When it comes to purity, often the hardest topic to sell to young women is that of modesty. As a teenager I had a close and personal relationship with my closet. Part of me would rather sacrifice my right arm than some of my favorite outfits. However, sanctity comes with sacrifice, and your sacrifice will not go unrewarded. Each time you grab your garb and find yourself questioning its modesty quotient I encourage you to wear your crown of virtue instead.
“To defend his purity, Saint Francis of Assisi rolled in the snow, Saint Benedict threw himself into a thorn bush, Saint Bernard plunged himself into an icy pond. You, what have you done?”
-Saint Josemaria Escriva
However, thankfully, a life of modesty doesn’t have to exclusively mean wearing a muumuu or habits. Before you flail yourself on your bed and wail, “I have nothing to wear,” check out these tips that can baptize some of your favorite fashions:
- Extender: While not every crop top or short skirt can receive a stamp of modesty approval with a lace extender—many can! These garments go under a top or bottom to provide some extra inches. Purchase one or make your own to add a feminine layer of class and style.
- Bandeaus: Wait…What? A bandeau hardly seems to fit into a modesty discussion. However, as many of you have realized—Modest is hottest—and I mean that in the most literal sense. As a Texas resident, I can assure you that adding a layer in hot weather can sometimes be torturous. A wide bandeau can add the perfect amount of height under a low cut top without adding unwanted insulation. Plus, at just a few bucks a piece, I’ll take one in every color, please!
- Go Strapless… Sort of: Let’s be honest—bra straps are not classy. Sometimes a perfectly modest scoop neck or thick racer back can maneuver in a way that allows others to see something they shouldn’t. It makes sense that sneaky straps would call to mind their hidden counterparts when they escape. For those unpredictable tops, choose a strapless undergarment and forget about it.
- The Faithful Cami: I am often shocked at how often I can see right through a stranger’s clothing. Before anyone accuses me of being “judgy” my reaction is generally just embarrassment! To prevent unintentional indecent exposure, place your hand inside clothing items before putting them on and hold them up in front of a good light. If you can see through, then throw a simple cami under a shirt or a ½ slip under a skirt/dress.
- The Bolero: My favorite thing about a bolero is that it rarely sacrifices your over-all look. This no-frump option can be used in a casual setting, or dressed up for Mass, weddings or evening. I may or may not have an over abundance of these babies.
If you’re the adventurous, treasure hunting type, I recommend my favorite clothing sources: Ross or Marshall’s. They regularly carry five dollar bandeaus and camis and ten dollar boleros and shrugs. Sometimes modesty can be frustrating, but this sort of retail therapy just feels oh-so-good.
Katie Hartfiel is the author of Woman In Love, which chronicles her developing a relationship with the Lord as her First Love allowed Him to mold her for her Second Love (vocation). Katie received her Theology degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville. She served as a youth minister for seven years in Houston, where she now resides with her husband, Mark, and two daughters. For more on Katie and her books, visit www.womaninlove.org.