Monday, August 9, 2010

Where Art Thou, Modest Clothing?

Modesty? Bueller? Bueller? No? Okay, then.

For the past couple of weeks I've been keeping my eye out on any new modest clothing that I can get to update my dwindling wardrobe options. What I found was that the clothes were either good but terribly expensive or truly unwearable. Most of the time, they were just really bad. Even if I were to do layers, and I would, the clothes were too fitted or not salvageable at all. Deep V-necks and plunging necklines, shirts emphasizing the bust by either fit or embellishments... and this was in the juniors section which aimed for 12 to 19 year-olds. By the way, don't get me started on the short skirts or the jeans with butt patting. Say with me "false advertisement." I would often head to the missus sections and while the sections were a bit better, they were still too mature or still too "hip" and "modern" for my tastes and my age. I tried to go to as many stores as possible but didn't have any luck. I came close at Kohl's where I found a dress that wasn't too bad but the neckline was lower than I would've liked so I passed. Every time I go into a new store and have the same experience I am reminded of the quote from Pride and Prejudice in which Elizabeth Bennet says, "The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it." Substitute the word "world" with "fashion" and you have my sentiments on the matter.

Of course, I did find some cute clothes that were modest but they were terribly expensive. I mean, I understand it's because they use more and higher quality fabrics but, goodness, are they trying to make us pay (literally) just because we want to dress modestly? As someone who comes from a family that's mostly lived paycheck to paycheck, I can't afford to buy a shirt or a skirt that's $75 per item. Dresses are even more expensive as well. If I could sew, or had the time to learn, I would try to make my own clothing but I can't so I'm pretty much stuck. I have been advised to check out thrift stores but, unfortunately, most of them are just as expensive as clothing found in the mall or are very well worn and nearly falling apart. Oh, Los Angeles... you are a serious challenge to my wardrobe choices.

Recently I asked Clare from The Catholic Young Woman to give my wardrobe a sort-of makeover since her style is closest to mine. Hopefully one day we'll be able to, while we're not too far away from each other, because I admire both her fashion sense as well as her beliefs when it comes to modesty and what it means to be a respectable young woman. :) If and when that day comes, I hope to document it because it's going to be quite the departure from what I normally wear now: which is usually jeans and t-shirt.(side note: I highly suggest you check out her blog; it's one of my favorites. :D)

Before anyone suggests getting my clothes online from modest retailers, let me just say that it's not that easy for me at the moment. I have finally gotten out of my awkward, lanky stage (uber late bloomer, what can I say?) so I want to try to figure out what works for my body type before I risk buying online. As I often repeat to my mom when she says "who cares?" when something's a little tighter on me than I would like, "I care and I'm pretty sure my future husband (whoever he may be) wouldn't want me to dress in such a way that would draw attention from other men. Furthermore, I wouldn't disrespect God by unintentionally giving men sinful thoughts." I've seen the looks and have heard the comments one gets from disgusting pervs who like to let their eyes wander. *shudders* When this happens to me I usually say "May God forgive you for what you've just said to me." I know that we can't change men and that they will still say their disgusting comments but any way I can help stop drawing attention to myself I will try. So until I can figure what I can and can't wear, I'm sticking to shopping in actual stores.

Anyway, I feel like I could ramble on and on on the subject but I won't. I will say, however, that it makes me happy to see that more women are starting to challenge the industry (however slowly) when it comes to fashion. My generation still seems to be a little behind (I'm surprised how difficult it's getting for a 20-something year old young woman to find something decent to wear), I hope that someday there will be a remedy.

If anyone knows of any stores (that aren't expensive) in the L.A. area or anywhere in Southern California that cater to women seeking to dress feminine yet modest, please let me know 'cause I have not found a single place yet. :D

Alright, I think that's all for now... if I don't want to start a rant. lol.

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!


Joe of St. Thérèse said...

As I'm sure you remember me telling you a while back, one of my dear friend I and i went shopping...and we found a modest outfit, out of the hundereds we looked at.

Why do I have a feeling you're going to have to escape Ca to find modest clothing? :p...Working on praying for that intention :)

Emmy Cecilia said...

Where was this at?

Elenatintil said...

Do they have Maurices in CA? Because that's one store where my sister and I have been able to find modest clothing. We sometimes have to dig a bit, but they have waaaaay more options than any other place we've found. If you sign up for their mailing list, you'll be able to get cupons that should help with the budget too.

Emmy Cecilia said...

There isn't on anywhere near L.A. :(

Erika said...

What I've done w/ the not-so-modest clothes out there is to cheat... By that I mean, find something that has only 1 flaw - too low neck-line, to high hem-line, too tight, etc - and work w/ that flaw.

For instance, I've gotten some really nice things that have low neck-lines (deep V's). I take an old t-shirt in a coordinating color & cut it to fit in the gap. They used to call that a "fichu", I think. I have practically nill for sewing skills, but I can sew on buttons. So I cut the fabric to size & tack it on in the corners like I would a button. Another option are the 'shrugs' that are so popular right now. I actually took one & wore it backwards (button in the back) over a *very* low neck-lined sun-dress. It looked like I'd bought them together (my back was a bit exposed, but I was ok w/ that). Wearing it backwards de-emphasized the emphasis shrugs put on your bust too...

For too short hem-lines grab a pair of coordinating skinny jeans or fitted jeans (perhaps ones you passed over as too fitted/tight) & wear them under the 'dress'.

I also typically buy fitted shirts at least 1 size larger than my 'real' size to give me more flexibility in layering... Even if the neck-line is *way* low I can put a tank under it to fix it... The tanks I buy in my size or even sometimes almost a size too small (to minimize lumps & bumps from layering).

Good luck!

Barry said...

skinny jeans are indemand specially for the girls.=)
catholic art

Ripsimeh said...

I sew and I found a few websites with modest clothing. They are not catholic. I'm trying to get it together and have modest clothing for Catholics I studied fashion designing in the University. It is really silly for a middle aged woman to find dresses these days. I mean really do I want to show everything. Here is the two I really like for patterns and one of them The Kings Daughters actually has ready made and custom sewing as well. About the same prices as Penny's. and here is their sewing store another one that I really like and I finished making a dress from her pattern is Common Sense Patterns I made the drawstring dress, very pretty, femine, and supper easy to sew. Here is my shop for when I finally get it all together.
It is called Ripsimeh's Faith Minded Creations. Blessings

Marc Davignon said...

It really made me sad to read that your mom said "who cares" like that. Modesty in a girl is extremely important to me personally. I think modesty shows that a woman respects her body, and is in a sense saving herself for the man she is going to marry. I don't mean that in a chauvinist manner either as I think that applies to men just as much. It's really important to save every aspect of your sexuality for the person you are going to marry whether or not you are a man or a woman. I also think modesty is a bit of a two person dance, where the guy can do his part to guard his heart, but the girl can help him in that regard as well.
Yes, men are very visual. But that does not at all mean all men are perverts. And yes, there are perverted men everywhere, and I hate that I have to share a gender with them sometimes. There are a lot of very holy men out there though, and probably most of them do struggle to some extent with keeping their eyes and hearts in the right place. I think sometimes girls don't appriciate how much effort some men put into keeping their hearts safe in that regard. These are very good, decent, holy men putting up fight in what is naturally a very difficult area. I think it helps that girls dress modestly not only as a sign of the value they place on their bodies, but also to bless the men around them in helping them with this struggle. And lastly, I know some men, including myself, find modest girls to be incredbly beautiful, because I feel modesty allows the true beauty of a woman to show. Thanks so much for sticking with your principles Emmy, us gentlemen appricate it so very very much for so many reasons!

Ripsimeh said...

Thankyou Mark for leaving your wonderful comment. I felt I would never find a man to marry because I felt no man wants a modest woman. I do it for God. Maybe there is hope for me then. Blessings Ripsimeh

CJ said...

1. Try a clothing swap party with friends. Ask everyone to bring items still in good shape, but that they do not have use for anymore. This is also a good time to trade styling tips. Give any excess clothing items to a charity.
2. Accessories. Easy ways to morph the outfits that are a good fit, but look matronly.