Modesty, Makeup, and Fashion Sense

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I’m not going to argue or defend any stance on modesty, especially what it means to a Christian woman. There are so many sides on that subject that gets people all heated up. I don’t want to go there because I can understand the different point of views. All I can share is what I went through when it comes to modesty, makeup, and my fashion sense. And it’s fun 🙂 so let’s go there.

The Libertine. That’s my Jewelmint style profile:

You wear what you want without regard to current trends, but always manage to steal the spotlight anyway. With a hint of tomboy, your sartorial choices express confidence. You are The Libertine because your style is the perfect combination of effortless and edgy.

Sounds nice right? It’s really just another way of saying my fashion sense is all over the place. Kind of like I can’t make up my mind. And there’s only 4% of us Libertines, at least in the Jewelmint population.

They nailed me though. Growing up, I was a girly girl because my parents had 3 girls. They gave us Barbies, Polly Pockets, and put us in clothes like these:

My two sisters and me on the right

And these:

I’m on the left…in my bowl cut!

Weren’t we stylish?

I was a bit tomboy from sixth grade through high school. Then I was just lazy. In my senior year, I actually went to school in my pajamas, rolled right out of bed. But on Sundays, I would dress up for church in heels and dresses my classmates probably didn’t think I owned.

When I can buy my own makeup, I started playing around with it. I used to play with my mom’s but she bought neutral colors. I went for the bold and bright. And sometimes my outfits matched, sometimes they clashed, and sometimes…they were weird.

I was a bit girly and tomboy, a bit traditional and classic, a bit relaxed and edgy, and a bit bohemian and eclectic. I wish I have more pictures of me so I can chronicle my fashion sense and sometimes lack of. Then again, maybe it’s a good thing I was always behind the camera. There’s less embarrassing pictures!

What do all these have to do with passion for life and modesty?

Through every fashion phase I went through, I had check what I wore with the modesty ruler. The length of our skirts and shorts: lower than our fingertips. Spaghetti straps and sleeveless straps: definitely not in church and other ministry events. Bikinis: not around boys.

The church leaders gave us these…I’d say guidelines, but they were rules. And we embraced it. We checked ourselves and each other, with love, not judgement. I’m not sure if anyone actually felt restricted or constraint. I think it’s because we were also encouraged to dress up. We had sleepovers and makeovers. And our pastor’s wife picked us up in their van after we spent hours at the mall.

But that was a different time. Styles, attitudes, and standards change as life changes. The traditional part of me wants to carry around a blanket to throw on girls who boom-chica-wow-wows in church. But I also agree that only God can change a person. It’s only when God changes a person’s heart that true change – in attitudes, habits, and standards – happen.

Yet there are things about ourselves we’re blind to, and we need loving friends or family to point them out.

I liked the modesty rules. They were clear and easy to follow. But my insecurities also hid behind modesty. Like how I wore skirts and shorts that fell to or below my knees. But I was actually insecure of my dark knees and keloid scar. I also liked 3/4 sleeves, but was insecure about dark elbows. I loved long hair, but I was also scared that short hair would show how chubby I was.

Likewise, some girls have insecurities hiding behind sexy clothes, heavy makeup, expensive shoes and bags.

Different friends and family helped me address my insecurities. Sometimes knowingly by negating my negative self-criticism, and sometimes unknowingly with their encouragement. And God’s love and grace help me love myself and give me confidence.

I still think you shouldn’t va-va-voom in church, and some clothes are just inappropriate everywhere (except maybe in the bedroom with your spouse). But the most important is why we wear what we wear. Are we hiding insecurities God wants to heal and replace with confidence? Maybe we need a modesty ruler, one that checks our hearts.

When God healed my heart and delivered me from my insecurities, I was able to embrace myself with confidence. Embrace the Libertine, whether she leaves the house without a stitch of makeup or is dressed up with nowhere to go.

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