MODESTY PART II-A:
“Never lower our dress standards for any occasion. Doing so sends the message that you are using your body to get attention and approval and that modesty is important only when it is convenient.” (For the Strength of Youth pamphlet)
It is a good idea to ask ourselves what our purpose is in wearing the clothes we do. There is a fine line between wanting to look our best and wanting to show off our best. You can look good without completely exposing yourself. With that in mind, here are a few special occasions in which one might be tempted to lower standards.
It can be very difficult to maintain standards of modesty since not too many elegant dresses come with sleeves and high necks! This was always a challenge in high school, even in Utah. Most girls sought out nice jackets to cover bare shoulders or had alterations done. (Or as Aunt Joyce mentioned in her comment on Part 1, some mothers actually made the dress...a talent I'm afraid I don't have).
Now I always understood that a sleeveless dress was immodest and never questioned it; thus I’ve been a bit surprised to find out that it’s not as common an idea among Mormon’s as I had assumed. In the current “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet it is quite clear on this issue however: “Young women should wear clothing that covers the shoulder and avoid clothing that is low-cut in the front or the back or revealing in any other manner.” Let’s be realistic ladies. What guy falls in love with a girl’s shoulders anyway?
Other occasions, like Halloween, require costumes. Even at these times it is important to remember to be modest and keep the same standards as every other day. Even when pretending to be someone or something else, you are still the one behind the mask.
Swimming is an occasion that could lots of debate. There are definitely exceptions to many of the rules when it comes to swim suits, but deciding which rules is the tricky part. Unfortunately, there is not detailed counsel in the pamphlet on this specific issue. I mean, who would really feel comfortable in a swim suit in front of the Lord anyway??
There are plenty of controversial guidelines when it comes to other sports and hobbies. Our track and cross country uniforms did not cover the sleeves. Are they immodest? Runners’ shorts are often very short. Dance outfits are very often risqué for children of all ages. Where is the line when it comes to improving performance or required team attire? What do you think?
My opinions will come after yours. But for now, keep in mind that we must be completely honest with ourselves and others when we rationalize the tweaking of modesty guidelines. Is there a real purpose or are we just wearing stretchy pants in our room for fun?
Upcoming: My own opinion on these questions and what applies to babies.