Christian modesty of dress begins in the home!! Parents, you need to dress children modestly, right from the get-go!! Children are going to wear what you buy them. If you buy them immodest clothing, parents, then that’s the only thing that your children have to wear and that’s what they’re going to get accustomed to. I write this from my own experience and it’s quite obvious anyway in families.
I used to dress very immodestly myself and especially in my teenage years. Jeans, slacks, shorts (and some of them were quite skimpy looking), and yes, even bathing suits. My mother, God have Mercy upon her soul, was very worldly and she always wanted me to look cutesy-cutesy. I didn’t have so much interest in that. She always wanted me to look pretty with nice make up on and my hair styled really nicely. That used to kinda irritate me because I really didn’t care that much about how I looked.
But, when I was dressed immodestly, I also felt the sense of freedom to act more immodestly. I mean, when wearing jeans and slacks (and some people call them pants), I had the tendency of sitting any ole way I wanted to—in an immodest posture—immodest according to how ladies SHOULD BE sitting.
Back in my high school years, dressing all cutesy-cutesy, in jeans and slacks—well that was just the “cool” thing—it was the “in” thing!! Dressing immodestly gave me the natural freedom to act immodestly. To me, it was normal to dress in jeans/slacks/shorts and, naturally, without even thinking about it, a lot of my normal actions/postures were more immodest.
Looking back at the days where I dressed immodestly, I also did not have as much self-respect. It didn’t bother me at all as to how I appeared to others. Now, at the time, I dated lots of young men and they all respected me. But, they probably would have respected me more if I respected myself more, by dressing modestly.
I dressed mostly in that fashion until September 14, 1991. That was my second time back to the apparition site of Our Lady of the Roses, Mary Help of Mothers (http://www.smwa.org/). It was sometime during that Rosary Vigil when myself, and another lady friend, were off to the side picking up copies of Our Lady’s Messages, Rosaries, etc.
Somehow this friend of mine and I got into a very short discussion about wearing slacks. I remember her saying to me: “Well, you know you’re not suppose to wear them, don’t you?” At that moment, I received an instant cure through the intercession of Our Lady of the Roses (http://www.smwa.org/)!! I never thought of it as a cure until earlier today when I finally realized that it was one—a spiritual cure.
You see, from that very moment I never wore jeans, slacks, shorts, or bathing suits ever again!! And that’s been 20 years now (in fact, 20 years next month)!! I just never had that desire!!
At that time, I was 21 years old and living at home with my dad and my two brothers—my mom was killed in a car accident earlier that year, in January—and may God have Mercy upon her soul. When I came home from that Rosary Vigil, most of my clothes were the jeans, slacks, shorts, etc.—the immodest stuff. I did have a few skirts that came down to either just above my knees or the middle of my knees. But, they didn’t totally cover my knees. (I also had a few dresses, I’m sure, that’s length was the same as the skirts.) But, I wore those skirts anyway because those were the only skirts that I had, at the time and I knew that eventually I was going to get longer skirts. I wasn’t working because I was sick with mono. So, I couldn’t just go out and buy skirts right off the bat!! But, it was definitely a start in the right direction and I am sure that Heaven was pleased with this!!
For the next six months after that Rosary Vigil, my dad—God bless him—would daily get on my case about me not wearing the jeans, slacks, etc. and he would always bring up the fact that my mom bought those for me and that she wore jeans, etc., herself. Well, I just let his “complaints”, if you will, go through one ear and out the other. I had no desire to ever change back to all that immodest dressing. Finally, my dad just quit complaining to me about it, although I know that this bugged him for several years and maybe it still does. But, I don’t care. I don’t care if my modest dressing bothers anyone!! What I do care about is how my modest dressing appears in the Eyes of God.
Ever since that Rosary Vigil, I am very cautious as to how I dress. I love to wear the long skirts—the longer, the better!! And, yes, I wear modest tops, too. If I even fear that something might be the least immodest, I will ask my best friend, whom I trust, if he thinks it is too immodest. I will ask him for his opinion. Or, sometimes I just don’t wear the particular clothing if I just feel that it could be the slightest bit immodest.
When I started dressing in skirts/dresses all the time, way back then, I felt more feminine!! Trust me, ladies—you will feel the same way, too, if you change your dressing habits to long skirts and dresses, and modest tops!! I really did feel more feminine!! I also gained more dignity and self-respect!! As I dressed modestly, I acted modestly as well. As the immodest dressing went out the door, so did the immodest actions and postures. (By-the-way, my immodest actions were not mortal sin actions. They were just actions that were very unbecoming of a young lady.)
So, yes, I was cured of immodest dressing through the intercession of Our Lady of the Roses, Mary Help of Mother (http://www.smwa.org/) during the Rosary Vigil of September 14, 1991.
Ladies, I can tell you that if you will dress very lady-like—wearing modest tops and lengthy skirts—you will feel more feminine!! You will gain more self-respect and you will gain more respect from others!! Modesty and chastity go hand-in-hand!! So, ladies, instead of dressing in jeans, slacks, shorts, etc., wear modest tops, and lengthy skirts!! It’s not difficult, at all, to change your dress code!! I did it and so can you!!!
Here is what Christian modesty of dress consists of:
1. Looking to Mary as our Guide and Model, Her dresses in all approved apparitions fully cover Her from Head to Wrists to Feet. Should we accept any less for ourselves? Ask yourself – have you ever seen the Blessed Mother portrayed in anything less than this? Have you ever seen Her in any of Her approved apparitions with even Her Head uncovered? Could you imagine Her in any of the fashions of today even seemingly simple loose fitting PANTS? We should therefore follow Her Example and not follow any of the worldly fashions.
2. Mary-like dresses have sleeves that extend at least to the elbows, which excludes sleeveless dresses, tops, short sleeves or cap sleeves. (Note: Quarter length sleeves are tolerated, with Ecclesiastical Approval, for the time being until Christian womanhood again turns to Mary as the Model for modesty in dress.)
3. Skirts and dresses, following the direction of Saint (Padre) Pio, should extend at least 8″ (eight inches) below the knee. This would exclude anything shorter than that, such as mini or micro skirts. They are also to be full enough to conceal the figure of the wearer and not reveal. Just because it is a dress, does not mean that it is modest. If the dress is to narrow or has a dropped waist, or is designed in such a way as to emphasize unduly parts of the body, they would be considered immodest and not appropriate for wear. Flesh colored fabrics, giving the example from a distance of ‘flesh’ are improper at all times.
4. Dresses should fuly cover the chest, back, shoulders and the neckline should not exceed two inches below the pit of the throat, nape of the neck or sides. They should not admit as modest transparent fabrics, laces, nets, organdy, nylons, etc unless sufficient backing is added. They may be used as trimmings. This would also eliminate tight sweaters and blouses or other shirts.
5. This list would also exclude pants, slacks, culottes, jeans, shorts and such, as they have been proven to be men’s attire, and harmfull for women and society at large, and against God’s command in Deut. 22:5. Most unbecoming is also sloppy-looking clothing such as jogging pants and oversized t-shirts and such, for both women and men.
6. For Men: Loose fitting and long pants. Long sleeves and pants for Church attire. This excludes all tight clothing, especially immodest swimwear, tight exercise clothing, or topless dressing in public.
SUMMARY: Our children need to be taught from the youngest age the importance of proper attire that is modest, that is becoming and feminine for women. These guidelines are designed to instill a sense of modesty in both boys and girls, and restore a sense of femininity in girls and women. Be sure to always sew or purchase clothing that matches these guidelines and you will not be an occasion of sin or source of embarrassment to yourself or others.
Adapted from The Mary-like Crusade by Fr. Kunkel (1944-1969)