Is This Too Short?

Is this too short?

I’ve been asking myself this question since I tried on my new dress in the store. It’s really cute, figure flattering, a new style, and exactly what I’ve been looking for. It seemed like a good enough length since it’s longer than most dresses. It could use a few more inches of fabric but it’s close enough. Besides, it has a high neckline so that evens it out on the modesty scale, right?

It’s all too easy to justify a cute new outfit. “Better than most,” though, is that really what I’m going for? I can’t help but think that’s not a good reason to buy a dress. Yes, it’s cute and I really like it, but every time I try it on I can’t get myself to commit to keeping it by ripping off the tags.

Would I want another woman to wear this in front of my (future) husband? No, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t appreciate it if another woman was in front of my husband or boyfriend for that matter in a dress that seems “modest enough” until they bend over or sit down and the fabric might no longer cover what should be covered. So since I don’t want this from another woman, I need to show the same respect to them.

So, is it too short? The very fact that I’m asking myself this question means I already know the answer. Yes, my dress is too short.

Just being “better than most” does not make it modest. Modesty is not a competition. It’s also not easy. What would be easy would be to wear the dress, fit in with the trends, and pretend it’s long enough. Here’s the thing though: In making the extra effort to dress modestly through raising my standards in the way I dress, I have more freedom.

I’m not going to have to constantly check or readjust what I’m wearing. I’ll be free of all these worries because I’m going to find a dress I can throw on, know I look fabulous, and am completely comfortable in without showing too much skin. There aren’t going to be nagging questions in the back of my mind.

I’m going to return it and try again. Because there’s no reason I should need to question if what I’m wearing is too short.

meganMegan Finegan recently graduated from Benedictine College with a double major in Psychology and Criminology. She graduated after studying abroad in Florence, Italy and being a Gregorian Fellows scholar. She loves shopping and the craze of cities, and is passionate about seeking to prevent injustice and help those victimized by it. She is currently working to publish her first book with her best friend Kaylin Koslosky as a way of spreading a much-needed message of love to her female peers.


  1. Such a powerful invitation to reflect on why we do what we do as well as consider honoring the highest good of all concerned. Thank you Megan for stepping to the front lines while teaching from the trenches of life to remind us once again of what is good; right; true; beautiful; excellent and praise worthy. Very refreshing!

    By Lauren | 6 years ago Reply
  2. Thank you! These same thoughts go through my mind ever time I shop for clothing. My husband has been an encourager and accountability partner when I shop. He reminds me to make sure I will feel beautiful and modest in what I wear. I have learned, too, that I don’t have to accept the dresses at the store “as is.” Tailoring is a great way to make clothing I love modest and more beautiful.

    By Christina | 6 years ago Reply
  3. Anytime you try on a dress and you silently ask yourself, “Is it too short?” the answer is “YES.”When you try on a dress and you are totally “at ease” in it (if modesty is of importance to you)…..that question will not come up. Same goes true if you try on a dress or top or shirt and you ask yourself, “Is this top cut too low? or Am I showing too much cleavage?” the answer is……YES. The spirit confirms to you when you look modest. There are no questions.

    By Debbie Deal | 6 years ago Reply
  4. Nice post!!

    (Maybe the dress has enough hem to use with an added strip of fabric to make it long enough…? A friend has written a great book on alterating clothing & does this quite a bit.)

    By Nettie | 6 years ago Reply
    • If you don’t mind, could you share the name of the book? I’d really appreciate it!

      By Olivia | 6 years ago Reply
  5. Very nice article!! I translated it to spanish, in order to be able to share it with some non-english-speaking friends. Would it be useful to you?

    By Pavel | 6 years ago Reply
  6. I think that the deeper your heart is in God, full of His love, the more you will naturally prefer clothing that isn’t going to give you questions about its modesty… What I mean is, love God above all else, and everything else should fall into place. I think this approach helps you avoid the problem of becoming negative, critical and judging yourself all the time…

    By Phil H | 6 years ago Reply
  7. What I like here in Pakistan is the dress code: it’s the shalwar and qameez (pants and blouse) which is very comfortable and modest.

    By Sr. Athens | 6 years ago Reply
  8. Sometimes one can find a fix for a dress you like, i.e. if it is too short you could wear a longer underskirt in a matching or contrasting colour, or you could sew on a border of lace or contrasting colour. If it has too low a neckline, a scarf or dickey may work. If it is sleeveless, wearing it with a little bolero, sweater or wrap (or putting a blouse underneath). These “fixes” can even put your own flair to the outfit.

    By Peggy Lynn | 6 years ago Reply
  9. This is a great post, thanks!!!
    I just wonder, where should we buy modest clothes? If there would be any brand for modest clothes… Don’t know about the states, but here in Europe you can forget it:/

    By Kasia | 6 years ago Reply
  10. This was awesome!! I loved it! I feel like I have those dresses that I do the “fingertip length” test for all the time. I want to remember this. I should never need to ask if something is too short.

    By Arianna | 6 years ago Reply
  11. What if you’re mature enough and your relationship is healthy enough that you don’t actually worry about what other women wear in front of your man? What if you feel confident and happy in clothes that some other woman feels insecure and sinful in? Let’s visit Iran and see how women look at you with your head and elbows all uncovered like you have no morals. Truth.

    By A. Cohle | 6 years ago Reply
  12. My son recently got confirmed this past spring. Despite the religious ed director’s instructions that all girls wear skirts or dresses no shorter than one inch above the knee (so as not to scandalize the bishop, she said), I noticed a lot of girls with extremely short and tight dresses on ( just barely covering their rear). I’d say at least one dozen were dressed in this fashion. I also noticed all of these girls were Hispanic. I am wondering if it is a cultural thing or something with them. I don’t know, even though my best friend whom I grew up with is Hispanic. Our religious ed director did have an interpreter as well, for non-English-speaking people. I don’t know the answer.

    By Patricia Truty | 6 years ago Reply
  13. IF you have a slightly too short item… a quick tip to alter it.
    if the skirt is STRAIHT below the knee (that is, the skirt doesnt FLARE near the hem) cut evenly around it about 2-5 inches ABOVE the hem, as if you were making it SHORTER… and add in a strip of fabric. you preserve the original hem, and make it look deliberate!
    make sure you alllow for losing the inches to the seam!!!! so adding a 2 inch strip ONLY adds 1inch….

    if the skirt flares… itrs hard to do that , and you probably have to add it at the bottom. remember that to add a PLEATED edge you need 3 times (at least) the measurement of teh hem

    By Kirsten Houseknecht | 6 years ago Reply

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