this is a battle worth fighting for, and I’m thankful that my husband takes the lead on this one. He sees that our culture is losing this battle, and he wants our children to begin wearing appropriate clothing now, as little children, so as to grow in the habit. These things matter.
For example, when leggings became all the rage a few years ago, our family made a conscious decision to never wear them alone. This goes for me and even the two-year-old. If we want to wear leggings, we must wear a skirt or dress over them–just a shirt doesn’t cut it. My husband and I want to be sure that our girls know that they are beautiful and have great dignity, and that there are other things to wear besides just leggings.
Most people “get it” that husbands and dads don’t care to stare at women out in public wearing skin-tight clothing, but from a woman’s point of view, I find it hard too. I don’t like to see other women wearing revealing clothing because sometimes it makes me feel poorly about myself. I think, “Wow, she looks great. I certainly don’t have that kind of body. Maybe I should workout more…” And then, if I don’t stop it, those thoughts continue to speed downhill. This will always be a struggle for me.
I mention all of this today because I want to encourage those of you who do attempt to dress in a modestly beautiful way, and I want to challenge those of you who may need to take a closer look at your wardrobes.
Just how should one dress as a daughter of the King?
I know I have some work to do, as I am in constant need of conversion. How about you?