10 April 2013

Modest and Modest Fancy Dresses

It is still "fancy dress" month, and today's entry is going to be for links and ideas that are not quite the Disney Princess or Quinceañera ballgown. Not because those styles of dresses cannot be modest in a sexually pure way, but because I want to focus on both of the meanings of the word "modest" in this post.

Image 1
Photo from Beautifully Modest
You see, some folks don't like the proms and balls and banquets because to dress up in fancy dresses or suits is to be too showy. Type in the word "modest" in your Google search bar and this is what you get:


1. Unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one's abilities or achievements.
2. (of an amount, rate, or level of something) Relatively moderate, limited, or small.

humble - unassuming - unpretentious - lowly - moderate

Serena Modest Dress in Deep Ocean Blue
Photo from Jen Clothing
Now, obviously, many women have used the idea of unassuming moderation to not show off their female bodies, which, obviously to most men, are quite beautiful and entrancing without all the trappings to show them off so much (yes, even you, who thinks you're not so lovely to look at). Showing off our shapeliness with tight or see through material, or showing off our softer skin by using less material in general - even if it is not the intent - is still showing off without modesty what we have been given or have developed through diet or exercise. And so "modest dresses" tends to mean not showing off our bodies: covering up shoulders and cleavage, thighs and knees, and for some, even calves, arms and necks.

But modesty ALSO means a more general just plain humbleness, that is, not showing off your beauty or wealth or beautiful clothing or jewelry or lovely hair. Think not? The apostle Peter, who spent a great deal of time with Jesus Christ while on earth, wrote:
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:1-4
And the apostle, Paul, wrote in his letter to the young preacher, Timothy:
Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.  1 Timothy 2:9-10
The Julia Gown
Photo from Great Lengths Clothing
This is not to say that there aren't occasions where you might want to put on wedding clothes or dressy clothes, because of a special occasion (usually dictated by the culture you are in, such as a Latin American community which puts greater importance on the 15th birthday, or a North American community that puts a great importance on a dinner celebrating the end of your high school or college years). So how far do you go in dressing up according to your culture, without losing your modesty, either in purity or in humility? It might be called "semi formal".

Check out "JenClothing" for Modest Prom Dresses to see what that might look like.  "Beautifully Modest" offers a Semi Formal selection as well. I recently found the online store with affordable modest formals: "Great Lengths Clothing". If these aren't quite the formal that you're looking for, I came across Kara Moss' Pinterest page of lovely modest prom dresses, which for the most part don't seem too over-the-top when it comes to showiness either. (Once again, I'm not getting paid to endorse these stores, and I haven't shopped there either; let the buyer be aware.)

Finding a modest formal gown - both modest for humbleness and modest for purity - is possible, but it will take time and some specific ideas. First of all, remember who you really are - inside - that you want others to see on the outside. You, not your dress or your hair style. Then have fun searching the internet, and don't miss perusing all the links to modest Wedding, Prom and other formal dress shops in the super wonderful and cross cultural and cross age groups "Modest Clothing Directory" (where you'll find lots more than just modest fancy dresses).
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