Friday, January 29, 2010

Why I Don't Wear Pants... Much

This is part of FAQ Friday. If you have a question you would like me to address, please add it to the FAQ page.


Most "Fundie" women don't wear pants. Do you?


Whether or not I am a tried and true Fundamentalist is a topic for another day, but I would say that I'm not sure that I am. Oh, I would like to be, but Fundies don't generally see me as one of their own.

That said, this isn't something I talk about often because it isn't something I think about often.

I don't wear pants. Well, actually, I have two pairs, one black pair, and one pair of jeans. My post-pregnancy body doesn't quite fit into the jeans yet, but the black pair is versatile enough for me to wear well into pregnancy. I wear them once or twice a month. The rest of the time, I wear skirts and dresses. I went to a college that required it and I liked it. I built a nice wardrobe around that dress code and just kept living by it.

I think modesty is important, but it has little to do with why I wear dresses. Pants can be just as modest as skirts if done correctly and many dresses are not modest at all. This is where I depart from most dress-wearing fundamentalists.

I like dresses because they make me feel beautiful. I like looking nice and a dress is an effortless way to do that. This is really my primary reason for wearing dresses.

Sexy (For Married Folks)
It is important to feel sexy. A husband will think you're sexy even if you don't feel it, but if you don't feel sexy, you likely won't feel sexual, which is kind of important in marriage. I have a few completely immodest dresses I call "housedresses" because I won't wear them out of the house.

Dresses are the easiest clothes to wear. It is a one piece outfit. You don't need to put in the effort of making a pants and top ensemble and I think the results are better. I don't wear pantyhose, even though it was part of my college's dress code, but if you think they are required with a dress, than dresses become a hassle.

I have two modesty rules. One is that clothes must go to my knees, standing and sitting. I sometimes will put a skirt under a short dress that adds a few inches and extends my wardrobe. The second rule is no cleavage. Because I buy new clothes, this has become a problem. I have to pair a lot of my clothes with a tank top under or a sweater over. Anything beyond those rules is a judgment call.

Most of my new clothes come from mystery shopping. When not mystery shopping, I can find good deals at thrift stores if I want something. I don't buy many clothes for myself at yard sales because they don't have a dressing room at yard sales. I will buy clothes at yard sales if the fabric is pretty enough for me to use for something else if the garment doesn't fit right.

I love black and white. I have some colored tops and a few skirts with color, but they are always paired with black or black and white. Other than my one red housedress, all of my dresses are either black or black and white, and dresses are my favorite.

Some Thoughts...
I think modesty is important, but beauty is too. Christian women have been pushing beauty aside in order to pursue modesty, but they are not mutually exclusive. Modesty is not something we should seek in our marriage. We should be immodest with our husbands. Likewise, beauty is not something to hide, but something God created and showing it glorifies him.


Guinevere said...

I think your outfits look cute! My standards for modesty are different, but I agree about dressing to feel sexy and to be sexy for our husbands. My husband thinks I'm gorgeous in sweats/ponytail/no makeup, but I certainly *feel* more attractive in a cute outfit with my hair done and mascara, and that's worth something.

I like your attitude that being beautiful and modest are not mutually exclusive. I have some Mennonite friends that won't wear things they consider too "fashionable", regardless of whether it meets their usual standards. That's their decision, of course, but I don't think Christians need to be eccentric for the sake of being eccentric -- Christians should be eccentric in the ways that count to God.

Simple in France said...

Wow! I must say that you are kind of my view into this lifestyle. I don't have any 'fundie' friends or have any Christian friends who dress by a certain code of modesty, so I have learned something in reading this post!

My cultural ancestors were into the plain life and sometimes I am impressed with their simplicity, while at others I find them to have been a little heavy in the department of self-denial. Anyway, it's always interesting to see how all the different cultures function (different countries, religions and regions.) Thanks for sharing.

Scottish Twins said...

You have some beautiful skirts and dresses.

I too prefer wearing dresses and skirts, for many of the reasons you articulated here. The only time I wear pants anymore is if I am doing some type of physical activity or if I am at home cleaning my house and don't want to dirty or stain a nice skirt.

I like doing it for my husband - because he prefers me in skirts and dresses. I like how wearing a dress or skirt makes you feel feminine too.

I think the modesty aspect is especially important when you are a mommy to little boys - like both of us. It will become increasingly important as they become older and have little friends over at our home.

So, how do you stay warm up in Maine? It is cold here in Ohio and I imagine it is much worse up there. Are you a fan of thick tights, long underwear, or boots with your skirts?

Scottish Twins said...

Oh, I forgot to add - I think skirts and dresses are much easier to wear when you are in your "childbearing years." lol They are very forgiving, especially postpartum.

If I tried to wear pants I would have to have a few pairs in every size to fit as I gained and lost weight. You can get by with much less clothing when you wear skirts and dresses, because they don't make your thighs look like sausages if they aren't exactly the right size :)

Mysticpi said...

Hi Emily, I liked reading your post. I used to enjoy wearing dresses and skirts, but that was in Spain where it is warmer than Canada! I'm also wondering how you keep warm.

I have a question for you for a future Friday FAQ. I feel shy and nosy in asking, so ignore me if I offend you! I was wondering who wears the "metaphorical pants" in your house? Do you make decisions together? do you bow to your husband? How do you work through disagreements? If your husband makes the decisions and you happen to disagree how do you deal with that?

Emily said...

Scottish Twins, I find that if I keep my feet warm I am warm, so I wear slippers inside. boots outside.

Mysticpi, Maine is in the USA, not Canada, but it is an oddly common mistake. I think that question is in the FAQ in a way, but when I answer it I'll make sure I cover each of your questions. (:

MommaHarms said...

I think it's interesting that your readers think fundamentalists don't wear pants. I'm a fundamentalist, and I do. I went to a college that (at the time) required dresses, but most of us and most of the teachers wore pants when not at class. Today, skirts are only required for class attire, not hanging out attire.

Pam said...

I thought that Mysticpi meant that she used to live in Spain, and now lives in Canada, which is why she no-longer wears skirts on a regular basis.

I went to college for 4 years at a Christian college that required us to wear skirts, then taught at a Christian school for 6 years, where we were required to wear skirts on the job. Since becoming a SAHM, I wear pants all the time, except to church. Personal preference for me. I think if I wore skirts all the time, I would have to invest in some long underwear.

Penniless Parenting said...

Good for you for dressing modestly. My modesty rules are a bit stricter than yours, but i agree about needing to look beautiful for yourself and your husband. I have some outfits that aren't appropriate for out of the house, but i wear them at home for my husband.

Tammy said...

I'm guessing your "house" dresses will someday be "bedroom" dresses when your boys are older, and when their friends come over! ;)
Very nice outfits! Your taste in clothes is similar to mine, but I only wear skirts and dresses to church, etc. I admire how you dress that nice at home.

Anonymous said...

To the commenter from Ohio, having lived both in the Midwest and now Maine...I find Maine warmers to actually be somewhat warmer-we have more snow, but don't get as much of that artic freeze as does the MW. (That might be different in northern Maine.)

I do, however, wonder what Emily is wearing today as it's artic and blistery out here now! :)

And Emily, this post totally made me smile. You were right earlier in the week, you did have something fun in mind! My sense of modesty is quite different from yours and I wear pants most all of the time. I do, however, agree that there is a time and a place for the cleavage to come out and play. In addition to layering shirts, have you ever thought of going with a lightweight scarf? They have made many a shirt much more office-appropriate!

I'm Lori...and maybe I'm you, too. said...

I dress almost exactly like you, and for me it's all about ease and comfort. My only difference is the lack of tank tops underneath. I actually enjoy the cleavage. ;)

Julie said...

Wonderful post. I too am a skirt wearer, though I don't really like dresses. My skirts are VERY casual. I have a long fleece skirt that I love because I can go out and look ok, but still be oh so very comfy. On the other hand I also have several pairs of pants, all except my green cords and one pair jeans are more dust gatherers than anything else.

And I must add something that you didn't. I live in CT and it gets plenty cold here. Knee Socks!

oceans5 said...

I absolutely hate wearing dresses or skirts. When I was little I remember telling my mom that I would NEVER wear pants. After I hit high school that was all I wore. I just don't find dresses comfortable at all. I have to wear dressier shoes with them and in some cases panty hose. My hubby loves when we go out to a super nice dinner and I dress up. This happens 1-2 times a year. But he is fine with me wearing jeans. I think that dresses look great. They just aren't comfortable for me.

I asked my husband one time if he wanted me to wear skirts/dresses more and he said absolutely not. That he likes me in jeans and the one ( or two ) times I get dressed up all fancy makes him excited as a special occasion. It works for us. Your clothes look really nice. If skirts work for you then go for it. :)

Anonymous said...

Well said, Emily! I love your dresses.

Danu said...

If you choose to dress modestly it doesn't mean looking sloppy or frumpy. I see a lot of Christian women dressing this way. I like the pictures you posted.

Danu said...

I have never dressed for the spouse or society. I dress for myself.

hippie mommie said...

I love that you have high standards for modesty yet don't compromise wanting and needing to feel beautiful (and sexy for your husband). I went to a "fundie" high school, and they taught that the modesty should even follow into the bedroom with your spouse. EVEN BEHIND CLOSED DOORS! So I very much respect that you are immodest with your husband! :)

Anonymous said...

I am just curious - how do you nurse in dresses?

Emily said...

Anon on today's arctic weather in Maine, I am finding my usual sweater and slippers are working, except when someone opens the door. Then I have to get in a blanket for a few minutes.

Anon on nursing, some of my dresses sort of have a criss-cross in the front that allows for nursing, others have a low v-neck and stretchy material. Some dresses are pregnancy dresses, so they don't work for nursing, but most of mine do.

Vicky said...

I wear pants and t-shirts a lot because I'm.. well.. lazy.

But I love skirts! I love long, billowy ones that go to my ankles, and I love to make them out of super soft, colorful materials. I usually like to wear them with solid colored t-shirts.

My FAVORITE outfit is this wrap skirt I have, I got it while on a trip in Vegas. You can tie it MANY different ways and have a lot of styles with it, and I usually wear a solid color shirt that matches it somewhere.

Also I think your dresses are cute, and I totally agree about being sexy for your husband. Though sometimes I dress up to go out (not often, we're not too social, heh) and he says it makes him feel extra special to bring the 'pretty one' home. :)

Holly said...

I am a pants wearer, but I enjoyed this post. I agree with most of what you said about modesty. I don't think showing clevage is acceptable in public. I always have to wear a camisole under my shirts. I have a very large top, so it takes more effort to cover sometimes.

Just curious, how do you feel about nursing in public? I am torn between thinking it is immodest and thinking it is a natural part of life. I am starting to wean my son who is a little over a year and I have never nursed in public. I will only nurse in front of my husband, mom, and sister. Otherwise I go in another room.

Scottish Twins said...

I love this post - I had to come back and comment again.

My thoughts on nursing in public - I have absolutely no problem with it. I do it all the time, but I try to do it discretely. Unfortunately, sometimes my kids just will not eat under a blanket - especially when it's really hot out and then I have no problem doing it without a blanket.

Whether nursing or dressing yourself, I think it has everything to do with intent. If your intent in showing some skin is to nourish your child, that is one thing. If your intent is to show off your breasts, that is another thing.

Even in a modest skirt or dress I have found myself in front of the mirror before saying something in my head like "I like how this skirt makes my rear end look" or "This shirt makes my breasts look big" and then I have to check myself and change.

Your intent in dressing shouldn't be to draw attention to your body parts. You should never aspire to make another man lust after you. If you find yourself thinking that you may, you should cover up. If not, go for it.

(Sorry to ramble. I just like this topic :) )

Emily said...

Holly, I try to arrange my schedule so that I nurse before we go out, but if we are out for a long time, I don't have a problem nursing in public. I use a blanket, no one can see anything. In other cultures, women's clothes are made with the expectation of frequent nursing. It's natural and can be done modestly. And, as Scottish Twins added, it's about one's intent.

Renee said...


I love this post! I'm a firm believer in modesty and our views are much the same. Skirts and shorts must be to the knees and cleavage should show as little as possible. Unlike most fundamentalists I know (I'm not one, but I have friends that are), I don't believe showing the silouette of the body is bad, it just needs to be covered!

I have a three year old little girl, and we are instilling those values into her early. My family jokes that I'm turning her into a nun because I won't allow here to wear the "cute" little clothes that have her butt or belly hanging out. Hopefully, we are setting a foundation to teach her that she needs to respect God, herself, her body, and the physical offering she has to give to her husband when she grows up...and that she is respecting the boys/men around her, by not giving them an opportunity to lust. Obviously that doesn't really matter right now...but we're just setting her up for success in the future.

That may sound archaic to most people...but if you've ever sat down with your husband (or really any honest man) and talked to him about lust...then you know that it is something ingrained in them to do, even when they don't want to!

I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the fact that you talk about being beautiful and sexy for your many women stop putting out that effort when they get married and have kids.

Is that the ONLY reason we should want to be beautiful, NO...but it is certainly a BIG one. After everything they do for us, our husbands deserve our best!

Moxie said...

Great post! Your outfits are just beautiful. Black and white are so classic and timeless. I have never been called to wear dresses as a standard or sign of anything and personally am more relaxed in this area. I DO agree that a woman can be modest in pants also and that pants in and of themselves CAN be a feminin garment. Men and women both wore robes and flowing garments during bible times but they differed....kinda like pants CAN see and tell a difference between mens wear and womans wear....the cut, style, fabrics, and colors denote a marked difference, just as I'm sure they did in biblical times. But that's my thoughts on it. I don't mind at all if someones feels led to be dresses only and would fully support a sister in that choice if she is following God's leading and her husbands choice. Modesty is a very important issue to me. I feel responsible to not be a stumbling block for my brothers out are SO visual that I think we should and can help them in this area. Might sound silly but I think a good test is to really look at yourself in the mirror and say....would I hang out with Jesus in this outfit :)

Rachel in Florida said...

Emily, I assumed you wore skirts and dresses, and I too wondered how you stayed warm. I live in north Florida, and we do get some cold weather. One reason I don't wear skirts more often in the winter is that I don't want to fool with pantyhose to stay warm. then I don't fool with skirts in the summer much because it is humid and my thighs stick together! Yes, I need to lose a few pounds! The staple of almost all Florida womens wardrobe is capri pants. they can be worn about nine months out of the year, and paired with a cute top, they are a very nice outfit. I also have trouble when buying blouses. they are all cut too low. Do the clothing designers think that we all want to show our stuff? So, i have to pair with camisoles as well.

I am heading out to do some shopping today. Most of my winter clothes are 3-5 years old, and starting to show some wear. Some great sales going on right now, so maybe I will find something.

Here's a question for you and everyone else. At my church, a Southern Baptist church, some of the women and girls have started to wear jeans to Sunday morning services. What is your opinion of this? I don't want to be legalistic, but I admit I have a problem with it. Can't you take the effort to put on something nice just once a week?

Cris said...

My modesty rules are similar to yours. I don't do sleeveless though and I wear pants more often than not. I have a small collection of scarves and shawls to use as well as the layering.

Andrea said...

You have a beautiful collection of dresses. I would love to be comfortable enough to wear a dress everyday. I am very self conscious and dresses for some reason make me more uncomfortable.

Atheist Mama said...

I'm a fan of a degree...but not for religious reasons (obviously) - I just don't want to look like a (Dare I say it? I'm gonna say it!) slut.

I'll wear low cut things - but typically with a tank under 'em. Honestly though, I don't have massive cleavage so low-cut isn't such a big deal for me...

I LOVE wearing dresses! I don't have enough to wear them daily...but I want to get more!

I love that I can wear them in the winter with jeans and a sweater and then in the summer minus the jeans/sweater and voila! Year round wardrobe :D

Yes, I'll wear short skimpy dresses...but I definitely do the "mom test" (can I bend or reach in this without my lady bits hanging out???) before buying anything.

I <3 that you skank it up for your hubby! I do the same (sorta...I have a decent collection of skank-costumes, hahaha :P) and it's fun :D

mysticpi said...

Well... I managed to sound pretty dumb on my comment! I did mean to say that I live in Canada now, not that I think Maine is in Canada!

I have heard some Canadians (from Atlantic Canada, where I live) say that people from Main "feel" more similar to Canadians than people from other states. So maybe that's worth something, eh? :)

Patty said...

Fun post Emily! I dress fairly modestly (just because like Atheist Mama) but I'm a strech (not "too tight" just comfortable) jeans kind of girl. Don't get me wrong, I love skirts but I have two big problems...
1-coordinating shoes (I easily wear sneakers with the jeans but feel that would be odd with a skirt) I probably just need to spend more time finding some comfortable all purpose shoes but...
2-legs. I like my legs fine and prefer 'naked legs' to stockings but (sorry if TMI) I have fairly sensitive skin and coarse black hairs so either I am lazy and don't shave and don't feel happy putting a skirt on my 'man legs' or I shave and get irritated red splotchy skin I still don't want to put under a skirt.
Maybe I'm just not used to skirts but I like the ability to randomly do a carwheel or run and jump if I feel like it. (I know the Duggars make it work, Joy Anna even rock climbed in a skirt on tv). I usually work in a corporate setting where skirts or dress pants go but there are aspects of my job that don't allow me to wear skirts for health and safety reasons. This goes from when I was working in the science labs to now doing field work. Skirts, steel toe boots and heavy machinery not so good. I keep steel toe boots in my car 24/7 and I supose I could just keep pants there for that reason as well but the way I do it works for me.
My husband and I are pretty laid back. I don't feel that if I wear pants I'm not 'feminine'. I do a skirt or dress occasionally for church, date, party, etc and think its fun. I agree with the person above saying the husband likes the 'surprise' and specialness of it. Its been a while since we've talked about it though so this post inspires me to find out what he's thinking lately since the closets are on the paredown/clean up list next.

Gianna said...

I really like the red dress and the outfit with the polka dot shirt. I am no fashion expert, but the chunky sweaters have to go. When you do have money/opportunity to shop, I would suggest cardigans that have a bit of "fit" to them. They cover up just as nicely and are a bit more sophisticated than chunky cable-knit sweaters. They are great for modest layering in the winter (turtleneck) and summer (cami or tank), if you get the thinner fabrics, and can look really dressy like for church or dinner at a friend's house. I don't think that cable-knit sweaters look good on anyone.

My mom got me a sweater for Christmas (originally $50 but got it on sale, but still...) and I feel awful but the sweater is so unflattering on me, not to mention way too big. (She won't give a receipt for exchange because she feels guilty getting it on sale...which I don't get because it's the thought that counts).

If you do decide to get rid of those sweaters, donating to the Salvation Army can earn you tax deduction credit (if you are looking for that), or you can just donate it without getting credit.

As for wearing the red dress "out" - you can wear a cami under so you aren't showing cleavage, and wear a wrap over your shoulders/upper arm. It's actually a reall nice style and I bet wicked flattering. Wraps/scarves are a great investment because you can do so many things with them. I have a variety of lengths/widths, from squares to skinny and long, to medium and fringy. Especially if you wear a lot of black and white, a scarf can add color to your and draw the attention there versus "immodest" areas.

Just a few suggestions that can transform the rest of your wardrobe. Check out Oldnavy for cardigans www .oldnavygap. com/browse/ and scarves oldnavygap. com/browse/

- G

Anonymous said...

Rachel in Florida, sometimes people can't afford "nice" clothing for church. At my church people are comfortable wearing casual clothes (jeans) and also wearing more formal clothes (coat and tie for men; skirts or dresses for women). It's all a matter of personal choice and no one is judged for it. My son didn't own any dress clothes in his size until right before Christmas when my mom bought him some, so he was wearing jeans and athletic shoes to church every Sunday. He was still at church every Sunday and his clothes were clean and his heart was right with the Lord. In the past, I have worn jeans on Sundays b/c I couldn't afford to buy any dressy clothes. If the Lord has laid it on your heart to always dress up for Him, then you should do so. Others might not feel that way or be able to comply with a certain implied dress code.

Blessed said...

Hi RAchel in Florida--I just wanted to comment on what you wrote about wearing jeans to church. I believe it all depends on on the heart of the wearer--in your conservative church, if young women are wearing jeans to rebel, then that is a heart issue that should be addressed, but that is probably not your job. My MIL and I were talking about this issue a while back, and when I suggested that Jesus does not care what we wear, just about where are hearts are in line with him, my MIL countered back with "But when you go church you are appearing before the King." Hmmmmm. I see her point--but also think if ANYONE is spending much time thinking about her clothes before church, then she might not have her heart set on the things that matter to God.

I wear jeans to church pretty much every. week. For several reasons--from being warm to forgetting to shave my legs ; ) to being on the floor with my baby a lot. But I also am worshipping in one of the most laid-back places in the States--Santa Cruz, CA. And actually, the new sweater/top/jean outfits I have gotten recently are my nicest clothes! So when I wear them, I feel like I am presenting my "best" before the King, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, this was a great topic Emily, and if you ever have girls, I'll send you links for the most FANTASTIC modest swimwear--little surfer suits! (Or actually, you can just check out what I wrote on the topic a while back:

Blessed said...

OH! And for those moms nursing in public, I have one word (ok, two) for you: belly bands!!! I don't know how I nursed three children without them. You can get them in a variety of colors on ebay for around $8.00 ea. I got one black and one white, and cannot live without them. It is like a stretchy tube top you wear on your middle, tucked into your pants/skirt, or on the outside, looking like a layer underneath your shirt. But then when you pull up your top to nurse, YOUR TUMMY IS NOT EXPOSED! I have learned that wearing a shirt or cardigan over a tank or T also then gives me more modesty, so no one from the side or back can even tell what is going on.

I have never, ever used a blanket--only creates more of a scene when the baby starts to play "peekaboo" and everyone starts to look at the commotion and gets peeks of my breast when baby pops off to laugh! ; ) So with this kind of easy, layered dressing, I am ready to nurse wherever.

Oh--and while I never noticed feeling hot in the summer from the belly band, in the winter I definitely noticed it was much warmer with it on!

Anonymous said...

I love wearing skirts but only in the summer. I would freeze here in Atlantic Canada in the winter with just a skirt.( HI! to mysticpi).

I hate when I see young girls, especially, dressing up like trash! A few years back, I recall, from a TV program, that Victoria Secret was promoting their product for girls as young as 8! There was an uproar, thank Heavens, and they stopped.


Devon said...

I have similar modesty views...and I think your clothes are cute. I am definitely not a dress wearer, though, except for church. I don't go sleeveless and my pants/shorts go to the knee.

Good post. I had been wondering this myself.

thesavedquarter said...

I'm modest, not for religious reasons but because I'm not comfortable with showing off my body. My modest definition is pants, though! I don't feel comfortable in skirts and dresses.

I am with you on shirts with layers for nursing! I put a camisole under every shirt I wear so I can easily lift the shirt up and camisole down to allow nursing access without showing anything to anyone but the baby! I'm extremely modest with nursing and one time, I was at a restaurant nursing my baby and my husband asked, "Did she fall asleep without eating?" Even he couldn't tell I was nursing - no blanket needed!

Emily - I gave you an award over on my blog. Go check it out when you get a chance!

Emily said...

Rachel, I don't have a problem with jeans in church. I don't have a problem with people not dressing "up" for church at all. Dressing up on is a fun tradition for those who don't like dressing up for the rest of the week, but it is just a tradition, and I don't mind if people don't follow it.

Gianna, the red sweater is the only one that I find too boxy. The others fit nicely. Red is Dan's favorite color though, so I'm hanging on to it until I find a red sweater that I like better, then it will go to the donation bin.

Blessed, neat thought on the belly bands. I'll have to check that out.

Elizabeth said...

I sometimes wear jeans to church. If I am going somewhere afterwards where I don't want to be dressed up, if it is freezing cold out, or if I am just lazy. I figure it is better to go with jeans than not go at all.

About nursing in public. I have nursed all my little ones in public. It can be done very modestly with a blanket or a bigger shirt which kind of hangs over the baby's head while nursing. I feel bad for mothers (and babies) who don't feel comfortable nursing in public because then it isn't nearly as easy going out and about. Sit in front of a mirror while nursing your baby and look at will realize that when done properlly you can not even tell that you are nursing. That is what God gave us breasts for, afterall.

Amber said...

The idea to dress up for church is to show God respect. Rolling out of bed and going to church like that does not show respect for the house of God. You should always wear your best, whether it's jeans and a t-shirt or traditional church clothes.

CappuccinoLife said...

Nice clothes, Emily. :)

I do tanks and undershirts for modesty too. While I *like* having cleavage, it's for dh only, so it stays covered in public.

As to warmth in dresses--I have been dresses only since childhood and gotten used to Pennsylvania winters without having to switch to jeans. Most days actually aren't cold enough to bother me. A long skirt with a slip underneath that keeps enough cold out for me not to suffer going from one heated place to another. ;) If we're going to be out for any length of time (like sledding or hiking), I find that leggins or even pajamabottoms work very nicely under a full skirt. For more dressy occasions, I have one black skirt that has built in "shapewear" legs that keep me toasty. :)

And I *hate* pantyhose with a passion, so I never wear them. It's either bare legs with sandals or knee-highs with shoes/boots.

Emily said...

Amber, that's simply not Biblical. I am all for doing for God on Sunday as you would for God the rest of the week. If people want to continue to follow a non-Biblical tradition, I'm okay with that, but trying to say that a non-Biblical tradition IS Biblical or morally superior, I'm not okay with that.

nepamom said...

I was thinking about this just a few days ago! I have fundie/conservative/frugal friends...don't really know how to describe them...and the mom wears pants and skirts equally while the daughters stick mainly to dresses. Since some of their views and activities align with yours it made me wonder how you dressed.

Anyway, I love long skirts and jumper style long dresses...but I don't wear them much. I have a few plain pairs of jeans that don't ride low in the back or accentuate body parts nobody needs to see. I pair them with polo's, layering tee's, and an occasional hoodie depending on the weather. My other favorite top combo is a basic tee (long or short sleeved)under a button up shirt...and this slides right into my nursing in public opinion. I found that combo to be the easiest and most modest. I could unbutton a few top buttons and lift the under shirt and had access and nothing at all was showing. My opinion was that mothers giving babies bottles don't have to camp out alone in a side room/rest room/car draped in a hot blanket so why should I? Nothing showed, my clothes stayed put and unless somebody came up to me and intentionally craned their heads to see what I was doing, it looked like I was just holding the baby close. I did even have a few experiences of people (my own mom included) attempting to peak at the baby while he was nursing...because even standing in front of me having a conversation they didn't realize what we were up to. While out shopping once hubby even asked me if we needed to find a spot for a break to feed the baby...umm, no honey, he's nursing already right I continued to walk around the store. It takes practice but I found it to be pretty easy with the right clothes and attitude...and my honest attitude was that I wasn't "flaunting" any body parts, more skin is shown in advertising and by random women walking around in public showing off just because, I was using my body for what it was made for and I didn't care if anybody was offended by it -I personally find it offensive when women/girls walk about with their junk nearly falling out of their clothes but I don't confront them, I just teach my daughters not to do the same.

Ok, off that rant, sorry! I stick to basic pants because I live in a house of men who think skirts are weird. Hubby gets all worried that I'm "going fundie" when I pull out my denim jumper dress (which is oh so comfy and has a long and billowy enough skirt to layer tights and even flannel pj bottoms for cold days) But I'm also a sneaker kind of feet hurt if I wear anything else for long and I haven't quite figured out how to deal with the footwear issue because even I feel like a dork wear a skirt and sneakers at home.

Anonymous said...

For some reason I didn't think that you wore dresses/skirts more than pants. So this post was very educational as to why some people might go the skirt route.

nepamom said... all distracted and OT and forgot what I meant to say...

I haven't worn shorts or short skirts in about 8 years. I'm not sure my choice was a "calling" or just a personal choice but I no longer felt comfortable showing off any leg. I even felt awkward hiking up my skirt in front of my fundie-whatever female friends while wading across the creek last summer.

As for the being immodest within the marriage...I totally agree with one note of caution, make sure hubby is coming home ALONE (and that no other company is expected before his arrival)before pulling out the "for his eyes only" outfits. I had a couple awkward moments with my now ex-hubby involving me wearing nothing but his favorite shirt and some very immodest undies on a night he brought his best guy friend for a visit (and of course BF walked in the house first and got quite the surprise greeting!) and another involving same BF stopping by while I was waiting for hubby in a strategically ripped pair of jeans and my too small bikini top...hey, I was 20 and had 4 fewer kids at he time LOL!

Bubblej said...

I wear skirts at the moment because I have put on quite a bit of weight and my pants don't fit me anymore! I have rules with skirts, and that is that they have to be to my knees, or a little above. But again, that is because of my current weight, not my need to be modest. I wear low cut tops every day. I don't see this as a bad thing, it works for me. Wearing a low cut top makes me feel good, because the cut suits my body shape and makes me look longer.

Carla said...

Heh, another Atlantic Canadian here, but I'm one who never ever wears tights or pantyhose, or anything on her legs for that matter. I wear dresses and skirts all the time (I have one pair of pants and one pair of capris for exercising, although I have been known to exercise in a dress ;)). My legs are pretty tough and can take the cold. Heck, I even wear sandals in the snow. I finally bought boots this year and I almost always wear my sandals unless it has just snowed and is more than ankle deep. Cold doesn't bother me. Heat on the other!

I believe in modesty. I am always covered and like to have a length below the knee and at least to the elbow. I wear the same clothes year round and have been told I dress very nice (even though I don't have very many outfits). I am having a hard time right now because I am losing a lot of weight and things are hanging around my neck but I can't afford "new" clothes (clothes to fit me are hard to find second hand). I think I am going to have to alter things until I can fit into the tote of clothes I have stored for when I have lost enough weight.

Sabrina said...

Pants. However, I think that after reading this, I will invest in some dresses/skirts....comfortable ones! You have also challenged me to be more aware of what I am wearing around the house. I should look good for my husband. But, does that mean that I have to give up the flannel pajama pants that I wear to lounge around in? ;)

crabcakes said...

I think most churches would just be grateful that people show up. Why does clothing even matter?

I don't think modesty has anything to do with clothes, honestly. It's about your spirit. I can be walking through my house in a towel (in front of my sons!) and still be modest. I have dressed in front of my sons, and still find no immodesty about it.

I agree wholeheartedly that it's INTENT that really is what makes someone immodest. It has nothing to do with clothing.

I think wearing what suits you and makes you feel good is important. Not for your church, not for your husband, but for YOU!. If it makes you happy and feeling pretty, then everyone else will follow suit.

Ange said...

We've talked about cold weather but do you ever wear shorts in summer? I don't know the Maine climate that well. Does it ever get so hot that a long skirt is just too uncomfortable?

nepamom said...

Sorry again...I think I'm finally heading into "pregnancy brain" territory. The modestly nursing topic reminded me of another trick I'd use for longer outings when the babies were still little. Practical baby carriers and slings don't come cheap unless you get lucky at a yard sale or thrift shop but it's super easy and cheap to make your own sling carrier. All you need is 2-3 yards of fabric (I really don't know exact measurements because I'd just use whatever I had on hand that was long enough), something thin and stretchy is ideal but pretty much anything will work as long as it's not terribly thick. Hopefully I can explain this easily...gather both ends (on the short sides) and tie them in a knot. Position the whole thing so the knot is just behind one shoulder with the rest wrapped around you (I think this is just where common sense has to take over because I don't know how else to explain it LOL) Anyway, billow the front portion out enough to snuggle the baby in close to your chest and you're all set! You get to be hands free if you need to be, the baby stays close, and nursing can be done with no worries no matter where you are...and again, no one will know whether the baby is nursing or sleeping or just hanging out!

Plus the $2-$3 this costs to make is WAY better than the $120 tag on a sling carrier I found myself longing for (until I saw the price of course!) Some places also carry rings you can use instead of a's probably a personal preference thing but I figure why spend the extra $ when a knot works and is free. (and the less you do with the fabric, the easier it is to repurpose it once you don't need it for a sling anymore)

Erin T. said...

Blessed! I'm from Santa Cruz too lol! We moved to Wa recently. Emily, your outfits are cute, I wear dresses or skirts ALWAYS for bible meetings but the only other time is maybe over my swimsuit in the summer. I also am just MUCH more comfortable in pants, I don't like my legs. I feel comfortable and pretty in a dress but I have to wear heels to feel pretty in a skirt. I think I need to work on the cleavage issue right now! All day at ikea my mom was going "huh-hmm, Erin!" about my chest! Also, been meaning to tell you I'm so glad Daniel is ok, I think of you guys every day.

Treva said...

I grew up going to a strict private school where skirts and dresses were required for girls every day. When I first started at that school, it kinda bugged me and it definitely took some getting used to. By the time I graduated though I was very comfortable in skirts and wore them equally with pants/jeans during my early years of college. I mostly wear pants now, but recently added skirts and dresses back in -- especially for the summer months. Wearing dresses for so many years has given me a different perspective, but not one I gained until I was older. Now I understand more how dresses/skirts aid in teaching femininity to young girls. And while I don't mandate that my daughter wears dresses/skirts I always make sure her wardrobe includes at least 2 or 3 so it's an option for her. And it turns out she loves to wear dresses with tights and it's by her own choice, which I love.

Emily said...

Ange, I don't wear shorts except swimming. Skirts and dresses that go to the knee are perfect for our hot summers.

nepamom, I'll have to try that sling idea! It sounds so easy.

Rachel in Florida said...

Thanks for all the comments on jeans at church. someone suggested that maybe they could not afford any better clothing. These are rather affluent families in my church, so I don't think this is the issue. I see so many changes in the church and in our country as a whole, and I have to admit that I find them troubling. I appreciate the comments that God does not care what we wear, and to some point I do agree. But I do think as Christians we are called to be set apart, so how do we define that? I have really been struggling with the whole pants/skirts issue for awhile.

I did go shopping yesterday, and it seems that what you would call a "church" dress is just not even made anymore. All the dresses seemed to be social occasion dresses. Also, I saw a lot of the long, for lack of a better word, hippie style skirts. These do not look good on me, i am too short and too heavy. So, the search continues.

Organizing Mommy said...

Nice clothes. I should figure out this mystery shopping thing, but I already have too many nice things. I like the look of pants, but I'll go either way depending on the occasion/ event. I'm thinking about designing some clothing for the middle aged "bumpy" women like myself who still want some fashion and modesty. What do you think?

Treva said...

To Rachel in FL -- I'm not short (5'6"), but I am curvy. I would suggest wearing skirts that are A-line in shape and come to your knee, or just the top of it. Mid-calf skirts will also make you look shorter. A-lines are flattering on pretty much everyone and I find them easier to find at stores like JCPenny, Macys, even Old Navy. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen one at WM or Kmart or similar, but I did find a nice one from Target once that was really cute. To make you appear long and lean; add some slightly pointed-toe flats and a v-neck shirt to add to the length you need. If the v-neck is too low-cut, put a cami on under it.

sunnymommy said...

I'm with the ones who can't figure out the footgear with skirts/dresses. In the summer when it's warm enough to be bare with sandals I'm good. But, spring/autumn/winter ??? If my feet are cold so is the rest of me and I am miserable. There must be shoes out there that go with skirts yet are still comfortable rather than dressy. But, apparently I don't own any! A couple years ago I found some really nice just below the knee skirts on clearance at Walmart, but I never wear them because I don't have shoes to go with them.

Emily said...

sunnymommy, I wear boots sometimes, but I have these shoes, kind of like Moccasins, but not quite. I found them at a thrift store and they work well with skirts and dresses. I can wear little foot socks with them, too. I'm not sure if that's helpful at all.

Rebekah said...


First things first: you and I are so very different and disagree about MANY things, but I am positively ADDICTED to your blog and I have SO MUCH respect for you. I'm glad you have persevered in writing against all the snippy, stupid criticism you've received. Way to go!

I really enjoyed this post. I'm pretty sure I don't fit the "fundie" mold either, (LOL, never heard them refered to as "fundies" before!) but I think your clothes are cute and I'm glad you're addressing this important topic. I LOVE CLOTHES and fashion, but I seek to find items that are pretty, fashionable AND modest. It can be tough, and often I end up making my own clothes, but it's so important. I use the camisole-under-low-cut-dress/shirt trick too! It gives you a lot more options .... sometimes, if I feel like a T-shirt is too thin or "clingy," I layer a cami OVER it as well, like a vest ... gives extra coverage and stops bra lines from showing through.

I'm glad you have "house dresses" ;). I think that being immodest for your husband is incredibly important, especially because I know my husband makes a very conscious effort to NOT look at other women all day long at work, on TV, etc. Sooooo, I feel the least I can do is wear something a little sexy around the house ... ;)

Speaking of husbands, I always ask my husband if I'm unsure about the appropriateness of any outfit ... he gives me an opinion based on what he knows other men would think if they saw me. This has really helped me to choose my outfits wisely!

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