As back-to-school shopping season approaches, many parents are bracing themselves for battle. But they aren’t preparing to wage war on high department store prices. They’re steeling themselves for the fight to find clothing their teens will wear – but that doesn’t show too much skin.
In recent years, many retailers have pushed the boundaries in clothing geared toward teens – and even children. Abercrombie & Fitch came under fire for marketing padded string bikinis to girls as young as 7. Brands like Juicy Couture have popularized the trend of printing text on the seat of clingy knit shorts and yoga pants, deliberately drawing the eye to the posterior. And plunging necklines and creeping hemlines are simply the norm in stores from Walmart to Saks Fifth Avenue.
However, a growing modesty movement is offering some families an alternative. This movement – championed by a number of multidenominational, faith-based groups – promotes clothing that is stylish and modern, but not sexualized.
There are a few general guidelines – necklines must not be lower than four fingers below the collarbone, pants must be able to be pulled away from the thigh and buttocks, and hemlines of shorts and skirts should be below the fingertips when standing or sitting, for example. But the broad theme of the modesty movement is to place a premium on young women’s sexuality by dressing them in clothing that conceals, rather than reveals.
Building buzz with the catchphrase “modest is hottest,” this trend is championed by retailer websites such as Modestly Yours, PureFashion.com and Secret Keeper Girl. But some mass market merchandisers are also getting in on the act, too – Nordstrom’s “Modern and Modest” line and “Shade,” a clothing line created by Mormon women, can now be purchased at Macy’s. As these options become more widely available, it will make it easier for more teens and families to consider this new way of dressing.
Some teens may take some convincing, but there are many good arguments for adopting more modest dress. First, clothes that show too much skin destroy the mystery. Teach your daughters to place a high value on their body – don’t display it for all to see. This not only instills self-respect; it prepares them to dress professionally in the work environment and allows them to spotlight their other good qualities. Teens who dress sexy are often minimized – people only see an exposed midriff or showcased cleavage.
In addition, this type of clothing may lead others to make assumptions on the teen’s behavior based on her fashion choices. They may associate risqué dress with risqué behavior – opening the door to rumors, bullying and, in some cases, the teen ultimately choosing to live up to her reputation.
However, when encouraging modest dress in your teen, parents should also be careful not to make her feel ashamed or embarrassed about her maturing body. Don’t pile on guilt and shame about normal physical changes.
In addition, don’t make your daughter feel responsible for the thoughts and actions of others. Some modesty movements preach chaste, conservative dress as a responsibility of women to help men avoid sin and lustful thoughts. While modest dress does encourage girls to align more closely with Christian values, the changes should be embraced for her personal betterment, with a positive motivation in mind.
To learn more about the modesty movement and how it might help your teen, please contact Compass Rose Academy today.