Modesty. Modesty is something I have always been taught - and while I didn't always fully understand why I was being taught about modesty, it has always been there. In church lessons, in conversations with my parents, in the rules of the school I decided to attend - there is no way around it growing up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - you know, Mormons. The Mormon Church has guidelines. My friend, Alycia, said it best when she said, "One thing I love about my faith, is that we are more progressive then some might think. The Church believes in teaching correct principles, and then letting the members 'govern themselves.'" So there you have it. I was already taught about modesty, but then there was the govern themselves part. It didn't really matter what my leaders and teachers taught me about the principle, it was something I had to figure out. Just me.
A lot of times the discussion around modesty comes back to men. People say that women should dress modestly so they don't influence a mans impure thoughts. Women say that they dress modestly so they don't contribute to an already saturated world of pornography and sexuality. There is a lot of draw back to a woman's dress can change how a man thinks when they walk by. Some times, in the Mormon church, modesty comes back to the covenants that we make in the temple. That we need to choose to be modest now so that we can be prepared for the way we will need to dress once we go through the temple. And while both of these points may be true and totally valid - depending on your beliefs - they are not the reasons that led to my choice to be modest.
So why? Why do I choose to dress modestly? It is because of the power I see in myself. I am a strong and independent woman. I am a daughter of God. Eventually I got to the point in my life where all the cute and trendy clothes - shorter cut, tighter fitting, and so on could not give me the confidence that feeling comfortable did. That is when it finally all came together. The way I dressed influenced the way I acted. And if I wanted to be seen as a strong and independent woman, I needed to in turn dress like a strong and independent woman. I don't have some huge defining moment when I went home and threw out all my clothing that was immodest, but I have hundreds of tiny moments in which I realized that modesty is a choice that I needed to work towards to become stronger.
Now don't get me wrong. I am not saying women that wear shorter skirts or crop tops are not strong women. I am sure that they are. And I am sure they have a confidence all their own. But for the impression I want to make, and for the way I want to feel, those are not the clothing items for me.
I want to be remembered for more than the length of my legs or the style of my clothing. And while that might sound a little crazy coming from someone who blogs about style on a regular basis - it is true. My clothing comes second to my thoughts and my actions. The impact I make and the impressions I leave wherever I am always come first. So I let my words make an impact before I let my physical features do the talking. If I am helping men have more pure thoughts and preparing for the temple ordinances as a bonus, then great! I will take it. The person I am and the respect I give myself starts with the clothing I wear. And that is why I dress modestly. It is a really simple answer and it has blessed my life on a regular basis.