Friday, April 17, 2009

Modesty at Mass and in Everyday Life.

Yes, that's the chapel veil (or mantilla) that my father brought from Mexico. I will have to look for the one my beloved, late grandmother sent me when I was still in my teens so I can post a picture of it as well. I LOVE it. I'm going to have to get used to wearing them... which is proving somewhat difficult with my usually straight hair. Maybe I'll have to stop blow drying it so it stays naturally wavy, then maybe it won't keep sliding off. lol. Mom suggested I use bobby pins, like she did when she was younger and wore them to Mass (granddad was very Catholic), but I still haven't figured out how to do it. Suggestions are welcomed! :D Either way, I AM going to wear them... even if no one else around my age does. (The only women at my parish, and during the morning English Mass, that I've seen wear them are over 40.)

During Mass last Sunday I had two thoughts come to mind. First: Yes! Other women dress appropriately to Mass and/or wear mantillas. Second: Wow, so many women comes dressed like they were going out to a club... or hanging out at the mall with their friends. As my friend Monique from Catholic Chicks (who beat me with a post similar to this, lol) pointed out, we can't judge someone by what they wear to Mass because we don't know if the reason they're not more dressed up is because they can't afford to be. Trust me, I've told my father many times that it doesn't matter what he looks like as long as he attends Mass (though he does this because doesn't want to get dressed up and/or is finding excuses to not attend Mass). I completely understand that some people just can't for one reason or another, but that they wish they could. For those who can afford to look nice, and do dress up outside of Mass, I have to wonder why they don't make the effort to look nice when being in the house of God.

I've found some really surprising, and sad, excuses young women make for not dressing up for Mass. This is from my own research and questioning, I'm not saying these are the reasons for everyone. There are two reasons that make me cringe the most. First: "Why should I bother dressing up if there is no one to impress; there are no cute boys that attend Mass." Uh, seriously? I didn't know Mass was for trying to land yourself a boyfriend/husband. Oh wait... it's NOT! This brings me to the second reason: "It's just Mass. I showed up, isn't that enough? What's the big deal anyway?" *palmface* Oy.

Maybe the way I feel about this whole thing is because I was raised to always try to look nice when going to church, showing my respect for God. My dad (yes, you read that right) made sure I was always in a little dress, or at the very least a skirt, and dress shoes. If you've ever seen how Ali Landry dresses her daughter Estela, that's just how my parents had me dressed up until my tomboy side took over when dress pants became my thing. (I'm happy to report that I have since returned to wearing skirts to Mass, when it's not freezing cold.) Wearing these tube tops that young women have to constantly be pulling up so that they don't flash other parishioners... I mean, come on! Are you serious? If you can wear it to a club to draw attention to yourself, than it's more than likely not appropriate for Mass. That goes for mini-skirts, see-through blouses/shirts, extremely tight clothes, etc. Oh, and talking about things like bras during Mass, when you should be listening to the Homily, is also not appropriate. (Yes, last Sunday a young girl was talking about see-through shirts and bras during the Homily. She proceeded to also say that the Eucharist "tastes like nothing, like cardboard", among other things).

And while I'm on the topic of modest clothing and what modesty means, I'd like you to check out Modestia, A Maiden's Wreath, Maidens of Modesty (this one is not Catholic, but is Christian and run by one of my best friends). btw, A Maiden's Wreath had a book review on the fashion and modesty book "It's So You!" that I highly recommend.

For the record, and because I get asked this quite often, my definition of modesty varies from other people's. Some women say it's immodest to wear jeans and sleeveless shirt, and I don't. My motto is: If you can't wear something in front of a priest, or if you can't imagine yourself wearing in front of the Virgin Mary or Jesus Christ, then it shouldn't be worn. I don't think wearing jeans and sleeveless shirts (as long as they don't reveal too much skin) is inappropriate for every day life. As a self proclaimed girly tomboy, I fall somewhere between the Gap and Ann Taylor Loft. I love dressing up in dresses and skirts, and have a soft spot for vintage clothing from the 40s, but I'm also a big fan of jeans and tees when I'm just hanging out with my friends. I don't always wear heels (at 5'7" I'm good with flats) but I always try to look nice no matter what I wear. As for wearing spaghetti strap shirts, I do wear them but always paired with cardigan like this. I never wear anything too low cut, tight, or revealing. The last thing I want is to get attention from pervs. It's all about mixing and matching and doing it in a manner that's modest and cute. Definitely look at Modestia for more on that because Rebecca always finds some really good stuff and will always share with us girls.

Alright, I've rambled on as usual. lol. Sorry. All I can do is blame the writer in me. I have weeks worth of material that I want to write, and hope to eventually publish/post, but I can't say when just yet because school still has be busy as usual. That's what happens when you load yourself up with two Philosophy classes, a Speech argumentation course, and an English class. I do an exorbitant amount of reading per week. Anyway, before this gets any longer... I hope everyone has a great weekend! Thanks for reading, and for your emails. God Bless! :D


Catholic Chicks said...

I love that you're going to wear the veil! Good for you!! ;)

Miss C.N.W. said...

Thank you. :D

Clare Marie-Therese Duroc said...

You sound like me! I'll also do jeans and sleeveless, though for the most part I just love the twirly-ness of skirts. And I stand at about 5'7" too, which is kind of sad in a way because I love cute retro-style heels. I've learned to seek out cute flats, but 50's pumps simply aren't 50's pumps without the heels... so some days I just decide that I'll be gangling giant wearing 50's pumps. :P

Miss C.N.W. said...

Oh, I know! I love the peep toe pumps from the 40s but sometimes I'm "too tall" for them and get asked to not wear them. lol.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

You rock! You echo exactly what I teach the women in my classes.

As far as how to make it stay, hmmm, maybe I can get you in contact with a good friend of mine who also wears a Mantilla (I'm a guy, I can't help in this regard)

Thank you!