Them's the Rules - My Clothing and Modesty Rules

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The whole month of July is Pants Free July around here!

Granted, every day is basically pants-free for me. I normally wear primarily dresses and skirts for reasons discussed here.

I do have some standard rules/guidelines for creating a wardrobe that works for me.
I do care about modesty, but more in a sense of being comfortable vs. an emphasis on men's perception of my clothing. I value not needing to check if my skirt is riding up or top falling open. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Here's Week 1

My basic rules for buying dresses or skirts:

1. Hits at the knee or below
2. Neckline either naturally rests just below collarbone or can be easily closed with a safety pin
3. It has to further the variety of what I already own
4. Comfortable enough to wear all day long
5. Flattering

The knee length rule is because 1) I've found that to be more flattering on my big dancer thighs, and 2) it's the length least likely to fly up in the wind or ride up when putting the baby on my back.

Neckline for the same comfort reason - stays put in my very physically demanding day.

#3 is about spending money wisely. I don't shop often, but when I do it needs to help add to the variety already present. I will replace certain core wardrobe items (more on those shortly) - but, generally, I try and buy things that are very different in pattern, style, or color.

I don't really change base clothing during the day - just add on jewelry, sweater, or scarf to dress up or warm up as needed. My rule of thumb is it needs to be comfortable in the (likely) event I get stuck under a sleeping child. 
(Or at least it used to be likely. I miss having a baby who likes snuggles! Now I got a toddler who is a fan of the two-second hug.)

Now #5 is not something often thought of when selecting modest clothing, but I contend that modest clothing needs to be flattering. The point here is to feel comfortable and confident, and that's just not going to happen for me if it's not flattering.

Core Wardrobe Items!

The core wardrobe items were something I made up when I was traveling a lot in high school to conferences. I needed to carry the minimum of clothes that could give a lot of outfits, appropriate for varying occasions, and professional in appearance.
Those are:

  • Basic Black dress with short sleeves
  • Black and White tank tops (for layering)
  • Black,White, Red cardigans + at least one other color (I seem to bounce around that other color depending on what clothing I'm working with. Coral and Turquoise are my current colors.)
  • Maxi Skirt
  • Black Heels 
  • Black or neutral color flats
  • Neutral color belt
I can get a week's worth of outfits out of this - easily. These are the only things I would potentially replace with an identical item.
Except for the maxi skirt. That would probably get a different color or pattern.
Gotta keep it interesting!

So if I wear skirts and dresses everyday, how do I change it up for Sunday masses?

Basic difference between my daily dress and my Sunday dress are: potential for heels, earrings, for sure makeup (which is a solid maybe every other time), and a veil of some sort when in the Presence of the Eucharist.

It's not strictly necessary to make those changes, but I like making a physical change to prepare for mass. Every mass is a working mass for me - between the kid aerobics at one and singing for the other - making sure I get dressed anyway does a lot for feeling like I actually went to mass.

Here was My Sunday Best for today!

You can't see them well, but earrings are there! The lacy scarf is really my awesome infinity veil from Veils by Lily. (Go for the sewn in clip. Seriously.)

Anyone else have rules for clothing? Don't worry - it's ok not to be this flavor of weird. It's probably better that we not all be Type A.
Next week it's on to creative re-wearing!


  1. We definitely have similar "rules" - it just plain makes *sense* when you're a mom! I'm having a tough time with footwear for Mass, sadly... I can't wear my heels right now, and my sandals are in pretty bad shape - I think it's time to get some fancier flats just to wear to Mass to look a little better!

  2. I LOVE the white lacy top & skirt in the second picture! (but all of these outfits are lovely).
    I have pretty similar guidelines; I try to make sure the skirt "flirts" with the knee (that's how another woman once phrased it, and I like that description) because that's usually a pretty flattering look, works well with lots of movement throughout the day, and doesn't make my bare legs the main focus :P I am so with you on those core clothing items! Black, white, and red cardigans go with so many outfits, and I have those exact colors! I also have a tan cropped cardigan thingy. I used to have tons more colors (I picked up a bunch of free cardigans when in college, from the clothing swap bins) but when I decided to simplify my closet I just wanted to have the basics on hand. I have not gotten onto the maxi skirt bandwagon yet, though I do have a super cute maxi dress that I wear occasionally. My skirts of choice are wraparound hippie skirts, and my black one is an outfit staple. My knee-length denim patchwork skirt is also an everyday wear staple. A few months back, I bought a wide black belt, and I have discovered how many awesome outfit variations can be created with just that simple accessory!

    I try to mostly wear dresses for Sunday Mass, as a way to keep things more "special." If I do wear a skirt (sometimes I'll do a nursing tank top, cardigan, skirt for ease of breastfeeding), I make sure that it's one of my fancier ones. I also wear my black sandals as a special Sunday thing (every other day of the week, I wear gray flip flops-I'm a bit Franciscan when it comes to footwear:P)

  3. Modesty keeps coming up on the blogs I follow these days! I love your guidelines, and we have similar ones around here! As for length of skirts and dresses, I usually go by the rule, "Can I bend at the waist to pick up a kid and not flash someone?" If the answer is no, either the skirt/dress is too short, or I wear a pair of leggings under it (rare to do).

    And, footwear is my killer - I just don't know how to make footwear work outside summer months. Thankfully, the Army has sent us to warm climates...!


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