Not Alone Series: Modesty

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I am one day late, which is a little pathetic because the topics are posted in advance, but since I’m a new participant, I am cutting myself a break.

Continuing our reflections about our make-up routines, let’s chat about modesty! What does modesty mean to you? Does it just involve the clothes you wear and how you wear them? What about the things you say or do? In what ways can we improve our overall modesty?

I never did the make-up post, so I will write on that first. I believe in wearing makeup. I do almost every day, even when I’m not planning on leaving the house much. I wear it mainly because I prefer the way I look with makeup on! Since I go to Mass on Sunday evenings and don’t usually go anywhere before that, I spend a considerable amount of time au naturel at least once a week. But once I have my makeup on and my hair straightened, I look in the mirror and see what I “really” look like.

I wear makeup partly to cover and partly to enhance. I have a few blemishes and acne spots left over from my acne-riddled days. I occasionally get a huge zit like I’m still a teenager. (Not long ago, I had one right between my eyebrows, like a third eye! That taught me some humility, fast). Generally speaking, though, my skin did calm down in my twenties. That was of little consolation to teenage Lindsay, but it is quite comforting now. My skin is still blotchy unless I smooth it out with makeup. I recently switched from CoverGirl products to Maybelline—color match technology is amazing, especially for fairer-skinned black women like me!

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2. Morning ritual: My beauty essentials. Up&up lotion from #Target, #CoverGirl powder and eyebrow pencil, Maybelline concealer because my CG color is hard to find, and tweezers. Every day; the only way. #fmsphotoaday #morning #makeup #myroutine

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My favorite makeup items are the ones I never ever go without, not even when I was in Central America on mission trips: my tweezers, my moisturizer, and my lip gloss. Okay, by “moisturizer,” I mean the Target version of Olay with SPF, and by “lip gloss,” I mean $1.89 Lip Smackers in Dr. Pepper, but they still count! I tried not tweezing once. It was not pretty. Those items are all about prevention, though, which is where the desire to primp and polish meets good stewardship of my body and beauty. I could live without concealer and red-tinted lip gloss. I would be a fool to not use moisturizing sunscreen and lip protection. It’s about taking care of myself. I’m not out to impress anyone with more than the basics.

Now for modesty. I am all about this, guys! I started volunteering with Pure Fashion [background music link] precisely because I care so much about modesty. The way I have come to understand it, modesty has two aspects: clothing and behavior.

Modesty in clothing is such an adventure. For me, it’s an adventure where I get to look really cute! I have rules about clothing I will and won’t wear, and techniques for adapting:

  • Some skirts are just too short. I can feel on my body where the line is, and if I’m uncomfortable, I won’t wear it. I have designated a shortest-allowable dress and skirt to help me measure. For my two skirts that are too short for bare legs (one I had before my modest conversion, and one I bought for a costume), I have leggings and opaque tights.
  • Leggings are not pants. I only recently got my first pair, and although they are comfortable and opaque, they’re basically thick, short tights.
  • I keep my shoulders covered in church (and most of the rest of the time). This has meant wearing a shawl with the two sleeveless bridesmaid dresses I have. One was for a Catholic wedding, le sigh.
  • No visible underwear. White and neutral are my friends.
  • No low-cut tops. I layer all the time, and I don’t look good in v-necks, anyway.

Those are my rules; the Pure Fashion guidelines are a great start for setting your own. The point is that, when someone looks at the way I dress, I want them to think I look professional, put together, or adorable, not “hot.” Food is hot. The weather is hot. People are not “hot.”

Modesty in behavior is about the way you speak and behave. No one except your spouse, confessor, and doctor should know the most intimate details of your life. Crude and tasteless jokes are juvenile and unprofessional. (I work with mostly men. I’m encouraging them to rise above.) NFP discussions should be very general or left to groups of close female friends and to spouses. We should never even think of people as just collections of body parts, let alone look at them that way. You are a soul-body, not just a soul trapped in a body or a body without a soul.

In sum, modesty should be about what you put on your body and how you express your self—your personality—using that body.

What do you think? Is modesty about ankle-length plaid jumpers and uncut hair, or is there room for fashion and tasteful trendiness? Can you be covered up but crude of speech and still be modest? There’s more to modesty than meets the eye. (See what I did there?)



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Lindsay,

Thanks for sharing that link to Pure Fashion. That’s so great to see some concrete guidelines in place for dressing modestly.

I like how you mention you had a modesty conversion as I feel like I also went through something similar. Just last weekend I was getting ready for a wedding and thought I was going to wear what used to be my favorite dress (pink and brown V neck, knee lengthed), but when I put it on, I felt horrified as I felt like the V neck was far too much of a plunge!

And about the make up….I feel like I share similar thoughts with you on that as I also really enjoy wearing make up as I constantly seem to be rocking a new pimple on my face! :P

Word to your mother on the modest conversation thing. I feel like the sorts of media that we’ve held up as iconic in the past few decades (Sex and the City and on and on and on) have given a lot of women the idea that to be best friends with your best friends you ought to put everything out on the table vis-a-vis your personal/sex lie.

(That was a run-on sentence. Woopsies.)

Don’t get me wrong, I have THE BEST FRIENDS IN THE UNIVERSE and they obviously know that my husband and I do all of that kind of stuff, but we don’t need to talk about it. Like, almost ever.

The one exception I make to this rule is if friends/people ask me about how we handle NFP type stuff. If they’re genuinely curious, I tell them what I know because I know that so many people don’t understand what’s what.

If you understood any of that, I owe you a fruit bouquet.

    As a (currently not but previously) certified English teacher, I am delighted to inform you that you didn’t use a run-on sentence. It was just really long, like with St. Paul’s epistles.

    That is exactly the kind of thing I mean. It leaves me a bit unsettled when my single friends and I get to rambling about NFP. There’s only so much room for theory before we start inching toward application, and then comes Uncomfortable Secrets Hour.

[…] I wrote in my post about modesty, I believe in modest behavior and speech. Suffice it to say that I was not Miss Chastity USA when I […]

[…] had a whole link-up about makeup right before I joined. I missed that one, so I included mine in my modesty post. For the record, I have switched to Mary Kay powder foundation and a different up&up […]

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