I’ve been dressing modestly for 13 years. I was raised by a feminist to be a feminist and I can honestly say that it had never occurred to me dress any differently. I routinely wore trousers and revealing clothes because that’s what fashion dictated and I was nothing if not fashionable. In 2001, when I discovered the concept of modesty on a Christian Ladies message board, I was shocked at the concept. The Lord began working in my heart at that very moment and before I knew it I had my first jumper pattern in my hand and a length of fabric to cut. Before the month was out I had changed my style of dress completely. I went from worldly to what is commonly know as Plain, almost in the blink of an eye.
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array. 1 Timothy 2:9
I received a lot of mixed reactions. Some people thought I had gone off the deep end, and were eager to share their opinion on the subject at length. Others decided I was going through a phase and waited patiently for the phase to pass. At the same time I was convicted to begin covering my head.
For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 1 Corinthians 11:6
Going from a normal looking mom to a weird, Amish-wannabe was challenging for me, for my pride, and for my social circle. I lost a lot of friends. Some let me go, and others I had to let go of because they were pressuring me to give up on my convictions. Simply interacting in general society was suddenly fraught with social landmines I had never before encountered. Strangers had different expectations of me because of what my dress represented.
It took a while to adjust to my new way of dressing. There were a lot of things inside me that had to change from the ground up. They were good changes for the most part, but challenging to me on a personal level. Still, it was growth, and I have faith that growth, especially character growth, has got to be better than never growing at all.
Last month, while my son was at camp, I dug out my favorite jumper pattern and started on a new project. The results can be seen above. I still have more to make, but this should give me a good start on a new, smaller wardrobe.
A few years ago I too was convicted to wear skirts and dresses due to reading several ladies’ websites including your own. My husband loves me wearing them. I didn’t realize that anyone noticed until a friend of mine told me her son exclaimed after I had left their home from a visit and was wearing a pair of pants that day (I had not switched completely by then) “Miss Sherry was wearing PANTS; I have never seen her wear pants! Once when in a class at church the teacher wanted me to comment when we got to the verses regarding headcoverings (I didn’t think anyone had noticed). Around the same time I wore skirts only, I began also to wear head coverings. I went a time without one but was convicted lately to wear one again…out came the bandanas. My husband is completely fine with my way of dressing. I wouldn’t want to go against his wishes also. I don’t wear jumpers or extremely plain clothes; I am markedly different than most of the women I go to church with and those in my community…but I have lost no friends due to my changes.
Hi Sherry. I suspect you have truer friends than I did back then. At the time my relationships were more worldly based, and not based on our relationships with Christ. I have one very dear friend who stuck with me, and we’ve been best friends for 15 years. Our relationship is not just she and I, it’s her, God and me. If it was just she and I, then we probably wouldn’t have made it, but adding God to the mix, just like with a marriage, makes it stronger and more stable. I have other girlfriends now, women with their own relationships with God, and I must admit, it’s much easier to maintain these friendships because we have a similar set of priorities.
I’ve had seasons when I didn’t wear my headcovering every single day. I’ve had seasons when I only wore a headband, because it’s more “normal”. I don’t always dress plain. Sometimes I dress more mainstream, but I almost always wear a skirt or dress and I prefer to wear sleeves, preferably 3/4-length, but in the worst heat of summer I wear short sleeves, and am grateful for the ability to do so.
I don’t think my way is the “only” way. Not by any length. Dressing modestly means different things in different cultures and it would be ridiculous, not to mention prideful, for me to judge any culture by the mores of my own. Like the old saying about walking a mile in another man’s moccasins before you can understand his motivations.
I firmly believe that everyone has to come to the idea of dressing modestly on their own. Through God’s calling, not outside promotion, or guilty obligation. I’ve had disagreements in some modest circles over this issue specifically. I’m not convinced that every woman needs to dress modestly or plain, or wear a headcovering. I know I’m supposed to, but I really can’t make that decision for every woman in every place, at every time of their lives.
Thanks for sharing your testimony Sherry. It’s so encouraging to me to read about how other women have approached this issue. It changes how other people see us, and it changes, for me at least, how I see myself too.
I covered,and wore nothing but dresses, never had makeup on but maybe a little lip gloss(chap stick) Then I went on a diet, went from 130 to 119, now none of my dresses fit me, I do not sew (i was never taught) so I am wearing a size 4 jean…I miss my dresses,and covering, I thought it looked too strange covering ,and wearing jeans 🙁 Oh how i miss them….
Our simple life,,
Most of my dresses and skirts have come from Goodwill or other local thrift stores and yard sales. Sometimes it’s slim pickings, but many times I find just the perfect fit and style. If you are being convicted by our Lord to wear skirts/dresses, then He will provide them.
I agree Sherry, He has done so for me as well. 🙂
I’m having the problem with everything being too big too. I packed away all of my 18/20 sizes, all of my 22/24 sizes and now even the plain 18’s are too big. I tried on some tailored skirts at Walmart the other day and the 16’s fit loosely. They fit, but I can see that in a couple of months they won’t, so I put off buying them for now. I’m going to the Good Will soon, to find some new long skirts and hopefully some more jumpers. I have about half a dozen t-shirts that fit well and the new jumpers and a handful of skirts that still fit, but it’s getting to be slim pickings. I’m eyeing some of the cardigan sweaters coming out at Walmart and thinking about buying some. I’ll check the Goodwill first though. I wear a lot of cardigans during the fall and winter and I had amounted such a nice collection of them in my larger sizes. Now I need to start collecting in a smaller size.
There are worse fates in life, so I really have nothing to complain about. I’ve seen ladies wear trousers and scarf headcoverings and to me it looks fine. Muslim women often wear trousers and hijab (their scarf-type headcovering) and it’s culturally appropriate for them. I think it depends on your point of view, I guess.
Hope you figure your way out of your dilemma. 🙂
I do to, I put on a big dress the other day to just wear around the house ,and it felt so good to be back in a dress…
I have been wearing head covering,and dresses for 5 years now, I just lost ALOT of weight, went from a Large dress,to a small,and I tried the only thrift store there is by me,and nothing…
So frustrating. I can imagine. I pray before I go to the store, that God will help me find exactly what he wants me to wear. It’s been surprisingly helpful over the years. I know how weird it is to not have the clothes you need in the right size. Very strange, I agree. But I have faith that God will provide for you. I’ll send up prayers special for it.
TY So much Miss Maggie…
I neither cover nor dress plainly (well, I do tend to keep to subdued colors, but that’s just my style — I do wear slacks half the time and dresses half the time; I’m somewhat modest, but in a way totally blends in with the rest of the world). I have friends who cover, and a few who dress plainly. I’m sorry to hear that you had friends who tried to change your convictions. In retrospect, such friends aren’t much more than acquaintances, not true friends. I admire women who feel the conviction to cover and dress plainly and follow their convictions. That is an example of true feminism — to be true to the woman who you are.
Aww, thanks Mary. I wear sweatpants some times, usually under a jumper, around the house, but I have worn them just plain now and then. When it’s cold out I wear leggings or long underwear under my dresses and stay very warm. I don’t regret losing the friends I did back then. God was changing me and He needed me to find a new batch of friends who shared more of my devotion to Him. I have two *very* good friends who are tried and true, and dozens of other friends who are doing their best to serve God and their families, same as me. Every person I lost back then, God has replaced literally 10-fold. My more recent relationships are so much more rewarding and uplifting, so I’ve got nothing to complain about.
I don’t always blend in with rest of the world, but sometimes I do so more than others. I have some leeway there, and at times I use it to blend in more. My community has a large German Baptist population, who wear cape dresses and white caps and black bonnets. I don’t look like them exactly, but most people just assume I’m like them. So it’s not such a big deal in my area to dress plain and wear a covering. I see other women every week who are not German Baptist, but who wear dresses and dress plain or modestly. Some of them cover and some don’t. It’s still a little unusual, but not as odd it might be in other communities. When we’ve traveled there have been times when I stuck out a great deal and people will stare something fierce. It used to bother me, but I’m used to it now. It’s not a big deal.
Thanks for your encouragement about following my convictions. It’s not always easy, but it certainly much easier now than it used to be and terribly rewarding besides.
Maggie, I’ve been on the fence about skirts and dresses for a while. I have a very good friend (fundamental baptist) and she hasn’t worn slacks or capris or any such thing for at least 10 yrs. Her clothes aren’t plain but neither are they over the top. She wears mostly skirts, dressy tees, and jackets. She’s a tiny, lovely lady who always looks just — like a LADY.
The reason I’m writing is that I’m overweight, have Type 1 diabetes, and I look like a feather bed tied in the middle when I wear dresses or skirts. In fact, I feel self-conscious in anything I put on. And I’ve been trying for quite a while to shed at least 10 lbs. which would improve my idea of what I look like, but so far no luck. I’ve prayed and prayed, and worked and it just refuses to budge. You did mention a group in one of your blogs that you’ve attended that was Christian based and had given you encouragement and help in your battle of the bulge.
Then there’s my hubby. If it isn’t church attendance, he hates seeing me in skirts or dresses, and head covering sends him through the roof. Snide remarks about looking like a muslim.
I know that I must do as he says, but I feel so much in a conflict. It’s so confusing. I don’t feel any conviction from the Lord one way or the other—I don’t think. But I look at my friend and the thought keeps coming into my head that I should be doing that, but I also remember that my husband’s wishes must come first.
Any words of wisdom?
Hey Frankie. When you dress in dresses, either contemporary dresses or plain ones, and especially when you wear a headcovering, it sets you apart from the rest of the world. In 2 Corinthians 6:17 the bible says “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord”. So we know that we’re supposed to be separate, the thing we have to figure out, is what that means to each of us. For some people it means one thing, for others it means something else. Only you can figure out what it means for you.
I felt a tangible tug on my spirit, some people call it a calling, I just knew that the Lord wanted me to dress modestly and to wear a headcovering. I didn’t know why. I wasn’t even sure which verses in the bible I was following. I just knew that God wanted me to do it, so I didn’t have much alternative than to say “Yes Sir.” For me the change happened literally overnight. For most people it doesn’t. Some people will feel called to dress plain for a while and then the conviction lessens and they wear more contemporary clothing for a while. Some women feel called to wear skirts and dresses for a while and then their jeans feel okay again.
I’ve heard some women say that once you are called to modesty you have to follow it for the rest of your life and if you don’t then you’re backsliding. I’m not sure I believe that. I think God gives us different inspirations at different parts of our life. What he calls me to do at 15 or even 30, may not be the same as what he calls me to do at 45 or 60. I’m pretty sure that I have been called to cover my head and dress modestly for the rest of my life. But I am open to the Lord telling me differently should his requirements for me change.
I don’t really know what God is calling you, Frankie, to do. That has to be a matter of prayer and study for you, to figure out what He wants from you. I wish I could be more concrete for you, and give you certainty, but I can’t. Only God can do that. What you can do is tell Him that you are receptive to his answer, to his calling, whatever it may be.
As for hints on getting used to dresses and skirts, first off, your husband doesn’t have the right to force you (or even hint broadly) to obey or not to obey God. You’re a grownup and you have the right to choose whether you follow God’s call for you and you also have the right to choose not to follow God’s call for you. You’re the only one who really knows what God is calling you to do, and you are sovereign over your right to follow it or not. So if you do feel that God is calling you to skirts or dresses, then it’s between you and God, and as much as you may love hubby, it’s not about him. It’s about You and your walk with God. It’s also no one else’s business whether you choose to wear skirts and dresses or not. Like I said, you are an adult woman, and you are allowed to make that decision on your own, in your own time and according to your own understanding. There is no right or wrong according to someone else’s definition. There is only right and wrong as defined by you and your own understanding of God’s call to your heart.
Next is that you don’t have to do it all overnight. I’ve always worn skirts and dresses, even in my most worldly days. I’ve just always worn them, even in snow storms, even in 50 degrees below zero wind chill factor waiting for the bus to arrive. I wear leggings, tights and long underwear when it’s cold. I wear all 3 under a wool skirt when it’s very cold. Switching to modest skirts and dresses was less work for me, because I already had some items in my closet that fit the bill.
If you don’t have casual skirts or dresses then you can buy some. If you are pear shaped then empire or high-waisted dresses will be flattering to your figure. If you’re apple shaped then A-line or Straight cut dresses will be flattering. If you have a little extra weight on you, then you can wear a t-shirt over your skirt, and a vest or cardigan over the t-shirt. Layers help to hide figure flaws. If you are busty, with lean hips and thighs then long-waisted dresses, or a tunic over a skirt may look best on you. Denim skirts and dresses are a good way to get your feet wet. They are casual, they don’t stand out in a crowd and usually they’re pretty comfortable too. Denim jumpers are harder to find these days, but they are still out there, and they are so easy to wear. If you sew, you can look on e-bay for a jumper pattern in your size and in a shape that you think would be attractive on your figure. I have a couple of jumper patterns that I make over and over again, in fabric from denim to a nice wool blend, because they look good on my overweight, pear-shaped body. You don’t have to lose 10-pounds to start. You can dress the body you have right now and make it look as good as you can. Thrift stores are great if you don’t have much money to spend.
So first pray. Seek out God’s guidance. Study the bible. If you feel the call, then start small with a denim skirt or dress or jumper. See how you feel. Don’t mention it your hubby, just do it as a matter of obedience in your own heart. He’s likely to not even notice. If you feel good about your choice, then add another casual skirt or dress. You can stop at any time. You can change your mind. You can keep going. There are no hard and fast rules. There is just you and your Creator and the rest of it isn’t that important.
Sorry I wrote a novel. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. It’s sort of nervous making when you start off on something like this and finding other women to support your efforts is incredibly helpful, or at least it has been for me. Whatever you decide, good luck in your efforts. 🙂
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Thanks so much for your reply. And as to writing a novel, that doesn’t bother me one little bit! I’m pretty wordy myself most of the time, or hadn’t you noticed? (;=)
Right now I’m in the process of changing every thing on my Windows 7 over to my I-Mac and MacBook. What a job. I didn’t realize that I have so much to transfer. But the idea of dresses and skirts is still percolating in the limbo parts of my brain. Back in the good old days when I was in my 30’s and 40’s I could keep a lot of balls in the air. Those days are long gone.
But that also means that I’m closer to heaven and/or the Rapture that I was then. It’s truly a win-win situation. Frankie
Hey Frankie. Sometimes things have to simmer on the back of the stove for a while before they’re fit for consumption. I have lots of ideas that percolate for some time before I’m ready to understand them. Going slow is still making progress.
Last year I switched computers and let me tell you it is a CHORE! I always lose things in the process, no matter how meticulous I am. I wish you luck in your endeavor.
Growing older never bothered me. I know too many women who have hit their stride in their 50’s or 70’s or even their 90’s. One year older, like you say, is just one step closer to going home. We are so blessed to never have to fear something as simple and natural as aging.
Hi, I enjoyed reading this blog. This is a subject I have been praying about. I was wondering if you are still updating your Old Fashion Education Site. I am finding it useful. Thank you!
Hi Denlee, nope, not updating. I encourage you with your prayers. Dressing plain is a big step and not everyone is called to do it. You have my prayers and best wishes while you consider it. It has blessed me immeasurably, but it is a very strange thing to do. The world views you differently, which can be both good and bad. Good luck with your decision.
Love the first one especially. Solid top print bottom. Put a white t-shirt under it , a blue sweater if chilly. So cute
Thanks Tami, the print versions are more casual, while the solid versions are more formal. It gives me a good mix for everyday and going to town (or church).