A few years ago, young men were wearing trousers that looked like they were about to fall around their ankles. Occasionally, they did.
Recently, young women have been wearing pants that start a few inches below their navels, and tops that don't go quite that far down.
Fashion Hits BottomIt looks like styles may have finally hit bottom. On January 25, a fashion model waltzed down a runway with about half her rump hanging out the back of her pants. This happened in Brazil, in Cavalera's 2005 Fall/Winter collection show at the Sao Paulo Fashion Week.
Lack of modesty has a few benefits. Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" at the 2004 Super Bowl ensured that she would get more exposure than just the song-and-dance number she had been booked for.
That bare-butt fashion model in Sao Paulo, Brazil, put Cavalera's 2005 Fall/Winter collection show and the Sao Paulo Fashion Week in the faces of people around the world.
Turning a "Who" into a "What"The problem with immodesty is that it makes people into less of a 'who.' and more of a 'what'. Immodest clothing focuses attention on a person's appearance in a way calculated to turn on sexual passion at the wrong time and in the wrong way.
Today's low-cut, skin-tight, see-through styles give us an eyeful of what immodesty is.
Saying what modesty is may take a little doing.
Modesty, Yes; Prudery, NoFirst, modesty is not prudery. Modesty in dress, speech, or behavior, St. Thomas Aquinas says, means moderation: doing something in a thoughtful, balanced way that avoids extremes. Prudery or shameful inhibitions and shamelessness are both "immodest." Both extremes are out of balance.
Modesty, according to the tradition of the Catholic Church, is one of the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit, along with charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, and chastity.
Modesty is a part of temperance. It
"...protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.A teacher at the Franciscan University at Steubenville, Benjamin D. Wiker, suggests avoiding clingy clothing and having a knee-to-neck rule for people at Mass. His guidelines would guard us from distractions like miniskirts and bicycle shorts at Mass, and sound like a good idea for most occasions.
"Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet." (Catechism, 2521-2522)
Giving good advice about modest behavior and clothing wouldn't be worth much if there were no way to find decent clothes. Happily, enough folks have been looking for an alternative to tube tops and hot pants for at least two stores specialize in modest women's wear:
Modest Apparel USA
122 Airport Road
Buffalo, MO 65622
Toll free 1-866-269-0907
A family owned home-based business offering women an alternative to today's promiscuous fashions.
Modest by Design
252 E. Winchester Street
Murray UT 84107
Toll free 1-888-756-0944
A clothing company specializing in a variety of fashionable modest clothing at reasonable prices
- "Bikinis, Burkinis, and Modesty: The Other Guy isn't Always Wrong"
(August 16, 2009)
This post was originally published as an article in the Knights of Columbus Bulletin for Knights of Columbus Bishop Busch Council 4863 (February, 2005). I confirmed the contact information for Modest Apparel USA and Modest by Design, and made the format compatible with this blog's.