Once Upon a Time, I Wore Jean Skirts9:00 AM
Could you give your personal convictions on items of clothing, like how you went from exclusively wearing skirts (right?) to wearing jeans? What was your line of thought, and how did you match your convictions with Scripture? (Not that there's a specific scripture on skinny jeans and skirt wearing, obviously, but still... :) )Even though I claimed to write the very last modesty article ever, I haven't stopped thinking about modesty and how much I've changed.
Keelyanne's right. From about eleven to sixteen, I exclusively wore skirts. Vision Forum had me convinced that the Bible forbade women to dress like men and that it was immodest to let men know I had two legs. (My grandmother and aunt tried to convince me that nobody wore pants back in Biblical times, anyways. I didn't know how to respond to that. I think I ran upstairs to my room and religiously read the next chapter of So Much More. No, that was after my family started a living room dance party to music with a beat. Wrong story.)
Unlike many girls who left the conservative women movement, I never felt oppressed by wearing skirts. I did everything in skirts -- cartwheels, horseback riding, gardening, swimming, hiking. Nightgowns and corduroy jumpers actually keep you warmer in the winter. They're so long and thick that they trap your body heat. Nothing beats curling up in the skirt of one's flannel nightgown. I don't care how frumpy that sounds -- I've looked high and low for my cute flannel nightgown that my mom sewed for me. I can't find it anymore. And I've suffered many cold college nights without it. (Of course, sweat pants are also awesome. I'm torn.)
I was in my awkward teen years. I didn't know how to dress differently. Sure, sometimes I wished I could wear a pair of jeans. Sure, finding tops that match with floral skirts is hard. Sure, even I knew that ill-fitting blouses and polos looked bad on my hesitantly womanish form. But I was the kind of girl who wore headbands with her hair parted down the middle at the same time. You think I'd notice?
The next move away from ankle-length denim skirts was mid-calf and below-the-knee skirts. That took several years to warm up to. Want to know a deep, dark secret? The thing that kept me from wearing anything shorter than ankle-length skirts was not conviction. It was because I didn't know how to shave my legs. I was called Sasquatch Legs once. If that doesn't keep a girl in ankle-length skirts, I don't know what will. (Don't worry -- my mom finally pulled me aside and gave me foundation, lipstick, and a disposable razor.)
I think around this point, I started reading blog arguments about what's modest and what isn't. People wear leggings as pants? What? Every girl in my circle of friends dressed modestly by conservative standards. If they didn't exclusively wear ankle-length denim skirts and floral blouses, they wore capris or long shorts, always loose, always khaki. No tank tops, except under v-neck shirts. Modesty was never an issue in my immediate social life. It was all online, in theoretical terms.
I don't remember what changed my mind. I kind of started to care about what I looked like, enough to part my hair to the side. I started wondering what it'd be like to play volleyball in basketball shorts. On especially hot summer months, I wished for tank tops. Yes, there was passive peer pressure -- just that awkward feeling of unintentionally sticking out everywhere because I wore skirts for everything. Or culottes. My mom made us girls really cute culottes so we could volunteer for therapeutic horseback riding. They really were cute...a few centuries ago. (Side note -- I appreciate how my mom honored our desire to dress modestly and participate in the activities we wanted. Those culottes aren't a symbol of oppression to me. They're a reminder of how my mom's a wonderful seamstress and homemaker who loved her daughters.)
And frankly, the silence of Scripture on this subject ultimately caused me to not care about the internet squabbles. It doesn't say that pants, even yoga pants, are immodest. It doesn't say that women should dress modestly to prevent their brothers from lusting after them. It doesn't say any of that. The only modesty it talks about is not flaunting your wealth. The End, modesty debate. The Bible also doesn't say that we need to be fashionable and that we can't wear ankle-length skirts. I got this feeling that the real issues -- some entirely unrelated to modesty -- were being passed over in this overzealous discussion on controlling what women wear. That knocked out modesty reason #1: wearing pants was cross-dressing. It's not. The cross-dressing mentioned in Scripture meant other bad things going on -- likely sexually-charged pagan worship rituals. Also, the battle over whether women should wear pants was fought decades ago. The verdict is out: all women's clothing lines include feminine-style pants. Nobody thinks you're cross-dressing if you wear jeans. A century ago, maybe. Our culture has moved on from that discussion.
The discussion that the culture -- at least the conservative Christian culture -- still holds is about modesty reason #2: guys will stumble if I dress immodestly. Tomorrow, I'll talk about how my beliefs about that subject influenced my wardrobe. And then I'll lay out the fashion/modesty beliefs I dress by.
And by the way...I still wear my old jean skirt, just to ruffle my liberated college coeds. :) What? If this thing is on the 2015 spring runway....
|See here if you thought denim jumpers were bad.|
p.s. Still got a denim skirt lying around? Join me and all the other cool 2015 peeps in the rebellion. Don't got a denim skirt? No prob. You can buy a $220 distressed jean skirt just like this one. Orrrr you can buy a $1900 pair of culottes just in time for spring. Hey, I knew what I was doing as an awkward teen. I was way ahead of the fashion game.
What's your opinion on jean skirts, culottes, and what the Bible teaches about modesty?
p,s, Abby wrote an excellent article that presents a skirts-only conviction without guilt or legalism. I highly recommend it if you're curious about why women choose to wear skirts exclusively!