This is a "Modest" Blog

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
image via CEEBEE

I recently came across this blog post about modest fashion blogs and the confusion behind the term "modesty." There have been several posts like this where the author had difficulty differentiating between modesty as an attitude of humility and modesty as a code of dress. I've hardly responded to these posts mostly because I am lazy but I feel like I should to CM readers who may have wondered the same thing about me and my blog.

Like I mentioned previously, I feel there are various definitions of modesty depending on the dictionary; the individual and their religious, cultural, ethnic, familial background; the era; etc. I don't understand why all those definitions need to be applied to define a modest fashion blog.

I wonder if it would be easier for everyone if I had initially called my blog "Clothed Much | a fashion blog that doesn't show shoulders, midriff, chest, back, and covers to the knees." It's kinda catchy. But, in all seriousness, there is a reason I didn't call it "Clothed Much | a Mormon modest fashion blog." Yes, religion plays a part for me but I didn't want it to be the focus because the reason behind modest dress differs from person to person.

When I use the term modesty on my blog, I refer to the code of dress -- MY code of dress, to be exact. Person A may think knee-length skirts are immodest, while person B may think short-shorts are modest AND THAT IS OKAY. We are all different; we all have different perceptions of what is acceptable and what isn't today. That's what makes the world beautiful. I don't understand why we have to focus on these differences and think just because someone has stricter guidelines in life, perhaps dictated by religion or something else, it means they think they are better than everyone else. I...just don't get it.

The point of my blog wasn't to be all HEY LOOK AT ME I'M MODEST AND YOU'RE NOT AND I MAKE IT LOOK SO GOOD. Maybe that's what some people got out of it, but to me it was more HEY LOOK AT ME I CAN BE MODEST AND FRUGAL AND LOOK GOOD BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW HOW BEFORE. And I'm still learning.

Yes, I'm hurt that people have called me hypocritical for having a modest fashion blog, but does that mean it's the end of Clothed Much? Probably......not. BRB.

45 comments :

  1. Modesty is such a tricky thing. I think I dress pretty modestly, for both cultural and personal reasons, but recently a friend told me "You're not modest" I guess by her standards I'm not modest. And then (because I'm Muslim) recently a guy was sending me all kinds of nasty tweets about how immoral and immodest my clothing is, and that I "pose" for my fashion blog, which is apparently also immodest.

    You can't please 'em all. Nor should one try. Just be true to yourself. People know authenticity and that's what counts. :)

    xoxo
    www.natashafatah.blogspot.com

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  2. I really love this. I'm glad that you took the time to answer the question of modesty. You're right... Everyone is different, and modesty means something different to everyone. I couldn't agree more.

    molly
    http://alwaysamrsforeverakidd.blogspot.com

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  3. I love what you're doing. And it's YOUR blog. Honestly, if people don't like it then they should go read another fashion blog that better suits their style.
    I love your ideas & tips and the guest posts are awesome. Tune it out. Keep it up.

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  4. But, come on.. Where's the fun in that? ;)
    Thanks! CM should be back to regular programming next week....

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  5. this is such a lovely post. i love that you take the time to define what modesty means to you...its vast cultural underpinnings definitely lend it toward ambiguity. but hey, this is your blog, your experience, your style. so i think this is wonderful & love, too, that you shared that link. i'm definitely going to read it.

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  6. Hey Elaine,
    I read that entire article and I just wanted to leave some thoughts.
    -Remember that some people wont understand modesty until they come to Christ.
    -God gives us all gifts to make his name known, This site you run is more than a "modest" blog. Its an outlet to reach non-believers. And you are doing that through your talents of dressing well and writing even more eloquently.
    -Your readers return to you daily to enjoy and hoard outfit ideas. And if you don't hear it enough, Thanks! It is (clothed) much appreciated!

    Don't let them get ya down, stay in prayer for others and keep up the good work=]
    Essence

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  7. I love your blog, and I don't find you hypocritical at all. Keep on doing what you're doing!

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  8. I echo the other commenters; please know that you and your blog are much appreciated! I love seeing the creative ways you create outfits that look amazing but also don't cost a gazillion dollars. I also enjoy reading about how faith influences your life. I think it's fun and interesting to learn about one another's beliefs and hear different perspectives on fashion/faith/life and you provide a respectful venue to do just that. Thank you for all of your hard work!

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  9. I really appreciate you writing this! I'm not Mormon, but I've found that I've ended up following tons of gals who happen to be Mormon in large part exactly because of modest dressing! No, I don't necessarily specifically wear skirts to my knee at all time or cover my shoulders, but I do consider my style pretty modest! I've even gotten anonymous commenters saying things like "Why are you wearing that dress? Aren't you LDS? You can't wear tanks." I mean, come on, people! Get it together! Then go check out Clothed Much. ;)

    <3 The Daily Dani

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  10. Great message - for me modesty means to avoid extremes. Being covered in a paper bag head to toe is just as bad as baring it all as far as skin is concerned. But I feel like if the focus is more on creativity, style, color, fabrics in a way that honors our beauty there will be no need to further explain what modesty is.

    It really comes down to knowing what reveals yourself to the world in as a person who honors herself. :)

    Keep it up chica!

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  11. I'm so sorry that you received that bad comment from a guy. Something always bothers me when a guy says something about my dress being bad. It makes me wonder what else he is looking at online to compare to what I'm wearing...

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  12. Keep it going! I just found your blog and I love it already!

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  13. I love your blog partially for the reason that it is a modest fashion blog! I'm not Mormon, and I don't really feel a personal obligation to dress quite as modestly as some, but I do absolutely love looking at different clothing choices and styles BECAUSE of people's different personal beliefs. It's what makes personal style what it is.

    And for those who might not dress in the same way, it can at least be a source of inspiration for styling with the things they own, or even provide a challenge in order to help other people's personal styles develop, grow, and evolve.

    Honestly, while I greatly respect your beliefs and how they relate to your style, it's not what I focus on. I focus on how you mix items, prints, colors, etc. and how it can inspire me to try new things with my own wardrobe.

    So thank you, Elaine. And thank you to all those fashion bloggers out there who share their personal style regardless of reason and belief.

    Melanie
    Style to Stage

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  14. Please keep posting because I love your style! I like to dress in a modest way too.

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  15. I'm not a Mormon, but I love your blog all the same. I don't think you are hypocritical at all. Hope to see more great post and fashion ideas from you in the future.

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  16. Hahaha, no way! That is pretty funny. Guess you have to be Mormon now... ;)

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  17. I read your blog regularly... well, not actually read. I really only look and drool at the pictures. And boy! Do I love doing that! The thing that attracted me to your blog was how cute the clothes were without being too expensive. My problem with the Blind Hem article was that I thought the author got a bit nit-picky over the first definition of modesty and forgot that there was the second definition, and that both definitions are quite exclusive of each other.
    PS. I dress modestly not because I'm religiously obliged to, but because I currently live in the Middle East. And out of respect for their culture, I believe that I should at least be a bit more covered-up. Your blog gives me inspiration to do just that without getting into a jeans-and-shirt rut.

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  18. That is kinda funny. Dani, to be honest I kinda thought you were Mormon...but I haven't been reading your blog for a super long time so I just didn't know otherwise. The funnier thing is that someone would start nagging at someone for wearing a tank top...why is it any of their business?!

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  19. Hi,
    This is great. I really like this blog. I like your style statement. I also like Indian dresses like salwar kameez. Thanks for sharing knowledge with us.

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  20. As someone just transitioning to and becoming aware of a modest way of dressing, I am so thankful for this blog! Please don't leave us! :)

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  21. I'm a Christian, but I still love your blog! You have a super cute style that constantly inspires me! I've also had people think I'm LDS-even had a lady comment and say something to effect that "We" don't believe that! Which was pretty funny since what she said was not anything I believe as a Christian! But she obviously thought I was Mormon! : ) I didn't end up saying anything, as it would only have caused problems in the long run. Sometimes you just have to let other people have their own opinions, and not care! : )
    Natasha
    A Modest Fashion Blog:
    www.natashaatkerson.blogspot.com

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  22. Hi! I am not Mormon, but love your blog as I am generally "accidentally" modest, it's just how I roll and what feels appropriate to me. Your blog is very inspirational and well done.

    --Zoey | my blog: zoe has her moments

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  23. It's true...modesty is definitely defined differently by each person. And like others have said, it's your blog so you can do what you want and people don't have the right to judge. Others can think what they want but you know your standards, beliefs, and reasonings. You are the one that inspired me to start a 'modest fashion blog' because I think it's a great reason! Don't let some remarks of others bring you down because obviously there's a reason why you have many readers and followers! People like your blog and you help others. Keep your head up girl and do your thang!

    xo sherri
    www.sherrriamour.blogspot.com

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  24. I am 43 woman and I review your blog daily of updates and fashion tips. I recently read this post and wanted you to know that as a mature woman I apprciate that a young woman as yourself takes her appearance serious. Please know that if you were led to title your blog modest than so let it be just that. Please do not allow your flow of ingenuity be stiffled by someone elses opinion. Opinion's are like noses everyone has one...LOL

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  25. I like your thoughts on modesty here and what it means as a relative vs. absolute thing. I totally agree with you. I really enjoy your blog! Your belt -tying method changed my life! :-)

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  26. I'm sure many other people have said it and said it better, but modesty is what you feel it to be, and people who seem to think that you should be in line with other modest bloggers are imagining some kind of organisation that just doesn't exist. I think the reason you come in for criticism is that you've got a term to describe how you dress, if you didn't use the word they'd have nothing to be pedantic over.
    I'm an atheist and I don't like to have too much on show. It's because I'm a feminist (there could be a massive debate on how to apply that word too), because I don't like my body all that much or feel confident showing it off, and because, damn it, I wear what I like.
    In a similar sense, it's your blog, you can call it what you damn well like, and if someone has a problem with that it shouldn't be your problem. You're not hurting them, in fact you're providing something a lot of people like. Stick with it.

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  27. I just left a comment on that article. It irritates me that someone would be so harsh and judgmental about something they clearly don't understand. As I said in my comment on the article, I think people need to realize that the definition of modest is totally different for everyone, even within the same faith.

    Growing up as a Mormon and needing to follow the guidelines of being modest was difficult. It limited what I could wear, and every single Prom dress I wore had to be specially made because nothing was available that was modest that was in main stream stores.

    One HUGE advantage of Mormon “Modest” Bloggers is to give ideas and sources for other Mormon girls who are looking for fashions that we can wear in our faith and still feel modern and pretty and yes even sexy! Why can’t we feel sexy too? I think you can be modest and sexy at the same time. At least that is my personal definition. While the Mormon church believes in covering it up, it doesn’t mean we cant be woman who love fashion and want to share and express that with others.

    While all blogs have some from of vanity attached to them (you are lying to yourself if you can’t admit that) I think it is a little harsh to call them hypocrites. I love that blogging can empower woman, and I appreciate all the different “genre” of blogs that do that! I love fashion, I love to read ALL kinds of fashion blogs for inspiration, even if the girl in the blog isn’t wearing something “modest” in the way I personally define it.








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  28. Keep doing what you do, Elaine! :) While I do not consider myself modest, or have religious reasons for dressing the way I do, I really enjoy seeing how you find a way to dress beautifully while living in accordance with your religion/values. I read your blog for your sense of humor, the fact that you don't take yourself too seriously, your affordably priced wardrobe, and your fun sense of style. :)

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  29. Hey, the girl who wrote that lame article is a skunk. Just know that your readers love you for all you stand for and your style!

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  30. Hi there! I've never posted on your blog before, but I am a regular reader.

    I'm not a Mormon, but I find that we share similar values of modesty. I LOVE your blog and not just for the clothes. Your sense of humor and your insights on life are part of why I read - you seem like a really lovely person and your blog brightens my day. Please don't go away!

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  31. Kamilah WilkinsonApril 26, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    HI, I've been reading your blog for a while now and I think it's inspirational. I am a Christian but in all honesty always struggled with dressing modest and often felt like it was a hinderance to my personal style. I'm glad that some peoples confusion has made you want to stop doing this blog and I think it is a shame that other people be harsh and abit condescending about something they so obviously don't understand.
    Keep doing what your doing

    Kamilah :)

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  32. I'm coming out of the closet as a recent lurker...Hi!

    I admit, the concept of a "modest" fashion blog that featured tons of pictures of you was confusing to me at first. I didn't get it. But then, you know, I started reading...and read some more...and loved the way you get every penny's worth out of your clothing...and your sense of humor grew on me. I'm not religious at all, but I admire how you've stayed true to your values and goals with the blog. I also read your post about adult acne, and while my heart ached for you, I was stunned by your bravery. You are a classy lady, Elaine!

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  33. I don't visit your blog because it is a modest fashion blog, but because it is a blog about fashion and I enjoy your writing and outfits. I respect what you do because of your beliefs. I don't think people should be so judgmental, especially when they admit they like your blog and visit it regularly! They are being hypocritical. Keep doing what you do.

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  34. I know it's hard, but I try to ignore the haters. I'm not Mormon, but I'm a born-again Christian, and I also always strive for modesty while still being fashionable. I love your blog because yes, you are modest, but you also have some adorable and affordable outfits! And you always seem so nice!

    Just wanted to drop a few nice words of encouragement. :)

    xoxo
    Tier
    www.RubyWooLovesYou.com

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  35. Well put. Here are my comments from that blog post:

    Nina says:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Reply
    As the “Orthodox Jewish PhD student” to whom I assume you refer, I’ll offer a few comments. From my experiences as both reader and blogger, I’ve encountered several definitions of modesty. To some, modesty encompasses both aspects of the definition quoted above. But this is by no means how every blogger interprets the concept, and I find your imposition of an external framework onto a wide spectrum of individuals and personal beliefs to be a misfit. From my perspective, the evidence simply does not support the model.

    I am also troubled by your notion of higher standards for religious women. Is blogging in general an exercise in vanity? Sure. But I find highly problematic your implicit assumption, that religious women should be held to a higher, universal standard than that of other bloggers or than required by their faith. I will speak personally here: Does Judaism require that I wear long sleeves, skirts and a high-enough neckline? I believe so. Does it prohibit taking pictures of myself as I do so to provide a template for others (and, let’s be honest, as a hobby)? Absolutely not. I don’t believe that I need to abide by a higher standard than that required of me by my religion (it is high enough, thank you very much) to meet some universal notion of modesty to which I feel no connection.

    I agree with you about the holier-than-thou attitude that is often displayed on modesty blogs, but I don’t think this is uniquely endemic of religion or this particular genre. While I understand the temptation to associate it with religious hypocrisy, I would simply chalk it up to a condition of human existence.

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  36. Hi there. I came across your blog by chance. While I do have some short skirts in my wardrobe and v necks etc etc I also like other fashion, like full skirts, high necks etc etc. I like fashion. I think your blog is fashionable, fresh and young. Who cares if you show lots of leg or not? As you rightly put, we are all different.

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  37. I actually submitted a response to this article and it was posted today. Feel free to read it :) http://www.theblindhem.com/1461/modest-fashion-blogs-a-response/

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  38. Hi! Another regular reader here who usually lurks. That post made me so mad, I commented twice.

    The first...

    ***

    Another person chiming in in defense of Clothed Much. (I don’t follow other modest fashion blogs.)

    FWIW, I’m a hard-core feminist and secular huminist. I recently moved from a not-for-profit uber-casual company to an IT department in the public sector. I started following Clothed Much for inspiration around office work clothes that didn’t show too much skin. You know – polished, professional, stylish. I like feeling sexy as much as the next girl, but my primary aim for work wear if is for people to take me seriously. If my boobs command more attention than what I’m saying, that’s not good.

    Elaine, the primary Clothed Much blogger, has impressed me again and again with her inclusive, non-jugemental approach to covering all aspects of body-covering clothing. One of the first posts I read linked to a Muslim blogger’s variations on the hijab. She rarely speaks about her own religious beliefs, and when she does I never feel preached to.

    I strongly believe that choosing and controling how we present ourselves to the world is a feminist act, inherently linked to ownership over our own bodies. I don’t find this article’s condescending attitude toward women who’ve formed a supportive modest fashion community any more acceptable than slut-shaming.

    Women who concientiously, tastefully cover their bodies deserve as much respect as women who love showing off their legs with short-shorts.

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  39. The second:

    "Also:

    “[I]sn’t the idea of religious ‘modesty’ to not display yourself in a way that attracts attention?”

    Maybe for some groups. I’m not religious, but I, personally, understand the term “modest” – when used in the context of fashion – to mean “covering the body” and “not overtly sexy”.

    But I am a little annoyed at the assumption that women who like looking good — attracting attention — are somehow hypocritical if they also make a point of covering their bodies. You’d never make this asumption about a man, because men’s fashion doesn’t generally show a lot of skin.

    What I like about looking at the fashionable outfits on Clothed Much is that the skin-to-clothing ratio is more-or-less equal to what you’d find in fashionable men’s outfits seen on the Sartorialist.

    A brightly coloured shirt, a well-cut trouser, a cute scarf, a snappy blazer… all can command attention and look good on the wearer without being overtly sexy. And why should anyone, male or female, need to look sexy in order to look awesome and command attention?

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  40. (A note: I'm aware that in terms of social politics and religious views, I'm probably in the minority here, and I'm likely reading this blog through a very different world-view lens than most of your readers.

    But I just wanted you to know you've got my respect and support. Love your writing. Love your outfits.)

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  41. I know you posted this a little bit ago but I absolutely loved everything about this post! I love how you defined that your modest style and the word modesty is different for each and ever person. I am LDS and do dress modestly, but enjoy wearing bikinis when I'm around family at our private cabin at a lake to catch a good tan. After blogging about some of my favorite spring swimming suits someone commented that I wasn't LDS because I enjoy wearing bikinis. To be honest this comment hurt and made me rethink blogging all together. But then I decided that modesty to one is completely different to another and everyone has their opinions and I have to respect them all. Thanks for posting this, I know how frustrating it can get, but when i see you post posts like this it makes me feel more empowered to stand up for 'My' modest dress.

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  42. lifeofapasseri.comMay 2, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Yay. That is all I have to say. Yay for someone who can recognize the difference AND the beauty of variety.

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  43. They're not "confused about" and "misunderstanding" modesty. We, in the Church, are. We justify ourselves and our attempts to fit into the world.

    We're wrong. Those blog authors are right.

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  44. I know this is an older post but I was catching up on your entries (I am a blog lurker) and just have to say WTF to random people on the internet judging your modesty. I love your blog because I am a naturally shy kinda gal and prefer not show it all off if I can help it. Although, I am 5'10" so finding dresses/skirts past the knee is akin to finding a unicorn... but I digress. In any case, keep up the great work and don't let the haters get ya down.

    Peace!

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