Why I Choose To Dress Modestly (And How You Can, Too, Ladies!)

by Faith & Life, March

 For much of my life as a child, a teenager, and even a young adult, I never really considered my clothing except for those “big” moments like what I would wear for a school dance or a graduation day. As a child, my mom sewed all of my clothes, and as I grew, I would go shopping with my mom and choose my favorites. Even then, though, I gravitated towards more modest clothes without really thinking about it.

So what changed?

My Why For Dressing Modestly As A Catholic

I can actually pinpoint the day that wearing modest clothing became a choice rather than a happenstance.

In 2018, I began formation to become a consecrated virgin, one who promises to remain as a virgin for the sake of the Kingdom of God and lives her life as a Bride of Christ. At one of those sessions, my formator encouraged me to begin wearing a mantilla in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Around that same time, another close friend suggested the same. Granted, this was something that, after moving to a new diocese two years prior and learning about covering one’s head in the presence of Jesus, I had thought about, yet I still had not done regularly. After taking some time to read Mantilla: The Veil of the Bride of Christ and to pray about this, I began experimenting wearing a mantilla when I was alone in the Adoration Chapel to acclimate myself to wearing one, and, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, I wore one to Mass for the first time.

The Feast of the Sacred Heart was the day that everything changed for me. Rather than following “the rules” that I had as a child or while attending Catholic school, I made the choice on that day to wear clothes as if I am always in the presence of Jesus, clothing that would be suitable for a Bride of Christ.

Does this mean that now, as a consecrated virgin, I am always wearing long skirts (my preference for dress clothes) and blouses? No, it just means that I choose modest clothing based on the situation. When at Mass or in Adoration or participating in other church activities, I do wear that outfit—along with my mantilla if I am in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. If I am walking my dogs or my horse, volunteering at the local horse rescue, or just spending time at home, I wear more casual clothing that is still modest in its nature.

The How Of Dressing Modestly

If you are thinking of dressing more modestly, perhaps you will have that moment, too, just like I did by making one simple change.

If that seems intimidating, remember that each of our stories is different, and it may be a process to dress more modestly.

If you look at the clothes in your closet and are not sure what to wear that would be considered modest, try replacing one or two outfits a month with one or two more modest outfits. Little by little, you will build up your wardrobe to the point that, when you open your closet, you will only see modest clothes.

The Where To Buy Modest Clothing

If you are ready to shop for modest clothes and go to your favorite clothing store and see clothes that do not fit this definition, you are not alone. There are options for those who want to dress in this way, though, and often browsing through online sites is a good way to see what suits your individual style as well as what you define as being modest clothing.

These are some places where I’ve either purchased items from or where I have gone “window shopping.” 

If you are talented at sewing, you may want to create your own clothing. Fashion Belle has put together a variety of sewing patterns for modest feminine clothing. In addition, Common Sense Patterns and Etsy have several patterns available for purchase.

If you, too, are thinking of wearing a mantilla in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, you will find that there are many different kinds suitable to each woman. In addition to Etsy, which has a large collection of mantillas, you can also check out these online shops.

With all these great clothes to choose from, maybe someday, we will find that we are “twinning” in how we have chosen to express our femininity.

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Image: Photo by Fa Barboza on Unsplash

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