Why I Don’t Wear Skirts all the Time

I read an article today over at the Aquila Report by a woman on why she wears skirts all the time. Caroline Allen, author of the Modest Mom blog and owner of the Modest Mom line of clothing, gives three main reasons for why she prefers skirts over pants: because they are feminine and easily portray the fact that she is a woman, because they are easy to be modest in, and because they are comfortable.

While I appreciate her concern for modesty, and I commend her dedication, I have to disagree with her basic premise. Skirts are not inherently more modest than pants. Modesty is much more an issue of the heart than simply what a woman wears. A skirt can easily be provocative, and it’s not hard to be modest in pants, or shorts, or even a swimsuit. And, there is a real danger for many women to become self-righteous over their choice of clothing. I’m not saying this is the case with Mrs. Allen. From all I can see, she appears to be a lovely woman.

In order to keep this post lighthearted, I thought I’d use pictures to illustrate my point.

First, are skirts always more feminine than pants? [As to whether wearing pants confuses people about my gender, I’m fairly certain no one has ever mistaken me for a man. And I find it slightly disturbing that Mrs. Allen reports her children saying she looks like their father when she has worn pants.] Which outfit below is more feminine to you?

This one?
Or this one?

Second, are skirts always more comfortable? I admit, I enjoy comfortable skirts myself. I find them very pleasant to wear, but not always convenient to my daily life as SAHM mom to small children. Which outfit looks more comfortable?

This?
Or this?

And lastly, are skirts inherently more modest than pants?

Is this modest?
Or is this?

I’m all for women wearing skirts if they want to, and I am certainly for dressing modestly. I just think we should use wisdom and not seek hard and fast rules to enforce.

Just for the fun of it. Which outfit below would have been considered more modest by Victorian era ladies? Bonus points if you know why.

Outfit 1:

Outfit 2:

Modesty: A Heart Issue

As a home schooling mom, modesty is a topic that comes up on a regular basis. Because I have boys, I haven’t paid as much attention to the discussion as I probably should have. Much of the time, the discussion on modesty centers around what girls (or even grown women) should or should not wear. There are so many opinions on this. Everything from shoulders to knees covered! No tight clothing! Nothing low-cut or too short! No spaghetti straps!!!! And absolutely NO underwear should EVER be visible.

While I certainly see the benefits of discussing the practical application of modest dressing, There seems to me to be a significant element missing from these discussions. For all our concern about how our society is dressing, are we not equally concerned about the heart issues involved? If our daughters are clothed from nose to toes, but inside they are counting off the days until they are free from our rules and restrictions, what are we teaching them?

When it comes to obedience and my children, I want them to listen to me and obey me. But I don’t want simply outward obedience. I don’t want them to toe the line and hop to while inside their hearts and minds they are angry and resentful. When my children argue over toys, I want them to learn to share, not just because it’s wrong to grab things from others, but because if they love each other they will seek the best for each other. It’s a heart issue. And from my studies in Scripture I have learned that the heart is very important. This is not to say that outward obedience isn’t important, just that the heart matters too.

In reading the Scripture verses that deal with modesty and clothing, I noticed something. First, I noticed that Scripture gives very little by way of specifics as to what modest clothing looks like. Second, I noticed that Scripture speaks more about what might be termed “inner beauty.” (Again, I want to be clear that I am not disagreeing with those who see the need to address the practical issues related to dressing with modesty.) Here are three passages that address women specifically.

1 Timothy 2:8-10

8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 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, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.

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