For some reason modesty has gotten a bad name in recent years. Many people claim that modesty, especially in clothing, is destructive to women’s rights and hampers their ability to express their personality and sexuality; however, it can be said that modern fashion trends are actually causing more harm than good by over sexualizing young girls and instilling deep body image issues in their minds. If you are a woman who wants to take a different approach with your wardrobe and try some new styles, an attitude of modest dress can be a good thing. When you start to build your collection of more modest pieces there are many things that you will need to keep in mind.

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Wear Larger Sizes

The first thing that you will notice about modest clothing designs is that they are much looser and in larger sizes than you have been wearing before. If you simply replace the short and skin baring clothing that you were wearing before with clothes that are so tight that they leave nothing to the imagination, you will not have accomplished the goal of modesty. The clothing should drape off of your body, not cling to it, and you will need to add an inch or two to your measurements in order to get clothing that fits you correctly. Before you make a large purchase check with the store or the website to see what kind of recommendations they have for sizing. For instance, a site like Fashion Undercover recommends a two inch margin of error for a good fit, while some other sites will recommend up to three or four inches.

Lower The Hem

Another thing that you will want to watch out for is the length of the hem on your skirts and dresses. A good rule of thumb is that the skirt or dress should reach your ankle, which gives you the freedom to move around, but still keeps your legs covered. The most formal gowns and dresses that you can purchase may go all the way to the floor, so it is a good idea to wear heels with them so that the hem does not get caught on anything on the ground. At the same time, your dress should not have any kind of slit or cut in the back or sides that would expose your legs when you move, as that range of motion can be provided by pleats in the skirt instead. Lower hems also apply to your sleeve length. Tunic dresses and kurtis, the most commonly available tops that are hailed for their modest appearance, will almost always come with sleeves that are at least three quarters, with many of them extending all of the way to the wrist.

Raise The Neck

You will also discover that most modest clothing choices do not have low cut necks and they will not expose your cleavage to the world. The neck line of your dresses or tops should come all the way to your shoulder bones and the fit around the neck should be tight enough that when you bend over your top does not fall open. In some cases a slightly lower cut is ok for the neck line, but you will want to make certain that the collar of the top does not dip all the way to the top of the breasts.

Modesty in clothing is not new, but its growing popularity in the United States is something the culture has never seen before. When you start to dress more modestly you will notice that people treat you a little differently and your interactions with those around you will change somewhat, but these will be positive changes in the long run that you will appreciate.


Guest feature from Susan Bahri who tells us that she has been trying to instill the values of modest dress in my children for the last sixteen years. I wrote this article to talk about some of the issues I have had to discuss with my daughters when they brought home clothing that my husband and I deemed unacceptable.