As I TRY to shop for myself and my two young daughters, I've really been pondering the above questions. My ten year old has taken up sewing because she can't find clothes to fit that she deems acceptable. (Yes, her code is more strict than mine.) She decided that she will just make her own clothes if no one is willing to produce what she wants---long, simple skirts, loose fitting knit shirts with sleeves, and jeans that don't fit like tights. Sounds simple enough to find, but after trying on a bazillion skirts and tops and jeans, we've found that it's not so simple to find.
The choices out there are ridiculous. Skirts and shorts that just barely cover the backside and swimsuits that are much skimpier than my under garments! Not to mention backless shirts/dresses, strapless shirts/dresses, halter style shirts/dresses, spaghetti strap shirts/dresses; all so tight that a person can't possibly be able to move or breathe properly. If we do find shirts with sleeves, we have to buy them 3 sizes too big and have to roll the "monkey length" sleeves in order for it to look half-way decent.
The choices out there for our young girls are not helping them to grow into holy Women of God. These fashions are helping them grow into young ladies who think they need to look "hot" or "sexy". Young ladies that think they need fake nails, fake tans, fake breasts, fake lips, and numerous other fake characteristics to be a woman. Several months ago I was getting my yearly haircut and witnessed a 9 or 10 year old crying NOT to have her eyebrows waxed as the mother insisted that she could "no longer look at the bushy mess." What are we teaching our daughters? Shouldn't we be teaching them that they are beautiful just as they are? Shouldn't we be teaching them to be happy with the way our Creator created them? Do we really need to "improve" God's creations?
Yes, at one time I did fall prey to this Satan led fashion world, even though I told myself I hadn't, but as I grow closer to Christ and His ways, I realize how far, not just I, but how far society as a whole has strayed from His teachings. In the last few weeks, my Facebook and email accounts have been bombarded with ads for diets, gym membership discounts, diet pills, tanning bed coupons, exercise equipment, etc. to entice the female population "as bikini season approaches". Many years ago (before birthing 3 kids) I too would have been trying to lose weight for "bikini season", worrying about tan lines, and searching for "cute" sundresses. But as I grew older, flabbier, and wiser, I realized that this is not the image I want to portray to my daughters.
Lately, I've been praying about what other changes I need to make in my life and the lives of my kids. I have discovered so many Bible passages about my role as woman/wife/mother in the last year or so. The little (yet very HARD) changes I have made seem to have led me to greater rewards each time. This in turn has led me to look at society's view versus God's view of women. With HHS mandate now in the headlines, everyone seems to be writing about the role of women, women's rights, etc. I've read the arguements of both sides and wonder.... Where did we go wrong? How did society's view of women, children, and family get so twisted?
Once again God led me to the things I needed to read--- the "warnings" that various Popes and Saints gave about the coming times, warnings from the Blessed Virgin Mary, and even warnings from Christ himself. (I know many people do not believe in apparitions and visitations from Heaven. Not sure why, since visions and apparitions are mentioned throughout the Bible. Why wouldn't God talk to people on Earth today and send messengers with warnings if He has done it before?) Anyway, I have been amazed at how the fall of modesty in fashion has been closely related to the fall of values in our society.
I could write for days about all the things I have read, but I won't. It's out there for you to discover in your own time as I did through prayer. But I will leave you with a few thoughts to ponder:
1 Timothy 2, 9 "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."
The words of the Blessed Mother at Fatima to Bl.Jacinta Marto:"the sins which bring most souls to hell are the sins of the flesh.Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend Our Lord very much...the Church has no fashions; Our Lord is always the same..."From St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to a Devout Life, Part Third, Ch. 25:Keep yourself always, as much as possible, on the side of plainness and modesty, which, without doubt, is the greatest ornament of beauty, and the best excuse for the want of it."From The Catechism of the Catholic Church:"... Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden.... Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies."
Modesty is decency. It inspires ones choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.
I realize that modesty is more than how someone dresses, but dressing modestly does help one to act more modestly. This is something that I have recently learned by simply changing the way I dress and dress my family. The way you dress does have an affect on how you act (For all my teacher friends, think about free dress day behavior!), how you present yourself to others (Think about being dressed up for an important interview), and how others treat you (Think about how you treat clergy when you "see" them in their vestments).