I Timothy 2:9-10: “In like manner women also in decent apparel: adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety, not with plaited hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly attire, But as it becometh women professing godliness, with good works.”
As a young woman, dressing modestly in today’s society is tough. Women don’t even like the sound of the word ‘modesty,’ much less trying it on for size.
Due to the sexual liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s, women have not only become more open with their sexual practices, but also with their bodies, using them as a tool rather than as a gift. In this day and age, modesty has been banished to the rhetoric of our grandmothers as something old-fashioned and out-of-date with the current feminine perspective — that is, to be an empowered and independent woman in the 21st century is to take control of your body in a way that maximizes your sexual prowess.
Many women follow the guidelines of “less is more” with the notion that beauty is served best when exhibited (by means of tight or revealing clothing). In practice, the woman of today uses their dress to an extent that it discards an essential aspect of their being: respect. In the case of immodest clothing, women represent themselves in a very singular fashion. Instead of dressing their whole person, women decide to dress a few parts of themselves – which does not express their capacity for value, high esteem, or respect. Women forget that these elements are a part of the person they’re dressing – a respectable woman in her entirety, not just a body.
However unappealing modesty may sound, women also need to be reminded that dressing modestly doesn’t have to be boring or drab — it can be a creative approach to flattering, everyday apparel. A great inspiration for finding creative ways to dress modestly can be found in the collections of many top designers. Designers like Stella McCartney and Dries Van Noten are just a couple who have taken modesty for a walk down the runway — teaching women that they can do the same.
Here are a just a few examples of modest fashion found in this Fall’s fashion shows.
Marc by Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs gives thrift shop value a whole new market. Using timeless shapes such as puffed-capped sleeves and a-line skirt. Jacobs collaborates the chic school-girl shape with funky, retro shapes and colour schemes. His use of camel paired with a poppy-red offer a comforting contrast to the black and grey used by most other designers this season.
Similar to gap’s trouser cut, Stella McCartney’s look offers a simple, breathable fit to a classic pant look. The cuffed pants highlight her patent, pointed-toe flats that give the outfit day-to-day use with a hint of finesse. Matched with the thick, horizontal-striped boat-neck cardigan, this look reveals enough without sacrificing elegance.
Rebecca Taylor’s look brings a new edge to basics through her use of layering ruffled grey, white, and tan pieces. Matched with a long blouse and black suede pants, Taylor adds the timeless bowler hat, completing the outfit with a taste of punk-rock chic.
Dries Van Noten
Dries Van Noten reaches a step above with regards to sophistication and class by employing the high-waisted, full skirt. Van Noten emphasizes a woman’s hour glass shape by emphasizing a small waist whilst still allowing modesty and distinction with his use of a well-tailored charcoal blazer.
There’s no need to worry if you cannot afford to splurge on pricey designer fashions—the majority of the pieces are simple, classic components to a woman’s wardrobe and can be found in many affordable clothing stores. Designers’ fashion can serve as reminders that there’s always a fun and fresh way to pair traditional pieces with today’s trends to make for an elegant and respectable look.
Alexandra Brown is a fourth-year student in the Book and Media Studies program at the University of Toronto.